Veterinary Food Animal Scholars Track


Across the nation, a shortage of food animal veterinarians has emerged. Not enough veterinary students are training to work with dairy cows, beef cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, and goats. Rural areas are unable to fill vacant positions or add new staff quickly enough. Positions in the food industry are difficult to fill, and more staff with veterinary training is needed in state and federal agencies to protect the livestock industry from new diseases and help to ensure food safety.

To meet this demand, the University of Minnesota has introduced the Veterinary Food Animal Scholars Program or VetFAST. VetFAST can allow students to:

  • Gain VetFAST program acceptance to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine at the end of the freshman or sophomore year in college rather than during the junior or senior year
  • Complete both a Bachelor of Science and DVM degrees in seven years rather than eight
  • Waive the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a requirement necessary for traditional applicants to the DVM program
  • Benefit from mentorships with veterinary faculty and other DVM students
  • Pursue summer veterinary and industry work opportunities
  • Apply for special VetFAST scholarships

View the VetFAST brochure

Who is eligible for VetFAST?

Eligible students must be/have/complete:

  • Enrolled in one of the following degree programs:
  • Experience working, caring for, and/or volunteering with food animals, including dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminants such as sheep and goats, etc
  • Demonstrated a firm commitment to practice food animal medicine upon graduation from the U of M CVM.
  • Complete the full VetFAST application. Applications are accepted one time per year and are due by the application deadline during spring semester. Applicants with a strong academic record and extensive food animal related experience will be asked to participate in an admissions interview.

In addition, students must meet the following:

  • Will take at least 8 math and science prerequisite courses at the University of Minnesota.
  • Will have at least two additional semesters of enrollment at the University of Minnesota after the VetFAST application is submitted and prior to graduation and/or DVM program start.
  • Have not previously received a bachelor's degree
  • Completed at least two semesters at full-time attendance with coursework graded A-F, by the end of the spring term in which the application is submitted, while enrolled in an approved VetFAST program at the University of Minnesota. Students with S/N grading for spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who have less than two semesters of graded coursework are encouraged to apply regardless. Fall 2020 coursework can be used as a substitute. Contact Karen Nelson at [email protected] for more details if this applies to you.

Competitive applicants will possess the following characteristics:

  • Competitive ACT scores of 25 or higher
  • Competitive SAT scores of 1140 or higher
  • Competitive high school rank, if applicable
  • A University of Minnesota Cumulative GPA of approximately 3.4 or higher
  • Maintained full-time college enrollment of at least 12 credits per semester with no lapse in enrollment (summer semester enrollment not required).
  • Pursued coursework consistent with admissions requirements for the DVM program, including introductory chemistry, introductory biology, English, algebra, pre-calculus, or calculus, and introductory courses in science including agriculture, biology, and veterinary medicine.
  • Demonstrated experience related to food animal medicine. This includes experience gained on a farm, participation in 4-H or FFA, or involvement in relevant activities during first and/or second year at the U of M. Demonstrated experience working with, volunteering for, or shadowing a food animal veterinarian.
  • Can provide three letters of recommendation. At least one should come from a veterinarian who can speak to the applicant's potential for success within the food animal profession. Other references should be from evaluators who know the applicant from an educational or professional setting.

Applying to VetFAST

Applying to VetFAST consists of three easy steps. Applications are accepted once a year during spring semester.

Completing the VetFAST program

VetFAST program participants must meet the following criteria in order to gain full admission to the DVM program:

  • Continue to take animal production courses
  • Complete all required pre-veterinary coursework
  • Maintain a University of Minnesota cumulative, undergraduate GPA of 3.40 or higher
  • Continue to participate in food animal related activities and experiences

Students not meeting the criteria by the end of their junior year will be deferred by one academic year. Students not meeting the criteria by the end of their deferred year will lose program eligibility. Ineligible students may apply to the DVM program through the traditional admission process at a later date with no penalty.