Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Major

Animal health, up close and personal.

Penn State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences is hands-on, science-heavy preparation for veterinary school. Grads thrive at top veterinary, medical, and other biomedical programs, and work, teach, and conduct biomedical research.

Don’t just go to veterinary, medical, or other professional schools. Thrive there.

The Penn State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major is a small, tight-knit community united by a fascination with animal health and well-being.

Faculty and staff are committed to ensuring you get the personalized attention you need to meet your goals. If that goal is veterinary school, we strive to put you in the best possible position to not only get an acceptance letter but excel once you get there.

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences is the right major if you’re:

  • an aspiring veterinarian, doctor, or other biomedical professional
  • passionate about caring for animals
  • a solid science student
  • fascinated with applying scientific principles to real-life situations
  • focused on issues like emerging diseases, food safety, and control and prevention of animal diseases
A pre-veterinary medicine grad working in the lab.

A premier academic experience.

A Penn State grad working in the lab

Career-driven curriculum

Getting into veterinary school is tough, and the challenge doesn’t end when you are accepted. Many of our faculty members are veterinary school grads themselves, and they teach you just like you will be taught at the next level. Faculty at top-flight veterinary schools tell us that graduates of our program are set up for success from day one.

Example Courses

  • Applied Biochemistry
  • Biology of Parasites
  • Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
  • Epidemiology of Infectious Disease
  • Genetics
  • Mammalian Physiology
  • Medical Embryology
  • Medical Virology
  • Physiology of Reproduction in Farm Animals
  • Principles of Animal Disease Control
  • Principles of Avian Diseases
Penn State students work in the lab.

Animal Diagnostic Laboratory

The Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory is a state-of-the-art diagnostic and research facility. State, federal, and academic organizations converge to battle threats like rabies, chronic wasting disease, avian influenza, and many more. As an undergrad, you will have access to the lab through formal classes, independent studies, research projects, and internship opportunities.

Ag Journeys

“I’ve known I wanted to be a vet since I was a kid. But I always saw myself taking care of dogs or cats—you know, the classic veterinarian. Until now.”

–Luke Trimble

The classroom is only the beginning.

You’ll study with best-in-class faculty with years of experience teaching and practicing animal medicine, but they’ll be the first to tell you that the classroom and lab are just the beginning of your Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences experience. You bring the interest, and we’ll help you find a faculty-guided club, internship, externship, or hands-on research opportunity for that.

Craft your experience.

Related clubs and teams 

  • Pre-Vet Club
  • Dairy Science Club
  • Livestock Judging Team
  • Poultry Science Club
  • Small and Exotic Animal Club
  • See all clubs and teams

Recent internships 

  • Assistant at large and small animal veterinarian clinics
  • Caretaker at city zoos and aquariums
  • Farm hand

Recent workshops and professional demonstrations

  • Avian dissection
  • Bandaging
  • Chemical immobilization
  • Suturing
  • Ultrasound
A student examines a Holstein cow.
Bottle feeding a Holstein calf.
Examining newly hatched chicks.

A practical, workforce-ready degree—and a college experience you’ll love.

Penn State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences grads walk off the stage at graduation, and walk into world-class veterinary programs, biomedical research positions, and stellar careers all over the world. You can harness the awesome power of a truly unique education at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Our alumni out in the world

  • Animal food producers
  • Biotechnology companies
  • Government agencies
  • Graduate or veterinary school
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Public health
  • Private practices
  • Private research laboratories
  • University research laboratories

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Career Options

A Penn State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences degree paves the way to a career you want in agriculture, business, and more. Here's food for thought—a few jobs our alumni work in now:

Practitioner veterinarian (upon completion of veterinary school)

A practitioner veterinarian is a medical doctor who diagnoses, treats, and helps prevent diseases and injuries in animals. Depending on the practice, practitioner vets treat either individual animals or care for herd health.

What will I do?

  • Perform surgeries, vaccinate, diagnose, and medicate animals
  • Advise owners on how to best take care of their animals
  • Vaccinate against diseases like distemper and rabies
  • Train and supervise veterinary technicians

Military veterinarian (upon completion of veterinary school)

A military veterinarian is an animal doctor and military officer who treats diseases, disorders, and injuries in animals.

What will I do?

  • Serve as an officer in the U.S. Army within the United States and around the world
  • Diagnose animal illnesses using tests such as X-rays, EKGs, and blood samples
  • Perform minor to complex surgery, depending on training
  • Make recommendations on animal feeding, behavior, and breeding

Biomedical researcher

A biomedical researcher is a scientist who investigates aspects of human and animal health with the aim of finding new ways to improve well-being.

What will I do?

  • Use advanced medical equipment and systems to perform experiments
  • Study the effects of various drugs and treatments
  • Make recommendations to the medical community on possible treatments

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences students in the news

August 10, 2020

College of Ag Sciences students receive Gilman grant for international study

Two students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Janelle Answer and Justin Kurtz, have received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

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May 6, 2020

Plasma medicine research highlights antibacterial effects and potential uses

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Medicine say direct LTP treatment and plasma-activated media are effective treatments against bacteria found in liquid cultures and have devised a way to create plasma directly in liquids.

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April 5, 2019

Student workers receive hands-on experience with deer at Penn State center

Penn State’s Deer Research Center, commonly referred to as “the deer pens,” has been an endearing part of many students’ college experiences since the 1970s, providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on learning about one of the state’s most recognizable mammals.

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November 28, 2017

NIH grant supports exploration of plasma medicine capabilities in blood

Researchers in Penn State’s Colleges of Engineering, Agricultural Sciences, and Medicine have been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to investigate how low-temperature plasma can treat infectious bacterial growth on human tissue and prosthetic implants in the cardiovascular system.

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