Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree

Illinois Veterinary Curriculum

Faculty Perspective:

The template for this new curriculum is refreshing and reinvigorating. It instills educational values in students. They can see how they are going to use the information, and they take ownership over their learning rather than being told what to learn.

Dr. Mark Kuhlenschmidt, Pathobiology

Student Perspective:

During my first week of vet school, my clinical assignment was to spend time on the ophthalmology service. The very early exposure gave me a great advantage, as I was able to spend the next four years working with the ophthalmology service and assisting with their research.

Dr. Julia Disney, Class of 2013

Table 1 below illustrates the curriculum overview. Clinical Practice courses (rotations, in blue) in each year allow increased experiential learning in the hospital and diagnostic laboratory. Rotations are intended to facilitate integration of pre-clinical sciences (didactic lectures and laboratories in peach, purple, and orange blocks) with spontaneous clinical material. The Professional Development period at the end of the 4th year (green) is designed to provide more focused (by species and discipline) clinical experiences immediately prior to graduation (capstone courses).

time of year year 1 courses year 2 courses year 3 courses year 4 courses
fall semester
first half
VM602
Structure & Function I
VM605
Pathobiology I
VM609
Medicine & Surgery I
VM614
Clinical Practice V
fall semester
second half
VM601
Clinical Practice I
VM607
Pathobiology II
VM610
Medicine & Surgery II
VM615
Clinical Practice VI
spring semester
first half
VM603
Structure & Function II
VM606
Clinical Practice II
Milestone Exam I
VM611
Medicine & Surgery III
VM616
Clinical Practice VII
spring semester
second half
VM604
Structure & Function III
VM608
Pathobiology III
VM612
Milestone Exam II
Clinical Practice III
VM617
Professional Development
Graduation
summer Vacation Vacation VM613
Clinical Practice IV
Employment

In VM 601, Clinical Practice I, first-year students rotate weekly through diverse clinical experiences for a total of 8 weeks. They also attend colloquia and complete online learning modules.

A major component of the new curriculum is the Clinical Skills Learning Center. In this new 1600 square foot facility, students learn, practice, and refine clinical skills under the guidance of experienced coaches. Skills pertain to anesthesiology, animal handling, clinical pathology, critical care, medicine, radiography, surgery, and ultrasonography of both large and small animals.

In the remainder of the first year of the new curriculum, we have created what is essentially a quarter system rather than semester system, where courses are eight weeks long. Courses are organized to present anatomy, physiology, and histology of the same body systems simultaneously to allow better correlation and integration of pre-clinical sciences with one another and with clinical material experienced during VM 601. A typical daily and hourly schedule for VM 603 is illustrated in Table 2 below:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8 AM Physiology II
Lecture
Physiology II
Lecture
Quiz hour
when used
Physiology II
Lecture
Physiology II
Lecture
9 AM Physiology II
Lecture
Organology I
Lecture
Physiology II
Lecture
Organology I
Lecture
Physiology II
Lecture
10 AM Neurobiology II
Lecture
Organology
Laboratory
Physiology II
Lecture
Organology
Laboratory
Neurobiology II
Lecture
 11 AM VM 627 Finance Organology
Laboratory
Neurobiology II
Lecture
Organology
Laboratory
VM 627 Finance
Noon
1 PM Gross Anatomy
II Lecture
Clinical
Correlations
Gross Anatomy
II Lecture
 VCM 693
Zoo Animal
Anatomy
Gross Anatomy
II Lecture
2 PM Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
Clinical
Correlations
Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
VCM 693
Zoo Animal
Anatomy
Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
3 PM Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
VCM 608 Equine
Husbandry
Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
VCM 693
Zoo Animal
Anatomy
VCM 608 Equine
Husbandry
Gross Anatomy
II Laboratory
4 PM 4:30-6:30 PM
with discussion
group VM 620
Canine/Feline
Behavior
CHSC 400 Public
Health
VCM 524
Bereavement
VCM 671
International
Vet Med
VCM 697 Feline
Medicine
5 PM VB 540 Wildlife
Ecosystem
Health elective
VCM 697 Feline
Medicine
VCM 657 Shelter
Medicine
5:30-7:0 PM
VCM 510
Science of
Animal Well-
Being
VCM 678 Reptile
Medicine
6 PM

Table 2: Weekly Schedule: VM 603 (First Half Spring Semester, January-to-March 2012). Core hours are in light blue, and elective courses are in yellow with italic print.

Similar courses have been developed for all of the first three years of the new curriculum as outlined in Table 1.

To complement the core courses, a series of elective streams has been developed for the following species and areas of interests: equine medicine and surgery; wildlife, zoological medicine, and ecology; small animal medicine and surgery; food animal; all-species specialties (diagnostic imaging, laboratory animal, ophthalmology, clinical pathology, gross pathology, and therapeutics); business and communication; public health/one health.