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 as early as after two completed semesters of U of M coursework
  • Complete both a Bachelor of Science and DVM degrees in seven years rather than eight
  • Benefit from mentorships with veterinary faculty and other DVM students
  • Pursue summer veterinary and industry work opportunities
  • Apply for special VetFAST scholarships

Who is Eligible?

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:

  • 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.
  • 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

Competitive applicants will possess the following characteristics:

  • 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 included 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.