Veterinary medicine focuses on animal health and the study of diseases that affect all animal species. Veterinarians receive comprehensive training in all basic and clinical sciences with relation to a variety of species, including food‑producing animals, horses, companion animals, exotic pets and wildlife.
What you will learn
This program prepares you to meet the needs of animal health care in Western Canada and beyond. Our curriculum allows you to pursue personal interest areas including small, large or exotic animal care, surgery, medical imaging, anesthesiology, pathology, wildlife medicine, or animal-human health-related issues — just to name a few.
You will gain hands-on experience with animals through formal laboratory exercises, elective courses and fourth-year rotations. You will also receive instruction in leadership, communication and practice management to prepare you for your future professional careers.
First two years
You will focus on basic and applied science core courses. Your integrated, co-ordinated introduction allows you to learn all aspects of one particular system or body region before moving on to the next area.
You will gain more in‑depth, focused learning including hands-on experience in particular areas of interest through a range of core/elective courses.
You will gain clinical experience during the program's final year, completing a series of two- or four-week clinical rotations. Students can also arrange for externships at specialty practices, zoos and aquariums in other provinces or countries.
The Course and Program Catalogue has the complete and official listing of required classes and their descriptions for this program.
Why study here
Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC)
The college's Veterinary Medical Centre is Western Canada's centre for primary and specialized clinical services, as well as for veterinary teaching and animal health research.
The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's diverse caseload ensures that veterinary students are exposed to a range of animal species and health issues during their senior years.
Undergraduate research program
One of the finest introductory research initiatives in North America, first- and second-year students have the opportunity to work alongside experienced researchers at the college, learning more about the world of research and gaining valuable, hands-on experience.
Veterinarians make ideal leaders of One Health, a global initiative for improving animal, human and environmental health through collaboration among all of the health sciences. That is especially true at uSask — the only Canadian university with a full complement of health science colleges and schools on one campus.
Veterinarians play a critical role in agriculture and production animal health, and the WCVM is well placed to educate new veterinarians in food animal medicine. uSask's College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the WCVM also collaborate on many food animal research studies that contribute to the students' training.
Mixed animal practitioners treat large and small animals while large animal practitioners focus on agricultural livestock. Small animal veterinarians provide health care for dogs, cats and exotic pets. Some private practitioners specialize in treating individual species such as dairy and beef cattle, swine, horses or companion animals.
Clinicians with advanced training provide specialized services in many clinical disciplines including surgery, internal medicine, medical imaging, anesthesiology, ophthalmology, veterinary pathology, dentistry, wildlife medicine and oncology.
Provincial and federal veterinarians help to develop public policy and legislation related to animal and animal human health. They regulate the import and export of livestock and food products. They are responsible for the control of infectious diseases among livestock and wildlife from a local to global level. They provide diagnostic services and ensure the health and safety of commercial meat products.
Academia and research
Veterinarians are involved in teaching and studying animal health at veterinary colleges, universities and research institutions. Veterinarians also contribute to advances in human medicine and collaborate with researchers around the world.
Veterinarians take part in the research and commercial development of new feed products, drugs and technologies with animal health companies.
The WCVM is fully accredited with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to operate as a qualified centre for veterinary education and research. Full AVMA accreditation means:
- WCVM students can write the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) without any restrictions. The NAVLE is a comprehensive test written by all U.S. and Canadian veterinary students in their final year.
- WCVM graduates are eligible to practise in all provinces of Canada, in all American states and in several other countries.
The college is also recognized by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. This means WCVM graduates are eligible for membership in the RCVS, allowing them to practise in the United Kingdom and any country recognizing RCVS membership.
For further information about the WCVM’s accreditation, visit the WCVM website.
Tuition and fees per year
Tuition estimates reflect a typical amount you could expect to pay per year.
Fees are used to fund specific student benefits, including health, vision and dental coverage, a bus pass, recreational programs and fitness centre access.
Additional estimates of fees and expenses
|Additional fees or expenses||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
|Board examinations (NAVLE)||n/a||n/a||n/a||$1,000.00|
|Printing and paper*||$300.00||$300.00||$300.00||$300.00|
|Instruments and special clothing*||$300.00||$300.00||$300.00||$300.00|
|Travel expenses (optional)||$1,800.00||$1,800.00||$1,800.00||$3,000.00|
* Prices subject to change and will vary from student to student and year to year.
Preparing for Veterinary Medicine
High school requirements
There are no specific high school requirements for the DVM program. However, the following high school courses are often required for university-level pre-veterinary courses:
- Grade 12 level mathematics
- Grade 12 level biology
- Grade 12 level chemistry
- Grade 12 level physics
- Students should consult with the institution they plan to attend for further information about high school prerequisites for pre-veterinary courses.
- Read through the Admission Requirements below to see what is needed to be considered for admission.
- In addition to completing the required pre-veterinary courses, applicants should work toward an undergraduate degree since the majority of students have completed three to four years of university before gaining admission at the WCVM. This will provide you with alternative career choices if veterinary medicine is no longer an option.
General counselling may be received by contacting the WCVM Admissions Office. Prospective applicants may contact the pre-veterinary advisor at their respective university for advising within their local context.
- University of British Columbia
Email: Student Services | Tel: 604-822-2620
- University of Victoria
Email: Advising Centre | Tel: 250-721-7567
- Simon Fraser University
Email: Emelia Kirkwood | Tel: 778-782-3539 or 778-782-3551
- University of Northern British Columbia
Email: Tania DaSilva | Tel: 250-960-5506
University of Alberta
Email: Dr. Michael Dyck | Tel: 780-492-0047
University of Calgary
Email: Dr. Michael Hynes | Tel: 403-220-8473
University of Lethbridge
Email: Arts and Science Advisor | Tel: 403-329-5106
Augstana Faculty, University of Alberta
Email: Sarah Tregonning | Tel: 780-679-1544
Red Deer College
Email: School of Arts and Sciences | Tel: 403-342-3585
Medicine Hat College
Email: Brandi Durda | Tel: 403-504-2205
The King's University College
Email: Dr. Heather Prior | Tel: 780-465-3500, ext. 8071
Grant MacEwan University
Email: Academic Advisors | Tel: 780-497-4520
University of Saskatchewan
Email: Admissions Office | Tel: 306-966-7459
University of Regina
Email: Science Advisor | Tel: 306-585-4199
Students have organized pre-veterinary clubs at a number of universities across Western Canada. If you're interested in learning more about the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and enjoy meeting other students who have similar interests, these student-run organizations offer a range of opportunities including tours, wet labs, guest speakers and resource materials.
If you're an undergraduate student from Western Canada, you're also welcome to join the WCVM's Pre-veterinary Students' Facebook page where current veterinary students are available to answer questions about the WCVM and its DVM program.
- University of British Columbia
UBC (Vancouver) Pre-Vet and Animal Welfare Club
UBC Okanagan (Kelowna) Pre-Vet Club Facebook page
- University of Victoria
UVic Pre-Vet Club Facebook page
- Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University Pre-Vet and Animal Welfare Club
- University of Northern British Columbia
University of Northern British Columbia Pre-Vet Club
University of Calgary
University of Calgary Pre-Veterinary Students Association (PVSA)
University of Lethbridge
- University of Manitoba
University of Manitoba Pre-Vet Club
University of Manitoba Facebook page
- Brandon University
Western Manitoba Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (WMPVMA)
- University of Winnipeg
The Pre-Veterinary Club (PVC)
University of Winnipeg Pre-Veterinary Club Facebook page
The admission information below provides a cursory review. Please ensure you've read the entire WCVM Applicant Manual before applying for admission to the program. The guide contains the official admission policies.
As a regional veterinary college, the WCVM accepts applicants who are residents of the four western provinces and the northern territories. The number of applicants admitted from each western province is determined by an allotment system:
- British Columbia: 20
- Alberta: 20*
- Saskatchewan: 20
- Manitoba: 15
- Northern territories (Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories): 1
- Education Equity Program: 2
All applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Residents of foreign countries are not eligible to be considered for admission to the WCVM.
* The Government of Alberta is not renewing its participation in the WCVM interprovincial agreement after 2020. The WCVM will continue to admit 20 students from Alberta for the next two academic years: 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Please click here to view more information.
An interprovincial agreement between the four western provinces and the WCVM outlines definite rules to determine an applicant's province of residence:
- In the case of an applicant who has not established his or her own residence and lived in that residence for 12 continuous months (excluding any time enrolled as a post-secondary student in or outside of that province), the WCVM will consider the applicant’s residence to be the province or territory of Canada where his or her parent(s) have lived most recently for 12 continuous months before the WCVM’s December 1 application deadline.
- In the case of an applicant who has established his or her own residence in a province or territory in Canada, the WCVM will consider the individual’s residence to be the Canadian province or territory where the applicant lived most recently for 12 continuous months before the WCVM’s December 1 application deadline. This 12-month period excludes any time enrolled as a post-secondary student in or outside of that province.
- In the case of an applicant who has established his or her own residence outside Canada and intends to re-establish residence in this country, the WCVM will consider the applicant’s residence to be the Canadian province or territory where he or she lived most recently for 12 continuous months before leaving Canada. This 12-month period excludes any time enrolled as a post-secondary student in or outside of that province.
- In the case of an applicant who is a Permanent Resident of Canada (as defined in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act), the WCVM will consider the applicant’s residence to be the province or territory where he or she first resided in Canada under two conditions: the applicant has established his or her own residence in a Canadian province or territory but has not yet accumulated 12 continuous months without post-secondary study, and the applicant’s parent(s) do not reside in Canada.
- In the case of an applicant who is from the Northern territories, residency is defined by their own rules because the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories are not formal signatories of the college's interprovincial funding contract.
Indigenous Equity Access Program: Each year, two seats are available for Indigenous students through the Education Equity Program. Applicants must be residents of the four western Canadian provinces or the northern territories.
The WCVM requires proof of Indigenous ancestry that must be provided at the time of application. Acceptable proofs of ancestry include a certified copy of one of the following cards:
- Indian Status or Treaty Card
- Métis Membership Card
- Nunavut Trust Service Card
- Inuit roll number
2. Required pre-veterinary courses
The pre-veterinary course requirements consist of 60 credits of required and elective courses. One credit represents one lecture hour equivalent per week for one term (or approximately one semester hour of credit):
|6 credits of Biology|
|6 credits of Chemistry|
|6 credits of English|
|6 credits of Mathematics or Statistics|
|3 credits of Organic Chemistry|
|3 credits of Physics|
|3 credits of Biochemistry|
|3 credits of Genetics|
|3 credits of Introductory Microbiology|
|21 credits of elective courses|
|60 TOTAL CREDITS|
At least two full years of university courses are required to complete the requirements. Most applicants have more than two years of university. However, neither the number of years of pre-professional study nor the degree(s) held are factors in selecting students.
- Electives: There are no "preferred" electives. The choice of electives should be based upon the requirements of the program in which the student is enrolled or the student's general interests. Students are encouraged to select electives that will liberalize or broaden their perspective.
- Pre-veterinary courses completed at the U of S are usually met in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.
- Pre-veterinary courses not completed at the U of S may be taken at any accredited college or university. Non-residents of Saskatchewan will not improve their chances of admission by attending the U of S for pre-veterinary coursework. Courses taken as part of vocational programs — such as animal health or veterinary technology programs — are not usually accepted to meet the college's pre-veterinary course requirements. However, a few courses in some programs may be used if the applicant has completed the vocational program. Each case is considered on its individual merit.
3. Academic requirement
- A minimum, cumulative average of 75 per cent is needed to be considered for admission.
All grades are converted to a common scale for comparative purposes and this converted average will be used.
4. Animal and veterinary experience
Although animal and veterinary experience are not specific requirements, an applicant will be stronger if he/she can demonstrate good knowledge of the veterinary profession accompanied by firsthand experience. Applicants without significant animal and veterinary experience are rarely successful in being admitted.
From an admissions point of view, the major benefit of animal and veterinary experience is to help ensure that applicants "know what they are getting into." However, the WCVM admissions committee may also consider an applicant's efforts to gain experience as an indication of his or her motivation to become a veterinarian.
Significant animal experience is important because it's assumed that most veterinarians will be working with animals during a significant part of their time. Experiences working with animals not only give applicants some idea as to how well they might enjoy working with animals, but it also gives some indication of their aptitude and compassion.
The basis for emphasizing veterinary activity has a rationale similar to that for animal experience: the applicant learns about the day-to-day life as a veterinarian. The purpose of the experience is not to learn a basic core of veterinary or animal handling skills. For many, obtaining veterinary experience means spending quality time with a veterinarian, either as an observer or as an employee.
Applicants' experiences are often consistent with their career goals. However, it's important to understand the diversity of the veterinary profession since both the DVM curriculum and the veterinary licensing examination require proficiency in a broad range of areas for successful completion.
The WCVM admissions committee recognizes that applicants' career goals in the veterinary profession may change over the course of their education. During the admissions process, there are no "preferred" career choices — applicants with an interest in one type of practice are not given preferential treatment over those with interests in other areas.
"Significant animal experience" goes beyond having a pet. For example, it could include responsibility for the care and husbandry of a food-animal unit or an experimental animal colony.
There is no advantage in having veterinary experience in one given veterinary activity over that of another. For example, experience with a food animal practitioner is not necessarily better than experience in a small animal practice.
Variety of experiences
A variety of experiences is also an asset, so long as experience in different areas is not so superficial as to be meaningless. Breadth of veterinary experience gives an applicant a better overall view of what the profession has to offer.
The amount of animal and veterinary experience will vary from one applicant to another, because some individuals are more perceptive than others and some experiences might be more useful than others. For example, a student might gain more experience as an employee at a veterinary clinic versus being an observer at a veterinary practice.
Gaining a diverse range of insights is the prime reason for emphasizing experience. Some applicants will be able to obtain these insights after minimal exposure, while other applicants may need more time and exposure.
Each year, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine admits up to 78 students to its first-year class. Since there are usually about 400 applications every year, completion of the pre-veterinary requirements does not guarantee admission to the WCVM.
Selection is based upon assessment of a number of factors including:
- mental aptitude
- academic performance
- experience with animals
- leadership qualities
- social awareness
- deportment, verbal facility and ability to communicate
- an understanding and knowledge of the veterinary profession
Degrees or diplomas held are not factors in the selection process.
Transcripts and Academic Performance
Mental aptitude and academic performance are mainly evaluated by academic transcripts.
All university work undertaken is considered when evaluating academic performance. The courseload of the applicant is a consideration. Applicants who have not taken a full courseload could be at a disadvantage when evaluating academic performance.
Applicants are selected for interviews on the basis of an academic score:
- 2/3 overall average (all university courses completed)
- 1/3 best full year average (full year defined as 24 credits or more taken within the regular September-April academic term)
The structured interview is designed to assess the applicant's ability to cope with the veterinary program and to evaluate non-academic qualities. Referees' evaluations and overall documentation are also used to assess these non-academic qualities. Applicants attending out-of-province interviews will be charged a $150 fee.
Applicants are required to nominate two referees to support their WCVM application. One referee must be a veterinarian while the other must be an individual who has an animal-related or agricultural background. Space is provided on the application form to list referees name and email address.
Referees will be contacted directly and asked to complete the reference form online. View a sample reference form.
|Quota: 78||20: SK
|Total applicants: 457||98: SK
21: Equity (included in provincial numbers as well)
|Admission averages||80.5% to 95%|
|Gender admitted||Female: 69
|Years of university||2 years: 7
3-4 years: 40
5+ years: 31
Admitted with complete degree: 42
Before you apply
Before submitting your application, please review the essential skills and abilities (see below) required for the study of veterinary medicine.
- Graduates are expected to diagnose and manage health conditions in a wide variety of animal species.
- Graduates must provide compassionate care to animals and be able to communicate clearly with owners, regulatory agencies and others.
- Graduates must also meet licensing requirements and pass licensing examinations.
While a disability should not preclude a student from consideration for admission, disabilities must not prevent the student from:
- communicating with owners of animals and colleagues
- observing patients
- collecting and analyzing clinical data
- performing medical and surgical treatments
- maintaining animal and human safety
- demonstrating appropriate judgment during the veterinary training process
Applicants to the degree program in veterinary medicine should be familiar with the essential skills and abilities required for the study of veterinary medicine.
Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Veterinary Medicine
Candidates for the DVM degree must demonstrate a number of essential skills and abilities.
1. Observation: The student must be able to participate in learning situations that require observational skills. In particular, students must be able to observe animals and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information from their examinations.
2. Communication: Students must be able to acquire an adequate history from an owner. Students must be able to hear and observe their animal patients in order to effectively collect information and describe the findings.
3. Motor skills: The student must demonstrate sufficient motor function to be able to perform a physical examination on an animal that may include palpation, auscultation, percussion and diagnostic procedures including examination with an ophthalmoscope, otoscope or stethoscope on large and small animals. Students must be reasonably able to execute motor movements to achieve general proficiency with surgical therapy and other related therapies.
4. Intellectual conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities: The student must demonstrate the cognitive skills and memory necessary to measure, calculate, analyze, integrate and synthesize information. In addition, the student must be able to comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships. There are diagnostic, problem-solving activities commonly encountered during the DVM program that will need to be executed in a timely fashion.
5. Non-technical attributes: Veterinary students must consistently demonstrate non-technical skills, knowledge and aptitudes that allow them to interact with clients, collect histories, apply sound judgment and complete responsibilities in the diagnosis and treatment of animals. Students must be able to develop effective relationships with owners, staff and colleagues.
This policy exists to ensure students entering the DVM program are aware of the requirements necessary for the study of veterinary medicine, and that they have a reasonable opportunity to complete the program and earn a DVM degree.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to facilitating the integration of students with disabilities into this college community. Each student with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation that will assist him or her to meet the requirements for graduation from the college.
Reasonable accommodation will be made to facilitate each student's progress. Such accommodation, however, can not compromise animal well-being or the safety of the people involved. Therefore, it may not be possible to accommodate all disabilities and allow for successful completion of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.
Contact our Disability Services for Students office for additional information regarding support.
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All applicants must have official transcripts sent directly from institutions attended to the WCVM Admissions Office:
Admissions Office — Room 3101
Western College of Veterinary Medicine, U of S
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 5B4
Official transcripts should be sent at the time of application unless applicants are currently enrolled in university courses. In such cases, current year transcripts are required immediately upon grades being reported in both January and May for the September-December and January-April terms, respectively.
University of Saskatchewan transcripts will be accessed directly (not required from registrar).
Complete the online application.
After you apply
When the application and supporting documents have been received and evaluated, the WCVM Admissions Office will contact applicants who will be interviewed to inform them of the time and place of the interview.
Note: Two applicants are interviewed for each first-year seat (for example, 40 applicants will be interviewed for the 20 allotted B.C. seats).
The weighting of selection factors to determine the rank order of acceptance is 60 per cent academic and 40 per cent non-academic.
Final selections for admission are made after interviewing is completed. The process is usually completed before July 1.
The four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is offered by the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
Established in 1963, the WCVM is the premier centre of veterinary education, research and clinical expertise. It serves as the regional veterinary college for Canada’s four western provinces and the northern territories. As one of Canada’s five veterinary colleges, the WCVM is a key member of Canada’s veterinary, public health and food safety networks.
Admissions Office, Room 3101
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4
Shauna Quintin, Assistant, Admissions
Heather Mandeville, Manager, Admissions and Recruitment
Dr. Chris Clark, Associate Dean (Academic)