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Summer Pre-College

The Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department offers three summer pre-college courses for rising junior and senior high school students: 

Veterinary Technology Summer Pre-college at UMass Mt. Ida Campus in Newton, Massachusetts

Doctors in a surgery room in the midst of a procedure.

The Veterinary Technology Summer Pre-College program invites rising junior and senior high school students to work with faculty from the UMass Veterinary Technology program to discover various aspects of the veterinary profession and the role of the veterinary technician within the larger context of veterinary medicine and animal care.

This course runs July 1427, 2024

In week one, students will receive an introduction to the world of the veterinary technician and career options available within the profession, learn to use appropriate medical terminology, study basic animal anatomy and physiology through guided dissection, and discuss normal behaviors and behavioral concerns of domestic animals.

In week two, students will consider the different breeds of domestic animal species, examine companion animal diseases and their prevention, study common animal parasites and their control, explore handling, husbandry and diseases of large animal species, and investigate the production and clinical uses of X-rays, radiographs, and other forms of diagnostic imaging.

Your time on campus will include hands on skills practice in the exam room, radiology suite, microscopy lab and on the UMass Hadley farm. 

Schedule: MondayFriday, 9 a.m.4 p.m. with a break for lunch.

Each lesson module is taught by faculty in the UMass Veterinary Technology program at the Mt. Ida campus in Newton, Massachusetts. Students will have guided dissection practice, learn appropriate use of microscope and veterinary clinical laboratory techniques, field trips including a trip to the UMass Hadley farm for large animal handling. 

This course is offered at the UMass Mt. Ida campus with commuter and residential options available.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine Summer Pre-college at UMass Amherst  

A group of students work on bandaging a dog.

June 30July 13, 2024, UMass Amherst Campus

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 class 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, obstetrics, and wound management.

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, Belted Galloway cattle, and horses. There will also be off-campus field trips and academic games.  

You will learn to:

  • 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 diagnostic imaging (radiography, ultrasonography, CT, and MRI) and perform a transabdominal reproductive ultrasound examination on a sheep;
  • describe basic similarities and differences between zoo, wildlife, and exotic animal care and management; and, 
  • 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 washable rubber 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 $50 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, describe your animal-related experiences, your long-term career goals, and what you hope to gain from the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Summer Pre-College program.
  • In the letter of recommendation, ask your recommender to address your ability to remain focused and handle the rigors of an intense one-week academic immersion course.
  • This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.

Equine Science Summer Pre-college at UMass Amherst 

Two students with a horse in a horse stall.

July 14July 27, 2024

The Equine Science program is a two-week intensive program for motivated young adults seeking to explore what it takes to succeed in the horse industry, and in doing so, challenge themselves to become better horsemen and future leaders in the equine profession. 

Each day, students will join a small group of their peers for hands-on practicums and workshops at the university’s Hadley Farm Equine Center. UMass faculty, visiting equine professionals, and of course, the horses themselves will all play a role in the learning experience. The program will begin with instruction on horse behavior and safety training. Students will explore topics in equine reproduction, stable management, nutrition basics, and farrier science.

In addition, each student will adopt one of the farm’s horses for the duration of the program and work intensively with that horse on a variety of equine care, ground-work training, and management topics. The Equine science summer pre-college experience concludes with presentation of student case studies. The purpose of this final assignment is to tie together all of the knowledge and skills students have gained and synthesize it into a reflective project that looks at the scientific and practical applications of caring for horses. Students will focus on their adopted horse from the different perspectives of stable manager, veterinarian, and trainer.

Students will:

  • gain an understanding of how to manage horses based on scientific evidence;
  • recognize how the principles of equine behavior, anatomy, nutrition and reproduction are applied to the daily management of an equine facility;
  • develop their horsemanship skills through daily work with horses;
  • explore educational opportunities and career pathways in the equine profession; and
  • complete an intensive case-study on their adopted horse, incorporating the knowledge they gained during the course and scientific research on equine husbandry, behavior, and veterinary medicine.

Important safety information

  • Every student must wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet, gloves, and boots when working with our young horses in training workshops. There are a limited number of helmets to borrow at the farm. All students must bring boots and gloves.
  • All students must sign an equine liability release form and attend a safety training session on the first day.
  • Pants and boots must be worn when working with horses.


  • In your letter of interest, please describe your interest in the equine industry, and explain what you hope to gain from the Equine Science Summer Pre-College Program. We invite applications from all and hope to gather students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.

Equine Reproductive Services

An adult and a young horse in a field.

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive breeding and reproductive care for your horse with our reproductive specialist, theriogenologist Dr. Carlos Gradil.

Our equine reproductive services include:

 Breeding management of mares

 Fertility evaluation of mares

 Twin reduction in mares

 Stallion services and embryo transfer

 Innovative Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) used to modulate the reproductive cycle

Why give horses pharmaceuticals to control estrus behavior, when they can produce their own progesterone? Inert IUDsnot coated with any drugscause a state of pseudo-pregnancy – absence of estrus = good behavior - in the mare for extended periods of time.

Image of a horse IUD next to a ruler showing it is approximately one inch wide.

Our innovations continue with Dr. Gradil’s development of a novel IUD. The IUD self-assembles into a triangular shape and once inserted it stays in place. With its small size both insertion and removal are very easy. Its presence in the uterus can be monitored externally using a portable metal detectorsimilar to the ones used at airports. At the end of the performance season, the magnetic IUD can easily be retrieved from the uterus using a magnetic wand.

Note: For convenience, breeding soundness examination of mares or stallions with infertility problems should be scheduled on specified days at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

An adult white horse next to a young brown horse.


Breeding stallions


Equine studies program coordinator
Carlos M. Gradil, DVM, MS, PhD, DACT
Extension Professor

Office phone: 413-577-2214
Fax: 413-545-6326

Email: @email

Office location: 427Q ISB

Mailing address:
661 North Pleasant Street
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA. 01003

Massachusetts Pesticide Analysis Laboratory

Laboratory Director, Jeffery Doherty, Ph.D.
Morrill I N443A   413-545-4369    Email:

The Massachusetts Pesticide Analysis Laboratory (MPAL) provides analytical services and scientific expertise for the regulation and enforcement of pesticide use in Massachusetts.

Rows of plants at the pesticide laboratory.

MPAL operates under a cooperative agreement between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs (EPA/OPP). Established in 1981, MPAL has been administered and operated through the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

MPAL is capable of analyzing and quantifying most commonly used pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and in many cases, their metabolites using state-of-the-art liquid and gas chromatographic techniques. Methods are available for common sample matrices such as soil, water, air, and plant material, and can often be adapted for the analysis of pesticides in more unusual matrices. The location of MPAL at the University of Massachusetts' Amherst campus provides our analytical staff with immediate access to the most up-to-date methodologies and allows our staff to interact with other chemists, biologists, toxicologists, and scientists with related expertise. MPAL performs contract work related to land use, historical pesticide use, the monitoring of pesticide fate in active use areas such as golf courses, greenhouses, nurseries, etc. However, if your interest in pesticide analysis is related to a suspected misuse of pesticides please call the Massachusetts Pesticide Bureau at (617) 626-1778 to determine if you have a case for investigation under the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act. Otherwise, please consider the following questions before contacting MPAL.

Pesticide analysis questions

1. What pesticides are you looking for and in what kind of a matrix (i.e. soil, water, etc.)?

In general, the cost of the analysis increases with the number of pesticides, if they are known,  the sample type, and the number of samples. There is no “Pesticide Screen” that can analyze all possible pesticides.  If the pesticides are unknown it is a much more difficult and expensive proposition. Pesticides screening methods are available for a number of pesticide classes. While a screen can eliminate a significant number of pesticides as a cause for concern, it does not allow for a comprehensive determination that no pesticides are present.

2. Have you consulted MPAL before taking any samples?

Proper sampling is essential in order to provide a meaningful result. Sampling techniques depend on the sample matrix, and also upon what questions are being asked. In some cases, the only concern is whether or not there is a pesticide present. In other cases, more appropriate questions are how much pesticide is there, how persistent is it, will it move, and what kind of an exposure risk does it represent, and how toxic is it to humans? All these questions need to be answered before submitting samples by contacting the Laboratory Director via email or phone.

3. What is the cost?

There are several factors that go into the cost of an analysis: number of pesticides you are looking for, complexity of the sample (water, soil, etc.), and number of samples you want analyzed. Once these questions are answered following a consultation, a quote can be generated by MPAL.