Veterinary Medicine

Overview

Veterinary medicine is by far one of the most popular and rewarding career options for you! One of the greatest benefits of a career in veterinary medicine is the chance to promote the health and welfare of animals. Your career will be varied and interesting, and provide the opportunity for professional independence.

OzTREKK represents three Australian universities that feature professional veterinary degrees. You can become a veterinarian by completing one of the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

UQ’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours) and Sydney’s Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs are suitable for students who wish enter into a professional veterinary program directly from high school or with some college or university studies.

Practicing in Canada

OzTREKK features Australian veterinary programs that are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Graduates are considered in the same category as graduates from North American veterinary schools when undertaking licensing examinations in North America and are eligible to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

Learn more about the process of becoming a veterinarian in Canada after graduating with an Australian veterinary degree.

Related FAQsHave a question?

What are the average marks for entry?

Most eligible candidates have a high school diploma with an overall average of approximately 85%. If applying with some university studies, an average of 70% and above is required. Keep in mind entry is competitive and meeting minimum GPA requirements does not guarantee entry.

When are the application deadlines?

Variable; however, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible before the deadline. Most OzTREKK students begin their applications in January / February for the following February / March start date.

You lack animal-handling experience

Some Australian veterinary programs require animal-handling experience as part of their entry requirements:

Sydney BVB/DVM
Requires 5 days of animal-handling experience, which can be part of a paid position, volunteer work, or part of a courses. On the supplementary application, you’ll need to briefly describe your experience and outline the specific tasks/experiences you gained.

Sydney DVM
Requires a minimum of 28 days of relevant work and animal-handling experience. A substantial portion of this must have been completed within 2 years prior to application. You’ll need to include supporting documents for experience, e.g., reference letters, certificates, or forms that provide evidence of the number of hours you worked or volunteered.

Consider applying to the following intake
What a difference a year can make! If you lack animal-handling experience, consider gaining some in the following areas:

  • Animal production industries such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, and poultry
  • Veterinary clinical practice
  • Other relevant animal-industry experience including government bodies, charities, and research organizations

Some examples of what the committee might look for in an applicant include

  • breadth of experience across a variety of species, or depth of experience in a particular species;
  • research experience;
  • overall experience and length of experiences;
  • commitment and interest in the profession; and
  • rural experiences.

What is on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE)?

Graduates are eligible to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination along with graduates from accredited veterinary colleges in the United States and Canada. Because of the number of questions and the time constraints, being successful requires a sensible exam strategy and familiarity with the format (lots of practice tests!).

  • 360 multiple-choice questions answered on computer at a private testing centre
  • 60 of the items are unscored pretest items, but the identity of these items is not apparent, and they are dispersed throughout the test
  • approximately 15%–20% of the items on the NAVLE include graphic or pictorial information relevant to the item (photograph, radiograph, drawing, chart, etc.)
  • all NAVLE items are relevant to entry-level private clinical practice
  • total of 6.5 hours test time (6 blocks of 65 minutes each) and a total of 45 minutes of break time during the day (including lunch)
  • pass mark is 70%

In most cases, provincial regulation requires applicants to pass the NAVLE within two attempts.

Learn more about the NAVLE on our Practicing veterinary medicine in Canada page.

Will I be able to practice in Canada?

Yes, the veterinary medicine programs at the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, and the University of Sydney (both DVM and BVB/DVM programs) hold full American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accreditation. AVMA accreditation is well recognized as the international benchmark for quality in veterinary education.

You can find the each of these universities listed on the Accredited Colleges of Veterinary Medicine published by the AVMA. This means that graduates are considered in the same category as graduates from North American veterinary schools when undertaking licensing examinations in North America. Graduates of these programs are eligible to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) along with graduates from accredited veterinary colleges in Canada.

Don’t forget to consult the licensing body of the province where you wish to obtain a licence for province-specific requirements.

James Cook University’s vet program does not currently hold AVMA accreditation, which means Canadian graduates of JCU’s vet program must complete the Basic and Clinical Sciences Examination (BSCE), the NAVLE, and the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) upon their return to Canada, where as graduates of AMVA accredited universities only need to sit the NAVLE.

For more information about the process, please visit our Practicing veterinary medicine in Canada page.

What is the difference between the undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary medicine options?

Australia offers professional veterinary programs at both the undergraduate- and graduate-entry levels. Undergraduate-entry or bachelor’s-level veterinary degrees are open to applicants who have completed high school, as well as to those who have fully or partially completed an undergraduate degree. Graduate-entry or master’s-level veterinary degrees (DVM) are only open to applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree and tend to be more competitive.

Both the graduate-entry and undergraduate-entry veterinary medicine programs will allow you to practice as a veterinarian in North America as well in Australia. The name of the program does not necessarily affect its accreditation status. The program is not required to be a “doctor” program in order to be accredited as it is the content and quality of the program that determines its eligibility, not simply the name.