Pre-Veterinary Medicine major

Why major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine?

If you want to contribute to a greater understanding of the complex relationship between the health of domestic animals, wild animals, humans and our shared environment, you have found the right place! Be part of solving one of humanity’s most critical grand challenges – the global demand for food and fiber. Feeding the population, which is expected to grow by 2.3 billion by 2050, will require raising overall food production by 70 percent. Veterinarians are needed to respond to diseases that can be transferred to humans because it is estimated that 75 percent of new emerging diseases are zoonotic. You will help care for the 100 million companion animals that are members of our families and help solve problems related to the 10 million cats and dogs that enter shelters each year. Graduates of the pre-veterinary major recognize that healthy productive livestock and pets lead to healthy people.

Find out more on Why Pre-Vet?

Uniqueness of our program

Our students are highly competitive for positions in graduate programs and for admission to veterinary schools. Approximately 80 percent of UD applicants are admitted to vet school — twice the national average (40 percent). Beginning in your first semester, you will work with horses, cows, sheep and yes, blue hens, on our 350-acre farm, which is located right on campus. You will have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research and work closely with faculty scholars to solve problems in animal nutrition, immunology, virology, and molecular biology. You can even raise and train a service dog in your residence hall! Through the college’s study abroad programs, you will have the opportunity to study cattle, sheep and horses in New Zealand and conservation biology of non-domesticated animals in Tanzania.

Course highlights

Instructors introduce how domestic food animals function, genetics, nutrition, reproductive physiology, behavior and animal health. The course begins with a dialogue about the human-animal bond and the role of animals in society, and ends with the discussion of how agricultural animals are managed to produce safe and healthy food.

Instructors introduce the concept of One Health — the integration of human, animal and environmental health. The ultimate goal of One Health is prevention and early intervention, moving upstream of a health problem. Class discussion covers worldwide animal production practices, habitat destruction and other human activities, environmental changes, and the incidence of zoonotic outbreaks. Students focus on bacterial, viral and fungal zoonotic and emerging diseases like COVID-19, agriculture and the use and misuse of antibiotics in animal and human health.

Instructors cover the relationship between form and function in domestic farm animals. Students conduct comparative examination of body systems in order to better understand the various management practices employed in animal agriculture.

Modern technologies heighten the inexorable links between the animals and their environments, making environmental management more important. Instructors discuss the principles of animal environment management related to companion, farm and research animals. Course laboratories reinforce development of hands-on skills.

Instructors teach the fundamentals of physiology and lactation involved in initiation, maintenance and cessation of lactation, neuroendocrine control of lactation, nutrient absorption and processing by mammary gland and control of milk composition. Topics include mammals of commercial dairy importance as well as rodents, horses and humans.

Related student organizations

Contact us
302-831-2524

Dr. Lesa Griffiths, TA Baker Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources