Foundational Course Requirements

Applicants for admissions to the College of Veterinary Medicine must have completed 55 semester credits by the end of the spring term of the year in which the applicant seeks to be admitted to the College of Veterinary Medicine. If a course is repeated, the most recent grade received will be used in the GPA calculation and replaces any previous grades.

Minimum GPA Requirements

  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA - 2.50 on a 4.00 scale
  • Required Science GPA - determined yearly based on applicant pool.  Transcripts submitted to VMCAS are used.  No pending or planned coursework is considered in calculating this initial cutoff. (For 2023 cycle, cutoff was 2.8 for all applicants. The cutoff for 2024 has not been determined.)
  • Last 45 Credit GPA - no minimum required

Applicants must complete the following prerequisite coursework. Credit earned must be equivalent of the Iowa State University courses listed. Prospective students and applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact if there are questions concerning whether a course will fulfill the ISU-CVM requirement.

Please note: A bachelor's degree is not required for admission to Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine unless it is being used to fulfill a requirement such as Oral Communication or three credits of English Composition. Applicants must complete the specified prerequisite courses at a regionally accredited college or university to fulfill the academic requirements.

*Science requirement - These courses are used to calculate the required science GPA.

Course and Title Semester/Quarter
Hours Required
ISU Course Equivalent
English Composition
One year of composition or writing emphasis courses. May include business or technical writing.  A bachelor's degree counts for one-half of this requirement.
6 sem/9 qtr cr English 150, 250, 302, 309, 312, or 314
Oral Communication
May include public speaking, interpersonal communication, group or organizational communication or speaking emphasis courses. A bachelors degree fulfills this requirement.  Theater, acting, or oral interpretation  of literature courses will not fulfill this requirement.
3 sem/4-5 qtr cr Speech Communications 212, 223, or 312, OR Ag Ed 311 OR Communications Studies 102, 214 or COMST 450, OR English 312
General Chemistry I & II*
One year series (2 semesters or 3 quarters lecture) for biological science majors with one semester (2 quarters) lab
7 sem/11-12 qtr cr Chemistry 177, 177L, and 178 OR Chemistry 201 and 201L
Organic Chemistry I*
First semester of a two-semester series with lab (Organic Chemistry I with lab).  Organic Chemistry II is no longer required.  One semester overview organic chemistry courses will not fulfill this requirement.
4 sem/6 qtr cr Chemistry 331, 331L
One semester (no lab required). Must be metabolic biochemistry and cannot be biochemistry of proteins and enzymes alone. Upper-level (junior or senior) course with organic chemistry as a prerequisite.
3 sem/4 qtr cr BBMB 301, BBMB 316, BBMB 404, or BBMB 420
Physics I*
First semester of a two-semester series with lab (Physics I with lab). Includes mechanics, fluids, heat and thermodynamics, vibrations, waves and sound.  One semester overview physics courses will not fulfill this requirement.
4 sem/6 qtr cr PHYS 131X/131LX (Previously PHYS 111) or PHYS 231/231LX (Previously PHYS 221) or Physics 115/115L

General Biology I & II (Organismal and Cellular)*
One year series with lab each term which includes both cellular and organismal biology (i.e Biology I and Biology II OR a single organismal biology course with lab and a single cellular biology course with lab.  A bachelor’s degree in biology also fulfills this requirement.  If appropriate courses are taken, the grades in these courses will be used in GPA calculations even if a biology degree is earned.

Microbiology will not fulfill the cellular semester of this requirement.
8 sem/12 qtr cr Biology 211, 211L, 212 and 212L (previously Biol 201, 201L, 202, 202L)
Genetics/Animal Breeding*
Mendelian and/or molecular genetics (no lab required) or animal breeding course.  A general genetics course is preferred, but animal breeding/livestock improvement courses will be accepted.
3 sem/4-5 qtr cr Biology 313 (previously Biol 301), Genetics 320 or Animal Science 352
Anatomy and/or Physiology*
(no lab required)  Animal or human anatomy and physiology will fulfill this requirement but must cover all systems. Upper-level comparative anatomy or physiology or, upper-level vertebrate anatomy or physiology WILL fulfill this requirement. A single course in anatomy or physiology is recommended over an anatomy/physiology combined course.  If you take an Anatomy and/or Physiology I course, you must also take the second course (Anatomy and/or Physiology II) in order to fulfill the requirement, although this gives you more credits than required.  Avian and marine mammal anatomy and/or physiology WILL NOT fulfill this requirement.
3 sem/4-5 qtr cr BMS 329, BMS 547X, BMS 538, Biology 155, 255 (previously Zool 155, 255), Biology 335, 351, or Animal Science 214

Upper-level biomedical courses* - See New Requirement below

9 sem/13 quarter credits  

Arts, Humanities and/or Social Sciences (Skill courses such as music lessons of any type, art courses such as drawing & painting, foreign language courses where you are specifically learning the language, etc. do not fulfill this requirement.)

6 sem/9 qtr cr  
Electives 8 sem/12 qtr cr  

*Science requirement - These courses are used to calculate the required science GPA.




  • 9 semester credits – Upper division biomedical science courses (junior-level (300/3000) undergraduate courses or higher-level courses). 
    Suggested topics include anatomy or physiology courses beyond the prerequisite, bacteriology, biochemistry beyond the prerequisite, embryology, endocrinology, epidemiology, histology, genetics beyond the prerequisite, immunology, infectious disease, microbiology, bacteriology, cell/molecular biology, neurology, nutrition/metabolism, parasitology, pharmacology, reproductive physiology, toxicology, virology, zoology, and cancer biology.

    Courses that will not fulfill this requirement include animal disease prevention/management, artificial insemination, behavior, biometry, conservation biology, livestock (dairy/beef/etc.) systems/management, ecology, environmental physiology, equine management, equine science, evolution, herpetology, human-animal interactions, ichthyology, lab animal science, mammalogy, oceanography, ornithology, poultry science, small animal science, swine science, vet laboratory principles, and welfare.
  • All applicants, regardless of major, must complete these courses or their equivalents.
  • All science requirements should be fulfilled by the time of application or scheduled for completion by the end of the fall term in which the applicant applies. However, if necessary, the applicant may complete up to two required science courses after Fall grades are in (due January 20).  Transcripts for any remaining courses and/or degrees must be received by July 1.  There is no maximum number of non-science required courses that may be completed but the transcript deadline of July 1 applies. The July 1 deadline for transcripts and grades is firm.

All required coursework must be completed with a grade of “C” (2.00) or better to fulfill the requirement. Any required science course taken more than 10 years ago may be subject to review and the applicant may be asked for further information or to repeat the course.

In order to accommodate multiple institutions’ adaptations to grading as a result of COVID-19, coursework taken Pass/Fail in Winter/Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 will also fulfill the requirement if completed with a grade of “Pass.”

Advance Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The specific courses to which the AP/CLEP credits were applied must show on your official transcript or a signed letter on letterhead from the institution's registrar must be submitted showing to which specific courses the AP/CLEP credits were applied. This letter must be emailed to


Updated 05/12/2023