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Veterinarians typically are required to take certain courses, both as an undergraduate and during veterinary school. Some of the most basic veterinary required courses need to be taken prior to receiving a bachelor's degree, and they usually include science classes. Most students also have to take core classes that may include math, language and business, because these may help them get through both graduate school and life as a veterinarian. Once they get to veterinary school, they typically have to take specialized courses that focus on animal health, with real-world experience in an animal hospital being another requirement of graduation.
Some undergraduate universities feature a pre-veterinary program focused on preparing students for veterinary school, but it often is possible to prepare without such a program. Either way, the most basic veterinary required courses usually include a science-based curriculum. During the first few years of college, students usually are urged to take classes that teach biology, chemistry and physics to get an overall background in the skills they need to learn. More specialized classes, including genetics, microbiology and zoology, also are typically recommended, if available. Students may choose to major in one of the sciences, but this is not always necessary as long as the usual veterinary required courses are taken to prepare for veterinary school.
While the typical veterinary school's prerequisite courses usually include an emphasis on science, it also is required that students take core courses before they apply. This means students usually need to take at least a few math classes, ranging from college algebra to calculus. Other veterinary required courses may include language classes to ensure that students can write properly, while social science classes also may be requested of applicants. Some veterinary schools even encourage students to take a few basic business classes in case they wish eventually to run their own practice.
Once students gain admission to veterinary school, they usually have to take courses that are more specific to the field, rather than classes that just teach the basics. For example, some common veterinary required courses teach the anatomy of animals, surgical skills and proper nutrition for most species. In addition, students often have to take courses on immunology, pharmacology and anesthesiology. Some other common veterinary required courses teach how to identify and remove bacteria, viruses and parasites, and students also may learn ophthalmology and dentistry basics so they know how to take care of the eyes and teeth of animals. In addition, students usually have to get experience through rotations or internships in animal hospitals, and those who choose a specialty usually have to take additional courses in the chosen subject prior to graduation.