At Pet News Daily we take an active interest in pet health, and our team includes a number of veterinarians. We’ve invested a lot in tools and content like our puppy size calculator, our guide to how heavy a dog should be, this comprehensive section on “people” foods dogs can and cannot eat, and our collection of growth charts (on Goldendoodle growth and more) for pet owners.
Along the same lines, we wanted to create resources (like our best veterinary conferences list) for the people keeping pets healthy: veterinarians (and future veterinarians!).
You love animals, you’re good with people, and you have an affinity for healing others. Veterinary school may be just the thing for you. From treating land animals to studying ocean life, veterinarians contribute to a wide range of professions. And within those professions exist an array of vet-care positions. Veterinary school gives you the chance to discover a new, rewarding, and challenging career.
We researched and gathered a list of the 25 best veterinary schools in the U.S. to help you determine which school is best for you. We looked at multiple factors to narrow down the schools available for you across the country. Factors such as degree programs and veterinary specialties, campus offerings, student life, courses and organizations, and cost.
Whether you’re interested in assisting veterinarians, starting your own veterinary practice, or performing life-saving veterinary surgery, veterinary school can help get you closer to your goal. Discover which school is best for your needs, and take hold of your future.
Our research led our vet to choose the University of California at Davis as the top pick for best veterinary schools. Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report, the University of California at Davis tops the veterinary school charts, leading the way in academics, athletics, student life, professors, and value.
The 5 Top-Rated Veterinary Schools
|Our Vet’s Top Pick
|University of California at Davis
|Our Vet’s Runner-Up Pick
|North Carolina State University
|Best Vet Tech Program
|University of Nebraska at Lincoln
|Best Online Vet Program
*Ratings are from U.S. News and World Report at the time of publication and can change
In This Article
Who Should Go to Veterinary School
- You love animals and have a natural desire to take care of them. Perhaps you should consider veterinary school if you love to be around animals and take care of them. Of course, veterinary school requires interacting with people most of the time but having a real love for furry, scaly, and feathered creatures is an absolute must for vet school.
- You have an affinity for science and medicine. Those who go to vet school also have a thing for the medical sciences. Since most of what you’re learning is science-based and about animals, you’ll need a head for math and science.1 Vet school is fast-paced and will require an ability to absorb a lot of information in a short span of time.
- You’re looking for a challenging career. Being a veterinarian or working in the veterinary field has its challenges. Veterinary care can be unpredictable, and quick thinking can be invaluable. Though your days can be filled with rewarding and heartwarming times, sometimes what you face is just the opposite. It’s the reality of the veterinary world. You may have long days, long weeks, and not always find the answers you’re looking for.
- You’re good with people, as well as animals. Working in the veterinary field requires people skills. All animals come with a human attached – a human you’ll be interacting with in regards to the animal you’re treating. And while a good majority of folks want what’s best for their animal, not all clients will do what you ask, listen to what you say, or treat their animal the way you suggest. Professional customer skills are a must.2
- You understand the reality of the veterinary profession. With the good comes the bad. When you work with animals, you’ll heal some, but you may also lose some. The reality is not all cuddles and cute animals. You may get peed on, puked on, or stepped on. But you’ll always have the chance to help.3
How to Choose a Veterinary School: Expert Vet Tips
We asked a couple of veterinarians to weigh in on how to choose a veterinary school. Both vets agreed that the best choice is the school you’re accepted to. But is there more to it than that? How do you decide where to apply in the first place?
Dr. Jennifer Coates advises:
- Look into your in-state veterinary school. Usually, this will be the school that is the least expensive for you and where you stand the best chance of being admitted. States that don’t have their own veterinary schools often contract with nearby veterinary schools to reserve a few slots for their residents.
- Look into a veterinary school’s areas of specialty to make sure they align well with your interests. Veterinary schools often focus on certain aspects of veterinary medicine. For example, the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine is a great resource if you are considering a non-traditional veterinary career. Some schools would naturally be a better fit for veterinary students interested in food animal medicine versus exotic animal medicine.
- Investigate a school’s curriculum. Are you more interested in classroom learning or hands-on training? Do you want to have opportunities for externships? Schools can vary in how they emphasize different forms of learning.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk recommends:
- The short answer is the one that accepts you! But if you’re fortunate to have your choice of veterinary schools, you’ll want to visit your top picks in order to make the best choice. All veterinary schools are different. They will have different things that they are best known for, such as research, small or large animal medicine, sports medicine, etc.
- If you have a special interest in mind, try to have your school align with it. You’ll also want to check out the campus to see if it’s easy to get to and navigate, how big the class sizes are, and nearby attractions. For example, I went to Oregon State University because class sizes were very small and it was near the ocean. As a bonus, we got to do some work with the local aquarium and even dissect seals and dolphins in our anatomy class.
- Of course, you’ll also want to look at tuition cost and cost of living since that debt is something you’ll more than likely be paying off for quite some time after you graduate.
The University of California at Davis scores high among students and staff for veterinary medicine. Located in Davis, Calif., UC Davis is a public university and accredited institution, with just over 30,000 undergraduate students. Preparing you for private practice, public health, research, and teaching, UC Davis offers veterinary courses such as anatomy, cell biology, physiology, pharmacology, toxicology, nutrition, epidemiology, pathology, immunology, microbiology, reproductive health, and radiological sciences.
Covering a range of animals from small domestic pets to large farm animals, to exotic and aquatic creatures, UC Davis has achieved a number of awards and honors over the years for its excellence in veterinary medicine. The school contributes to the community through outreach programs, and by providing emergency veterinary services during wildfires. It also provides general animal health care to areas with little access to such services.
UC Davis offers a dual-degree program – students who wish to fulfill both a DVM and PhD. The university features division I NCAA athletics, over 30 clubs and organizations, and multiple externships. The campus also includes a veterinary medical teaching hospital, which has state-of-the-art technology and services. UC Davis is also expanding its campus to include a new Veterinary Medical Center that will house the Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center.
The cost of attendance varies for the master’s vs. doctorate programs, and residents vs. non-residents. Tuition and fees tally about $19,700 and $32,400 annually, respectively, for the master’s program. For the doctorate program, tuition and fees are about $32,600 and $44,900 annually, respectively.
University of California at Davis Key Features:
- Wide range of topics covered, for a variety of professions
- Contributes to the community
- New equine performance center is underway
- Diverse student life
- Teaching hospital on-site
Cornell University boasts multiple teaching hospitals and is consistently ranked high for best veterinary schools.
Cornell University comes in at #2 by U.S. News and World Report for veterinary school rankings and makes our vet’s pick for runner-up. Established back in 1894, Cornell University hosts seven teaching hospitals, four research centers, and five academic departments. Veterinary school subjects include genetics, pathology, physiology, clinical research, immunology, microbiology, cancer cell biology, diagnostic sciences, and public and ecosystem health.
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University participates in community outreach and is involved with numerous organizations that include a pet loss helpline, walk-in pet clinic, student-run charity bike ride, and animal shelter medicine program. The university offers multiple degree programs for veterinary medicine, including master’s and doctorate, as well as a combined degree program. Cornell University also offers its students the chance for residencies, internships, externships, and work abroad.
The cost of attendance is about $59,200 and $78,250 per year for residents and non-residents, respectively. Tuition and fees cover room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, transportation, and other fees.
Cornell University Key Features:
- Hosts seven teaching hospitals and four research centers
- Offers a variety of veterinary sciences
- Participates in community outreach programs
- Provides a variety of educational opportunities
North Carolina State University offers the best of veterinary teaching, including an array of classes, a teaching hospital, and research center.
North Carolina State University, our pick for the best value veterinary school, sits on 250 acres, 80 acres of which house the Teaching Animal Unit, or TAU. The TAU is a teaching lab for husbandry, livestock production procedures, and production management. The campus also features a 100,000-square-foot research building where researchers, technicians, and students can learn about genomic sciences, gene therapy, vaccine development, infectious diseases, and more. There are also three medical centers, and a veterinary health and wellness center.
North Carolina State University gives students the opportunity for a master’s, doctorate, or combined degree. The university offers multiple specialties in its teaching hospital, such as cardiology, oncology, neurology, dermatology, zoological medicine, and equine surgery. Other veterinary subjects of interest include cell biology, immunology, neurosciences, pathology, infectious diseases, pharmacology, clinical sciences, pathobiology, and molecular biomedical sciences.
The cost of attendance to earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University is approximately $9,800 for residents and $24,275 for non-residents. To earn your graduate degree, the cost is about $5,850 for residents and $14,850 for non-residents. The cost of an undergraduate degree is about $27,350 and $48,350 for residents and non-residents, respectively.
North Carolina State University Key Features:
- Includes the Teaching Animal Unit
- Hosts a large research center for diverse learning
- Multiple specialties taught at the teaching hospital
- Student life focuses on all things veterinary
- Residencies and internships available
University of Nebraska at Lincoln features an undergraduate two-year veterinary program, as well as a master’s veterinary program.
The best vet tech program belongs to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Preparing you for an advanced career in veterinary medicine, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln offers undergraduates a two-year Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine, or PPVM. For those who want to continue on to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, the university transfers students to Iowa State University College to finish their education.
The university houses two veterinary units – an educational and diagnostic center. Classes available include nutritional biochemistry, physiology, immunology, neuroanatomy, radiology, surgery, microbiology, pharmacology, virology, and public health. Students have to complete certain undergraduate requisites as well. The school also provides students the chance to earn their Master’s in Veterinary Sciences. Degree options include research technology and philosophy, clinical or diagnostic veterinary medicine and animal production, and beef cattle production management.
The cost of attendance is based your chosen program and total credit hours. A semester of veterinary medicine runs about $12,000 for residents and $26,650 for non-residents, plus additional fees. If you’re a resident and decide to transfer to Iowa State University College to get your doctorate, you still only pay in-state tuition and fees.
University of Nebraska at Lincoln Key Features:
- Two-year undergraduate Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine
- Master’s Program in Veterinary Sciences
- Two veterinary units on campus
- Option to transfer for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Purdue University offers multiple online veterinary programs, including certificates and an Associate degree.
Purdue University is well-known for its online vet program. Though the university has three locations, its online program offers an Associate in Applied Science in Veterinary Nursing. Other certificates available include Applied Physiology with Clinical Correlations, Cytologic and Histologic Bone Marrow Evaluation, and Veterinary Medicine Certificate for Diversity and Inclusion.
The Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning program features science-based veterinary nursing courses you complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. There are also clinical mentorships that need to be completed – this is the hands-on experience you will achieve working with your local veterinary office. Purdue University also offers a chance to study abroad. And if you are near one of the three locations, the university does offer a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine degree program for in-person.
The cost of attendance for Purdue University’s online veterinary nursing program is $270 per credit hour.
Purdue University Key Features:
- Multiple certificates available for completion
- Online courses at your own pace
- Work with your local veterinary health care facility
- Chance to study abroad
Frequently Asked Questions
Alternatively, you can get your feet wet by pursuing an Associate’s degree in the veterinary health care sector. This provides you the opportunity to get a taste for the veterinary field and gives you the prerequisites for working at a veterinary clinic. Then should you decide you want to put forth the effort, time, and money, you can move up from an Associate’s degree with experience under your belt.
Other Veterinary Schools We Reviewed
We reviewed 20 other veterinary schools, which we have organized in terms of location. Check out the information below to help you determine which veterinary school is best for you.
- Best Veterinary Schools in the North
- Best Veterinary Schools in the South
- Best Veterinary Schools in the East
- Best Veterinary Schools Centrally Located
Best Veterinary Schools in the North
Iowa State University offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree for prospective students. Instruction includes biomedical and clinical sciences, equine medicine, food animal medicine, surgery, research, diagnostics, and pathology.
Iowa State University Key Features:
- Dual-degree programs available
- Campus features a veterinary medical center and diagnostic laboratory
- University features a research institute
Cost: $25,000 resident, $55,000 non-resident
Coming in as the second best college in Michigan, ranked by niche.com, Michigan State University offers a Bachelor’s of Science in animal science, where students can concentrate on pre-veterinary medicine. Put yourself on the fast track with the university’s Veterinary Nursing and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Programs.
Michigan State University Key Features:
- Division I athletics
- Multiple farms and facilities for teaching
- Two-year agriculture certificate programs available
Cost: $16,000 resident, $25,000 non-resident
Oregon State University features a veterinary teaching hospital to help students earn their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, as well as other degrees in biomedical sciences. Subjects include physiology, immunology, infectious diseases, surgery, oncology, pathology, and anatomy.
Oregon State University Key Features:
- Internships and two residencies offered
- Diagnostic laboratory on-site
- Research trials, grants, and programs available
Cost: $47,300 resident, $72,600 non-resident
The University of Minnesota features a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, plus the option for a Master’s or Doctor of Philosophy degree in the veterinary field. The campus houses multiple educational centers and programs to further your veterinary studies.
University of Minnesota Key Features:
- Dual-degree programs available
- Variety of research labs available
- Academic departments include biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, and population medicine
Cost: $53,600 resident, $79,300 non-resident
The Ohio State University is one of the oldest and largest veterinary schools in the U.S. Offering multiple degrees in veterinary medicine, The Ohio State University hosts a large animal service facility for central Ohio, as well as a large veterinary hospital. The university also utilizes multiple veterinary research farms and centers.
The Ohio State University Key Features:
- Community, global, and veterinary outreach programs available
- Partnerships with animal shelters, zoos, and correction facility farms
- Research programs and facilities available
Cost: $55,900 resident, $96,000 non-resident
The University of Wisconsin at Madison offers students the option to achieve a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, as well as a Master’s of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree in the biomedical sciences. Academic departments include comparative biosciences, pathobiological sciences, medical sciences, and surgical sciences.
University of Wisconsin at Madison Key Features:
- Offers a shelter medicine program
- Campus has a veterinary medical teaching hospital
- University hosts research labs and centers
Cost: $56,000 resident, $75,300 non-resident
Washington State University is in partnership with three other veterinary schools located in Idaho, Montana, and Utah. The university features a variety of departments, such as global health, physiology and neuroscience, reproductive biology, molecular biosciences, and microbiology and pathology.
Washington State University Key Features:
- Veterinary teaching hospital for small and large animals
- Diagnostic laboratory on-site
- College and community outreach available
Cost: $45,000 resident, $80,400 non-resident
Best Veterinary Schools in the South
Located in Alabama, Auburn University offers multiple degree programs, including the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, undergraduate degree in public health, dual-degree programs, and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical sciences. Academic departments include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, clinical sciences, and pathobiology.
Auburn University Key Features:
- Multiple research centers, programs, and organizations available
- Campus hosts a teaching hospital
- University has a rehabilitation and educational facility for raptors
Cost: $48,200 resident, $72,400 non-resident
Earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Louisiana State University, or partake in either a master’s or doctor of philosophy degree. Also available to students is advanced training, post-doctoral research, and continuing education for veterinarians.
Louisiana State University Key Features:
- Departments include pathobiology, clinical, and biomedical sciences
- Veterinary teaching hospital on-site
- Wildlife hospital, research facilities, and shelter medicine available
Cost: $27,400 resident, $56,500 non-resident
Texas A&M University offers students the chance to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. One of the oldest veterinary programs in the country, Texas A&M Veterinary School features a veterinary medical teaching hospital, along with research and graduate studies. Academic areas include veterinary integrative biosciences, biomedical sciences, veterinary physiology, and pharmacology.
Texas A&M University Key Features:
- University houses a teaching hospital
- Internships and residencies available
- Involved in community outreach and study abroad
Cost: $47,000 resident, $64,000 non-resident
Ranked #9 by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Florida has multiple animal hospitals to aid in educating future veterinarians. The university hosts both a small and large animal hospital, an emergency clinic, pharmacy, and diagnostic laboratories.
University of Florida Key Features:
- Offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree
- DVM certificate programs and externships available
- Combined degrees available
Cost: $28,800 state-sponsored, $45,500 self-funded
Offering a wide range of veterinary degrees, the University of Georgia gives students a choice of careers in veterinary medicine, avian medicine, public health, food animal medicine in the beef or dairy industry, infectious diseases, and pharmacology.
University of Georgia Key Features:
- Campus houses a veterinary teaching hospital and pet health center
- Campus also offers mobile veterinary services
- Multiple laboratories and research centers
Cost: $37,400 resident, $67,700 non-resident
Best Veterinary Schools in the East
In conjunction with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, the University of Pennsylvania offers students an online graduate program for animal welfare and behavior. Campus includes two veterinary hospitals – one for horses, livestock, and farm animals, and another for companion animals.
University of Pennsylvania Key Features:
- Dual-degree programs available
- Two veterinary teaching hospitals
- Hosts dozens of research centers and laboratories
Cost: $54,700 resident, $64,700 non-resident
The University of Maryland offers a pre-vet program in its Department of Animal and Avian Sciences to help students get into veterinary school. The school also offers a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical sciences, as well as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
University of Maryland Key Features:
- Campus houses a veterinary teaching hospital
- University has a center for public and corporate veterinary medicine
- Research areas include epidemiology, immunology, and virology
Cost: $27,000 resident, $57,000 non-resident
Tufts University offers multiple degree programs in its Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. From a Master’s in Animals and Public Policy to a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences to a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, students have a range of options for furthering their studies in animal sciences. The university houses a teaching farm that sits on 200 acres, along with multiple hospitals.
Tufts University Key Features:
- Multiple research labs and centers
- Community outreach available
- Partnered with a spay/neuter clinic and wildlife clinic
Best Veterinary Schools Centrally Located
Colorado State University ranks #3 by U.S. News and World Report for top veterinary schools. The campus houses a veterinary teaching hospital, translational medicine institute, animal reproduction and biotechnology laboratory, and a center for vector-borne infectious diseases. Earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, or obtain your graduate degree in a number of animal science fields.
Colorado State University Key Features:
- Undergraduate programs available for pre-veterinary medicine
- Internships, undergraduate, and veterinary research available
- Involved in community outreach
Cost: $19,300 state supported, $31,700 non-sponsored
Kansas State University offers multiple degree programs, such as a Master’s in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences or Public Health, a Doctor of Philosophy in Pathobiology, and a dual-degree for a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine coupled with a PhD. Academic departments include anatomy and physiology, clinical sciences, and diagnostics and pathobiology.
Kansas State University Key Features:
- Mentorships, internships, and externships available
- Multiple research centers and institutes
- Veterinary Health Center and Emergency Services on-site
Cost: $563 per credit resident, $1,276 per credit non-resident
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers varying degree programs, including combined degrees, in its veterinary college. Also available are internships and residencies in zoos and aquatics.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Key Features:
- Access to research centers
- Veterinary teaching hospital on-site
- Partnered with shelter medicine and wildlife medical clinic
Cost: $33,700 resident, $56,400 non-resident
The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri offers students academic topics in biomedical sciences, veterinary medicine and surgery, pathobiology. The university also offers graduates advanced studies in veterinary research.
University of Missouri Key Features:
- Preceptorships and externships available
- Offers a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology
- Veterinary Technician Training Programs available
Cost: $49,000 resident, $89,000 non-resident
The University of Tennessee gives students a chance to learn about becoming a veterinarian with topics such as biomedical sciences, small and large animal clinical sciences, and diagnostics. Also available to students are residencies and internships, as well as a Master Teaching Program.
University of Tennessee Key Features:
- Veterinary Medical Center includes emergency
- Small and Farm Animal, and Equine Hospitals
- Diagnostic Laboratory and pharmacy
Cost: $30,000 resident, $57,000 non-resident
Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. VMCAs 2022 Applicant Guide. Aavmc.org. Published June 2021. Accessed January 14, 2022.
- St. George’s University. 8 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Veterinarian. Sgu.edu. Published September 2018. Updated January 5, 2022.
- Hershey T. What is it like to be a veterinarian? Southwestjournal.com. Updated December 29, 2019. Accessed January 14, 2022.