Veterinary Medicine Degree

Veterinary Medicine in Canada

Studying a veterinary medicine program in Canada

Veterinary medicine is more than just caring for animals; it's also about preventing and treating diseases that usually affect animals and humans. Veterinarians are often the first line of defense against zoonotic diseases (those that can be transmitted from animals to humans), making their role crucial in the public healthcare system at the global level. The multidisciplinary field encompasses areas such as surgery, pharmacology, epidemiology, and pathology, making it a diverse and intellectually stimulating profession that needs specialized training and practical experiences. 

In Canada, the study of veterinary medicine is dynamic, and it is considered a respected discipline that attracts aspiring veterinarians from around the world. The comprehensive curriculum of veterinary medicine programs in Canada allows students to gain a strong foundation in the basic sciences, which is often followed by hands-on clinical training. Research is also a crucial part of the many reputed courses in the field, as it enables students to contribute to advancing veterinary science through innovative studies. Those who gain a degree in the field of veterinary medicine are highly sought after, not only in Canada but also internationally, for their expertise and dedication to improving the health and welfare of animals and humans alike.

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Types of Degrees

Bachelor's in veterinary medicine

The curriculum for a bachelor's in veterinary sciences includes a mix of foundational science courses, biology, animal science, and specialized courses related to veterinary medicine. While the specific courses can vary by institution, some common topics covered include animal welfare, animal psychology, genetics, microbiology, animal behavior, and epidemiology. Students also have opportunities for internships or co-op experiences to gain practical exposure to animal care and research.

Many students who complete a bachelor's degree in veterinary sciences and wish to become licensed veterinarians continue their education by applying to a DVM program, which is necessary to receive the license to work in Canada. 

Master's in Veterinary Medicine

Master's level programs in veterinary or animal health-related fields in Canada offer students advanced education and specialization opportunities. These programs allow veterinarians to enhance their knowledge, conduct research, and specialize in specific areas of veterinary medicine, public health, or related disciplines such as wildlife health and conservation, food safety and inspection, laboratory animal medicine, epidemiology, and public health.

Depending on the program's focus, the curriculum usually covers advanced topics in veterinary medicine, animal science, or public health. Students often have the flexibility to choose elective courses that can align with their research interests or career goals. Some programs may be thesis-based, requiring students to conduct original research and write a thesis, while others may be course-based, focusing only on coursework and practical training. 

PhD in veterinary medicine

PhD degrees in veterinary medicine in Canada offer advanced research and academic training for individuals who aspire to become experts in various aspects of veterinary science. These programs provide opportunities for in-depth research, innovation, and the development of specialized knowledge to advance the field. 

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Unlike the PhD degree, Canada's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program is one of the most popular routes to study the subject. This comprehensive graduate-level program has been designed to prepare students for careers as licensed veterinarians. The course equips students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to diagnose, treat, and provide medical care to animals in clinical practice, research, or other related fields.

The rigorous DVM program curriculum covers a wide range of subjects essential for veterinary practice, such as anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathology, parasitology, nutrition, small animal medicine and surgery, and large animal surgery, among others. 

Clinical rotations are a crucial component of the course, which can be gained in various settings, including small animal clinics, large animal farms, specialty practices, and more. After successfully completing the DVM degree, graduates are eligible to write the national licensing examination, the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), to become licensed veterinarians in Canada, although the licensing requirements may also vary slightly by province.

Scholarships in veterinary medicine

Scholarships for international students pursuing veterinary medicine in Canada may be limited, as many scholarships are typically reserved for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. However, there are some opportunities available for international students. Here are a few options to consider:

Jobs and Careers

Veterinary medicine is a diverse field that can lead to several opportunities to work in clinical practice, research, academia, public health, and more, depending on your interests and career goals. Following are some of the jobs and careers that graduates can pursue after completing a veterinary medicine degree in Canada:


Entry-level veterinarians who have recently graduated from veterinary school and have limited experience can expect to earn lower salaries than their more experienced counterparts. The starting salary for new veterinarians in Canada can be around CAD 63,000 annually. As veterinarians gain experience and expertise in their field, their earning potential tends to increase, and they can earn CAD 95,000 per year, while the higher end of the spectrum can go up to CAD 137,000 per year. Veterinarians specializing in animal surgery, internal medicine, radiology, dermatology, or pathology can command higher salaries.

Top Universities to Study Veterinary Medicine

To find the top vet schools in Canada, learn more about the top-ranking veterinary medicine universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 below:

  1. University of Guelph
  2. University of Montreal
  3. University of Calgary
  4. University of Alberta
  5. University of Prince Edward Island
  6. University of Saskatchewan

Study Veterinary Medicine in Canada

If you are interested in studying a veterinary program in Canada, arrange a free consultation with SI-Canada today.

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Veterinary Medicine in Canada FAQ

What are some of the scholarships available for veterinary programs in Canada?

Several scholarships are available for pursuing veterinary programs in Canada, including the 3M National Student Fellowship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, and York University -Automatic Entrance Scholarships. 

What are the specialization options at a veterinary university in Canada?

Veterinary universities in Canada offer a range of specialization options for students pursuing advanced studies in veterinary medicine, which may include small animal medicine and surgery, large animal medicine and surgery, equine medicine, wildlife health and conservation, exotic animal medicine, pathology, radiology, dermatology, anesthesia, internal medicine, and public health.

How many years does it take to become a veterinarian in Canada?

Becoming a veterinarian in Canada takes a minimum of 7 to 8 years of education and training after high school. This includes completing a 4-year undergraduate degree and admission to a 4-year DVM program at an accredited veterinary school.

What is the average salary of a veterinarian in Canada?

The average salary of a veterinarian is around CAD 95,000 in Canada.

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