header shadow

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know veterinary medicine is the right career for me?

In addition to a sincere concern for animals, an aptitude for science, and good people skills, applicants must have a realistic understanding of the veterinary profession. It is expected that the applicant will have exposure to the profession through experiences with practicing veterinarians and/or veterinary researchers. Exploring the profession through these experiences is the best way to learn and understand what is involved in the veterinary profession and whether veterinary medicine is the right career for you.


How many hours of veterinary experience do I need?

The Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine (ISU-CVM) requires no minimum number of hours of veterinary experience although it is expected the applicant will have significant hands-on veterinary experience. The type of experience, level of responsibility, and what the experience taught you about the veterinary profession are all considered in the evaluation.


Is a Bachelor’s degree required for admissions to the ISU-CVM?

A Bachelor’s degree is not required for admissions although approximately 85 percent of accepted applicants have a Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree. A very few outstanding applicants (1-2 percent) are accepted having completed only the preveterinary requirements.


What minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point is required?

A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.50 is required to apply. In calculating this GPA ALL undergraduate courses taken for a grade are used. If a course is repeated both grades are used in the GPA calculations. The second grade DOES NOT replace the first grade. Although 2.50 is the minimum cumulative GPA to be considered, to be competitive a resident/contract applicant should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and non-resident/non-contract applicants should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.20.


How may I obtain Iowa residency?

The College of Veterinary Medicine does not determine residency. Residency is determined by the Iowa State University Registrar’s Office. For further information, please visit the residency webpage at http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/forms/residency.


Are international students eligible to apply to the ISU-CVM?

International students may apply and are considered in the non-resident/non-contract pool of applicants. Please see notes for international students.


Do I have a better chance of admission if I attend Iowa State University for my undergraduate education?

Undergraduate coursework, including the required preveterinary courses, may be taken at any accredited institution. Preference is not given to applicants who have attended Iowa State University.


How do I know my college courses will satisfy the course requirements for the ISU-CVM?

General descriptions of the required coursework are included on the required undergraduate coursework webpage (vetmed.iastate.edu/academics/prospective-students/admissions/academic-requirements). These should be used as guides to determine which courses at your institution will fulfill the requirements. If you have questions concerning a specific course, please e-mail cvmadmissions@iastate.edu. Be sure to include the name of the institution, the course department, number, title and credits.


May I take required courses Pass/Fail?

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Any required course taken as Pass/Fail or similar systems will not fulfill the requirement.


What is the minimum grade allowed for required courses?

A grade of C (2.0) or better is necessary in all required preveterinary coursework. A grade of C- (1.67) or lower is not acceptable and will not fulfill the requirement.


Can required courses be waived?

No preveterinary requirements will be waived. A course taken for a grade or AP credit is required. The exception to this are the English composition and oral communication requirements. If you have a Bachelor’s degree at the time of application and have met your primary institution's general education requirements for English composition and oral communication, 3 credits of the English composition and the oral communication requirement will have been met.  The primary institution must state that these competencies are goals of their general education curriculum.


Is AP credit accepted for required coursework?

AP credit is accepted for required coursework provided the AP credit has been accepted by a college or university for credit towards graduation. This should be clearly marked on the college or university transcript. In addition, a copy of your AP scores is required. This does not need to be an official copy from the College Board but can be a photocopy of the results you were sent.


Does it matter how long ago a required course was taken?

It is expected that preveterinary requirements have been taken within the past eight years. However, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.  If you have specific questions, please e-mail cvmadmissions@iastate.edu.


I took courses on the quarter system and ISU-CVM requirements are based on the semester system. How do I convert these?

To convert quarter credits to semester credits, divide the quarter credits by 1.5. (Example: 10 quarter credits = 10/1.5 = 6.67 semester credits)


How are repeated courses used in calculating the GPAs?

Both grades are used in calculating the GPA. The second grade received does not replace the first grade.


Will pursuing a graduate degree improve my GPA?

Didactic graduate coursework may be used in calculating the last 45 credit GPA.


Where do I obtain an application and when do they become available?

The VMCAS application will be available early May (aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Veterinary-Medical-College-Application-Service.aspx). The ISU-CVM supplemental will be available at approximately the same time (vetmed.iastate.edu/academics/prospective-students/admissions). Both applications must be completed online.


Is a supplemental application required?

ISU-CVM requires all applicants to complete an online supplemental application. It will be available in early May (vetmed.iastate.edu/academics/prospective-students/admissions).


May I apply before I have completed all the required preveterinary coursework?

You may apply while still completing preveterinary coursework during the Fall and Spring terms prior to matriculation. You may take no more than two required science courses during the Spring term prior to matriculation. All other required coursework must be completed by the end of the Spring term prior to matriculation. You may not take any required coursework the Summer term prior to matriculation.


Will it be helpful to my application if I send more than three confidential letters of recommendation?

Up to six letters of recommendation will be accepted through VMCAS.  Applicants are encouraged to ask for more than the three required letters of recommendation in case an evaluator is not able to provide the evaluation by the deadline.


Where do I send my transcripts?

Official transcripts must be sent directly to VMCAS at:

VMCAS - Transcripts
P.O. Box 9126
Watertown, MA  02471


Fall and spring transcripts must be sent directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University at:

CVM Admissions
2270 Veterinary Medicine
Iowa State University
P.O. Box 3020
Ames, IA  50010-3020


What if I have attended a foreign institution?

Please go by the VMCAS rules for submitting foreign transcripts.


What is the time limit on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

As long as GRE has your test scores on file, they will be accepted.  This is usually 5-6 years.


Is there a minimum GRE score?

No, there is no minimum score. We use all three sections of the exam (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) and each is weighted equally.


If I take the GRE several times, which test score is used?

The one test that gives you the best score is used.



Last updated 7/27/2015