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University of Calgary Calendar 2009-2010 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 2. Faculty Information
2. Faculty Information
Contact Information

Location: Health Sciences Centre G359

Student Information:

General Inquiries: 403.210.3961

Admissions Inquiries: 403.220.8699

Faculty Number: 403.210.3961

Email address:

General Inquiries: vetmed@ucalgary.ca

Admissions Inquiries: vet.admissions@ucalgary.ca

Web page URL: http://www.vet.ucalgary.ca


The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary was established in 2005 and accepted its first class in its accredited DVM program in fall 2008. The mission of the Faculty is to meet the needs of the veterinary, animal, and public health communities of Alberta, Canada, and the world through: excellence in delivery of a comprehensive undergraduate DVM educational program with enhanced programs in four areas of emphasis; excellence in clinical, diagnostic, and professional teaching and service, in collaboration with partners in the Distributed Veterinary Learning Community; and excellence in the creation and distribution of new knowledge through research, graduate veterinary education, and continuing education in animal health and disease, and its relation to human health.

The Faculty delivers a comprehensive core-elective curriculum in the DVM program that provides an excellent foundation in general veterinary practice, preparing students to deliver entry-level care for the major domestic species, including food producing animals, equine and companion animals, and the major exotic species. The program is enhanced in four areas of strategic importance and strength, termed areas of emphasis, which are as follows:

  • Production animal health -- population and individual veterinary care of food and fibre-producing animals; educating veterinarians to serve the needs of the animal industries
  • Equine health -- population and individual care of horses; educating veterinarians to serve the needs of the equine industry
  • Ecosystem and public health -- health interactions at the interface of domestic animals, wildlife, humans, and the environment; educating veterinarians for public and private practice to serve the health needs of Alberta, Canada, and global society 
  • Investigative medicine -- comparative medicine and biomedical research; educating veterinarians to support the biomedical research enterprise and contribute to the advancement of animal and human health.

In order to graduate veterinarians with relevant and highly developed practical skills, 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 program is delivered over four calendar years and includes 9 semesters of instruction. A total of 27 hours of class and laboratory time and 1 hour of seminar are scheduled weekly during the first three years (six semesters) of the curriculum. The final year consists of 40 weeks of practicum rotation experiences delivered over a full calendar year and is comprised of hands-on clinical and professional education.

The DVM curriculum provides a balance of opportunities for students to learn foundational knowledge, to acquire and practice clinical and professional skills, and to develop diagnostic reasoning capability during the first three years. Broad coverage of the scientific veterinary knowledge base is provided in a series of discipline-based courses. Clinical material at the individual animal and population levels is seen regularly through delivery of a series of Clinical Presentations courses. In these courses, students begin to develop their diagnostic reasoning skills, to apply concepts learned in their discipline courses, and to explore broader issues related to animal health.

A series of Clinical and Professional Skills courses offered in each semester of the first three years enables students to have early and frequent contact with animals, where they learn and practice clinical and professional skills necessary for the practicum year. Each Clinical Skills course contains learning modules for clinical examinations, diagnostic procedures, clinical intervention and management, and clinical proficiency. Students spend two half-days per week in these courses mastering clinical skills while working with animals housed at the Clinical Skills Building. Professional Skills courses include training in communication, people management, critical and reflective thinking, ethics, jurisprudence, self care and professional renewal, business operations, informatics, and research.

Two weeks of each semester during the first three years of the program are assigned to field courses. Field courses have been designed and scheduled to allow students to work under supervision for a focused time period within our Distributed Veterinary Learning Community sites on selected veterinary topics.

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 hands-on 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, involving pathology and clinical pathology, and a course in General Veterinary Practice, involving clinical rotations covering the major domestic species. Students also choose one of four areas of emphasis courses, which provide enhanced rotations in the following areas: production animal health, equine health, ecosystem and public health, and investigative medicine. Students also enroll in a clinical enrichment course, which provides further hands-on animal care rotations. The combination of the last two courses contain a choice of rotations that allow students to either increase the depth of their experience in an area of emphasis or broaden their experience in different aspects of veterinary practice.


Graduates of the DVM program are eligible to practice in Canada, but the DVM degree does not itself confer the right to practice. The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) is the professional organization governing the practice of veterinary medicine in Alberta under the authority of the Veterinary Profession Act. Students interested in exploring matters relative to license to practice in Alberta should refer to the ABVMA website For information relative to license to practice in the other provinces in Canada, students should contact the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, (http://canadianveterinarians.net/index.aspx) ,339 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1R 7K1, who will refer them to the appropriate provincial veterinary association.

Student Services

The Office of Student Services in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine serves as the first point of contact for students requiring assistance with any aspect of student life.  The Office provides the framework for academic counseling and advising and provides referrals to other University services where required.


The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is located in the Health Sciences Complex (HSC) on the Foothills Campus and in the Clinical Skills Building on the Spy Hill Campus. The Foothills campus is located approximately 1 kilometre south of the main campus of the University of Calgary, while the Spy Hill campus is approximately 17 kilometres north-west of the Foothills campus. The HSC functions as home-base for the Faculty, containing faculty offices, educational space, the Health Sciences Library, a student bookstore, food services, and many of the core research facilities.

The Clinical Skills Building (CSB) on the Spy Hill Campus in Northwest Calgary is the site of clinical and professional skills education during the first 3 years of the DVM program. The CSB has educational facilities for anatomy, animal handling, medical exercises, clinical skills, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic support, and pathology instruction. There are outside holding pens for cattle and horses, and kennel facilities for dogs and cats. The CSB also has classrooms, small group teaching rooms, laboratory facilities, and all the necessary support areas. Primary student support services are provided at the HSC and main campus; however, additional administrative and student support space (e.g. kitchen, lounge area, learning commons) are available at the CSB to support students and activities while they are at that location.

The first three years of the DVM program are delivered predominantly at the Foothills and Spy Hill Campuses. During the final year of the DVM program, students complete their practicum courses within a group of private veterinary practices that together constitute the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine's Distributed Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and at other institutional and private partner settings that constitute the Distributed Veterinary Learning Community. Many of these off-campus sites are located within a 90 minute drive of the HSC; the others are distributed across Alberta and beyond, including international sites. For a current listing of UCVM community partners, please visit our website at http://vet.ucalgary.ca.