Veterinary school prerequisites and the Duke classes that fulfill them

One of the most important aspects of applying to veterinary school is fulfilling the pre-veterinary courses. Usually schools will let students leave up to two classes for their spring semester of senior year. For those who are undecided about attending veterinary school, it doesn’t hurt to take a few of these prerequisite classes from the start of college. The chart below summarizes course prerequisites for each veterinary school, and is published by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). For more information, visit each school’s individual website and this link to the AAVMC’s full report. Course requirements can change from year to year, so remember to check school websites frequently.

Below is a list of Duke classes that fulfill vet school course requirements. Again, consult with the websites of the vet schools you are interested in to determine which courses you must take.

Physics: Phys 141L and Phys 142L

General Chemistry*: Chem 101DL and Chem 210DL

*Not all schools accept AP credit, so check with individual schools before planning to use AP credit.

Organic Chemistry: Chem 201DL and Chem 202L

Statistics: Sta 101 or Sta 102

Placement for Statistics Courses

Statistics Course Descriptions


Math 105L – Lab Calc/functions I

Math 106L – Lab Calc/functions II

Math 21 – Introductory Calculus I (This is equivalent to AP credit for Calc AB)

Math 111L – Laboratory Calculus I

Math 122 – Introductory Calculus II (This is equivalent to AP credit for Calc BC, but will appear as Math 22)

Math 112L – Laboratory Calculus II

and if you really like math and have credit for Math 22:

Math 202 – Multivariable Calculus

Math 212 – Intermediate Calculus

Math Course Placement: The math department has a few restrictions as to what classes you are qualified to take. Check here to see where the best math course for you is.

Biochemistry: Biochem 301

General Biology: Bio 201L and Bio 202L (the biology major gateway courses)

OR Bio 203L – Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Evolution, requires Biology AP 5, and Chem 21 (AP 5) or 101DL or 110DL  (offered Spring only)*

*Note that many veterinary schools require a full year of biology with lab. Taking Bio 201L and Bio 202L will fulfill this requirement. However, taking only Bio 203L will leave you a semester of biology with lab short of fulfilling the prerequisite. If you choose to take Bio 203L instead of Bio 201L and Bio 202L, you must take another biology course with lab to fulfill the prerequisite.

Genetics: Bio 202L may cover the genetics requirement of some schools, but you must check with individual schools for confirmation. Here are some other genetics courses that Duke offers:

Bio 250 – Population Genetics

Bio 414LS – Experiments in Developmental and Molecular Genetics

Bio 420 – Cancer Genetics

Bio 411S – Molecular Genetic Analysis

Bio 783 – Developmental Genetics

(Again, these are only suggestions)

Microbiology: Bio 212L

Animal Physiology/Anatomy: Bio 330L (Anatomy of Vertebrates) or Bio 329L (Principles of Animal Physiology)


Writing 101 – yes, it does count!

Most schools will accept AP credit for an English course that appears on your transcript, for example:

English 20 – AP English Literature & Composition

English 22 – AP English Composition & Language

The English department has a wide variety of courses to choose from. Below are some suggestions. If you are unsure about whether a course will meet a school’s requirements, don’t hesitate to contact them.

English 212S – Creative non-fiction: Art of the Essay

English 219S/A – Scientific Writing

English 390s – Special Topics in Language and Literature

Many courses at Duke that fulfill the Trinity “Writing” requirement may also be acceptable in vet school admissions. Again, check with each school to see if they will accept such a course.

Humanities and Social Studies: 

Each school has different specifics as to how many semesters and in what departments they require humanities and social studies courses. This is your chance to take non-science classes that interest you. They do not have to be related to animals or medicine. Take some psychology classes, master the art of photography, or learn a new language. Well-roundedness is desirable in vet school admissions.

Upper Level Science Electives: 

Bio 220 – Cell and Developmental Biology

Bio 548L – Herpetology

Bio 515 – Principles of Immunology

Cellbio 503 – Introduction to Physiology

You can also take courses such as parasitology or histology at NCSU, UNC, or another university.

See the current list of approved Biology Major/Minor electives here for more course ideas at Duke.

Required courses not available at Duke: Available at NCSU, UNC, or other universities

You may choose to use the inter-institutional program, enroll independently, or take the course online.

Check with specific schools to see from where they accept credit.

Animal Nutrition: Not available at Duke, some online courses accepted.

Animal Science: Not available at Duke, some online courses accepted.

Public Speaking/Communication: Sometimes offered by Duke in the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Remember to also fulfill your major requirements.  Using the worksheet for the Biology Major, EvAnth Major, Chemistry Major, Neurosciences Major, etc. is really helpful in staying organized.

Finally, check to make sure you complete all your Trinity Requirements.

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