Prospective Students

Welcome to the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at UMass Amherst where we prepare students to become contributing members and leaders in the fields of veterinary and human health, animal biotechnology, and production agriculture.  Our undergraduate curriculum is designed to develop scientific awareness of cell and molecular biology, critical and ethical thinking, and skills in laboratory and animal management and communication.

VASCI undergraduates experience the best of both worlds - a close-knit college community in a large dynamic university. UMass maintains two facilities where livestock are housed, the Hadley Farm Equine and Livestock Research and Education Center and the South Deerfield Complex as well as partnering with a local dairy farm to provide students with hands-on opportunities to learn about various species. Veterinary & Animal Sciences students at all levels also have the opportunity to work in the laboratories of nationally and internationally recognized scientists studying immunology, reproduction and development, genetics and toxicology.  Students also enjoy the culturally exciting benefits of ‘city’ living- music, theater, art and nightlife - in what was recently rated as the number one college town in North America, a beautiful setting filled with opportunities for local organic farming, hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing and more. To avoid disappointment it is important that students entering our Department understand that we offer primarily a science-based program that presents the opportunity to gain experience with species relevant to traditional animal science programs. It is not a clinical program in veterinary medicine and thus does not offer small animal, exotic animal or wildlife experiences, nor is it the appropriate program for those interested in production agriculture.

VASCI Information Sessions and Tours are offered at 1:00 p.m. on the first Friday of the following months: February, March, October, November and December.  Tours last approximately two hours and will include our laboratory facilities and the Hadley Farm Equine and Livestock Research and Education Center. Please contact us at VASCI [at] umass [dot] edu or 413-545-0666 to register to participate in one of the information sessions and tours of the VASCI facilities.

Campus tours are available through the Undergraduate Admissions office.

Admissions - Admission into the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences is administered through the University Undergraduate Admissions Office. Students may enter the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences as freshmen or as external transfer students. Animal Science is an open major; students accepted to the University of Massachusetts Amherst can declare Animal Science as their major.

High school students applying to the University of Massachusetts Amherst who want to be considered for the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences should list Animal Sciences as their intended major on their Common Application to the University.  Please review the Checklist for Freshmen Applicants to assist in the application process.

Transfer student applicants please utilize the Checklist for Transfer Applicants to assist in the application process.  Prospective transfer students can also utilize the UMass Amherst Community College Connection which is especially designed for community college graduates who participated in a  Joint Admissions or MassTransfer program at a Massachusetts community college.

Recommended Pre-Requisite Courses - We recommend that students take as many science and math courses as are allowed. These can include: biology, chemistry, physiology & anatomy, physics, algebra, statistics, trigonometry, and calculus. In addition, take courses that provide writing experience and at least three years of one foreign language.  Work experience with a veterinarian (volunteer or paid) is an excellent way to determine if veterinary medicine is an appropriate career choice. Veterinary medical schools require this type of work experience prior to application. Other positions working with animals may also enhance your veterinary school application.

Academic Majors - Our undergraduate program leads to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Animal Science or the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Pre-Veterinary Science. All incoming freshmen students enter our program as Animal Science Majors; students must qualify and apply to change to the Pre-Veterinary Major.

Animal Science Major - This major provides a sound background in the basic sciences to prepare students for a broad range of jobs in agriculture and related biomedical fields. Students must chose the Animal Biotechnology & Research Concentration or the Animal Management Concentration.

Pre-Veterinary Major - This major is primarily designed to provide pre-professional training to students planning to continue their education in Veterinary, Graduate or Medical school, or who are contemplating joining the teaching profession.

Research Opportunties - Veterinary & Animal Science students at all levels, in either the Pre-Veterinary or Animal Science majors, have the opportunity to work in the laboratories of nationally and internationally recognized scientists studying immunology, reproduction and development, genetics and toxicology. The Department encourages students to expand their knowledge beyond the conventional classroom through independent studies, practica and internships under the guidance of departmental faculty. Projects are graded and students may earn course credits based upon their experience from library research on a specific topic to significant hands-on laboratory research.  The Department recommends you review the research being done by each of our primary investigators, choose a topic that interests you and then make an appointment with the primary investigator to discuss the possibility of working in the primary investigator’s lab.

Student Life - Our large animal population consisting of: goats, horses, poultry, sheep, and Belted Galloway cattle maintained on the Hadley Farm and at the South Deerfield Complex provide the basis for much of the animal experience we offer whether one is interested in applying to veterinary school or seeking employment opportunities after graduation.  VASCI also partners with a local dairy farm where students feed and care for dairy calves seven days per week under the direct supervision of the instructor. Along with our curricular offerings of reproduction, nutrition, diseases, and management, we offer numerous extracurricular activities to all interested students.  These include:  Winter Traveling Dairy Tour class, Artificial Insemination Certification class, NESA (the Northeast Student Affiliate undergraduate regional division of the American Dairy Science Association) Intercollegiate Animal Science Competition, participation in Regional and National Dairy Challenges, the Genex Open House and tour of Cornell Veterinary School, participation in livestock showing and judging at local fairs and the Boer Bash. Students also have the opportunity to participate in The Annual Baystate Livestock Classic; this show is open to the public and is held at the Hadley Farm.  Students organize this event and learn the grooming and showing of cattle, swine, sheep, goats and horses. These events all promote positive student to student, student to faculty, and student to industry representative interaction, which can lead to post-baccalaureate internship employment, and graduate school opportunities.

Academic Advisors - All students are assigned to a VASCI faculty member who will serve as the student’s Academic Advisor. Since individuals have special interests, the departmental faculty encourages students to interact with the faculty to develop a program of study that meets their career objectives.  This interaction is an on-going process but formal meetings between faculty members and advisees are scheduled in both the Fall and Spring semesters prior to class registration and students are required to attend these meetings.

Animal Science Majors Residential Academic Plan - RAP provides a unique opportunity for first-year students who have been accepted into the Animal Science RAP to connect with other motivated Animal Science majors, meet faculty, and learn about opportunities within the Veterinary and Animal Sciences Dept. Students enrolled in this RAP will live together in Knowlton Hall in the Northeast residential area and will take a 1-credit seminar course in the fall semester of their first year designed to enhance their academic experience and promote a successful transition into the University.

Pre-Veterinary and Animal Sciences Club - Members attain both organizational and professional skills through weekly meetings and planned activities. The Club recognizes the importance of integrating the competent care of animals and the ability to work closely with people. Meetings are interactive and topic choices involve the constant input of club members. All UMass undergraduate students are welcome to join.

Animal Science Peer Mentoring Group - The Mentoring Group offers tutoring and social events including guest speakers, field trips, group dinners and movie nights.  Meetings are held every other week and focus on various topics including tips on: developing good study habits and good note taking skills, lab courses, “surviving” on campus and campus life, the Commonwealth College, studying abroad, and how to get the best experience with animal management classes. Upper class VASCI students are matched with underclassmen; each mentor guides 3 to 4 mentees.

Helpful Links

FAQ for Prospective VASCI students

So…You think you want to go to Vet School FAQ

VASCI Course Catalog

How to Apply

Transfer Students

VASCI Department Honors

Commonwealth Honors College

Financial Aid

Residential Life

VASCI Career Information - The Veterinary and Animal Science Department offers many opportunities for students to get involved in research, internships and practica, and to make connections for career opportunities. There are many, many employment opportunities available to students that graduate with a B.S. in animal science. Examples of possible careers are listed on our website. You can also find a listing of firms that employ animal science graduates and websites to use in searching for jobs.

Career Services

Power-Up for College Success

Learning Resources Center

College of Natural Sciences - CNS

Five College Interchange

Student Organizations - RSO

Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success – CMass