The DVM program is accredited by the AVMA-CVMA (American and Canadian Veterinary Medical Associations) Council on Education and is based on an integrated core-elective model. The core program provides a comprehensive general veterinary education covering all the major domestic species, including food producing animals, equine and companion animals, and the major exotic species. The core program also includes public and ecosystem health, wildlife and conservation medicine, professional and communication skills, research skills and comparative medicine. The core program prepares students for general veterinary practice, with an emphasis on skills for successful practice in rural communities and provides a foundation to pursue all careers in veterinary medicine. The elective programs cover all areas of general veterinary practice and provide enhanced opportunities in four Areas of Emphasis:
• Production animal health - population and individual veterinary care of food and fibre-producing animals
• Equine health - population and individual care of horses, including companion, sport, performance, and work horses.
• Ecosystem and public health - animal and public health issues at the interface of domestic animals, wildlife, humans, and the environment; includes wildlife and conservation medicine, zoo animal medicine
• Investigative medicine - comparative medicine and biomedical research; clinical research and population research, advancing of animal and human health.
The DVM program is delivered over four calendar years and includes 9 semesters of instruction. The first three years are two semesters in length and the fourth year is the equivalent of three semesters. Two weeks of each semester during the first three years of the program are assigned to field courses. A number of extracurricular learning activities are also available. The first three years follow the University academic calendar. The final year consists of 40 weeks of practicum rotation experiences, plus two weeks for assessment, delivered over a full calendar year and is comprised of hands-on clinical and professional education. UCVM is collaborating with the Alberta veterinary profession and other partners in the delivery of the fourth year practicum program through a Distributed Veterinary Learning Community that includes veterinary practices in a Distributed Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as well as other professional environments (e.g. government departments and laboratories, animal industries, corporations, and other universities) in Alberta, Canada, and internationally.
The DVM curriculum provides a balance of opportunities for students to learn comparative medicine and discipline-based knowledge, to acquire and practice clinical and professional skills, and to develop diagnostic reasoning capability during the first three years. Early exposure to clinical material at the individual animal and population levels is provided in the Clinical Presentations courses, which integrate basic, preclinical, clinical and population health material.
Clinical skills courses offered in each semester of the first three years enable students to have early and frequent contact with animals, where they learn and practice clinical skills necessary for the practicum year. Professional Skills courses cover clinical communications, ethics, jurisprudence, business operations, informatics, and research.
Delivery of final year practicum rotations through the Distributed Veterinary Learning Community provides a wealth of clinical and professional experiences, preparing students for the broad range of career opportunities available within the veterinary profession. The Distributed Veterinary Teaching Hospital gives students access to a large case load that includes a significant proportion of primary care cases, in addition to more complex, tertiary care cases. Scheduling of the final year over 12 months provides opportunity to capture clinical experiences specific to spring and summer.
In the fourth year, practicum rotations are organized into 4 different courses. All students must take a course in Laboratory Diagnostics (4 weeks), involving pathology and clinical pathology, and a course in General Veterinary Practice, involving clinical rotations covering the major domestic species. and rural community practice (16 weeks). Students also choose one of four Areas of Emphasis programs (10 weeks) in the following areas: production animal health, equine health, ecosystem and public health, and investigative medicine. Students also follow a course of Clinical Enrichment rotation electives (10 weeks) which cover all major species and areas of veterinary medicine, including small animal, food animal, wildlife and zoo medicine, public practice, international, ecosystem health, and many other electives.