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Information Sessions and Hadley Farm tours for the Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Science majors will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, June 14, July 19, and August 2, 2024. Please contact Lisa West to make reservations.

If you are interested in learning about the Veterinary Technology Major, please contact Dr. Amy Rubin.

Please contact Kathleen Arcaro if you are interested in learning more about our graduate degree programs.

Campus tours are available through the UMass Undergraduate Admissions office.

Welcome to Veterinary & Animal Sciences at UMass Amherst

We prepare students to become contributing members and leaders in the fields of veterinary and human health, animal biotechnology, and production agriculture.

Our undergraduate curriculum is designed to develop a keen scientific awareness of cellular and molecular biology, critical and ethical thinking, and skills in laboratory and animal management and communication.

Our graduate curriculum and research programs help talented and focused students achieve creative excellence, technical mastery, intellectual independence, and recognition within the field of molecular and cellular biology as it is applied to immunology, infectious disease, developmental biology, reproductive biology, and toxicology.

Our research mission is to understand the basic processes that regulate animal and human health, fertility, and productivity, and to apply this knowledge to benefit companion and food animals as well as people. The department values an open and inclusive environment that celebrates the diversity of our students and staff.

Summer Pre-College Programs at UMass

Discover pre-college opportunities for high school students

The Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is an immersion experience for 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.

The Equine Science Intensive allows students to learn in-depth about the field of equine science, with a focus on horse pregnancy and foaling.

The Veterinary Technology program allows students to work with UMass faculty and learn about the profession of veterinary technician at the UMass Mt. Ida Campus in Newton, Massachusetts.

Summer course offerings  (choose Animal Science)

Information for Prospective Students

Welcome to the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at UMass Amherst where we prepare students to become contributing members and leaders in the fields of veterinary and human health, animal biotechnology, and production agriculture. Our undergraduate curriculum is designed to develop scientific awareness of cell and molecular biology, critical and ethical thinking, communication, and skills in laboratory and animal management.

Panoramic image of a farm at UMass Amherst
Six students taking a selfie together.

Our undergraduates experience the best of both worlds - a close-knit college community in a large dynamic university. UMass maintains two facilities where livestock are housed, the Hadley Farm Equine and Livestock Research and Education Center and the South Deerfield Complex to provide students with hands-on opportunities to learn about various species. Veterinary and Animal Sciences students at all levels also have the opportunity to work in the laboratories of nationally and internationally recognized scientists studying immunology, reproduction and development, genetics, and toxicology. Students also enjoy the culturally exciting benefits of city living- music, theater, art, and nightlife - in what was recently rated as the number one college town in North America, a beautiful setting filled with opportunities for local organic farming, hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, and more. It is important that students entering our department understand that we offer primarily a science-based program that presents the opportunity to gain experience with species relevant to traditional animal science programs. 

A student posing with a calf on a farm.

Academic majors

Our undergraduate majors lead to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Animal Science, the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Pre-Veterinary Science, or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Veterinary Technology.

Animal Science Major

This major provides a sound background in the basic sciences to prepare students for a broad range of jobs in agriculture and related biomedical fields. Students must choose one of the following concentrations:

Pre-Veterinary Science Major 

This major is primarily designed to provide pre-professional training to students planning to continue their education in veterinary, graduate, or medical school, or who are contemplating joining the teaching profession. All incoming students enter our program as animal science majors; students must qualify and apply to change to the Pre-Veterinary Science Major.

Veterinary Technology Major

Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities logo reading CVETA Accredited.

Students graduating from UMass Amherst’s BS-vet tech program will be prepared for a career as a veterinary technologist in veterinary medicine or biomedical research.

Two people measuring a cow.

Admissions 

Admission into the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences is administered through the university Undergraduate Admissions Office. Students may enter the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences as freshmen or as external transfer students. Animal Science is an open major; students accepted to the University of Massachusetts Amherst can declare Animal Science as their major.

High school students applying to the University of Massachusetts Amherst who want to be considered for the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences should list Animal Science as their intended major on their Common Application to the University. Please review the Checklist for Freshmen Applicants to assist in the application process. To learn more about the Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department’s undergraduate program, please access our Frequently Asked Questions.

Transfer student applicants should utilize the Checklist for Transfer Applicants to assist in the application process.  Community College graduates who participated in a Joint Admission or MassTransfer program at a Massachusetts community college should utilize the  UMass Amherst Community College Connection.

Two adults and two children petting livestock.

Recommended Pre-Requisite Courses 

We recommend that students take as many science and math courses as are allowed. These may include biology, chemistry, physiology and anatomy, physics, algebra, statistics, trigonometry, and calculus. In addition, we recommend courses that provide writing experience and at least three years of one foreign language.  Work experience with a veterinarian (volunteer or paid) is an excellent way to determine if veterinary medicine is an appropriate career choice. Veterinary medical schools require this type of work experience prior to application. Other positions working with animals including wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, and farms may also enhance your veterinary school application.

A person looking into a microscope.

Research Opportunities

Veterinary science and animal science students at all levels, in either the Pre-Veterinary or Animal Science majors, have the opportunity to work in the laboratories of nationally and internationally recognized scientists studying immunology, reproduction and development, genetics, and toxicology. The department encourages students to expand their knowledge beyond the conventional classroom through independent studies, practica, and internships under the guidance of departmental faculty members. Projects are graded and students may earn course credits based upon their experience from library research on a specific topic to significant hands-on laboratory research. The department recommends you review the research being done by each of our primary investigators, choose a topic that interests you, and then make an appointment with the primary investigator to discuss the possibility of working in the primary investigator’s lab.

A student poses with a chicken.

Student Life 

Our large animal population consisting of goats, horses, poultry, sheep, and Belted Galloway cattle maintained on the Hadley Farm and at the South Deerfield Complex provide the basis for much of the animal experience we offer whether one is interested in applying to veterinary school or seeking employment opportunities after graduation.  Along with our curricular offerings of reproduction, nutrition, diseases, and management, we offer numerous extracurricular activities to all interested students. These include Winter Traveling Dairy Tour class, Artificial Insemination Certification class, Service Dog Training class, Peer Advisors, NESA Intercollegiate Animal Science Competition, and participation in livestock showing and judging at local fairs and regional events. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual Bay State Livestock Classic; students organize this event and learn the grooming and showing of cattle, poultry, sheep, goats, and horses. The department sponsors a peer mentor group and the Pre-Veterinary and Animal Sciences Club. The University also offers the opportunity to be involved with several different Equine Teams. These events all promote positive student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-industry representative interaction, which can lead to post-baccalaureate internship employment, and graduate school opportunities.

Academic Advising

All students are assigned to a VASCI faculty member who will serve as the student’s academic advisor. Since individuals have special interests, the department's faculty members encourage students to interact with the faculty members to develop a program of study that best meets the student's career objectives. This interaction is an ongoing process but formal meetings between faculty members and advisees are scheduled in both the fall and spring semesters prior to class registration. Students are required to attend these meetings which aid in selecting the classes that best meet the students' objectives.

Animal Science Majors Residential Academic Plan - RAP 

The Residential Academic Plan provide a unique opportunity for first-year students who have been accepted into the Animal Science major to connect with other motivated animal science students, meet faculty members, and learn about opportunities within the Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department. Students enrolled in the Animal Science RAP live together in the Northeast residential area and take a one-credit seminar course in the fall semester of their first year, designed to enhance their academic experience and promote a successful transition into the university.

A person posed next to a horse and holding the reins.

Pre-Veterinary and Animal Sciences Club 

Members attain both organizational and professional skills through weekly meetings and planned activities. The club recognizes the importance of integrating the competent care of animals and the ability to work closely with people. Meetings are interactive and topic choices involve the constant input of club members. All UMass undergraduate students are welcome to join.

Peer Mentors Group 

The Peer Mentors Group offers tutoring and social events including guest speakers, field trips, group dinners, and movie nights. Meetings are held every other week and focus on various topics including tips on: developing good study habits and good note-taking skills, lab courses, “surviving” on campus and campus life, the Commonwealth Honors College, studying abroad, and how to get the best experience with animal management classes. Upper-class VASCI students are matched with underclassmen; each mentor guides three to four mentees.

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