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Biology – Pre-Veterinary

Anderson University prepares undergraduates who want to pursue veterinary medicine for the challenges of veterinary schools nationwide. The College of Arts and Sciences recommends pre-veterinary students pursue a degree in Biology or Biochemistry, both of which lay the groundwork for caring for animals’ wellbeing. As with human medicine, the knowledge of complex body systems establishes the necessary foundation for understanding animal health.


Anderson’s Biology and Biochemistry students complete a research project that enhances their understanding of scientific principles and techniques. Many pre-veterinary students enjoy research projects conducted on university-owned wetlands and forested areas, which are part of the Rocky River Conservancy Project. Student work has included bird and amphibian surveys as well as long-term monitoring of water quality in the river that forms the heart of this wetland.

Essential preparation

Pre-veterinary students frequently choose to pursue a Biology degree, but Anderson graduates can be successful on either path: Biology or Biochemistry. A major in Biology or Biochemistry encompasses three semesters of core coursework, which introduce students to both fields of science. These classes establish the necessary background to grasp the inner workings of all body systems.

Biology degrees comprise more organismal-based classes, such as comparative anatomy and vertebrate development, and animal physiology, as well as chemistry courses, such as biochemistry, that are required to understand animal metabolism, nutrition and overall health. Knowledge of biochemistry – whether as a major or an individual course – is essential preparation for veterinary graduate work. Additional upper-level recommended electives include immunology and microbiology. These courses help students understand infection-causing bacteria and how the immune system works to combat those threats. Anderson’s students gain in-depth knowledge of how body functions and defenses play a role in animal wellbeing.

Often our biology students pursue a minor in chemistry to strengthen their understanding of organisms on a cellular and molecular level. Some students may choose to pursue a minor in medical physics to better understand medical machinery used in animal healthcare, such as radiographs for X-ray imaging. Either minor rounds out students’ education, ensuring they’ll excel in graduate school.

Choosing Anderson

Beyond teaching discipline-specific terms and concepts, professors at Anderson foster critical-thinking skills so students can evaluate the way classroom lessons unfold in real-life medical situations. Because animals are unable to communicate directly, veterinarians must rely on explanations from caretakers, which may be incomplete or inaccurate. Successful veterinarians depend on critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to accurately diagnose medical problems and offer the best solution. Anderson students excel in their field because they are prepared to interpret complex issues and consider new approaches for treatment.

Anderson’s small student-teacher ratio provides deeper relationships between professors and undergraduates. Students find these relationships helpful for one-on-one advising as well as developing the best research project to fit their interests. Beyond options within the Rocky River Conservancy Project, other research opportunities are available through the Center for Cancer Research and the human cadaver laboratory.

Medical professions

Medical professions – for humans or animals – provide excellent venues for Anderson students to exhibit Christian service. From the beginning of time, humankind has been responsible for caring for the Earth, along with all living things in it. Veterinary science offers a direct and explicit way to carry out this charge. In addition to treating the animals in their care, veterinarians also often find themselves ministering to the people who care for animals, whether pets or livestock. Anderson’s students will find many ways to live out their love for Christ in their pursuit of veterinary medicine.