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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does Major Matter?

Ashley sent this in...

I am interested in becoming a vet and am wondering if i should major in Biology or Zoology?  Many people have given me different answers to this question, but i don;t know what to believe.  Which one is a better Undergraduate course for someone who wants to become a Veterinarin?

First just a few caveats and disclaimers.  I am only familiar with US veterinary colleges and even with the 28 we have there can be differences in the entrance requirements for one over another.  The best thing to do is to check with the school or schools that you are considering and see what their specific needs are.  Also, search back through my blog (search box on the top left) and you can see other responses to questions about getting into veterinary school that might help with any other questions you have.

I honestly don't think your major matters in the least.  In my experience the vet schools don't actually look at your major itself.  They have specific courses that they require, many of which may not be obviously applicable, such as calculus.  The admissions office looks at whether or not you have those courses, as well as your GPA in them, rather than looking at your major.  Most vets I know had a Biology, Zoology, or Animal Science undergraduate degree.  But I've known people with majors in teaching, computers, chemistry, English, media/publishing, and so on.  From everything I've seen it really doesn't matter what your major is as long as you have the appropriate classes.  For the record, I have a Bachelor's in Biology.

When you're getting to something as small as a difference between Biology or Zoology, look at what each major requires and how many classes for vet school you can get in each.  I would recommend picking whichever major already includes the most pre-vet classes.  If it's pretty much the same, pick whichever you find more interesting, which in the case of someone going into veterinary medicine would probably be Zoology.  Personally I've always been bored by botany and much of ecology, so you may be able to avoid some of those classes with a Zoology  major.  But in the end the decision is up to you, and I really don't feel that one of these majors is going to be "better" for getting into vet school than another.

I hope this helps, Ashley.  Best of luck!