Chicago, the city of broad shoulders, isn’t just known for its towering skyscrapers and deep-dish pizza. Under the bustling surface lies a thriving hub for animal care, fueled by some of the best veterinary schools in Chicago.
Whether you dream of treating playful pups on Michigan Avenue or becoming an exotic animal specialist at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago offers a vibrant ecosystem for all aspiring veterinarians.
But before you don your stethoscope and grab your otoscope, let’s delve into the hearts of these institutions, uncovering their academic strengths, clinical prowess, and that special Windy City magic that sets them apart.
With a booming pet population and a growing awareness of animal welfare, the demand for compassionate, skilled veterinarians is higher than ever. But with so many veterinary schools in Chicago vying for your attention, choosing the right one can feel like navigating the maze at Millennium Park.
If you can relate, do not panic. This guide will serve as your compass, mapping out the top veterinary schools in Chicago, highlighting their unique strengths, and highlighting the exciting opportunities that await you in a city that loves animals as much as you do.
So, buckle up and get ready to explore the veterinary schools in Chicago that will turn your passion into a fulfilling, paws-itively life-changing career.
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Best Veterinary Schools in Chicago
The best veterinary schools in Chicago include the following:
1. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine stands as a beacon of excellence in veterinary education, tracing its roots back to its founding in 1946.
As one of the oldest veterinary schools in Chicago, it has consistently upheld a tradition of academic prowess and groundbreaking research in the field of veterinary medicine.
The college offers a comprehensive Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, providing students with a well-rounded education encompassing both classroom learning and hands-on clinical experience.
Renowned for its cutting-edge facilities and distinguished faculty, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine attracts aspiring veterinarians from across the nation.
But UIUC isn’t just about the science. It’s a vibrant community where you’ll forge lifelong bonds with fellow animal enthusiasts, learn from inspiring mentors, and be constantly challenged to push the boundaries of veterinary medicine. Plus, with a supportive alumni network spanning the globe, you’ll never be short of guidance and inspiration.
2. Northwestern University
In the heart of vibrant Evanston, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine speaks a different tune for aspiring veterinarians.
Here, you won’t find sprawling farmland or a bustling teaching hospital. Instead, you’ll step into a haven of academic rigor, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a personalized approach that nurtures the well-rounded veterinarian of tomorrow.
Northwestern’s magic lies in its small class sizes, where you’ll be more than just a number. Renowned professors become mentors, and classmates transform into lifelong colleagues. You’ll delve into a curriculum that seamlessly blends cutting-edge veterinary science with the latest research in human medicine, public health, and even engineering.
But it’s not all microscopes and research papers. Northwestern understands the human side of being a vet. You’ll hone your communication skills, explore the ethical dilemmas of animal care, and delve into the business aspects of running a successful practice. By the time you graduate, you’ll be not just a skilled clinician but a confident leader and advocate for animal welfare.
3. University of Chicago
Nestled in the heart of Hyde Park, UChicago’s Laboratory Animal Medicine Training Program isn’t one of your average veterinary schools in Chicago. It’s a breeding ground for urban animal champions, a think tank for cutting-edge research, and a gateway to a career that transcends traditional clinical practice.
Here, you’ll delve into the intricate world of laboratory animal medicine, ensuring the well-being of animals while contributing to groundbreaking research across diverse fields. Imagine collaborating with Nobel laureates, developing innovative animal models for human diseases, or tackling the ethical and practical challenges of using animals in scientific advancement.
But UChicago doesn’t stop at the lab. You’ll gain invaluable clinical experience at partner institutions like the prestigious Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo, learning to care for everything from playful penguins to majestic tigers.
You’ll also become an expert in urban animal welfare, tackling issues like animal control, shelter medicine, and the unique challenges facing pets in a bustling city.
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4. Loyola University Chicago (Pre-Health Professions)
While Loyola University Chicago doesn’t offer a traditional veterinary school, its Pre-Health Professions program acts as a powerful springboard for aspiring vets. Forget the impersonal lecture halls and large class sizes. Here, you’ll be enveloped in a supportive community where your aspirations for animal care take center stage.
Loyola’s magic lies in its personalized approach. You’ll be assigned a dedicated pre-health advisor who becomes your champion, guiding you through course selection, MCAT preparation, and the often-daunting veterinary school application process.
Here, you’ll have access to a wealth of resources, including mock interviews, workshops on effective application writing, and even opportunities to shadow practicing veterinarians.
You’ll also be surrounded by like-minded peers in Loyola’s vibrant pre-health community, forming a network of support and motivation that will last long after graduation.
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5. Roosevelt University (Pre-Vet Track)
While Roosevelt University is not generally a veterinary school, the Pre-Vet Track qualifies the school on our list of the best veterinary schools in Chicago. Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s vibrant downtown, it’s a launchpad for passionate animal advocates, a champion of diverse perspectives, and a gateway to a career that’s as unique as the city itself.
Whether you dream of working with exotic animals at Lincoln Park Zoo, specializing in shelter medicine, or focusing on the human-animal bond, Roosevelt’s flexible track lets you craft your path.
Here, you’ll work closely with dedicated advisors who become your champions, helping you choose courses, navigate research opportunities, and land meaningful volunteer experiences that make your application shine.
But Roosevelt isn’t just about academics. It’s a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences where you’ll learn alongside like-minded individuals who share your passion for animal welfare.
Related: Best Veterinary Schools in Missouri
6. National Louis University (Pre-Veterinary Medicine)
Amidst the bustling streets of Chicago, National Louis University (NLU) offers a haven for aspiring veterinarians who thrive in a non-traditional setting.
NLU’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is designed for busy adults, offering flexible scheduling, online options, and a supportive environment that champions your journey.
Their flexible program allows you to take courses at your own pace, online or in-person, ensuring you can balance your aspirations with your existing responsibilities. No more putting your dreams on hold – at NLU, you can become a veterinarian while still thriving in your current life.
NLU’s curriculum is rigorous and comprehensive, ensuring you gain the scientific knowledge and practical skills necessary to excel in veterinary school. You’ll delve deep into biology, chemistry, zoology, and other essential courses, guided by experienced faculty who are dedicated to your success.
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7. DePaul University (Pre-Vet Track)
In the vibrant heart of Lincoln Park, DePaul University’s Pre-Vet Track isn’t your typical pre-vet program. It’s a breeding ground for urban animal champions, a hub for hands-on experience, and a springboard for a career that’s as multifaceted as the city itself.
In this pre-vet track, you’ll learn how to navigate the complexities of urban animal welfare, tackle issues like shelter medicine, and advocate for the well-being of animals in a bustling metropolis.
But DePaul isn’t just about theory. You’ll get your hands dirty from day one. Through partnerships with local animal shelters, clinics, and research institutions, you’ll gain invaluable clinical experience.
You’ll have access to world-renowned institutions like the Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo, shadowing experienced professionals, learning from the best, and gaining exposure to diverse animal care specialties.
8. Illinois College
Nestled amidst the rolling hills of central Illinois, Illinois College (IC) offers a unique pre-vet experience that blends a strong pre-vet curriculum with a focus on global veterinary medicine. Here, you’ll find a supportive community, personalized guidance, and a chance to explore your passion for animal care within a global context.
But IC doesn’t just equip you with knowledge. You’ll gain invaluable practical experience through hands-on labs, research opportunities, and internships with local veterinarians, animal shelters, and even conservation organizations.
Imagine assisting with farm animal care, participating in wildlife rehabilitation, or contributing to cutting-edge research projects—all while learning from experienced professionals and building a robust portfolio for your veterinary school applications.
And IC’s commitment extends beyond the classroom and local community. You’ll have the chance to participate in international veterinary service trips, gaining first-hand experience with animal care in diverse settings and developing a global perspective on veterinary medicine.
9. Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine (Downers Grove, IL)
Nestled near Chicago, Midwest University College of Veterinary Medicine isn’t your typical veterinary school. It’s a hub for compassionate innovators, a pioneer in collaborative research, and a springboard for a career that blends cutting-edge technology with unwavering animal care.
You’ll be nurtured in a supportive community that fosters collaboration, ethical decision-making, and effective communication. You’ll also learn from diverse faculty who are not only experts in their fields but also passionate advocates for animal welfare.
This program also allows you to join a global network of MWU alumni, making a difference on a larger scale. Imagine connecting with veterinarians across the globe, sharing best practices, and contributing to a collective effort to improve animal health for all.
10. North Central College (Pre-Vet Program)
Located in the heart of the western suburbs of Chicago, North Central College (NCC) offers a pre-vet program that stands out for its personalized approach and dedication to student success.
NCC’s pre-vet program offers a unique opportunity to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Colloquium, where you can conduct research alongside faculty or peers and present your findings at national conferences.
NCC’s partnerships with local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and research institutions provide countless opportunities for volunteer experiences, internships, and shadowing opportunities.
NCC isn’t just a stepping stone; it’s a launchpad that propels you towards fulfilling your dream of becoming a veterinarian who makes a difference in the lives of animals, not just in the western suburbs of Chicago, but on a grander scale.
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11. Aurora University (Pre-Veterinary Medicine)
In the vibrant heart of Aurora, Illinois, Aurora University’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is more than just a stepping stone to veterinary school; it’s a transformative journey that ignites your passion and equips you with the skills and knowledge to make a profound impact on the lives of animals.
Imagine immersing yourself in a curriculum that goes beyond traditional coursework. You’ll delve into the intricate world of animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology while also exploring the ethical and social dimensions of veterinary care.
But Aurora University doesn’t just teach you about animals; it teaches you about yourself. You’ll embark on a journey of personal growth and discovery, fostering empathy, compassion, and a deep understanding of the human-animal bond.
So, if you’re an aspiring veterinarian who seeks a transformative educational experience that ignites your passion and prepares you to make a difference in the lives of animals, Aurora University’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is your answer.
12. Dominican University (Pre-Vet Track)
In the heart of River Forest, Illinois, Dominican University’s Pre-Vet Track is a beacon for aspiring veterinarians who seek to combine their passion for animal care with a deep commitment to service.
Forget the traditional pre-vet programs that focus solely on academic rigor. Here, you’ll embark on a transformative journey that blends scientific knowledge with hands-on experience, ethical considerations, and a strong emphasis on community service.
In this program, you’ll delve into the intricate world of animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology while also exploring the ethical dilemmas of animal care, the intricacies of animal behavior, and the importance of animal welfare in a diverse society.
You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in service-learning experiences that connect your classroom knowledge to real-world challenges.
Imagine working with local animal shelters, volunteering at veterinary clinics, or contributing to research projects that address critical animal welfare issues. This hands-on exposure will not only enhance your skills and knowledge but also nurture your compassion and commitment to serving the animal community.
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13. Lewis University (Pre-Veterinary Medicine)
Lewis University’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine program stands as a testament to the power of passion, preparation, and success. With a rich history spanning over 50 years, this school has a reputation for providing some of the best veterinarians in the country.
Through this program, you’ll embark on a personalized journey that aligns with your unique aspirations, equipping you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to excel in veterinary school and beyond.
Whether you dream of working with large animals on sprawling farms, caring for exotic species in conservation efforts, or tackling global health challenges through One Health initiatives, Lewis University’s flexible program allows you to customize your coursework and explore diverse areas of veterinary medicine, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the path you choose.
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14. Benedictine University (Pre-Vet Program)
Benedictine University’s Pre-Vet Program is a gateway to a rewarding and impactful career in veterinary medicine. The comprehensive curriculum, tailored to the specific needs of aspiring veterinarians, provides a strong foundation in the scientific principles and practical skills essential for success in this demanding yet fulfilling field.
At Benedictine, you’ll delve into the intricate world of animal anatomy, physiology, and pathology, gaining a deep understanding of the biological processes that govern animal health and well-being.
You’ll also explore the ethical and social dimensions of veterinary care, developing the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to navigate the complexities of animal welfare and human-animal interactions.
Beyond the classroom, Benedictine provides numerous opportunities to gain hands-on experience and refine your clinical skills. Through partnerships with local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and research institutions, you’ll have the chance to assist veterinarians, work with diverse animal species, and participate in real-world veterinary care.
These practical experiences will not only enhance your technical abilities but also foster your compassion and commitment to animal well-being.
15. College of DuPage (Pre-Veterinary Medicine)
Nestled in the heart of Illinois, the College of DuPage’s (COD) Pre-Veterinary Medicine program makes it one of the best veterinary schools in Chicago that offers an accessible and supportive pathway to a fulfilling career in animal care.
Forget the intimidating notion of pre-vet programs that cater only to the most academically elite. Here, you’ll be welcomed into a diverse community where passion and dedication take precedence, empowering you to make a difference in the lives of animals.
COD’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is designed to accommodate your individual needs and aspirations. Whether you dream of working with companion animals in a bustling clinic, caring for exotic species in a conservation setting, or tackling global health challenges through One Health initiatives, their flexible coursework allows you to tailor your studies to align with your specific interests.
COD’s partnerships with local animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and research institutions provide countless opportunities to gain hands-on experience and refine your clinical skills.
Imagine assisting veterinarians, working with diverse animal species, and honing your skills in a real-world setting. This practical exposure will make you a more confident and competent applicant, ready to hit the ground running in veterinary school.
Requirements for Veterinary Schools in Chicago
Admission requirements for veterinary schools in Chicago vary depending on the specific institution, but some general guidelines apply to most programs. Here’s an overview of the common requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is typically required for admission to veterinary school.
- Prerequisites: Veterinary schools typically require applicants to complete a specific set of prerequisite courses, including:
- Biology: General biology, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics
- Chemistry: General chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry
- Physics: General Physics
- Mathematics: Calculus, statistics
- Humanities and social sciences: Courses in English composition, literature, history, psychology, or sociology
- Minimum GPA: Veterinary schools typically have a minimum GPA requirement for admission. This varies by school, but most programs require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a science GPA of 3.2 or higher.
- MCAT (Medical College Admission Test): Most veterinary schools in Chicago require applicants to take the MCAT, a standardized test that assesses their knowledge and skills in scientific concepts and critical thinking.
- Letters of recommendation: Strong letters of recommendation from professors, veterinarians, and other professionals who can speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, and commitment to animal care are essential for a competitive application.
- Animal experience: Veterinary schools look for applicants who have demonstrated hands-on experience working with animals. This could include volunteering at animal shelters, shadowing veterinarians, or working in animal-related industries.
- Personal statement: A well-written personal statement that conveys your passion for veterinary medicine, your understanding of the profession, and your unique strengths and experiences is crucial for a compelling application.
What is the #1 veterinary school in the US?
The University of California-Davis is recognized as the #1 veterinary school in the US.
Does the University of Illinois Chicago have a vet school?
No, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) does not have a veterinary school. The nearest veterinary school to UIC is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine, located about 160 miles south of Chicago.
However, UIC does offer a pre-veterinary medicine program that can help prepare students for admission to veterinary school.
How long is vet school in Illinois?
Veterinary school in Illinois typically takes four years to complete. This includes two years of preclinical coursework, followed by two years of clinical rotations.
During the preclinical years, students take courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and other basic sciences. They also begin to learn about clinical skills, such as how to perform physical exams and administer medications.
As you conclude your exploration of the top veterinary schools in Chicago, you undoubtedly stand at an exciting crossroads, poised to embark on a transformative journey in the field of animal care.
Whether you envision yourself treating beloved companions at a bustling clinic, tending to exotic species in conservation efforts, or delving into the intricacies of animal health through research, the veterinary schools in Chicago offer a multitude of paths to pursue your passion.
Remember, the path to becoming a veterinarian is not merely about academic excellence; it’s about cultivating a deep empathy for animals, fostering a strong work ethic, and embracing lifelong learning.