Top 10 Best Veterinary Schools in the U.S.

Group of veterinary students in an anatomy class
andresr / Getty Images

Admission to the best veterinary schools is highly selective and students will need to work hard as undergraduates, earn top grades in relevant subjects such as biology and chemistry, and do well on a vet school's required placement exam such as the GRE or MCAT. Veterinary school often takes four years to complete, and you'll need to pass a licensure exam before you are able to practice medicine by yourself.

The United States is home to just 30 veterinary schools that are accredited with the American Veterinary Medical Association. The ten schools below (listed alphabetically) often top the national rankings because of their exceptional faculty, facilities, research initiatives, and career outcomes.

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Colorado State University

Colorado State University Fort Collins
Colorado State University Fort Collins. Scott Ogle / Flickr

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was ranked #3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students can choose from 28 specialties from four academic departments: Biomedical Sciences; Clinical Sciences; Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences; and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. The college's teaching hospital receives 42,000 patient visits a year, so students have plenty of opportunities to gain valuable clinical experience.

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Cornell University

McGraw Tower and Chimes, Cornell University campus, Ithaca, New York
Dennis Macdonald / Getty Images

Cornell University is unique among the Ivy League schools because it is home to four state-assisted statutory colleges that include the College of Veterinary Medicine. Thus, the vet school is an interesting mix of public and private. Cornell's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program often ranks first or second in the country, and the admissions bar is extremely high. Part of the college's success comes from its job placement record—nearly all students receive job offers before they graduate, and many become leaders in their fields.

The school's location in Ithaca, New York, gives students access to numerous animal hospitals with specializations ranging from companion animals, equine, wildlife, and farm animals. Cornell also provides numerous opportunities outside of the area such as Expanding Horizons, a program that gives students hands-on experience working in a developing country.

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North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine consistently ranks among the very top vet schools in the country. Located in Raleigh, the college has roughly 150 faculty members who are specialists in 35 disciplines and teach in the college's three departments: Clinical Sciences, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, and Population Health and Pathobiology. The school's Veterinary Hospital treats an average of 27,000 cases annually, so the roughly 400 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students have plenty of opportunities to gain clinical experience.

NC State's Teaching Animal Unit occupies an 80-acre farm that serves as a teaching lab for students interested in animal husbandry and other livestock practices. The college's 250-acre Centennial Biomedical campus is home to the Terry Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center, where corporate and government partners collaborate with students and faculty.

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Ohio State University

Ohio State University
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

With a main campus in Columbus, the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine has three academic departments: Biosciences, Clinical Sciences, and Preventive Medicine. The college is home to 621 students and 130 faculty members. Its researchers are responsible for the first feline leukemia vaccine, and the college leads the Center for Retrovirus Research.

Campus facilities include the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio, the 97,000 square-foot Veterinary Medicine Academic Building, and the Veterinary Medical Center, one of the nation's largest veterinary hospitals.

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Texas A&M–College Station

Texas A&M Academic Building at the heart of the main campus in College Station
Texas A&M Academic Building at the heart of the main campus in College Station.

Denise Mattox / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0​

The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences ranks among the nation's best veterinary schools, and its equine science program is particularly strong. The college is home to a small animal hospital that provides services ranging from dentistry to oncology, and a large animal hospital for treating anything from horses to zoo animals. The college has five departments: Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Veterinary Pathobiology, and Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology. Us. News & World Report has ranked the college #4 in the nation, and Quacquarelli Symonds ranked it #10 in the world.

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Tufts University

Tufts University Olin Center

 Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has the distinction of being the only veterinary school in New England. The school is home to the Center for Animals and Public Policy, Shelter Medicine Program, and Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction. The school takes pride in its humane efforts to reduce the use of animals in teaching anatomy, surgery, and clinical procedures. Tuft's International Veterinary Medicine program provides international opportunities in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

DVM students gain plenty of hands-on experiences through the Cummings Medical Center and its seven teaching hospitals and clinics: Foster Hospital for Small Animals, Hospital for Large Animals, Tufts Veterinary Field Service practice in Connecticut, Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton, Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties clinic in Walpole, Tufts at Tech in Worcester, and the Lerner Spay/Neuter Clinic in North Grafton.

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University of California–Davis

The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis
The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis. Steven Tyler PJs / Flickr

UC Davis's School of Veterinary Medicine typically ranks first in the nation. It is also the country's largest vet school with plans to keep growing as it works to build the future Veterinary Medical Center. The school is home to six departments: Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology; Molecular Biosciences; Medicine and Epidemiology; Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Population Health and Reproduction; and Surgical and Radiological Sciences.

The school's flexible curriculum allows students to focus on one of many areas of study including small animal, large animal, equine, livestock, zoologic, or a general focus on mixed animal practices. Facilities include the Gourley Clinical Teaching Center for live animal teaching, and the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital that serves over 50,000 patients a year.

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University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

Pillsbury Hall at the University of Minnesota
Pillsbury Hall at the University of Minnesota. Michael Hicks / Flickr

The UMN College of Veterinary Medicine takes pride in its experiential learning opportunities, and the college is home to a range of research centers including the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, Clinical Investigation Center, Leatherdale Equine Center, John Fetrow Dairy Education Center, Swine Program, and Minnesota Urolith Center. The college also has partnerships with the Como Zoo and Minnesota Zoo. The college's Raptor Center provides rehabilitation for injured birds and educational programs focused on birds of prey.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine courses are offered through the college's three departments: Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, and Population Medicine. Students partner with faculty members to research challenging diseases such as avian influenza, equine myopathy, and canine epilepsy.

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University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania. neverbutterfly / Flickr

One of the two Ivy League schools on this list, the University of Pennsylvania is a national and global leader in veterinary medicine. Penn Vet has two campuses—one on the university's main campus in Philadelphia, and another 700-acre rural campus in Chester Country. The former is home to the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital and the latter to the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. Combined, Penn Vet's two hospitals handle a huge caseload of sport, agriculture, companion, exotic, and avian animals.

The main Philadelphia campus houses dozens of research centers and laboratories including the Penn Vet Cancer Center, Penn Vet Working Dog Center, Center for Host-Microbial Interactions, and the Equine Pharmacology Research Laboratory.

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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Science Hall at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Science Hall at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Richard Hurd / Flickr

The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine is highly selective—for the class of 2023, the university issued acceptances to 96 of 1,318 applicants. Students will find plenty of opportunities to conduct research and gain hands-on experience through the school's 30 labs and 10 service centers. UW Veterinary Care, Wisconsin's teaching hospital, handles close to 30,000 patient visits a year. The school's faculty and staff are housed in four academic departments: Surgical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Comparative Biosciences, and Pathobiological Sciences.

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Grove, Allen. "Top 10 Best Veterinary Schools in the U.S." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, September 2). Top 10 Best Veterinary Schools in the U.S. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Top 10 Best Veterinary Schools in the U.S." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).