All course information is listed within this syllabus.

VBSC 101: Careers in Veterinary Medicine and the Allied Professions (1 credit). Examination of career opportunities in veterinary medicine including types of specialization by species and/or by discipline.

Prerequisites: None


Instructor for VBSC 101

Nüket Acar, DVM, MS, Ph.D.
Associate Teaching Professor
Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Advisor

Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
108E Animal, Veterinary, and Biomedical Sciences Building
Shortlidge Road
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox or send a direct e-mail to .

I will do my best to respond to your e-mails within 48 hours, and I will let you know if I'm going to be unavailable for any length of time.


  • Ph.D., Poultry Science, Auburn University, Alabama, 1991
  • M.S., Avian Sciences, University of California, Davis, California, 1987
  • D.V.M., Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ankara, Türkiye, 1981

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Alexandra Thomson


Course Overview

The course is intended for first-year students with an interest in careers in veterinary medicine or in the allied industries. Students will explore various career opportunities within the veterinary medical field and careers in animal industries and animal health. Students will have opportunities to match their abilities with their career aspirations.

Course Objectives

By the end of VBSC 101, students should be able to:

  • compare their initial career goals and aspirations to the goals at the end of the course
  • learn from veterinary medical professionals and others about various career pathways
  • assess own interests and strengths which may impact choosing an academic major
  • become aware of various key individuals for them to contact and discuss their career goals

Course Outline

Module 1: Setting Your Career Goals

  • Assignment #1: Career Goals Plan

Module 2: Animal Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

  • Assignment #2: Food Insecurity

Module 3: Companion Animal Medicine

Module 4: Equine Veterinary Medicine

Module 5: Large Animal, Mixed Animal, and Food Animal Veterinary Medicine

Module 6: Laboratory Animal Medicine

  • Assignment #3: Animal Use in Biomedical Research

Module 7: Wildlife Medicine and Zoological Medicine

Module 8: Veterinary Pathology and Veterinary Microbiology

Module 9: Veterinary Nutrition, Veterinary Toxicology, and Veterinary Theriogenology

Module 10: Veterinary Internal Medicine and Veterinary Dermatology

Module 11: Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and Emergency and Critical Care

  • Assignment #4: Euthanasia

Module 12: Poultry Veterinary Medicine, and Veterinarians in the Military

Module 13: Pharmaceuticals, Animal Foundations, and Biomedical Research

Module 14: Technical Positions, and Animal Agriculture Jobs

Module 15: Conclusions and Reflections

  • Assignment #5: Career Goals Revisited

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

A textbook is not required for this class.


Students are responsible for their assignments and quizzes. Refer to the Course Summary for specific activity due dates. I will do my best to have your assignments/quizzes graded within 7–10 days.


You will have a quiz question(s) after each module starting with Module 2 and ending with Module 14. Hint: Please answer these questions as soon as possible while the subject is fresh in mind.


You will have 5 assignments to complete which have a rubric to follow.

Late Policy

Quizzes and Assignments must be submitted on time for full credit. Submission after the due date will be treated in the following manner: 1–3 days late submissions will be penalized by 50%; 4–7 days late submissions will be penalized by 75%. Zero points will apply after 7 days and for no submission. I will not accept any assignments and/or quiz answers via e-mails. Thus, you need to use Canvas directions to submit your quiz answers and assignments.

Grading Policy

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value
All Quiz Questions Answered 50
Assignment #1: Career Goals Plan 10
Assignment #2: Food Insecurity 10
Assignment #3: Animal Use in Biomedical Research 10
Assignment #4: Euthanasia 10
Assignment #5: Career Goals Revisited 10
TOTAL: 100

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 95% 95–100
A- < 95% – 90% 90–94
B+ < 90% – 87% 87–89
B < 87% – 84% 84–86
B- < 84% – 80% 80–83
C+ < 80% – 75% 75–79
C < 75% – 70% 70–74
D < 70% – 65% 65–69
F < 65% 0–64

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's " The Core Rules of Netiquette " for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures, and the Code of Conduct ).

Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias page.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their Web Privacy Statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff page for information regarding its rules governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The University offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.