While it may come as a surprise to some, veterinary schools are often among the most selective schools when it comes to admitting students.
However, when one considers the diverse range of animals for which a veterinarian must provide care, the selective admissions process begins to make more sense.
Though somewhat comparable to medical school in terms of the scientific background and knowledge needed to practice veterinary medicine, at least in the U.S., there are very few accredited veterinary schools available compared to medical schools.
This comparative lack of educational opportunities is part of what is responsible for the selective admissions processes faced by many aspiring veterinarians.
Considering the great numbers of livestock raised globally combined with the number of people who keep animals as pets, it comes as no surprise that there is a great demand for veterinarians to minister to the care and medical needs of these animals.
Coupled with the economic needs of industrial animal husbandry driving the competitive admissions landscape is the love that pet owners have for their animals and the passion that hopeful veterinarians have for animal welfare.
With such a competitive admissions landscape for prospective veterinarians, students have a need to know what the best options available to them for veterinarian schools are.
Below is our list for the best veterinary schools in the world. The order in which the schools appear is based on each program’s ranking in the Shanghai Ranking for Best Veterinary Sciences programs.
10. University of Bern (Bern, CH)
The University of Bern offers a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree that spans six semesters and prepares them for the next level of study in the field.
The first year of studies covers the basics of veterinary medicine, providing instruction in anatomy and physiology, genetics, and pathology, among other fundamentals required in the field.
The second and third years of the undergraduate program build on this knowledge while also comprehensively covering animal organ systems.
Aspiring veterinarians at the University of Bern take five semesters to complete their graduate studies and earn the school’s Master of Veterinary Medicine degree.
The master’s program covers core content and offers students the choice to specialize in clinical or nonclinical veterinary medicine, with further focus within either track.
Admission into the veterinary medicine program is competitive, and the primary language of instruction is German.
9. University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
Admission into the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis is very competitive.
The minimum requirements are a bachelor’s degree, a 2.5 GPA, and 180 hours of veterinary experience, but the most competitive applicants to the program have credentials that far exceed the minimum program requirements.
Students must also pass the GRE and provide letters of recommendation from others in the field.
The program takes four years to complete, and instructional goals are outlined by the school’s eight Learning Outcomes. These “Learning Outcomes” were established by the school to ensure that graduates have developed competency in areas such as clinical practice, basic science and clinical knowledge, ethics, business, and other critical areas of understanding.
Upon completion of the rigorous program, students graduate with the school’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and are well prepared for the examinations required for the license to practice veterinary medicine.
8. University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vienna, AT)
The University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria provides multiple degree programs in veterinary medicine at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, the school offers doctoral and PhD programs for advanced studies in the field.
Undergraduate students can choose either the Bachelor’s Program in Biomedicine and Biotechnology or the Bachelor’s Program in Equine Sciences.
Master’s level programs of study are in areas such as comparative biomedicine, precision animal health, and evolutionary systems biology.
The doctoral program offered by the school prepares its students for careers in applied research in veterinary medicine and awards a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree upon completion of three years of study.
The school’s PhD program also takes three years to complete and prepares graduates for studies in life science or veterinary medicine.
7. Autonomous University of Barcelona (Barcelona, ES)
Veterinary students at the Autonomous University of Barcelona enrolled in its undergraduate Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine program undergo five years of study in preparation for careers in food safety, genetic engineering, animal production, or veterinary medicine.
The university provides facilities for clinical medicine, research in animal health, pathology, and research in food production.
Acceptance into the program is competitive, with 115 slots available. The school also provides opportunities for students to study abroad in other European universities through its membership in the Erasmus+ program.
Graduate students have a range of programs available to them at the university and can choose to pursue degrees in animal welfare, small animal clinical practice, and laboratory animal science and welfare, among others.
Students in the school’s Master of Animal Welfare program complete the course of study in nine months and are well prepared to provide care for domestic, wild, and farm animals.
6. University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK)
The University of Edinburgh offers two undergraduate routes for entry into veterinary medicine.
Students who wish to enter the field directly from high school will take five years of study to earn the school’s Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (Hons) degree.
Students with an undergraduate degree in a related field may be admitted into the Graduate Entry Program, which takes four years to complete and confers the same degree as the five-year program.
Graduate students can pursue taught master’s degrees or research-oriented master’s degrees depending on the area of veterinary medicine in which they wish to enter.
The wide range of taught master’s degrees covers areas such as poultry science, animal behavior and welfare, genetics, food safety, conservation, and equine science.
For students who are interested in research, the school offers Master of Science and PhD degrees in a variety of areas.
5. Royal Veterinary College (London, UK)
London’s Royal Veterinary College provides a range of bachelor’s degrees in veterinary medicine and science as well as degrees in veterinary nursing.
The college’s Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree covers the fundamental knowledge needed by veterinarians in the first two years of study and provides the skills and knowledge necessary for collaboration and clinical practice in the third, fourth, and fifth years.
Through its partnership with Aberystwyth University, the Royal Veterinary College offers a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree, which emphasizes identifying and treating diseases in all types of animals.
The four-year Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing trains students to provide ongoing care and administer tests and treatments to a variety of animals.
The school also provides a wealth of postgraduate opportunities in clinical training, research, and further instruction.
4. University of Copenhagen (Copenhagen, DK)
Students in the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Copenhagen attain their degree in three years.
Instruction is a mix of lectures, discussions, small group learning, and practical exercise, and the primary language of instruction is Danish, with some academic texts written in English.
The program’s first year covers fundamental subjects like chemistry and biochemistry before moving into biology, anatomy, and physiology of animals. The second year covers diseases and pathology, while the third covers livestock diseases and provides the first opportunity to work with live animals.
The bachelor’s program culminates in a bachelor’s project at the end of the third year.
The master’s program at the university spans three years, with the first half of the program being common to all graduate students and the second half allowing students to specialize in different areas of veterinary medicine.
3. University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (Hanover, DE)
The University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover operates a top-rated veterinary program, as evidenced by the high number of students who are turned away after applying for one of the spots available to entering students. The university is one of only five schools in Germany that provides instruction in veterinary medicine.
With students in all veterinary programs combined, approximately 2,000 students of veterinary medicine are enrolled at the university.
The graduate program consists of eleven semesters of study to earn its Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine degree.
The school also offers a PhD program in Veterinary Research and Animal Biology which is completed in roughly three years.
The PhD program is cooperatively administered with other school partners and provides the opportunity to present research findings at international conventions.
2. Nanjing Agricultural University (Nanjing, CN)
Many aspiring veterinarians apply to Nanjing Agricultural University as it is one of the leading public research universities in all of China and is also highly ranked among the agricultural universities in the world.
The school’s veterinary science program was ranked number two in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2021, as well as by Shanghai Rankings.
Its College of Veterinary Medicine is administered under the Faculty of Animal Science. Its Preventive Veterinary Medicine program is one of the school’s featured graduate programs.
Nanjing Agricultural University provides students the opportunity to study for a bachelor’s degree in the field of veterinary medicine, which takes five years to complete. The school also awards both professional master’s degrees and PhDs in veterinary medicine.
1. Ghent University (Ghent, BE)
Our pick for the world’s best veterinary medicine school is Belgium’s Ghent University. Offering programs of study at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, the school gives students the opportunity to study veterinary medicine at any level they wish.
Bachelor-level studies at the university begin with the study of the fundamentals of veterinary science in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and zoology.
The second and third years of the program examine the healthy animal as well as potential diseases before students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine.
Graduate students take another three years to earn the school’s Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine. The graduate program’s instruction is a mix of lectures, practical exercises, and clinical studies.
Students must choose from one of five specializations in the last year of the master’s program and complete a thesis before graduation.