Student veterinarian examines dog patient's eye.

DVM Program Application

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Program Admissions

Admission to the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is highly competitive, requiring planning and preparation by applicants. Applicants are assessed on a combination of academic and non-academic attributes, in order to recruit applicants into the program who have thoughtfully prepared themselves for both the program and for a fulfilling and rewarding career in the profession.  

The DVM program is very fortunate to have a large pool of academically prepared applicants, and the academic averages presented by our applicants are highly competitive. While strong academic performance positions applicants to thrive throughout the demanding veterinary curriculum, non-academic traits such as interpersonal skills, leadership, cultural humility, community-mindedness, self-regulation and resilience are similarly essential qualities within the program and beyond graduation as a veterinarian. The OVC DVM program admissions criteria reflect this critical balance, and our goal is to recruit applicants into our DVM program that already have a strong foundation in these areas, to then further build on these qualities throughout training in our curriculum.  

Entry intake into the DVM program is in the fall semester each year. Applicants will begin to submit their materials the year prior to desired entry to the program. 

To apply to the DVM program at OVC, each applicant must submit an application to the program and associated fees, as well as their academic transcript(s), background information, personal essays and contact information for referees.  Applicants are required to submit their score from an online situational judgement test that assesses multiple non-academic attributes. Top-ranked applicants are interviewed for final ranking. Each of these components of the application package are further described below. 

Only four applications per person are allowed to the OVC-DVM program at the University of Guelph. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to build a strong application package (both academic and non-academic) prior to applying to the program. All application deadlines are firm and must be met in order to be considered at each stage of the applicant review process. Applicants who choose to withdraw their application and not have it counted as an application attempt must confirm their intent to withdraw in writing. Withdrawal requests are submitted via e-mail to Admission Services at, by February 1. Any application packages that do not have complete components by the posted deadlines, as well as application withdrawal requests received after the February 1 deadline, will not be considered further in the current admissions cycle, but will be counted as an application attempt. 

Policies regarding admission to the DVM program can be found in the University of Guelph Undergraduate Calendar: Specific Subject Requirements and Recommendations 

Applicants may not contact members of the DVM program Admissions Committee for information. For any further inquiries, please contact: 

Veterinary Licensing 

Applicants to the DVM program are responsible for ensuring their own eligibility for veterinary licensing in advance of applying to the program. For information on the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE), National Examining Board (NEB), and generally about licences as a veterinarian in Canada, see the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association website. 

Eligibility to Apply

Application Cohorts 

There are three application pathways for the DVM program: Domestic Undergraduate Cohort, Domestic Graduate Cohort and International Student Cohort. Applicants may only select one cohort option when applying to the DVM Program (providing they meet the residency requirements).  

  • Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) and those with permanent residency status must be residents of Ontario in order to apply to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). A resident is an individual who has lived in Ontario for 12 months prior to January 1, not including time spent in post-secondary institutions. This may include living in Ontario as a child, or working in the province between academic semesters to a total of 12 months outside of any post-secondary program.  For questions about your residency status, please contact 

  • Canadian citizens, dual citizens, or those with permanent residency status in Ontario will also be considered for the Domestic Graduate Cohort for those applicants who have successfully completed a graduate degree or who are currently enrolled in a graduate program and have completed three semesters in their program. Applicants who qualify to apply through the Domestic Graduate Cohort must indicate their desire to be considered in the Graduate Cohort. Their application will then be removed from the undergraduate applicant pool and considered with the graduate applicant pool (note that applicants who hold a graduate degree may instead choose to apply in the Domestic Undergraduate Cohort, but can only select one cohort to apply through in an admissions cycle). For applicants currently enrolled in a graduate program, all requirements of the program must be successfully completed by August 1st of the year of entry to the DVM program, including submission of a thesis draft to the advisory committee for thesis-based graduate degrees. 

  • International students, including US students, should apply through the International Cohort. Note that applicants with dual Canadian citizenship must apply through the Domestic Cohort. Applicants who receive an offer of admission should be aware that they must meet federal immigration requirements for entry into Canada as a student.

Advanced Standing: 

Applications for admission with advanced standing/transfers from students enrolled in DVM programs at other institutions are not accepted. 

Those wishing to study veterinary medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College must apply for entry into the first year of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and have the academic and non-academic prerequisites as listed under the admission requirements section of this website. 

Veterinarians Educated in Non-AVMA accredited schools (foreign-trained veterinarians): 

Although the NEB/CVMA requirements permit foreign-trained veterinarians from non-AVMA accredited schools to complete clinical training at a Canadian accredited veterinary institution towards Canadian licensure, the Ontario Veterinary College does not presently offer this training.   

If you already hold a DVM degree or equivalent from an institution that is not accredited, you are not eligible to retake the DVM degree program at the University of Guelph. Instead you must go through the NEB/CVMA licensing process in order to practice as a veterinarian in Canada. 

If you are a foreign-trained veterinarian requiring information on licensure in Ontario, please see the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) website or contact them at  

Academic requirements

As a professional degree, the DVM program is a rigorous program with intense curricular demands.  Applicants therefore need to demonstrate their capacity for high academic performance prior to applying to the DVM program, including strong performance in eight prerequisite courses taken during full-time study.  

To be eligible to apply for fall entry to the DVM program, applicants must have completed a minimum of four, full-time semesters and all prerequisite courses before August 31 (for international applicants) and December 31 (for Canadian applicants) of the preceding year. 

Applicants must present a prerequisite average of 75% or higher as well as an average of 75% or higher in the last two acceptable full-time semesters in order to be considered for admission. 

Applicants must have completed at least two years (minimum of 4 semesters) of full-time studies in a Bachelor's degree program.  This may be done at any accredited College or University and in any major of interest; courses do not need to be completed in a specialized college or faculty, or in a designated Pre-Veterinary program. Courses from College certificate and diploma programs are not acceptable. If accepted into the DVM program, applicants do not need to finish a four-year degree program and can simply transfer to the DVM program. 

A full-time semester is a semester that contains a minimum of five, one-semester courses, for example: 

  • An undergraduate full-time semester (full course load) is defined as a minimum 2.50 credits. This is typically five courses at 0.50 credits each per semester, but may be 4 courses where one course has a double credit weight. While 2.00 credits may be considered full-time status at some academic institutions, 2.50 credits are required for OVC-DVM program application purposes.   
  • For universities that use the 3.00/6.00 credit system, students must have a minimum total of 15.00 credits per semester in order to be considered full-time.  
  • A course that runs the full year will have the credit weight divided equally and half applied to each of the two semesters in which the course is taken.  
  • Field courses or any courses that are pursued over one semester and credited in another semester do not count towards the latter semester's courses for this purpose. 

Applicants must submit their post-secondary academic transcript. From this, an Academic Average will be calculated, with 50% derived from the average from all courses taken in the applicant’s most recent two, full-time semesters, and 50% derived from the eight DVM program prerequisites. Applicants must declare which course grades they wish to use for the 8 prerequisites, which must be from their eligible courses taken in full-time semesters. 

  • Eight (8) prerequisite courses are required.   
  • Required courses must be completed by the following dates in the year prior to anticipated entry  
    • Domestic Undergraduate and Graduate Cohorts: December 31st 
    • International Cohort Applicants: August 31st  

Required Prerequisite Courses:  

Biological Sciences  

1.00 credit (2 semester courses or 1 full-year course, with recommended emphasis on Animal Biology)  

Cell Biology  

0.50 credit (1 semester course)  


0.50 credit (1 semester course)  


0.50 credit (1 semester course)  


0.50 credit (1 semester course)  

Humanities or Social Sciences  

1.00 credit* (2 semester courses or 1 full-year course)  

*Students entering the DVM program should be able to operate across discipline boundaries recognizing the relevance of the humanities and the social sciences to their career choice. In selecting these courses from among those acceptable, the prospective veterinary student should consider topics such as ethics, logic, critical thinking, determinants of human behaviour and human social interaction.  

  • Download the list of University of Guelph courses acceptable as prerequisites. Potential prerequisite courses offered at universities other than the University of Guelph should be submitted for approval  before the course is taken.  The University of Guelph will provide a courtesy Course Eligibility Evaluation for those students applying using courses from other institutions.  
  • Applicants must indicate which courses they choose to put forward as prerequisites when completing their Background Information Form (BIF) or VMCAS Application. 


  • Applicants must complete prerequisite courses within full-time, acceptable semesters as defined for DVM admissions.  
  • Prerequisite courses can be presented from any full-time, acceptable semester of a bachelor’s or graduate degree program in any area of study, including summer semesters. 
  • A limit of one undergraduate course per semester is allowed during full-time graduate studies. 
  • Courses may not fulfill multiple prerequisites. Each course can only be presented once.  
  • Courses taken during professional programs and technical/certificate programs are not acceptable. 
  • Prerequisites that require 1.0 credit (e.g. Biological Science, Humanities), can be fulfilled by presenting two 0.5 credit courses, or one 1.0 credit course. Please note that, in order for a 1.0 credit course to be presented, both semesters in which the course is completed must be acceptable and full-time.  
  • Courses will not be acceptable if they are repeats of previously passed courses, or if they are taken at the same level or a lower level in a subject area than previously passed courses in the same subject area.  This includes courses with significant overlap in content. Students should consider their institution's course sequencing in determining if a course is considered the same level. It is each student’s responsibility to pay close attention to prerequisites and course restrictions that are listed within the Undergraduate Calendar.  Repeating a course, or taking a course with significant content overlap, may result in the entire semester being deemed inadmissible. 
  • All prerequisite courses must have a numerical grade. The University of Guelph Admissions Services cannot evaluate Honours, Pass-Fail, and Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory grading systems. Applicants must obtain and submit a numerical or letter grade for all required courses, and the grades must be certified by the Registrar of the university attended. *Please see below for information specific to the Winter 2020 semester and COVID-19 pandemic impact on numerical grading for DVM admissions. 
  • Any number of distance education/online courses may be included in a semester, as long as the semester is a full-time course load as defined for DVM admissions. These courses may be taken at an accredited university other than the student's primary education institution. 
  • For students that have obtained more than 10 credits in their program, 60% of credits in each full-time semester must be taken at a 3000 level (third year level) or above once they have completed 10 credits.  However, the remaining 40% of the credits in a full-time semester may be taken at a level of the applicant's choice. 
  • A person's semester/year level is determined by the number of credits that have been completed successfully in his or her degree program plus those that are in progress. Once a person has reached twenty half-year courses (10.00 credits at the University of Guelph), they are considered a third-year student. 
  • Applicants who hold a non-science bachelor's degree, in which they did not take some of the DVM program prerequisite courses because these were not part of their program, may return to university as part of non-degree semester(s) in order to gain the prerequisites for applying to the DVM program. These courses must be first assessed and approved by the University of Guelph Admissions Office, to ensure they are being taken at the maximum appropriate year level. 
  • Applicants with a degree requesting the option of completing their DVM admissions academic requirements on a part-time basis due to a documented commitment that is not a matter of choice, such as work or family responsibility, can present their case to the Admission Committee for consideration. This should be done before starting the return to classes.  
  • Applicants who wish to present pre-requisite courses taken in a non-full-time semester must submit an academic consideration request to Admissions Services in advance of their application to the DVM program.  See below for the academic consideration request process.               

Failure to comply with the above course rules will result in the exclusion of all coursework from the ineligible semester(s) toward a DVM application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure appropriateness of courses taken and presented. Please refer to the Course Eligibility Evaluation request procedure below. 

*Courses taken during the Winter 2020 semester were uniquely impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  

  • Winter 2020 will be considered a full-time semester for application to the DVM program, so long as it contains a minimum of 2.5 credits or 15 credits hours and has numerical or alpha grades in a minimum of 1.5 credits or 9 credit hours (e.g. 'pass' grades in a maximum of 1.0 credits or 6 credit hours will be acceptable).  
  • Winter 2020 will be considered one of the last 2 full-time semesters so long as it is a full-time (minimum 2.5 credits or 15 credit hours) acceptable semester and has numerical or alpha grades in a minimum of 1.5 credits or 9 credit hours (e.g. 'pass' grades in a maximum of 1.0 credit or 6 credit hours will be acceptable).  Any course(s) presented as a 'pass' grade will be excluded from the calculation of the cumulative admission average. Similarly, any 'pass' course credits completed as part of a graduate program from the Winter 2020 semester will be excluded from the cumulative graduate program admission average. 
  • Courses with a final grade of 'pass' cannot be presented as prerequisites (e.g. courses presented as prerequisites must have a numerical or alpha grade).

Course Evaluation Requests are a complimentary service that allow prospective applicants to confirm whether or not they are taking the required acceptable prerequisites for DVM admission. 

This service is not for University of Guelph courses. 

Course Evaluation Requests will take place 3 times per calendar year in January, June and September, with the due dates for requests being December 15th, May 15th or August 15th respectively 

  • Email Course Evaluation Requests to 
  • All Course Evaluation Request emails must include the following: 
    • Subject line: Course Evaluation Request – Applicant’s Name  
    • Proposed course(s) - a maximum of 3 courses per prerequisite may be submitted. Please include institution, course codes, course titles, course descriptions, pre/anti-requisites, and clearly identify which course is presented as which prerequisite (e.g. BIOL 123 as Biological Science prerequisite). Please see the suggested template for guidance.  
    • Save the following documents as PDFs and submit as a single zip file attachment to the email: 
      • The official course outline from each course that is being submitted for eligibility evaluation should also be included.  
      • Unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended - a photocopy is fine during course eligibility review. Note: Schools such as Trent, York, Brock, Nipissing and Laurentian report courses by year only on their transcripts. For these situations, please also include a breakdown of which courses were taken in each semester. 
      • Please use the following naming system for files: LASTNAME_COURSECODE_courseoutline or LASTNAME_INSTITUTION_transcript 

Requests containing all completed information will be reviewed and a reply will be returned no later than the end of the course evaluation month requested (e.g. end of January, June or September). 

Missing documentation will delay a reply/decision. 

Course Evaluation Requests or missing documentation received after the due date will be reviewed at the next Course Evaluation period. 

Any additional questions pertaining to admission requirements should be sent in a separate email to 

NOTE: We cannot accommodate specific deadlines (e.g. application deadlines, course registration, etc), therefore applicants should plan to submit a Course Evaluation Request well in advance. For example, to have courses evaluated for a Winter semester, the Course Evaluation Request should be submitted by email for either the June or September course evaluation period. 

The OVC-DVM Admission Committee will consider requests from individuals who have experienced extenuating circumstances and factors beyond their control, that have impacted eligibility of one or more semesters.

If you wish to seek approval to present coursework from an unacceptable semester (e.g. previously completed or planned semesters), you may submit a request for an admission requirement accommodation.

Important information and instructions – please read carefully

Requests for admission requirement accommodation(s) for your DVM Program application must be based on documented medical, psychological, or compassionate circumstances.

Requests are submitted to Admission Services ( and are then reviewed by the OVC-DVM Program Admissions Sub-Committee.

Admission requirement accommodation requests are reviewed three times each year:

  • August (deadline for submission is July 1)
  • November (deadline for submission is October 1)
  • March (deadline for submission is February 1)

All requests are considered for upcoming application cycles and are not applicable to current (open) application cycles.

Please note that it is possible for a request to be denied even if supporting documentation is submitted, so plan and prepare for any outcome. Examples of circumstances that are not acceptable grounds for academic consideration include (but are not limited to) employment* or financial responsibilities, taking a course out of sequence, or taking a course for a second time. 

*Applicants that are transitioning from a prior career may be excepted; see below under “Career Change” supporting documentation.

All requests must include the following:

  1. Complete the form titled:  Admission Requirement Accommodation Request for OVC-DVM Program
    • Make sure that you have filled in your name, degree program, University, UofG ID number, email, and have typed your name in the bottom name field of the form.
    • Requests must be course specific.  Applicants must provide course numbers, sequence, and dates of enrollment. 
    • It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure that the course(s) presented for consideration meets all other pre-requisite requirements.  Refer to OVC admissions website for pre-requisite requirements.
    • If an applicant is unsure if a non-University of Guelph course meets all other pre-requisite requirements, a course evaluation may be requested by contacting Admissions Services (   Please refer to the OVC admissions website for course evaluation request dates and deadlines. 
    • Transcripts that detail course sequence and semester must be provided.
    • All requests for reduced course load consideration related to any medical reason must include supporting documentation (see below) from your academic institution’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) department (or equivalent).  All SAS documentation for course load reduction must include the specific academic accommodation, including applicable date or date range of the recommendation, semester(s), and course(s) affected.
    • Do not submit personal medical documentation to University of Guelph Admissions Services. 
  2.  Personal letter explaining the situation:
    • Limit your letter to no more than 2 pages, double spaced, 12-font, 2.5 cm (standard) margins.  This is approximately 1000 words. 
    • Personal letters should be addressed to: Chair, OVC-DVM Admissions Sub-Committee.
    • In your letter, outline the reason(s) why one or more courses were affected and clearly outline the specific date(s) of the problem that prevented you from meeting your academic responsibilities.  Provide an explanation of how those circumstances impacted your academics. 
    • Do not disclose any medical diagnosis(es). 
    • Your letter must be thorough enough to provide the OVC-DVM Admissions Sub-Committee with sufficient information to be able to meaningfully review your request.
    • For non-medical related circumstances, address why the reduced course load during the semester was a result of your extenuating circumstance.
    • If applicable, explain what supports you have put in place to prevent this situation from happening in the future.
    • For continued extenuating circumstances (if applicable), outline how you anticipate mitigating ongoing barriers should you successfully gain entry into the DVM Program.
  3.  Supporting documentation: 
    • Applicants must clearly define which semester(s) and course(s) were impacted in their accommodation request and provide supporting documentation. All supporting documentation must specifically include a date range that must also align with the dates of the semesters in which the reduced course load accommodation is requested.
      • Medical or psychological grounds:  Do not submit medical documentation nor disclose a diagnosis(es) to University of Guelph Admissions Services.  Requests based on any medical or psychological grounds require documentation from the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) department (or equivalent) of your academic institution. Any medical and/or psychological documentation is to be evaluated by the SAS (or equivalent) department of your university through their appropriate policies, guidelines, and procedures.  Any requests for course load reduction for any medical or psychological grounds must be supported by the SAS department (or equivalent) of your university and must be documented.  Documentation, in the form of an official letter from your university SAS department detailing the accommodation, but not disclosing any diagnosis(es), is to be submitted by the applicant and must specifically include:
        • the specific academic accommodation recommendation
        • the specific date or date range applied to the recommendation
        • current contact information for the SAS advisor must be provided for verification purposes.
      • Compassionate grounds:  Requests based on compassionate grounds also require documentation where possible. This may take the form of a police report, funeral notice, etc, depending on the circumstance. Do not disclose or include any personal financial information such as tax receipts, housing costs, childcare support costs, etc.
      •  Career change:
        • Applicants who are considering a career change must provide documentation of previous and current degree programs and provide details in the personal letter outlining their decision-making process to change careers.
        • Applicants who are returning to university as a non-degree (or equivalent) student must provide details in the personal letter outlining their extenuating circumstance as to why reduced course load is appropriate and provide appropriate supporting documentation.
        • Do not disclose or include any personal financial information such as tax receipts, housing costs, childcare support costs, etc.
        • Applicants are required to provide documentation of full-time employment (defined as ³ 30 hrs/week) from their employer during the period(s) of study where accommodation for reduced course load is requested.  Current contact information of employer(s) must be provided for verification purposes.
  4.  How to submit your request:
    • Save all documents as PDFs and submit as a single zip file attached to the email.
    • Please use the following naming system for files:
      • LASTNAME_INSTITUTION_transcript
    • All requests must be submitted to Admission Services at by the submission deadlines (see above).
    • E-mail subject line: DVM admissions requirement accommodation request - Applicant's name.

Applicants will be notified via email of the decision pertaining to their request once the OVC-DVM Admissions Sub-Committee has reviewed the request.  Please note that submitting a request in no way guarantees that the request will be approved. 

Non-Academic Requirements

Non-academic strengths are also critical to personal and professional success in veterinary medicine. In considering applicants to the DVM program, we strive to recruit future veterinarians that have strong interpersonal skills, ethics, leadership, cultural humility, the ability to self-regulate and be resilient, develop meaningful and effective connections to society and their local community, and who demonstrate a deep understanding of the veterinary profession. This is to ensure that applicants have fully explored opportunities within the veterinary profession and understand the professional responsibility to society that is inherent in the profession, therefore applicants should provide evidence of this in their application package. 

Non-academic attributes will be evaluated in the application package through applicant’s results from their Casper score, veterinary-  and animal-related experiences, extracurricular activities, personal referee assessments, and personal essay responses. 

All applicants (domestic undergraduate, domestic graduate, and international cohorts) applying to the OVC-DVM program are required to complete the CSP-10201- Canadian Professional Health Sciences version of the Casper test during the current Altus test cycle.   

The Casper test is a component of Altus Suite, administered by Altus Assessments, that measures non-cognitive traits of applicants.  Casper is a 100-120 minute online, open-response situational judgement test. 

Casper test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Scores can take up to three weeks. Applicants must take the test with enough of a buffer between receiving the results and providing them in time for the application deadline. Check the Altus website to see what dates are available for the application cycle you are in. Applicants who have already taken the test in a previous cycle will therefore be expected to re-take it. 

International applicants who have previously completed an alternate version of Casper must complete the CSP-10201- Canadian Professional Health Sciences version, in order to be considered for admission to the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College. 

Studying is not required for Casper, although applicants are encouraged to visit the site to become familiar with the test structure. procedure, and fees. 

There is no minimum requirement for the number of veterinary experience hours to apply to the DVM program.  However, the decision to apply to veterinary school should be an informed one and hence, it is important for applicants to explore the profession holistically prior to application.   

As part of the application process, candidates must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the profession, its dimensions and the industries it serves to permit the candidate to make and defend their career choice. This requires the candidate to spend adequate time under the supervision of veterinarians. Pet ownership and brief introductions to certain veterinary sectors can certainly spark an interest in becoming a veterinarian.  However, the decision to apply and pursue a career in the profession should be informed by experiences beyond pet ownership and introductory opportunities.   

Veterinary experience may be voluntary or paid, but must be done working directly with a supervising veterinarian in placements such as clinical practice, research laboratories, animal shelters, animal rehabilitation facilities, public health settings or another related industry where a veterinarian is employed. The aim of this category of experience is for the candidate to develop an understanding of the veterinary profession as a whole, not necessarily just one sector. It is expected that this category of experience will involve working directly with the veterinarian in activities such as job shadowing/assisting the veterinarian(s) and not just reception or other administrative duties.  Applicants are not expected to have mastered veterinary technical skills at this stage of training, but should pursue opportunities that encourage the practice of manual dexterity and problem solving suitable to the context of the specific veterinary experience. 

As applicants gain experience in preparation for their application, it is helpful to capture and track locations, supervisor(s) names, total number of hours of experience, and what activities were involved at each site such as role and responsibilities of the applicant there, as well as any key reflections about the experience. Experience within the North American veterinary context is recommended. 

There is no minimum requirement for the number of animal experience hours to apply to the OVC-DVM program.  It is expected that this category of experience will enable the applicant to develop an appreciation for the wide role that animals play in our society, become familiar with different species, as well as to better understand animal industry sectors. 

Animals are defined as vertebrates for this purpose. Animal experience could include volunteering or working with livestock, breeding or showing various species, working in a pet store, equestrian activities and any other animal-related hobby or experience where a veterinarian is not always present or does not supervise the applicant. Animal experience submitted in this category does not include experience solely gained from pet ownership or enrolment in college/university courses that involve animals.  

There is no minimum requirement for the number of extracurricular experience hours to apply to the OVC-DVM program.  Success in the DVM program and as a future professional requires a balanced attitude, mature outlook, strong interpersonal, team and organizational skills, and commitment to serving society and local communities.   

Veterinary medicine is just as much about working with human colleagues as it is with animals. Engagement in activities outside of the profession also helps veterinarians to manage life balance. It is similarly important that student veterinarians have developed and evolved well-being strategies and balance to prepare for the rigor of the veterinary curriculum. 

Applicants should consider engaging in extracurricular experiences outside of animal and veterinary-related activities in which the applicant is actively involved and plays a role (organizing, volunteering in, etc.), unlike conferences or activities that are simply attended. Consider activities that develop coping, time-management, and stress-management skills, as well as opportunities outside of animal and veterinary experiences for leadership, teamwork, or that build connections and contribute to society and local communities.  Examples of extracurricular experience could include but are not limited to: volunteering for a non-animal charity, with a local school, or at a long-term care facility; learning a new skill or developing a new hobby; or participation in a team sport.  

Applicants are required to provide the name and contact information for three referees qualified to give unbiased, informed, critical assessments of the applicant (Note: four referees are required for applicants in the Domestic Graduate Cohort). It is important to obtain strongly supportive, informed, unbiased, professional references that do not have a conflict of interest.  

Two of the referees must be veterinarians with whom the applicant has obtained veterinary experience under direct supervision by the referee. This experience does not have to be in a clinical setting, for example, veterinary experiences can include research and working in government or industry sectors. The goal of having the two veterinary references is to allow those already in the profession to assess whether the applicant is a suitable candidate to become a member of the profession.  The third referee may be someone who is not a veterinarian. 

Domestic applicants applying in the Graduate Cohort are required to submit a total of four referee assessments, two must be veterinarians with whom the applicant obtained veterinary experience under direct supervision by the referee, and the other two referees must be from persons who have worked directly with the applicant in a supervisory or professional context and can speak to the applicant’s performance as a graduate student and researcher. 

It is important that each referee has sufficient first-hand knowledge to provide a meaningful reference letter on an applicant’s integrity, reliability, maturity and determination, communication and leadership skills, and ability to work effectively with others, based on observations made during direct supervision. Hence, in order to ensure supportive reference letters, it is important to spend time building a professional relationship with both veterinary and non-veterinary referees. It is impossible for a referee (veterinarian or non-veterinarian referee) to fill out all aspects of the referee assessment form without having had ample time to get to know the applicant and to be able to speak to the applicant’s characteristics and suitability for the profession based on first-hand knowledge from working with the applicant. 


Applicants will provide their referees' contact information when they submit their Background Information Form/VMCAS Application. The referees will then be contacted directly by University of Guelph Admissions Services and asked to complete the confidential online referee assessment by the posted cohort referee deadline.  Each referee assessment is to include a letter and completion of an evaluative grid. It is important that all referees understand what is required of veterinarians in a Canadian/US context. The deadline for referee assessments is firm, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their referees can meet the deadline. Late referee submissions will not be accepted. 

All referees (veterinarian and non-veterinarian) for all cohort applicants must be qualified to give an unbiased, informed and critical assessment of the applicant and not have a conflict of interest. Referees cannot be family members, or long standing friends of the applicant or applicant’s family, or be employed by the applicant or applicant’s family, even if they are veterinarians.  

For example:   

  • A veterinarian who owns a clinic but did not work with the candidate directly is not an appropriate referee 
  • Any instructors or professors must have also worked with the candidate in a supervisory capacity beyond teaching a class or as an academic requirement, to be considered an appropriate referee 
  • Referees from an experience that the applicant paid to receive are considered to have a conflict of interest and are not an appropriate referee 

IMPORTANT:  The opinions and observations provided to the DVM program Admissions Committee by referees are highly valued and impact consideration of applicants by the Committee. Applications with referee assessments which the Admissions Committee does not consider to be appropriate, or those with referees that are considered as having a conflict of interest, will not be further considered in the application process.  

It is expected that applicants will use this section of their application package to clearly and concisely reflect on their journey towards pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, share how they have prepared for the profession, as well as express and demonstrate their personal motivation and interests.  

The essay is a personal and individualized marketing tool. Statements made in the essay should align with information presented in other areas of the application. Grammar, spelling, and syntax are also very important. There is a limited number of permitted characters for the essay, so being concise is important. All words must be the original work of the applicant. 

The Application Process - Apply Online

Applying to the DVM program can be completed online. If hardcopy documents need to be submitted, documents should be sent via courier to:  

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program 
Admission Services UC L3 
University of Guelph 
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 

IMPORTANT: Applicants must follow all directions and adhere to the posted deadlines for the DVM admissions cohort that they are applying through.  

All posted deadlines are firm and exceptions will not be made. Any applicants that submit required documents after the posted deadlines for their cohort, including those whose documents arrive by mail or courier after the deadline, will not be considered further in the current application cycle. 

If you have questions about the application procedure or regarding a current application in progress, please contact Admissions Services at   

For additional tips on the DVM admissions process, please watch the video from our annual fall admissions information session for unsuccessful applicants to the program and those planning on applying in the future. 

Cohort-Specific Application Information and Deadlines

Domestic Applicants

(Domestic Undergraduate and Graduate cohorts)

Eligibility: Applicants to this cohort must be Canadians with Ontario Residency status. 

The application process for Canadian applicants to the DVM program, including those with dual citizenship, depends on which school the candidate attended for undergraduate studies. 

  • Current or former University of Guelph students: Apply to the DVM program by applying for transfer or readmission using the University of Guelph Internal Transfer/Reapplication Form. You will be required to pay the internal transfer application fee as well as the supplemental admissions evaluation fee at this time. You do not need to fill in the activities section of the form or provide any personal support letters - these will be captured as part of the Background Information Form (BIF) that you subsequently complete, due in February. 
  • Canadians from other institutions with Ontario residency: If you attend a post-secondary institution other than the University of Guelph OR are living abroad, you may apply to the DVM program using the OUAC 105 application. You will be required to pay the base fee to OUAC at this time, as well as the supplemental admissions evaluation fee to the University of Guelph. You do not need to fill in the activities section of the OUAC form, as this information will be collected in the Background Information Form (BIF) that you subsequently complete, due in February. However you may choose to submit post-secondary transcripts at this time 

Upon receipt of these application materials and fees, applicants from outside the University of Guelph will receive a University of Guelph email account and access to our WebAdvisor notification system. They will also be provided with a link to the Background Information Form (BIF) in the documents section of their WebAdvisor account. Note: The BIF is typically available in November.

NB: If domestic applicants (Undergraduate and Graduate Cohorts) choose to withdraw their application based on their fall semester marks, they can do so by February 1st without having the application count as one of their four attempts. 

  • Background Information Form: The Background Information Form (BIF) can be found in the documents section of your WebAdvisor account once you have applied, and must be completed by this date. The BIF is where you enter the information about all your veterinary experience, animal experience, extracurricular activities and employment. Personal essay responses must be the applicant’s own original work and should reflect their own views and values. The names and contact information for your referees will also be required in the BIF. We will then email them with instructions on how to complete the Referee Assessments on-line. After your BIF is submitted, each referee will show individually on your Documents list on WebAdvisor, and as each Assessment is received, you will see the status update reflected there. Note: The BIF is typically available in November.

  • Referee Assessments (submitted online directly by the referee): Applicants should monitor completion by each referee by viewing the status as posted in the Documents list on WebAdvisor. As each Assessment is received from a referee, you will see the status update reflected there. You will not be able to view their actual assessment. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all referees complete their Assessments by this deadline. Exceptions will not be made for late/incomplete referee submissions. 
  • Official Academic Transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions attended (those from the University of Guelph will be transferred automatically). 
  • Graduate Cohort Additional Information Form (for Domestic Graduate Cohort applicants from master's or doctoral degree programs). Only applicants applying through the Domestic Graduate Cohort should complete this form, which highlights achievements as a graduate student, including publications, presentations, and productivity in research. It is highly recommended that individuals considering applying into the graduate cohort assess if they have content with which to populate the form, in order to be a competitive applicant for this pool. In particular, the number of publications is highly regarded, specifically papers already submitted for publication and those published in refereed journals. 

Applicant Casper Score: The applicant’s score from their CSP-10201- Canadian Professional Health Sciences test, completed during the current admissions cycle, must be received from Altus Assessments directly (which requires the applicant to request release of their score to the Ontario Veterinary College by Altus Assessments prior to this deadline date).  

International Applicants  

(International cohort)


International applicants through this cohort must not hold Canadian citizenship (this includes dual citizenship) or Permanent Resident status. The admissions academic requirements and non-academic requirements for non-Canadian applicants are the same as those for Canadian applicants except for the Ontario residency requirement.  

US applicants can apply after they have completed their sophomore year of post-secondary studies, provided they have met all of the DVM program admissions requirements. They do not have to complete their undergraduate degree. 

Applicants who receive an offer of admission should be aware that they must meet federal immigration requirements for entry into Canada as a student. 

English Proficiency Requirement 

Applicants who receive their post-secondary training in any language other than English are required to provide evidence of English proficiency. These applicants must meet one of the English proficiency requirements as outlined in the University of Guelph Undergraduate Calendar

  • Non-Canadian applicants from institutions other than the University of Guelph should apply using the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). This requires payment of an application fee to VMCAS. Please visit the VMCAS website for more information:  Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) Toll Free: 1-877-862-2740 

The VMCAS application form includes places to record your non-academic admissions requirements (veterinary, non-veterinary animal, and extracurricular experiences, as well as your personal essay responses and your referee contact information). Therefore, applicants to the International Cohort through VMCAS are not required to additionally complete a BIF. 

Your VMCAS application must be postmarked no later than September 15 @ 12 Midnight, Eastern Time or the closest Monday if this falls on a weekend.  

International students already attending the University of Guelph should not use VMCAS to apply to the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College

  • International students already attending the University of Guelph should not use VMCAS, but should instead apply to the DVM program at the Ontario Veterinary College through the International Cohort by using the Application for Internal Transfer/Readmission process. You will be required to pay the internal transfer application fee as well as the supplemental admissions evaluation fee at this time. 

  • For International cohort applicants already attending the University of Guelph who applied using the Application for Internal Transfer/Readmission process, completion of your BIF is due by this deadline. 
  • For International Cohort applicants from institutions other than the University of Guelph who applied using VMCAS, a supplemental application form and the supplemental admissions evaluation fee payable to the University of Guelph is required by this deadline. On the form, you will be required to list your prerequisite courses. This must be accompanied by the calendar description of the course as well as the course syllabus/outline from the specific course offering completed by the applicant.  
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must also be received for International Cohort applicants by this deadline. The University of Guelph's registrar's office ensures that all complete applications meet the minimum academic requirements, and only those applicants who have completed all the prerequisites for the DVM program will be processed. If prerequisite courses are completed in the fall or winter semesters of the current admissions cycle, this application package review process for International Cohort applicants will only be done once an official transcript with the final course mark(s) has been received, provided that space remains available in the program.  
  • On receipt of these requirements, International Cohort applicants from institutions other than the University of Guelph will be assigned a University of Guelph email account with which you can access your WebAdvisor account for updates on your application status.  
  • International applicants currently attending the University of Guelph must contact Admission Services ( to request the required forms (Background Information Form and Reference Assessment Form). These forms are due November 1st.

  • Applicant Casper Score: International Cohort applicants must submit their CSP-10201- Canadian Professional Health Sciences test score, completed during the current admissions cycle. This score must be received from Altus Assessments directly (which requires the applicant to request release of their score to the Ontario Veterinary College by Altus Assessments prior to this deadline date).  

The Selection Process 

There are three stages in assessing all applicants to the DVM program. 

Academic Average: 

The applicants Academic Average is worth 75% towards their Admissions Average in the first round of applicant ranking. The Academic Average is calculated using a 50:50 ratio as follows: 

  • 50% is based on the average of the courses completed in the applicant’s most recent two acceptable full-time semesters, based on the DVM admissions definition of full-time study.  A minimum of 75% cumulative average is required to be considered further. 
  • 50% is based on the average of the applicant’s eight prerequisite courses (taken during acceptable full-time semesters, and a minimum 75% requirement to be considered further). Applicants choose which prerequisite courses are presented, as long as they are deemed acceptable based on the DVM admissions course requirements and policies. Prerequisite courses can be from any acceptable full-time semester including those obtained in first year. 

Admissions Average: 

An Admissions Average is calculated for each applicant in the cohort based on a combination of academic performance (Academic Average, weighted as 75% of their Admissions Average) and non-academic attributes as assessed by their current Casper score (weighted at 25% of their Admissions Average). All applicants in the cohort are ranked based on their Admissions Average, and only top-ranked applicants based on this score will then progress to the second stage of consideration.  

The top applicants in each cohort, as ranked based on Admissions Average, are selected for the next stage of consideration, where non-academic characteristics are further assessed. At this stage, the DVM program Admissions Committee reviews all information provided in the BIFs/VMCAS Application Form, including experience, personal statements, and referee assessments. Any packages that the DVM program Admission committee feels do not meet admissions expectations as described here are removed from further consideration.  Following file review, top-ranked applicants from this stage are invited by email to the interview stage of the admissions process for each cohort.  

Applicants in this stage of admissions consideration undergo a virtual interview to further explore and understand information from their BIF/VMCAS application package. The purpose of the interview will be to explore a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, communicate opinions and ideas, critically appraise information and demonstrate advanced thought/knowledge of the issues facing the profession. The interview is intended to reflect the educational goals and objectives of OVC as well as the skills identified by the veterinary profession in Ontario as being necessary for a successful career.   

The interview allows applicants to respond to interview questions in a manner that showcases their non-academic attributes such as verbal communication skills and maturity level, as well as to articulate why they want to be a veterinarian.  During the interview, applicants should be able to elaborate on the information provided in their Background Information Form (BIF) or VMCAS form.  Reflecting on past experiences in advance of the interview enables applicants to speak freely about themselves and their experiences during the interview.   

Applicants that are invited to the interview stage will be contacted via their University of Guelph email to advise them of their interview date and time according to the following timeline: 

  • International applicants: Interview invitations sent in mid-December for interviews in late January to early February
  • Domestic applicants: Interview invitations sent in late April for interviews in mid-May 

Upon being invited to an interview, applicants are reminded to respond to their interview invitation before the response deadline. Failure to accept the invitation by the deadline will forfeit the applicant's interview seat, and their application will no longer be considered for the current admission cycle for the DVM program, however the application will still be counted as an attempt. 

The format of the interview will be available on the DVM admission website for each cohort of applicants.   

Interviews are assessed using a standardized scoring rubric, and an overall applicant Interview Score is generated. The Interview Score (35%) is combined with the Admissions Average (65%) in order to calculate each applicant’s final Combined Admissions Score. Applicants are re-ranked by their Combined Admissions score within each cohort, and offers for admission to the DVM program are made to the top-ranked applicants of each cohort once reviewed and approved by the DVM program Admissions Committee. 

Application Selection and Program Offers

As soon as the admission decisions have been made for each cohort, they will show on the applicants' WebAdvisor accounts.  An official letter will be sent to each applicant at their mailing address, and an email will also be sent to the applicant’s official University of Guelph ( email address. 

Offers of admission must be accepted in writing by the deadline specified in the offer letter/email. International cohort applicants who applied using the VMCAS have until April 15th to accept their offer of admission. Domestic cohort applicant decisions will be released in mid-June.

Requests for Deferrals of Admission 

For applicants that are offered admission and who accept a seat in the DVM program, requests for deferral of entry to the DVM program will not be permitted except on approval by the Associate Dean, Students and Academic ( due to significant medical, psychological or compassionate reasons. 

Rabies Immunization 

A condition of admission to the DVM program is agreement to a rabies immunization program, which includes blood antibody titre evaluation.  

Use of Animals 

Live animals may be used for teaching purposes in some courses in the DVM Program, and this must be accepted by students admitted to the program. All animals are protected by the Animals for Research Act of Ontario (1980), the Guidelines for the Care and Use of Experimental Animals (Canadian Council on Animal Care), and the Animal Care Policies of the University of Guelph.