NCSU-CVM Part 2: Curriculum features and more “Gold Star List” features

I want to discuss  some features of NCSU’s DVM curriculum, but the first “Gold Star” feature of significance is:

* Tuition!! NCSU-CVM has the lowest instate tuition AND has the 3rd lowest out- of -state tuition! Because students can establish residency after their 1st year – this greatly reduces the overall debt that out- of- state students accumulate.

By posting NCSU’s tuition info – I was compelled to make a table of ALL the USA vet schools’s tuitions – and I will provide this and a discussion about potential student loans and payment programs in a future blog… 

* A new “Exotic Animal Medicine Service” for exotic pets

Side noteAlmost all of the vet schools have some kind of “Other” category of hospital services that provide medical care to animals outside the traditional “Companion” animals (dog, cat) and “Large” animals (cows, pigs, sheep, with camels, llamas and alpacas joining this group…), or “Equine” (horses and related equids). This “other” category usually consists of a combination of zoo animals, wildlife and exotic animals. Inherently, there can be a lot of overlap within these 3 areas -so let me try to clarify: Zoo animals – any animal that lives at a zoo, private zoo or “haven” type of facility. Vets from the vet school may treat these animals at the zoo as part of their normal job, on emergency, or if they are brought in to the vet school; Wildlife – usually implies “non-owned” animals – wild birds, mammals (usually small but can also include larger species like deer, coyotes etc) and reptiles/amphibians that people “find” and that  hopefully are able to be released after treatments; Exotic pets – basically any animal that is neither “companion, small animals” or “large, food animals” (parrots, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice, rats, bunnies, snakes, lizards, fish – even invertebrates etc) and are owned by people (paying customers) and treated in the vet schools. Some schools may place a size or species restriction policy on exactly what “exotic pets” they will treat. For example – they may refuse to treat “pet” wolves, “pet” large cats”, or “pet monkeys or apes”. This most likely stems from the fact that the vet profession does not want to support ownership of any animal that may have been obtained through the illegal pet trade.  Personally – I think this is a good policy because the illegal pet trade is unfortunately where a lot of these more “exotic” animals come from…                                                                         My point in discussing this is that different vet schools may have strengths in one, two or three of these areas – and they may have combined services or separate services, headed by different faculty. Be very specific when making inquiries about a school regarding this “other” category – ask about the case load of each subtype – the resources or places that a vet school may service etc so you can guarantee you will get the exposure you hope to gain in the area you want.

Description Of The DVM Degree Program

Like many of the vet schools, NCSU has two phases of education: 1) a three-year preclinical phase  followed by 2) a clinical phase (clinical rotations) in the fourth year of training. 

Yrs 1-3 = progression of basic science to more clinically applicable lectures and labs, and the 2 summer “vacations” that can be used for additional medical or research related opportunities…

The first 6 semesters are  13 wks long each, PLUS an additional 2 week block when students can take “selectives” (which are similar to Electives but shorter). These 2 wk-long selectives tend to be narrow topics but intense in experience gained!

NCSU has 10 “Focus Areas” (sort of like “Tracks”) but “Focus areas”  differ from “Tracks” in that they may involve somewhat overlapping disciplines (ex: Small animal, avian and exotics)

“Focus Areas” include: 1) Zoo Medicine, 2) Small Animal, Avian and Exotics, 3) Small Animal, 4) Clinician Scientist, 5) Epidemiology 6) Equine, 7) Food Animal, 8)Lab Animal, 9) Mixed Animal, 10) Pathology.

Although somewhat complicated to explain – these Focus areas provide a great deal of flexibility in what classes and clinical rotations the student can choose. In addition – the student is required to have an “adviser” within the Focus area that they pursue.

Yrs 1-3: In addition to Core classes/labs that everyone takes – the student is required to take a certain # of “selectives” (from 1-8) depending on the particular Focus Area they have chosen.  For example, Zoo Medicine  requires 8 selectives (25 to choose from), Small Animal, Avian and Exotics requires 3 “selectives” (11 to choose from), whereas Small Animal has no required “selectives”.  All “selectives” are available to all students – if they have time to take them – but those in a Focus Area would have priority for the selectives directly related to them .

Once in the 4th yr – there are 4 Core rotations that ALL students must take regardless of Focus Area. These include: Radiology, Anesthesia, Clin. Lab/Necropsy and Clinical Pathology. In addition – within each “Focus Area” students take “required” rotations – 1 “medicine” rotation, 1″surgery” rotation, 1 “ER” rotation and 1 “primary care” rotation. These tend to be somewhat specific to their Focus area, species, or discipline. Students also take additional “required” rotations – but there tend to be several to choose from. (Like I said – it sounds somewhat complicated!!).

Ultimately – the NCSU student has a somewhat “personalized education” with lots of flexibility and control over how they spend their time.

Next blog – the cost of a veterinary degree and financial considerations…

Previously I spoke about “externships” and again – depending on the “Focus area” that the students chooses – they may have more allotted time for externships.



Leave a Reply