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.

Be sure to keep a log of all the hours you work/volunteer as well as what you did!

Experience within Canada and the USA is recommended.


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.


So much of veterinary medicine involves working with people and as part of a team. Jobs, sports, 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 (organizing, volunteering in, etc.), unlike conferences or activities where you are attending lectures or simply attending events.



Your three confidential referee assessments include an evaluative grid and a letter. Applicants will provide their referees' contact information when they submit their Background Information Form in January. The referees will then be contacted directly and asked to fill in an online referee assessment by March 1st.

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 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 February.
  • 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). However you may choose to submit post-secondary transcripts at this time.

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 December 1st deadline, including those whose documents arrive after the deadline, will not be considered further.


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 BIF is where you enter the information about all your veterinary experience, animal experience, extracurricular activities and employment. There are also 3 essay questions that should reflect your own personal views:

  1. In what ways do veterinarians contribute to society and what do you hope to contribute? (1000 characters)
  2. Considering the breadth of society we serve as veterinarians today; what attributes do you believe are essential to be successful following a veterinary education?  Of these attributes, which do you possess and how have you demonstrated these in the past? (1000 characters)
  3. There are many career choices following a veterinary education.  What are your future career goals and why? (500 characters)

On your BIF, you will also 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. 


- Referee Assessments (submitted online directly by the referee) 3 letters - 2 from DVMs with whom the candidate has worked/volunteered in a veterinary setting, and one other professional. Applicants can check WebAdvisor for the status of their documentation and are expected to follow up with referees to ensure that assessments are submitted on time.

Those applying into the graduate cohort must supply 4 referees, 2 from DVMs with whom the candidate has worked/volunteered, and 2 from individuals that can speak to their research performance (usually individuals on their graduate committee).

- Transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions attended

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

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 @ 12 Midnight, Eastern Time or the closest Monday if this falls on a weekend. If you are applying through VMCAS, your supplemental application form must be submitted separately.

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

Only those applicants who have completed all the prerequisites for the program will be processed. If an application is received from an applicant who is in the process of completing a prerequisite course their file will not be processed for review until the final transcript and mark for that course is received. We cannot guarantee that seats will remain available during this time.

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