Hi again and welcome!
If you are applying to veterinary school, then you might be wondering what your schedule will be like as a first-year student. Every program runs differently and has a unique curriculum. In the United States, we first specialize in a subject like Biology or Chemistry at a university and obtain an undergraduate degree. This usually takes around four years and then we can reapply to a professional for four more years. So with all of the basic sciences out of the way, we really focus on veterinary specific curriculum with the ultimate goal being to pass the NAVLE in our fourth year.
Here is an example of our first-year fall semester schedule:
The pace picks up a bit in the second semester as seen below:
When you compare the two images, during the first semester we are only taking 19 hours versus the second semester when we are taking around 23. In order to make the first semester more of a transition period, UGA decided to move Neuroanatomy to the second semester. Personally, I am a big fan of this because I feel like I am more in a groove second semester where I can balance more rigorous courses and not get too overwhelmed.
At the University of Georgia, we also have a program called “Wellness Wednesday” where we get the morning off to do whatever we want (see the blank space in the schedule above). The faculty really encourage us to do something that we love, sleep in, or relax, although many students use the opportunity to catch up on school or shadow at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Shadowing is a really neat opportunity to get to know some of the clinicians before you start to rotate through in your third year
uga Veterinary curriculum from fall 2017-Spring 2018:
|Fall 2017||Spring 2018||Electives (Only for Spring 2018)|
|Small Animal Anatomy and Lab||Large Animal Anatomy and Lab||Emergency and Critical Care|
|Histology/Microscopic Anatomy and Lab||Neuroanatomy and Lab||Zoological Medicine|
|Cellular Biology||Virology||Large Animal Infectious Diseases|
|Physical Diagnosis||Immunology and Lab||Public Health|
|Small and Large Animal Nutrition||Professional Skills and Development||Special Topics Public Health|
|Physiology I||Physiology II||International Veterinary Medicine|
|Bacteriology||Applied Integrative Materials||*All of these are optional, although they encourage 3-5 hours of electives per semester.|
Not every Veterinary School offers electives or tracking, but the University of Georgia is one that does. I personally like it because I feel like the students have more say in their education. I also love the half day on Wednesday to go to yoga, go for a run or just catch up on school work. I have also used it to schedule doctor’s appointments and shadow at the teaching hospital. I am so thankful that I am at the University of Georgia, although I am sure all veterinary schools are great. I believe that the faculty really care about our success and our mental health. It fosters an open environment where we can all grow as individuals and become the best veterinarians we can be. For more about ways to deal with anxiety, please see my blog post 5 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety in Vet School (and real life).
If you have any questions about particular courses, don’t hesitate to reach out. Although it looks like a lot, veterinary school is all about stamina and they do make changes year to year in the curriculum. If you keep up with the material and do things for yourself so you don’t burn out, you will be a success.
Lots of love,