The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Pre-Veterinary Medicine (FULL - waitlist only)

Date: June 28 - July 11, 2020

Program length: 2 weeks

The Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program is an immersion experience for rising junior and senior high school students seeking to learn about (1) the field of veterinary medicine,  (2) the steps involved in successfully completing a pre-veterinary undergraduate program and becoming a competitive candidate for applying to veterinary school, and (3) the time and financial commitments involved in choosing this career path.

This two-week program includes an overview of the veterinary profession and the academic preparation and animal experience required for becoming a competitive applicant to veterinary school. Students will complete hands-on rotations in basic comparative anatomy and physiology, animal handling and restraint, and overviews of veterinary pharmacology, clinical pathology, parasitology, biosecurity, diagnostic imaging, and obstetrics.

The schedule for the program consists of short lectures and discussions on the UMass main campus in addition to hands-on modules at the University’s Hadley and South Deerfield Farms. During hands-on modules, students will interact with Polled Dorset sheep, Boer goats, and Belted Galloway cattle. There will also be off-campus field trips, guest speakers, academic games, and team presentations. 

You will:

  • recognize and use some basic veterinary terminology. 
  • explain basic mammalian and avian cardiac, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, and reproductive anatomy and physiology.
  • perform livestock handling, restraint, and basic physical assessments.
  • describe some common veterinary therapeutics and the laws regarding their use.
  • understand fundamentals of radiography and ultrasonography and perform a transabdominal reproductive ultrasound examination on a sheep.
  • describe basic similarities and differences between zoo, wildlife, and exotic animal care and management.
  • perform team research and present your findings as a team.
  • develop a personalized plan of action (completion of academic requirements and animal experiences) for becoming a competitive veterinary school applicant.

Important Safety Information

  • Due to the physical activities involved in this program and the interaction with large animals, students are required to sign a Liability Release Form prior to attending this program. Participants under the age of 18 years old will need a parent or a guardian signature on the Liability Release Form. The Liability Release Form must be notarized by a notary public and returned to UMass prior to arrival for the program.
  • Consult your physician to determine whether or not you should participate in this program involving animals and work in barns with dust and pollen if you have allergies, a compromised immune system, or if you are pregnant.
  • Work will often be outdoors or in barns. Therefore, appropriate attire is required, including coveralls and rubber, washable boots. For compliance with biosecurity requirements, clean coveralls and boots are expected at the beginning of each class. When work is done, boots and coveralls must be disinfected on the farm.


  • In addition to the enrollment fee, there is a $40 supply fee which includes coveralls and a clipboard for each student. These supplies will be distributed on the first day of the program, and students will take them home at the end of the program.
  • Students must bring their own washable, rubber boots to the program. The boots should go up to at least the mid-calf.

*In your letter of interest, please describe your animal-related experiences, your long-term career goals, and what you hope to gain from the Pre-Veterinary Medicine class.

*In the letter of recommendation, please ask your recommender to address your ability to handle the rigors of an intense 2-week academic immersion course.

Admissions are rolling.


Katherine Beltaire

Senior Lecturer, Department of Veterinary & Animal Sciences