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The University of Tennessee

The College of Veterinary Medicine

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Educational Programs » Professional Curriculum

Professional Curriculum

The curriculum of the College of Veterinary Medicine is a nine semester, four year program. Each class of students begins in August and graduates four years later in May. The first three years follow the traditional fall and spring semesters with the summer break following years one and two. The final year of the professional curriculum begins immediately following semester six and involves a rotating clinical schedule extending over one calendar year.

The first year consists mostly of courses in anatomy, physiology, immunology, and microbiology. Also included in this first year are courses in physical diagnosis, epidemiology, clinical correlations, and ethics. The second and third years include the study of diseases, their causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and are generally taught on an organ system basis. Specific courses are listed at the curriculum site, along with assigned semester credit hours.

Students in years one-three now spend eight weeks in small group, student-centered tutorial learning.  Each week focuses around one or more clinical case or problem.   Students are responsible for identification of learning issues and for discovery and sharing of new information.  A faculty facilitator meets daily with each group to provide guidance. Three weeks of full time clinic work along side senior students and clinicians has also been included in the curriculum, one week in each of semesters three, four, and five.  Semester six has been shortened from 15 to 11 weeks of instruction to allow additional flexibility and broader experience in the senior year. Semester six includes the most time available for preclinical electives.  All six preclinical semesters are taught using a "block system" for course presentation. This allows for more focused study in a number of courses taught simultaneously.

The final year (semesters seven - nine) is devoted to education in the solving of animal disease problems and includes extensive clinical experience in our Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Each student rotates through a series of required clinical blocks with small animal, large animal, and exotic pet clinical services.  Four weeks are available for additional experiences in areas of personal interest. The senior year also includes time for a four week externship at a private practice, research facility, or other institution of the student's choice.

Credit Hour Requirements

The Professional and D.V.M. curriculums require successful completion of 163 semester credits.

Course Load

The professional curriculum of the College of Veterinary Medicine requires a specific number of credit hours each semester. Because of the sequential and highly integrated character of the professional curriculum, all courses in a given semester are considered prerequisite to those in the succeeding semester.

Laboratory Exercises

Laboratories are considered an integral part of the learning experience; participation is required of all students. While every effort is made to minimize the numbers of animals used for teaching, and great care is exercised in their humane treatment, some laboratory procedures will involve the use of live animals.

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