Veterinary experience

Veterinary experience may be voluntary or paid, but must be done with a supervising veterinarian in placements such as clinical practice, research laboratories, animal shelters, animal rehabilitation facilities, public health settings or another related industry where a veterinarian is employed.The aim is to provide the candidate with an understanding of the veterinary profession. It is expected that this category of experience will involve job shadowing/assisting the veterinarian(s) and not just reception or other administrative duties.

Although there are no required number of hours needed for application, it is strongly advised that applicants log as many hours as possible. Try working with different species, too, such as swine, cows, horses, exotics, dogs, cats, etc.

Experience within Canada and the USA is recommended.

Animal experience

Animal experience includes working with livestock, breeding/showing various species, working in a pet store, equestrian activities and any other animal related hobby/experience where a veterinarian is not always present, or does not supervise you. Animal experience does not include pet ownership or college/university courses that involve animals. Animals are defined as vertebrates for this purpose.

Extracurricular experience

So much of veterinary medicine involves working with people and as part of a team. Jobs and volunteer activities that hone your communication, interpersonal and organizational skills are important. These experiences do not involve animal contact. These experiences are ones you are actively involved in and have a role in, unlike conferences or activities where you are attending lectures.


Referee assessments

Your three confidential referee assessments include an evaluative grid and a letter. Assessments must be done on the official form for the cycle in which you are applying for. 

It is important that all your referees understand what is required of veterinarians in a Canadian/US context. Two of your referees must be veterinarians with whom you have obtained veterinary and/or animal experience. This experience does not have to be clinical. It can include research and working in government or industry sectors. The Admission Committee strongly suggests that they be from different clinics or workplaces. The goal of having the two veterinary references is to allow those already in the profession to assess whether you are a suitable candidate to become a member of the profession.

All of your referees have to be qualified to give an unbiased, informed and critical assessment of you as an applicant. They should be individuals who know you in a supervisory or professional context and are able to assess you objectively. None of your referees can be family members, or long standing friends of you or your family, or be employed by you or your family, even if they are veterinarians. Applications from candidates with referee assessments which the Admissions Committee does not consider to be appropriate will not be further considered. 

If you are a graduate student (from a Master's or Doctoral degree program) we require that you submit an additional letter of reference, for a total of  four referee assessments. Two letters of reference should be from veterinarians who can assess your skills and knowledge of veterinary medicine and the other two letters of reference should be from persons familiar with your performance as a graduate student


The Application Process


The application process for Canadian applicants, including those with dual citizenship, to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program depends on which school the candidate attended for undergraduate studies.


  • Current or former University of Guelph students: Apply to the DVM program by applying for transfer or readmission with the University of Guelph Internal Transfer/Reapplication Form. You do not need to fill in the activities section or provide any personal support letters - these will be part of the Background Information Form due in March.
  • Students or graduates from universities other than the University of Guelph: If you attend a post-secondary institution other than the University of Guelph, you may apply to the DVM program using the OUAC 105D form online at the Compass website and can be found under the University of Guelph undergraduate degree programs page. You do not need to fill in the activities section of the OUAC form as this information will be collected in the Background Information Form (BIF).

Upon receipt of these application materials candidates will receive a University of Guelph email account and access to our WebAdvisor notification system.

Any applicants that submit the above documents after the January 1st deadline, including those whose documents arrive after the deadline, will not be considered further.

*** NEW for 2016 ***

The Background Information Form (BIF) and Referee Assessments will all be completed and submitted on-line. 

After you have submitted your application to the DVM program and it has been processed, you will find a link to the BIF in your Documents list on WebAdvisor. 

The new deadline for the BIF is February 1st.

On your BIF, you will provide the names and email addresses for your referees.  We will then email them with instructions on how to complete the Referee Assessments on-line.  After your BIF is submitted, each referee will show individually on your Documents list on WebAdvisor and as each Assessment is received, you will see the status reflected there. 

The deadline for Referee Assessments is March 1st.



- Background Information Form (BIF)


- Referee Assessments (submitted directly by the referee) 3 letters - 2 from DVMs and one other professional (4 for graduate cohort applicants).
- Transcripts
Additional Information Form for Graduate Cohort Applicants [for those applying as part of the graduate cohort (those from master's or doctoral degree programs)]

Any applicants that submit the above documents after the deadline, including those whose documents arrive by mail or courrier after the deadline, will not be considered further.


Non-Canadian applicants who have fulfilled the academic requirements for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph should apply using the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). Please visit the VMCAS website for more information:

Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) Toll Free: 1-877-862-2740

Your VMCAS application must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2016 @ 12 Midnight, Eastern Time. If you are applying through VMCAS, your supplemental application form must be submitted separately.

If you are an international student already attending the University of Guelph please apply using the Application for Internal Transfer/Readmission Form.

Alternatively, if VMCAS is not accessible for you please apply directly to the University of Guelph using the application form. Information is gathered through the Background Information Form (BIF), References, and Transcripts.

If in addition to a bachelor's degree you have graduate training and would like to profile this in your application, you may also submit the Graduate Cohort Information Form. This form should be submitted directly to the address below.

Documents should be submitted to:

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program
Admission Services UC L3
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

If you have questions about the application procedure or a current application in progress, please email