Want a secure career in a compassionate field? Consider the best master’s in veterinary medicine.
Veterinary medicine is all about dealing with the wellbeing of animals. Master’s graduates typically specialize in a certain field like dentistry or physiotherapy, or in a specific type of species. Some new changes in the industry include the rise in prosthetics for animals and the advances in veterinary technology.
What is a Veterinary Medicine Degree?
Getting your master’s in veterinary medicine typically requires that you focus on a specific area. This area could be something like microbiology, animal anatomy and physiology, or radiological health sciences. You will also focus on non-medical issues such as public policies with animal welfare.
Master’s programs in veterinary medicine are often combined with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. This is the degree that you’ll need if you want to become a licensed veterinarian. The stand-alone programs usually take two years to complete while the combined programs can take five or more years.
Some classes you may take in this field include:
- Molecular Biology
- Animal Genetics
In order to apply for this program, you will need a bachelor’s degree with related coursework. This includes physics, organic chemistry, statistics, calculus, and biological sciences. A minimum GPA is usually required as well as letters of recommendation.
Careers for Veterinary Medicine Majors
The career path for veterinary medicine majors varies by your degree level. For those with master’s degrees, the careers are typically focused on research, education, and public health and conservation.
Some career options for a master’s in this major include:
- Veterinary Genetic Research
- Animal Biotechnologist
- Cell Culture Specialization
- Animal Product Development
In order to practice veterinary medicine in the United States, you’ll need your license. The requirements vary by state, but all states require you to complete an accredited veterinary program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. You may not need a state license if you’re employed by the state or federal government. If you are a foreign graduate then you will need to take the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates certification program.
Veterinary Medicine Salary Potential
Now, this is the important part. How many can you really earn with a master’s in veterinary medicine? Since the overall goal is typically to become a veterinarian, we will look at those pay statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for veterinarians was $93,830 as of 2018.
The highest 10 percent earned over $162,450. According to Payscale, the average entry-level salary for veterinarians is $79,124. These are all pretty healthy.
The top industry for veterinary medicine was, of course, veterinary services, earning a median salary of $94,130. The next industry is the social advocacy organizations industry, earning a median salary of $93,900. The government industry earned a median salary of $90,000. Educational services industry, including private, state, and local, earned a median salary of $80,410.
What are the Best Master’s in Veterinary Medicine?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of CollegeRank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and National Accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
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University of California-Davis
Average Net Price
Students who enroll at the University of California, Davis not only become part of a school ranked as one of the Best Veterinary Schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, they also become a member of the “Aggie Pack.” The Aggie Pack, the largest student spirit organization in the country, is an exclusive club that only UC Davis students have access to – trust us, it leads to experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.
UC Davis offers a wide variety of academic programs within its many undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools – among which is the highly ranked School of Veterinary Medicine. The Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine can be completed on its own or as a prerequisite program leading to a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. This degree includes courses in epidemiology, implementation of research, ecosystem health, and even infectious disease epidemiology. Thirty-two units of coursework are required.
Each student is also required to complete an Applied Epidemiology Research project leading to 8 units of course credit. As a result, admissions are highly competitive and require students to hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have professional experience in an allied field. A GPA of 3.0 is required for the program, which can be completed in as little as one year and leads to board certification with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
Ithaca, New York
Average Net Price
Tradition is important at Cornell University – after all, would one be able to experience something called “Dragon Day,” during which a dragon built by first-year architecture students is paraded around the campus, at any other school? Probably not. Because tradition is so important at this award-winning university, Cornell continues to offer some of its oldest and best programs even after many other universities have discontinued theirs. One of its most reputable, long-lasting departments? The College of Veterinary Medicine, which has produced generations of meaningful research and successful graduates.
That’s not to say that Cornell doesn’t embrace change, however. In fact, the Master of Professional Studies in Veterinary Parasitology is a new degree being offered within the College of Veterinary Medicine. This program is designed for students who want to expand their careers with specialized professional training and to engage in industry-relevant experiences. Labs and courses are offered in a hybrid fashion, with programming offered online and on-campus. This approach is particularly accommodating for working professionals and offers rigorous training that prepares students to work in a multitude of fields.
To be eligible for admission, students should submit an online application no later than June 1 for fall admission. In addition to the application, a statement of purpose, curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts are required. GRE scores are not required for admission in most cases.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Average Net Price
Research experiences start early at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and they carry forth into every single academic program. The graduate programs in veterinary medicine are no exception. While the university offers a top-ranked Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine, the Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine is arguably just as popular.
This program offers graduates opportunities to engage in high-quality research training to uncover ways in which they can improve the health and wellbeing of food animals, companion animals, and wildlife. It allows candidates to choose from four areas of scientific inquiry: Population Medicine, Ecosystem Health, Small and Large Animal Clinical Science, and Infectious and Zoonotic Disease.
To apply, students should have a BA or BS in a relevant area of biological science. A GPA of 3.25 is preferred, as is previous laboratory experience. This program is open for fall admission online and requires the submission of an online application along with a resume or CV. Candidates must also pay an application fee, submit unofficial transcripts, and supply the names of three professionals who can comment on the applicant’s academic and research skills.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Average Net Price
Michigan State University has a reputation for offering its students a lot of unusual experiences. Home to one of the nation’s only environmental journalism organizations, it also has its own on-campus, student-run organic farm. It is home to an exceptional Master of Science in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology within the College of Veterinary Medicine.
This degree offers a unique, integrative approach in the discipline, allowing research-minded students to gain hands-on laboratory experience in the clinical, molecular, and cellular problems that appear in biology and comparative medicine. It allows learners to develop the strong scientific background necessary for clinical veterinary work and for more intensive research experiences. Each student is assigned a temporary advisor from the faculty body upon admission, allowing them to work closely with another professional who deeply understands the goals, scope, and intent of his or her career trajectory.
Offered with both thesis and non-thesis tracks, this program includes core classes such as Current Topics in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology and requires a minimum of 30 approved graduate course credits. Applicants must have outstanding academic credentials accompanied by good GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and, preferably, experience in a research setting.
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Average Net Price
At The Ohio State University, students will have a lot of options when it comes to how they choose to complete their degree. Undergraduates can choose from more than 160 undergraduate majors or design their own within the Personalized Study Program. Graduate students also have a multitude of programs to choose from – among them is the top-ranked Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine.
This program, formally referred to as the Comparative and Veterinary Medicine program, is a great pathway for students seeking advanced training and Ph.D. degrees in preparation for medical and clinical settings. Developing students as skilled science, this program incorporates translational research that bridges the commonalities between human and animal medicine. It includes core courses that give students an understanding of hypothesis-based research along with research that can be applied directly to the patient’s bedside.
The program has three application terms per year. A Bachelor of Science degree in a related area is required, as is a minimum 3.3 GPA in any previous graduate work. GRE scores are encouraged for admission as well. All graduate students are considered for a variety of funding options, including scholarships, fellowships, and employment.
Iowa State University
Average Net Price
Did you know that the state of Iowa is top in the United States for its production of pork, corn, eggs, and soybeans – and that it’s top 10 in sheep, turkey, beef, and milk production? We bet you didn’t. You should also know that the Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine Department at Iowa State University is one of the best and well-funded in the country, receiving nearly $20 million of funded grants for its research programs each year.
This department offers some of the most comprehensive food animal curricula of all related programs in the United States. It’s home to the Diseases of Swine book, biosecurity assessment systems, the Swine Medicine Education Center, and the Center for Food Security and Public Health. The veterinary preventive medicine program comes with three potential tracks: a graduate certificate program comprising 15 online credits; a Masters of Science by Thesis with 30 credits; and a Masters of Science by Non-Thesis, which requires 36 credits.
All of these programs offer students individualized attention, personally tailored living, and research opportunities that are well-matched to their interests. Both faculty and students at Iowa State are conducting research that is at the cutting edge of research and includes interdisciplinary, collaborative porches. Students work closely with other veterinarians, producers, industry groups, and government agencies as they complete their degrees.
University of Florida
Average Net Price
The University of Florida might be large – it’s home to a total student enrollment of more than 50,000 – but that doesn’t mean that you’ll become just another face in the crowd once you enroll. The school is home to one of the most attentive and hands-on programs in veterinary medical sciences in the country, and it’s housed within the award-winning College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Master of Science in Veterinary Medical Science is offered as a stand-alone program, as a certification, and as a non-thesis concentration pathway with forensic toxicology. It can even be pursued in this fashion via a web-based distance program. The degree provides learners with extensive, broad-based training in applied research in one of three areas of specialization: Large and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Physiological Sciences, or Infectious Diseases and Experimental Pathology.
The department works diligently to provide students with interdisciplinary experiences in toxicology, partnering closely with other departments in the Health Science Center as well as the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology. The Master of Science can be completed with or without a concentration. Available concentrations include Shelter Medicine, Forensic Toxicology, and Veterinary Forensic Sciences.
Kansas State University
Average Net Price
The opportunities for hands-on learning at Kansas State University extend well beyond the classroom setting. This program allows students to piggyback off faculty members’ professional interests as they engage in interdisciplinary research at organizations such as the Beef Cattle Institute, the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, and the Institute for Comparative Stem Cell Biology.
The Veterinary Biomedical Sciences Master of Science at KSU is designed to prepare graduate students by offering profound teaching and clinical research experiences in improving animal and human health. It includes extensive internship and residency experiences and is the only program in the state of Kansas to offer such a degree. It has three sub-disciplines: Anatomy and Physiology, Pathobiology, and Clinical Sciences.
To apply, candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate coursework. The GRE is not required, but it is encouraged. Applicants may choose from a thesis-based, report-based, or coursework-based Master of Science in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, each of which requires around 30-36 credit hours of study. There is also a dual-degree program available for students seeking a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Average Net Price
At the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, students are more than just a number – and more than just a formal degree plan on paper. Here, students can work closely with their faculty advisor to create a personalized plan of study that matches their unique career goals. The School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences offers a superb Master of Science degree in veterinary sciences that gives students interdisciplinary research experiences in animal health and disease.
The Master of Science in Veterinary Science at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is offered with three options and an optional specialization in Bioinformatics. Between 30 and 36 credit hours of study are required, with both thesis and non-thesis options available. Students can pursue a variety of informal areas of focus, such as Beef Cattle Research, Pathology, Epidemiology, Virology, and more.
To apply, all candidates must submit an application for admission along with a $50 application fee. Transcripts from undergraduate coursework are required, as are GRE scores, three recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. This program has three start dates per year and is just one of many that helps to contribute to the university’s ranking as one of the Best Value Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Mississippi State University
Average Net Price
If you’re undecided about your career goals but know you want to work directly with animals – or in research dealing with animal-related issues – the Veterinary Medical Science Master of Science at Mississippi State University is likely the perfect program for you. This degree has multiple concentrations in areas such as Population Medicine, Veterinary Medical Research, Computational Biology, Infectious Diseases, and Toxicology.
In addition to the wide array of degree options, students can pursue a joint Doctor of Veterinary Medicine – Master of Science degree. Regardless of the pathway chosen, all learners are given opportunities to engage in ongoing research projects with faculty and to join interdisciplinary work experiences. A variety of graduate research grants and assistantships are also available to help make it easier for students to explore their unique areas of interest.
This university has multiple locations at which students can gain hands-on experience, including the Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory; the Veterinary Specialty Center, in West Starkville; and the Animal Emergency and Referral Center. Interestingly, the school is one of only two U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine that is able to offer all students marine animal medicine training.