Frequently asked questions about the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree gives you the experience and flexibility to succeed in your choice of veterinary career: as a small or large animal veterinarian, an animal welfare supervisor in the agricultural industries, an equine health professional, a government veterinarian monitoring wildlife health or a zoo veterinarian.
Course structure and planning
Can I receive credit for previous studies?
The opportunity to enter the DVM with advanced standing (ie. credit for previous studies) toward the course is limited to students who have completed veterinary science subjects taught by the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne.
Applicants who have completed veterinary science subjects at other institutions should expect to enrol in the full four years of the DVM.
When does the course start?
- The DVM commences at the start of Semester 1 (end of February/start of March) each year.
- The Veterinary BioSciences major (DVM accelerated pathway) in the Bachelor of Science begins on the normal Semester 1 commencement date.
- The second year of the DVM also begins on the normal Semester 1 commencement date.
- The third year of the DVM commences in early February.
- The final year of the DVM commences at the start of January.
Where will classes be held?
Classes for the first two years of the DVM are held primarily at Parkville campus – generally with one day per week at Werribee campus.
Third year classes are held at the Werribee campus.
Fourth year of the DVM is a lecture-free program involving small group classes held at the Werribee campus.
In addition, students in third and fourth years are required to attend clinical and practical placements at a range of different locations. There are opportunities to undertake these placements in rural and regional areas, interstate and overseas.
Can I study part-time?
Can I keep my part-time job?
Possibly – if it is a weekend job. The DVM course is demanding and students should expect to devote their full efforts on their studies to achieve their academic potential. There is very limited opportunity for part-time work in the final (fourth) year because of the requirement that students be available to participate in full time clinical training in the veterinary hospital at Werribee campus and at external practices.
What are the contact hours?
The contact hours in the course are high. There is also a strong expectation that students are devoting additional private/group study time outside these contact hours.
In the first year of the DVM and for students in the Veterinary BioSciences major, the contact hours are approximately 22 hours per week.
The second year of the DVM has approximately 28 contact hours per week.
The third year of the DVM has approximately 35 contact hours per week.
The fourth year is lecture free but students are required to be available full time – generally 9.00am to 5.00 pm, five days per week, with additional rostered after hours work.
Additionally in the first and second years of the DVM students are required to complete pre-clinical extramural placements ('farm work') totalling 12 weeks across summer vacation and mid-year breaks.
How long are the semesters?
In first year and second year the semesters are 12 weeks duration. In third year the semesters are 14 weeks duration. The lecture-free fourth year of the DVM is a 42-week clinical year.
What type of animals will I get experience working on?
The major species are cattle, horses, small ruminants (eg. sheep, goats), cats, dogs, and other miscellaneous animals. You will also gain experience working on birds and wildlife. As part of individual students' extramural placements, working with other types of animals is also be possible.
How much work experience or practical experience is undertaken within the course?
You will need to do work experience (extramural studies) during the course, both on farms and with veterinarians. This is a requirement of the course and it purpose is to enable you to understand how animals are managed on the farm and in our society. Work with veterinarians reinforces other training provided in the course and exposes students to private practices and other veterinary professional activities. The pre-clinical extramural studies ('farm work') is done in vacations between semesters or in the summer vacation of first and second years. Clinical extramural studies are rostered to begin after completion of examinations in third year.
Work experience prior to commencing the DVM is not a selection requirement but is highly recommended and may be used in decisions on admission through assessment of applicants’ personal statements.
Are there any exchange opportunities?
Not during the first three years. However, in the fourth year of the course students are encouraged to undertake clinical or professional practice rotations (ie. extramural placements) interstate or overseas.
Many veterinary science students have taken the opportunity to complete their extramural placements overseas. Due to the highly integrated curriculum of the course (and the formal accreditation requirements of the highly structured course) it is generally not possible to undertake coursework at other veterinary science colleges/institutions for course credit toward the DVM.
What kind of academic performance do I need to qualify for entry to the DVM?
Entry to the DVM is academically competitive, and full details of our admissions process are outlined in the DVM Selection Guidelines. Whilst an applicant's Overall Selection Score for DVM selection purposes takes into account a range of factors (as outlined in our Selection Guidelines), for either undergraduate or graduate selection into the DVM, an unadjusted DVM Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of at least 80% (University of Melbourne H1 grade) is typically required to be offered a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) in the course. A slightly lower DVM WAM would usually be needed to be offered an Australian Full Fee-Paying Place.
I have not completed the course prerequisites, what can I do?
If you have not completed appropriate studies in biology and biochemistry you may be able to undertake these subjects as part of the Community Access Program (CAP) at the University of Melbourne.
Please note that these subjects may in turn have prerequisites.
It is also possible to study suitable prerequisite subjects at other institutions (check with the other institution regarding application/enrolment processes).
Lists of approved biochemistry subjects offered by other institutions which are deemed equivalent to suitable biochemistry subjects at the University of Melbourne are available below.
The pages linked to above are managed by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and include information on subjects taught by other institutions that have previously been assessed as equivalent to biochemistry subjects offered by the University of Melbourne.
Please note that similar lists detailing pre-approved biology subjects do not exist, however university level general or cellular biology at 1st year level or above is sufficient for entry to the DVM.
There are no anatomy or physiology prerequisites for entry to the DVM.
Do I need mathematics to apply for the DVM?
For students intending to apply for the DVM as a graduate (ie. after completion of a science or an agriculture degree), the completion of studies in mathematics is not a requirement. However the completion of appropriate mathematics (VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4 or equivalent) may be an prerequisite for entry into an undergraduate course in science or agriculture. VCE Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4 (or equivalent) is a prerequisite for entry into the Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.
Completion of VCE Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics, or a study score of at least 30 in Further Mathematics (or equivalent) is a prerequisite for entry into the Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne.
An applicant must have satisfied the entry requirements of the Bachelor of Science to access the accelerated pathway into the DVM via the Veterinary BioSciences major.
Do I need physics to apply for the DVM?
Until the 2021 DVM Accelerated Pathway intake (2022 DVM intake), study of physics at either Year 12 or university level was a prerequisite of entry to the DVM Accelerated Pathway.
Please note that this has recently changed and previous study of physics is no longer required for either graduate or undergraduate (accelerated) entry to the DVM.
Do I need work experience?
No. However, any work experience (paid or unpaid) you have with animals would be valuable should you be successful in applying for the course, and it is therefore encouraged.
The current selection criteria for the DVM includes consideration of an applicant's personal statement explaining their interest in pursuing a career in the veterinary science profession and demonstrating their commitment to animal health and welfare. This statement can include details of relevant work experience (paid and unpaid).
Is there mature-age entry?
The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is a graduate course; therefore all students who apply for the course will officially be classed as mature age. There is no separate entry quota or special entry stream based on an applicant's age.
Is preference in selection given to University of Melbourne Graduates?
No. However the advantage for University of Melbourne students undertaking a Bachelor of Science degree is that they have two opportunities to apply for and be selected into the course (once at the end of their second year, and again once they have completed their undergraduate degree). Students selected at the end of their second year also benefit from being able to complete the DVM in a total of three years (rather than four) as the final year of their BSc is credited towards studies in the DVM.
In terms of graduate selection, the academic performance of all graduates is considered equitably, regardless of where they completed their undergraduate studies in science or agriculture.
What if I don’t get in – what are my options?
Selection into the course is very competitive. If you are a graduate and have not been selected you should be mindful that the demand for the course is consistently strong each year and that the entry criteria are unlikely to be lowered.
Each year the objective of the selection process in the Faculty of Science is to admit the most academically able students capable of succeeding in the course. It is also clear that there are many applicants who are not selected and who are academically high achievers. It is recommended that if you are not selected into the DVM at the University of Melbourne you should contemplate other courses (eg. at universities interstate, if you are committed to qualifying as a veterinarian) or, possibly, other career options.
The selection criteria for entry into the course are primarily based on demonstrated performance in a completed undergraduate science degree. We are unable to offer specific or general advice to unsuccessful applicants about study options to increase their chances of selection into the DVM in the future.
Second year level Bachelor of Science students at the University of Melbourne: if you are not selected into the Veterinary BioSciences major after your second year, you can complete your major and apply as a graduate. The Animal Health and Disease major could be of interest to you. With a completed BSc (with any major) including a semester of study in each of biology and biochemistry you would be eligible to apply for the DVM as a graduate. You would need to achieve very high results across your Level 3 (third year level) science subjects to be competitive.
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