- Admissions Overview
- DVM Academic Requirements
- DVM Non-Academic Requirements
- DVM Application Procedure/Documents Required
- General DVM Applicant Information
1. Admissions Overview
The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) is a regional institution that serves the needs of Atlantic Canada. The college is funded by the four Atlantic provinces, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, and approximately two thirds of the seats in the program are reserved for Atlantic Canadian residents. These seats are divided into four distinct applicant pools and the remaining seats are allocated to international applicants (including those from the United States), constituting a fifth applicant pool.
The admissions process strives to select applicants most likely to succeed in the veterinary curriculum with the potential to become competent, responsible veterinarians dedicated to a lifetime of productive public service and continued learning.
Eligibility to Apply
Atlantic Canadian Applicant Pools:
Only those Canadian citizens or permanent residents who meet the Atlantic Canadian residency requirements for Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Newfoundland and Labrador can apply to these pools. See the Determining your Atlantic Canadian Province of Residence section for more information.
International Applicant Pool:
Anyone who is a citizen or permanent resident of a country other than Canada can apply to the International pool.
Canadians with dual citizenship are eligible to apply to the international applicant pool but, if accepted, must remit international student tuition and fees for the duration of their program.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents that do not meet the Atlantic Canadian residency requirements and are not dual citizens are not eligible to apply to our program and should contact the Canadian veterinary college that serves their region.
Applicants to AVC’s DVM Program are evaluated on both academic achievement and non-academic achievement and aptitude as follows:
Academic Achievement (60% of overall admissions score)
60% = Academic Average
Non-academic Aptitude (40% of overall admissions score)
20% = Interview based on animal and veterinary experiences
20% = Work and School Approach and Behaviour test score
Determining your Atlantic Canadian Province of Residence
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who qualify as residents of one of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Newfoundland and Labrador) according to criteria defined by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) are eligible to apply as domestic students. The full MPHEC Definition of Resident is provided here:
DEFINITION OF RESIDENT
A resident of the Province is an individual lawfully entitled to be or remain in Canada, who makes his or her home and is ordinarily present in New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission, including a student living out of Province for the purpose of furthering his or her education, but not including a tourist, transient or visitor to the Province.
An independent student meets, at minimum, one of the following criteria:
• has been out of high school for four years or more
• has had two periods of 12 consecutive months (each) when not a full-time student
• is or was married or common-law
• has a dependent living with them
• has no parent or legal guardian
An independent student is considered a resident of New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland by living in the Province for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission, excluding time spent as a full-time student at a post-secondary institution.
A dependent student is a student who does not meet any of the criteria of an independent student. A dependent student is considered a resident of New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland whose parents, guardian or sponsors resided in the Province for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission:
• If one of the parents works in another province, the student is a resident of New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland if the family home was in the Province for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission;
• If the parents are separated or divorced, the province of residence is the province where resides the parent with whom the student normally lives or receives principal support for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission. If there is no custody agreement, the province of residence is that of the parent with whom the student has normally resided for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission, or if the student lives with neither parent, the province of residence is that of the parent who has been the student’s principal support for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission;
• If the parents leave New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland after having resided there for twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission but the student remains in New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland to begin or continue post-secondary studies, New Brunswick/Nova Scotia/Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland will continue to be the province of residence;
• If the parents reside outside Canada, the province of residence will be that where the parents last resided during the twelve consecutive months prior to the student’s request for admission prior to their departure from Canada.
** Independent or dependent student status is determined by an individual’s status at the time of the start of the academic program for which they are applying.
*** MPHEC has made the following clarification in regards to students moving from dependent to independent student status;
Once a student has established residency in an Atlantic province as a dependent student, they maintain residency in that province when they become an independent student as long as they have not lived for 12 consecutive months in another province (excluding time as a full-time student).
Atlantic Canadian applicants must meet the residency requirements at the time of submission of their application and at the time they are admitted.
Determination of the province of residency for admission to the DVM program is a two-step process.
1. Determine if you are an independent or dependent student according to the criteria given below:
You are an independent student if you meet ANY of the following criteria:
- have been out of high school for at least 4 years
- have had at least two 12 consecutive month periods, or one 24 consecutive month period where you were not a full-time student at a post-secondary institution
- are or have been married or in a common-law relationship
- have a dependent living with you
- have no parent or legal guardian
**Once a student has met the criteria to be an independent student, he/she will remain an independent student for the purposes of residency determination.
You are a dependent student if you do not meet at least one of the criteria to be an independent student (listed above).
2. Provide information about your address or your parents’/guardians’ address according to the criteria below.
- A dependent student’s provincial residency is determined by the home address of the parent/guardian during the 12 consecutive month period prior to the application deadline.
- An independent student’s provincial residency is determined by the student’s home address during the most recent 12 consecutive month period prior to the application deadline in which he/she was not a full-time student at a post-secondary institution.
To facilitate determination of residency, all Atlantic Canadian applicants will be required to submit the following documents:
- Official finalized post-secondary institution transcript
- Official finalized secondary/high school transcript
- Photocopy of your current driver’s license
- Complete the Atlantic Canadian Residency form
In addition, dependent Atlantic Canadian students must also provide the following additional document:
- Photocopy of your parents’ or guardians’ driver’s license(s)
A “full-time student” is defined as having a course load of at least three courses (nine semester hours of credit) per semester, excluding laboratories.
A “post-secondary institution” is defined as an institution authorized to confer post-secondary certificates, diplomas, or degrees.
2. DVM Academic Requirements
Secondary/High School Requirements
The Admissions Committee does not specifically evaluate high school course work. Students typically work towards a degree while completing prerequisite course requirements for DVM admission. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Registrar’ Office at the post-secondary institution which they plan to attend to inquire about specific high school prerequisites for their intended degree program.
Post-Secondary Academic Requirements
Consideration for admission to the DVM Program requires completion of at least 20 prerequisite courses. In general, these prerequisites can be completed within two years (four semesters) in the context of an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree program. Applicants are encouraged to work toward a degree in a field of study that is of particular interest to them in the event that they are not accepted into the DVM program. No preference is given to those who have completed a first degree, or who have completed the prerequisite courses within a pre-veterinary medicine program.
All applicants are advised to complete course work within an undergraduate degree program at an institution that has rigorous entrance requirements and a reputation for academic quality. Applicants must be in good academic standing at and be eligible to return to their home institution(s) without any restrictions in order to be considered.
For Atlantic Canadian applicants, prerequisite courses must be completed at an institution that is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and must meet the requirements outlined below. Course work completed at a non-AUCC member institution will require review by the Admissions Committee to determine acceptability. In some cases, applicants may be required to provide documentation confirming that their home institution is affiliated with or recognized by one of the primary science degree-granting institutions in that province and/or provide independent confirmation that one or more courses taken to satisfy the DVM Program requirements qualify for direct transfer credit as a core science course at such an institution. Applicants may also be asked to provide additional independent information to facilitate grade comparison.
For United States applicants, prerequisite courses must be completed at an institution that is accredited by the United States Department of Education and must meet the requirements outlined below. In some cases, applicants may also be required to provide documentation confirming that their home institution is affiliated with or recognized by one of the primary science degree-granting institutions in that state and/or provide independent confirmation that one or more courses taken to satisfy the DVM Program requirements qualify for direct transfer credit as a core science course at such an institution. Applicants may also be asked to provide additional independent information to facilitate grade comparison.
Applicants outside of North America will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine acceptability of both the institution and individual courses. A foreign transcript evaluation report may be required. Fees associated with this service are the responsibility of the applicant. For applicants whose first language is not English, the UPEI English Language Proficiency Requirement must be satisfied for admission consideration.
At least 20 prerequisite courses must be completed or in progress at the time of application in order to be considered and course work must include at least one course satisfying each of the following requirements:
Animal Biology 1
Animal Biology 2
Animal Biology 3
Mathematics 2 (Statistics)
Chemistry 3 (Organic Chemistry)
Academic achievement will be evaluated based on performance in the 10 prescribed courses, performance in all courses taken during the most recent full time academic year (September – April).
Course Work Criteria
Applicants must ensure that all 10 prescribed courses, as well as all courses taken during the most recent full time academic year, meet the following criteria.
- Courses must be at the undergraduate degree level at a post-secondary institution. Course work will not be acceptable if taken during graduate programs.
- Courses must be completed while taking a course load of at least 3 courses and 9 credit hours, excluding laboratories, during any fall or winter semester, or in any two consecutive summer semesters.
- Courses will not be acceptable if they are repeats of previously passed courses taken within the last ten years, or if they cover similar material to previously passed courses taken within the last ten years.
- Courses reporting grades as Honours, Pass-Fail, or Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory cannot normally be evaluated.
- Courses completed in the context of International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) programs will only be accepted if credit has been granted from the home post-secondary institution and in situations where the applicant would not otherwise meet the prerequisites for the DVM program.
- Any of the prescribed courses will not normally be acceptable if they were completed more than ten full academic years before the date of application.
- All of the prescribed science courses must be considered “core” science courses and be eligible to fulfill requirements for an undergraduate science degree at the home post-secondary institution in order to be accepted.
- The following prescribed Science courses must have a laboratory component in order to be accepted: Animal Biology 1, Animal Biology 2, Animal Biology 3, Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2, Chemistry 3 (Organic Chemistry).
- Courses may be completed via distance education online, but only if they comply with all of the other regulations stated above.
- Examples of acceptable prescribed Animal Biology courses include the following: general first year biology, animal diversity, vertebrate anatomy, vertebrate histology, vertebrate physiology, vertebrate zoology, microbiology, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, ornithology, biology of fishes, mammalogy, and wildlife biology. Please note that Animal Behaviour courses are not acceptable.
Applicants who have completed the course prerequisites but, due to exceptional circumstances, do not meet all of the criteria specified above must submit a detailed letter outlining these circumstances and providing just cause as to why their application should be considered by the Admissions Committee.
Academic Average (60% of overall admissions score)
All applicants will have an academic average calculated based on their prerequisite course work. When more than one course is available to satisfy a particular requirement, the highest eligible graded course will be used to calculate the academic average.
Academic Average Calculation = 50% (Average of 10 prescribed courses) + 50% (Average of most recent two full time semesters; September through April)
While there is no minimum academic average that is required for acceptance into the DVM program, applicants should note that competition is intense and significant academic achievement must be demonstrated.
AVC Class Mean Academic Average Range of Academic Averages
2024 86.7 78.3-93
2023 85.2 75 – 93
2022 85.7 74 – 93
2021 85.1 72.9 – 93
2020 86.0 76.3 – 92.6
2019 85.3 74.1 – 92.7
3. DVM Non-Academic Requirements
All applicants are required to submit structured descriptions of their veterinary and animal experiences prior to application to the DVM program. The goal of these experiences is to provide applicants with insight into the breadth of the veterinary profession and assist them in making an informed career choice.
Veterinary experience must be obtained under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian working in the field of veterinary medicine. It may be paid or voluntary. Experiences may involve general or referral clinical practice and/or provision of veterinary care to animals in research laboratories, zoos, animal shelters, and animal rehabilitation facilities. Experience with veterinarians working in non-clinical capacities including regulatory or public health agencies is also acceptable. Veterinary experience should involve direct interactions with one or more veterinarians working in the field and should not be restricted to reception or administrative duties only. Applicants should be advised that there is no minimum number of hours required for application; however, it is advised to attain as many hours with as many different species (e.g., swine, cows, horses, exotic pets, dogs, cats, etc.) as possible. In most cases, veterinary experience within North America is recommended.
Animal experience may involve working with livestock, breeding or showing animals, working in a pet store, participating in equestrian activities, or any other animal related hobby or experience where a veterinarian is not always present and/or does not provide direct supervision. It may be paid or voluntary. Please note that animal experience for the purposes of application to the DVM program does not include pet ownership.
As the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available, completion of the academic requirements is no guarantee of admission to the DVM Program. In addition to academic achievement, the Admissions Committee also assesses non-academic achievement and aptitude. Information for this assessment will be obtained from an interview and the Work and School Approach and Behaviour Test (W-SAB Test). Only those applicants who rank highly based on academic requirements will be invited to interview and complete the W-SAB test on site at the Atlantic Veterinary College.
Interview (20% of overall admissions score)
The interview will draw on the applicant’s veterinary and animal experiences submitted as part of the application process. Applicants will be asked to expand upon the details they provided regarding their experiences and discuss how they have contributed to their understanding of the veterinary profession. Applicants should be advised that a failing score (less than 50%) in the interview will result in their removal from further consideration in the admissions process.
Work and School Approach and Behaviour Test (20% of overall admissions score)
The Work and School Approach and Behaviour Test (W-SAB Test) is a personality inventory that has been designed, validated and standardized with a population of candidates applying to professional academic programs. Each scale in the test was designed to evaluate critical approaches and behaviours found in daily academic and professional situations. Applicants should be advised that it is not possible to study or prepare for the W-SAB.
Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Veterinary Medicine
Applicants must be aware that, in addition to the requirements outlined above, there are a number of attributes that are necessary for admission to the DVM Program. These are presented below to assist prospective students preparing for admission.
Observation: Students must be able to participate in learning situations that require observational skills. In particular, students must be able to accurately observe animals of all common domestic species and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information.
Communication: Students must be able to adequately speak, hear, and observe patients and clients to effectively and efficiently elicit information, describe activity and posture, and perceive non-verbal communication. Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with clients and other members of the veterinary health care team. Students must be able to coherently summarize an animal patient’s condition and treatment plan verbally and in writing.
Motor Skills: Students must demonstrate sufficient motor function to safely perform a physical examination on patients of all common domestic species including palpation, auscultation, and percussion. Examinations must be done independently and in a timely fashion. Students must be able to use common diagnostic aids or instruments including a stethoscope, otoscope, and ophthalmoscope. Students must be able to execute motor movements required to provide general and emergency medical and surgical care to animal patients in a variety of settings.
Intellectual Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Students must demonstrate the cognitive skills and memory necessary to measure, calculate, analyze, integrate and synthesize large quantities of information from various sources. Students must be able to comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships. Students must be able to execute complex problem-solving activities in a timely fashion.
Behavioural and Social Attributes: Students must manage the intellectual challenges of the program. Students must apply good judgment and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of animal patients. Students must cultivate mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with clients and other members of the veterinary health care team. Students must be able to tolerate the physical, emotional, and psychological demands of the program and function effectively under stress. Adaptability to changing environments and the ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the care of animal patients are necessary skills. Personal qualities exemplified by members of the veterinary profession such as compassion, integrity, concern for others, effective interpersonal skills, initiative, and motivation are also expected of students.
The AVC is committed to facilitating the integration of students with disabilities. Students with a disability will receive reasonable accommodation that will assist them in meeting the requirements for graduation from the DVM program. Such accommodation however cannot compromise animal well-being or the safety of people involved. Consequently, it may not be possible to accommodate all disabilities and facilitate successful completion of the DVM program. For additional information regarding support, contact UPEI Accessibility Services.
4. DVM Application Procedure/Documents Required
International Applicants (including applicants from the United States) must first apply online through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) operated by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges at http://www.aavmc.org/Students-Applicants-and-Advisors/Veterinary-Medical-College-Application-Service.aspx by the VMCAS deadline (September 15). Applicants will be contacted to remit the processing fee. Fall and winter transcripts must be received by February 1 and June 1, respectively, where applicable.
International Applicant Requirements and Deadlines:
September 15, 2021
- completion of VMCAS application
- applicants will be contacted by UPEI regarding payment of the processing fee
November 20, 2021
- interview and W-SAB testing for applicants ranking highly based on academic achievement occurs onsite at the Atlantic Veterinary College
February 1, 2022
- receipt of fall semester transcripts for courses in progress, if applicable
June 1, 2022
- receipt of winter semester transcripts for courses in progress, if applicable
International Applicant Contact: Sharon Gotell, email@example.com – (902)-566-0781
Atlantic Canadian Applicant Requirements and Deadlines:
October 15, 2021
- creation of online account (if not previously done) and submission of online application and fee
- submission of the Atlantic Canadian Residency form (and supporting documents)
- submission of the Animal/Veterinary Related Experience form
- final official transcripts of courses taken and/or confirmation of courses currently enrolled in
February 1, 2022
- receipt of fall semester transcripts for courses in progress, if applicable
May 2, 2022
- interview and W-SAB testing for applicants ranking highly based on academic achievement occurs onsite at the Atlantic Veterinary College
June 1, 2022
- receipt of winter semester transcripts for courses in progress (only those invited to interview)
Atlantic Canadian Applicant Contact: Tracy Carmichael, tcarmichael– (902)-894-2836
All applicants are responsible to ensure that required materials are on file by the appropriate deadline; incomplete applications will not be reviewed. While the provisions of this document will ordinarily be applied as stated, UPEI reserves the right to change any provision listed herein, including but not limited to residency and academic requirements for admission, without notice to individual applicants. Every effort will be made to inform applicants of any changes.
Submit all materials postmarked by the dates indicated above to:
Professional Schools Admissions, Office of the Registrar
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE
Please be aware that materials submitted after these deadlines will not be accepted. If you anticipate a problem in meeting a deadline, please contact the UPEI Registrar’s Office as soon as possible.
Advanced Standing and Transfer Applicants
Advanced Standing applicants are students who have completed all of a veterinary medical program from a school not accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and/or the American Veterinary Medical Association but “listed” by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Transfer applicants are students who have completed at least one year of a veterinary medical program at a college accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and/or the American Veterinary Medical Association or “listed” by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Colleges “listed” by the American Veterinary Medical Association include foreign colleges recognized by the World Health Organization and colleges officially recognized by their national governments as professional schools of veterinary medicine. Graduates of “listed” colleges are eligible to practice veterinary medicine in their home country and may qualify for entrance into the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certification program in the United States or the Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE) in Canada.
Advanced standing or transfer applicants may apply to the second or third year of the DVM program. Places for advanced standing or transfer applicants are limited and depend on vacancies. Advanced standing applicants normally must have graduated from a veterinary program within six years of the date of application. Transfer applicants normally must have completed at least the first year of a veterinary program immediately preceding acceptance to the second year of the AVC DVM program.
Advanced standing or transfer applicants who do not meet the requirements mentioned in the previous paragraph are invited to submit a letter explaining why the Admissions Committee should consider their application. For advanced standing applicants the explanation must provide details of further veterinary-related study or work.
Applicants are considered for admission on a competitive basis. The deadline for applications is January 1 for classes that would begin in September. Those offered a seat in the second year of the program may need to complete program requirements that were not taken at the institution previously attended to ensure that students successfully transferring into the program are as equally well prepared as their peers starting the second-year cohort of the program.
International students will be assessed International Student fees, if accepted. Canadian citizens or permanent residents will be assessed Regional Student fees, if accepted. Please contact the Accounting office for current information on tuition and fees.
Please note that the transfer/advanced standing admission policy only allows for an offer of admission to the second or third year of the program if the Admissions committee deems the program can accommodate any additional students.
Transfer Applicants must contact Tracy Carmichael (Professional Programs Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org for direction on how to submit a DVM transfer application. Other requirements are listed below:
- $75 application fee to UPEI
- Three (3) reference letters from individuals with whom the applicant has been associated within the last five years to be sent directly in a sealed, signed envelope. Suggested sources for letters include veterinarians, teaching faculty, or other employers. Letters should emphasize veterinary-related studies or work-experience. Foreign trained veterinarians who are applying for advanced standing are encouraged to request references from relevant Canadian referees where possible.
- Documentation of English language proficiency scores if English is not first language
- Documentation of citizenship or residence status.
- Program Calendar and full course outlines (in English) for all DVM studies completed
- Current Curriculum Vitae
- Personal statement explaining why you wish to complete your veterinary medicine training at UPEI
- Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended or currently attending; those in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified, official translation. For those currently enrolled, please send a list of courses which you are or will be taking. Once there are any updated grades available, please have your University send these results to us immediately. Your file cannot be assessed without these updated marks.
- Letter of explanation (if required)
Applications will not be processed until ALL supporting materials have been received by the Registrar’s Office. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all materials are submitted by the deadline. If you have any questions, please contact Tracy Carmichael by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at 902-894-2836.
Requests for Deferrals
Requests for deferral of admission to the DVM program will be considered by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis.
5. General DVM Applicant Information
Rabies Immunization Program
Admission to the DVM program is contingent upon agreeing to participate in a rabies immunization program including blood titre evaluation. Exemption from this condition may be granted in exceptional circumstances if the student concerned provides compelling reasons as to why they are unable to participate and signs a waiver absolving UPEI and AVC of further liability.
Role of Teaching Animals in the DVM Curriculum
The humane use of animals in teaching is an integral part of the DVM program at the AVC and a necessary component of veterinary medical education. All students admitted to the DVM program must accept and agree to this tenet. All teaching animal use at the AVC is approved by the UPEI Animal Care Committee and conforms to the principles and guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition costs vary depending on whether the seat is for an Atlantic Canadian student or an International student. For current DVM program tuition and fees, please visit the UPEI Accounting Office webpage. Select “Veterinary Medicine”, “Canadian” or “International”, “Full-Time”, “Undergraduate”, and then filter. International students should note that all tuition and fees are posted in Canadian dollars.
UPEI’s Financial Aid Office can assist you in finding the best way to finance your education. For US DVM students, UPEI is able to offer Direct Stafford Loans and Direct Plus Loans using the Direct Loan Program. For more information regarding financial aid for both Canadian and US students please contact the UPEI Financial Aid Office at 902-628-4382.
Student Health Insurance
All full time students at UPEI, including international students, are automatically enrolled in the UPEI Student Health Plan when they register for classes. If you already have an extended health plan, you may choose to opt out of the UPEI Student Health Plan and receive a refund of the premium cost. For more information regarding the UPEI Student Health Insurance Plan for both Canadian and international students please contact the UPEI Student Union at 902-566-0530.
Student Visas for International Students
International students will need to obtain a Canada Study Permit (Student Visa) in order to attend UPEI. Accepted applicants can apply for Study Permits once they have received their letters of offer. A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required depending on your citizenship. A Temporary Resident Visa is not required for citizens of visa exempt countries, including the United States. For more information about Study Permits please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or contact the UPEI International Relations Office at 902-566-0443.
Online Payment of Tuition and Fees
Canadian students can pay fees and tuition online through their financial institution and international students can pay directly through the UPEI website using StudentPay. For more information about online payment options, contact the UPEI Accounting Office at 902-566-0534.