Degree Overview

vet med students reviewing x-rays

The recently revised, integrated DVM curriculum uses active learning and builds the relationship between the basic sciences and the clinical cases graduates will see in their practices. During the first three years of the DVM program, students focus on the study of the normal animal, the pathogenesis of diseases, and the prevention, alleviation, and clinical therapy of diseases.

The program concludes with 13 months of clinical rotations in the Veterinary Medical Center, where students learn methods of veterinary care and develop skills needed for professional practice. Students can choose from more than 65 rotations, ranging from Acupuncture to Zoological Medicine. The fourth year includes up to 10 weeks of externship experiences at off-campus sites of the student’s choice.

DVM students attend class full time, Monday through Friday, from approximately 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students do not have classes during the summer semesters between their first and second, and second and third years of the program. Students attend class for one full calendar year, including summer semester, during their fourth year. Learn more about student life.


The DVM degree from the UMN CVM qualifies graduates to take the licensing exam in every state provided they pass the national exam and meet the state non-academic guidelines (background check, etc.).  

DVM students must pass both state and national board licensing exams in order to practice. The national exam is called the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and is offered in the fall and the spring. Those wishing to practice in Minnesota must also take the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine licensing exam. Information regarding licensure in other states can be found National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Additional licensing requirements may vary from state to state. The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine requires criminal background checks as part of its licensing process for both new and existing veterinarians. Please check with any state you are considering practicing in for specific details.

Explore the course catalog (pdf)