Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

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Eligibility

There are two pathways into the DVM. Students can apply for entry to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine to commence following the completion of a science or an agriculture degree. The specific prerequisites for graduates are at least one semester of study in each of biology (cellular or general) and biochemistry.

Another pathway into the DVM is via the Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne where students are pre-selected into the DVM at the end of their second year of study in the Bachelor of Science. These students must have completed prescribed subjects at level 1 and level 2 in the Bachelor of Science (i.e. biology, physics if not completed in year 12, biochemistry and foundations of animal health subjects).

Yes. If you complete Year 12 in Australia with an ATAR of 98.50 or higher, you can apply for the Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine through VTAC (VTAC Code 3801030). This guarantees you a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) if you are a domestic student, provided you meet the conditions described in the link below.

If you earn an ATAR between 95.00 and 98.45, you are eligible for a guaranteed fee place in the DVM. You are also eligible if you complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Australia with a score of 36, GCE A Levels with a score of AAB, or Foundation Studies at Trinity College with a score of 13 at the University of Melbourne.

Learn more about how to become a veterinarian

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.

Learn about the Community Access Program

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).

A list of approved biochemistry subjects offered by other institutions which are deemed equivalent to Biochemistry study at the University of Melbourne are available to download. Please refer to the 'list of assessed subjects' option when following the link.

Download approved subject list

Australia and New Zealand Universities

International Universities

The links 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.

For students intending to apply for the DVM as a graduate (i.e. 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 is a prerequisite for entry into the Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne.

VCE Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics or a study score of at least 30 in Further Mathematics 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 Bioscience specialisation of the Animal Health and Disease major.

For students intending to apply for the DVM as a graduate (i.e. after completion of a science or an agriculture degree), the completion of studies in physics is not a requirement. However the completion of physics (either at Year 12 or by completing a tertiary-level physics subject as part of the course) is a requirement of the pathway taken by second year level Bachelor of Science students into the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation of the Animal Health and Disease major.

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).

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.

There are up to 135 places available in the course at each year level. These places are a mix of Commonwealth Supported Places, Australian Fee paying places and Overseas Fee paying places.

Selection is competitive and based primarily on academic performance. The typical Science Grade Point Average to be competitive for a CSP each year is around 81 to 83 (on a 0-100 scale). An applicant’s final score is determined following adjustments made based on an assessed personal statement, assessed Graduate Access Melbourne application, and/or assessed relevant further studies.

The score to be competitive for a fee paying place is slightly lower than that of a CSP.

The required score for each year will be known only once selection has concluded as it is dependent on the number of applicants and their Adjusted Science Grade Point Average (i.e. academic marks and other factors).

Selection

Yes. Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens who are school leavers with an ATAR (or equivalent) of 98.50 or higher selected into an undergraduate science course at the University of Melbourne and who commence within 12 months after completion of secondary schooling will be guaranteed a CSP in the DVM. To be eligible for guaranteed entry, students must have completed the prerequisite studies for the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation of the Animal Health and Disease major of the Bachelor of Science and have achieved an average across science subjects at both Level 1 and Level 2 of at least 70%.

School leavers with an ATAR (or equivalent) of between 95.00 – 98.45 will be guaranteed an Australian Full fee place (should they apply for one, and should they apply in a timely way) under the same arrangement described above.

International students who are school leavers with an ATAR (or equivalent) of 95.00 or higher (or International Baccalaureate score of 36; GCE A Levels score of AAB (13); Trinity Foundation Studies score of 87) will be guaranteed an international fee place in the DVM if they have completed the prerequisite studies for the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation of the Animal Health and Disease major of the Bachelor of Science and achieve an average across science subjects at both Level 1 and Level 2 of at least 70%.

All applicants must meet the eligibility criteria including completion of prerequisite studies in biology and biochemistry.

Selection is primarily based on academic merit and is calculated using the Grade Point Average across completed penultimate year level and final year level undergraduate science subjects. The relative weightings of results for these subjects will be 75:25 towards final year level subjects (i.e. third year level subjects are more heavily weighted than second year level subjects within a three year science degree or equivalent). Students enrolled within the accelerated program must achieve a minimum of 70% in first and second science year subjects, as well as complete the relevant pre-requisite subjects (mentioned above).

Additional points are added to a Science GPA for ranking purposes based on completed relevant further studies at honours, masters or PhD level.

Graduate Access Melbourne (domestic students only) also allows the Faculty to consider other circumstances that might have adversely affected the student's academic performance during their undergraduate studies.

International applicants who are eligible for selection will be made an offer into the DVM where they have obtained results across science/agriculture subjects at any one of the following thresholds:

  • 3.2 GPA or higher (4 point scale)
  • 4.0 GPA or higher (5 point scale)
  • 5.6 GPA or higher (7 point scale)
  • an average of 75% or higher (where marks on a university transcript are returned as % marks)
  • first class honours (applicants from the United Kingdom)

Additional points can also be added based on consideration of an applicant's personal statement.

GAM is the University's special entry and access scheme for graduate study.

An application for GAM that accompanies a submitted course application for the DVM will ensure that circumstances that have affected your education will be considered as part of the selection process.

A limited number of bursaries are also available to GAM applicants who are selected into the DVM.

The main selection process occurs annually across December and January.

Ongoing selection does occur throughout the year for international applicants to ensure that successful applicants receive sufficient notification to secure appropriate entry visas and arrange finance, travel and accommodation.

The main selection process for domestic applicants generally commences in December with confirmation of offers for applicants who satisfy the conditions for guaranteed entry into the DVM via the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation. Then, in January, the remaining selection decisions are made. Selection is progressive with multiple selection rounds occurring depending on acceptances.

Read more about Graduate Access Melbourne

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 Veterinary 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 (e.g. 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 Bioscience specialisation after you second year, you can complete your major, and apply as a graduate. The Animal Disease Biotechnology specialisation of 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 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 science subjects to be competitive.

No. Places in the DVM cannot be deferred. If you are unable to commence the course you should reapply for an intake in a later year when your circumstances will enable you to study the course full time.

No. Once you have accepted and enrolled into a fee-paying place in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course your liability category will remain as a fee-paying student for the duration of your studies. There is no opportunity to transfer.

The DVM course

The opportunity to enter the DVM with advanced standing (i.e. credit for previous studies) toward the course is limited to students who have completed veterinary science subjects taught by the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences 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.

The DVM commences at the start of semester 1 (end of February/start of March) each year.

The Level 3 subjects for the Veterinary Bioscience specialisation will also commence at the start of standard semester 1.

The second year of the DVM commences at the start of standard semester 1.

The third year of the DVM commences in early February.

The final year of the DVM commences at the start of January.

Classes for the first two years of the DVM are held at Parkville – generally with one day per week at the 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 second, third and fourth years are required to attend preclinical, 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.

No.

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 and at external practices. 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.

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 Bioscience specialisation, 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 9.00 until 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.

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.

Not during the first three years. However, in the fourth year of the course students are encouraged to undertake clinical or professional practice rotations (i.e. 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.

The major species are cattle, horses, small ruminants (e.g. 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.

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.

Most of Australia's approximately 8,100 veterinarians work in private practices. Veterinary practices are typically small businesses, with many consisting of only one or two full-time veterinarians. Specialisation is an increasing trend, with some practices limiting their work to certain types of animals e.g. horse or small animals. Half of Australia's veterinarians work in a capital city; a further 16 per cent in another major city or large country city. Just over one-third work in rural areas. State Governments employ 10 per cent of the nation's veterinarians. The Federal Government employs about 4 per cent. Other veterinarians are employed in research or marketing by companies making or selling veterinary medicines, in intensive animal production businesses and by universities. Zoos also employ their own veterinarians as do an increasing number of animal welfare organisations. Australian vets contribute on a regular basis to international programs on animal production, disease control and environmental management.

Some veterinarians undertake further study and achieve specialist registration. This may be, for example, as a specialist in veterinary medicine for a particular species or in surgery for a particular species.

The University of Melbourne qualification in Veterinary Science allows a graduate to register to practise as a veterinarian throughout Australia, in New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong. The University's veterinary graduates regularly proceed to postgraduate internship and residency programs and a number currently hold academic appointments in Veterinary Medical teaching institutions in North America and the United Kingdom.

For registration as a veterinarian in Singapore and Hong Kong the applicant must hold a recognised degree in veterinary medicine, such as the DVM. As a guide, degrees recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, United Kingdom, are generally acceptable.

Other career outcomes may include agricultural industries, animal welfare agencies, government services, departments and agencies, pharmaceutical companies and industry, research and tertiary and professional development education.