Examine the Curriculum

Employers of our first graduates expressed an impressive 95% satisfaction rate, based on our graduates’ knowledge, performance, communication, problem solving, and learning skills.

WesternU's four-year DVM curriculum uses a problem-based learning approach, and is guided by a reverence-for-life philosophy. Your education will include not only wellness care, primary and tertiary care, but also client communication, collegial exchange, and business training.

Review the Course Listing in our Catalog For more detail regarding the curriculum, please review the course descriptions (PDF) in our University catalog.

Vanessa Biegen“The curriculum is so unique and so engaging. Never again will you be just a passive learner. I was often skipping lectures at my undergraduate institution and learning the information on my own because the professors weren’t able to keep me and my classmates interested. At WesternU, that simply doesn’t happen.”
-Vanessa Biegen, DVM Class of 2011

Problem-Based Learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) is significantly different from the traditional lecture-based format. In WesternU's PBL curriculum, groups of approximately 7 students actively engage in the learning process while faculty facilitate and provide subject-matter knowledge.

Working independently and in small groups, students explore case studies to learn basic science and clinical concepts. As a student, you'll learn to uncover answers, assess the quality of information, learn basic science knowledge and communicate effectively as you explore 64 carefully selected cases during your first and second year in the program.

Although the transition from a traditional to a problem-based learning style can be challenging, students and alumni say it is extremely rewarding and worth the effort!

Read more on PBL below

I love our problem-based learning approach. Instead of sitting through lectures and, for example, getting totally immersed in every single parasite known to man, we are presented with a new case each week.

"We receive disclosures (medical background and presenting symptoms) each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday regarding our 'patient' for the week. We then come up with all of the facts from the case, our problems, ideas, and plans for diagnosis and treatment. We also come up with learning issues; things we need to know to be able to effectively diagnose and treat the patient.

"We are responsible for coming up with learning issues and finding the resources we need to learn the information. This way of learning puts the responsibility on the student and makes things "stick" so much better. I can relate the basic sciences to an actual case, and this makes the knowledge much more memorable."


Jennifer Stonequist, DVM 2011

Students radiographing the leg of a horseReverence-for-Life Philosophy
You will master all the technical skills you need to become a skilled professional, and you will learn them in a manner that does not harm animals. For example, you will acquire skills, such as how to anesthetize and perform surgeries through use of inanimate and dynamic models, computer simulations and apprenticeships. Mastery of skills is required before you work on live animals; we never perform unnecessary surgeries or procedures on healthy animals. You will have the chance to practice your skills on real animals with real medical issues at various points in the program.

Early Clinical Experience
You can expect clinical exposure starting in the very first week of class, and more extensive third year clinical experience than is available at most other veterinary schools. You will master procedural skills on high-tech mannequins before performing them on live animals at numerous facilities both on and off campus. Read more about the incredible clinical experiences you can expect as a WesternU student.

Nina Nardi“I’ve had senior veterinarians impressed with my ability to deal with new cases which I’m able to do because of the problem-based learning and teaching methods we were exposed to at WesternU.”
-Nina Nardi, DVM Class of 2007

Learn Alongside Students in Other Health Professions
WesternU's interprofessional curriculum provides a forum for you to collaborate and learn from students in eight other health-care programs. This curriculum provides an opportunity for early networking with other health professionals and ultimately prepares you to better serve your patients through interprofessional collaboration and referrals.

Academic Support
Dedicated clinical and basic science faculty with many years of teaching experience are committed to working closely with you to help you succeed in our rigorous program. You will have a faculty advisor who serves as a mentor throughout your academic career by providing advice, referrals, letters of recommendation, and other support.

Additionally, you can draw on the expertise of the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Office (LEAD). LEAD staff arrange for individual and group peer-tutoring sessions, one-on-one stress relief sessions, and workshops on topics such as time management, test-taking skills, and learning styles.

Just five years after opening our doors to students, the College of Veterinary Medicine has achieved limited full accreditation and a reputation as a leader in innovative learning and reverence-for-life pedagogy. Clearly, we prioritize student success.

Anatomy labFacilities and Technology
Western University of Health Sciences is a thriving academic health center spread out over 22 acres in Pomona, CA. The main campus includes 17 major buildings.

As a WesternU-DVM student, you will learn in a variety of settings including the Veterinary Science Center's problem-based learning (PBL) rooms, anatomy lab and multidisciplinary classroom, two CVM-associated companion animal wellness centers, local veterinary clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and zoos.

Students working in new Vet Clinic Veterinary Clinical Center
You will also gain experience in the Veterinary Clinical Center, which opened in May, 2008. The first floor of the center is fully equipped with exam rooms, laboratory, pharmacy, medical imaging, and surgery capabilities.


On the rest of the first floor is the student commons, student lockers, a large Wet Lab, and an A/V room. The second floor consists of an auditorium/classroom and a large divided conference room that can also be used as classrooms. Offices are also on both floors.

Join us for information session where you can tour the facilities, chat with faculty and students,
and learn more about WesternU's DVM curriculum and admission requirements.