Veterinary Clinical Medicine

Graduate Degrees, Residencies, and Internships

Come to Illinois for the opportunity to work with outstanding clinical specialists in a busy referral hospital that is part of a world-class university.

Options for Advanced Study

Several pathways are available to meet the needs of the individual student pursuing careers involving specialty clinical practice, academia, industry, government, or research.

  • Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degrees

    • The MS degree prepares students to be lifelong learners in careers involving specialty clinical practice, teaching, industry, government, or research. The requirements for the MS can usually be completed within two years.
    • The PhD degree prepares students for an academic or research career. (Note: The department’s PhD program is currently being revised. Contact the department for further information.)

    In both programs, the student receives training in planning research projects and writing research proposals and gains the ability to conduct research both independently and within teams of scientists from various biomedical or agricultural fields. The student also gains experience in clinical teaching and critical review of the literature, which will serve as the basis for delivering instruction within their discipline.

    See Application Procedures Below

  • Clinical Residency and MS Programs

    • Residency programs are designed to complete or largely complete the training requirements for veterinary clinical specialty board certification as well as to provide the candidate the opportunity to conduct applied or basic research. Unless the applicant for a residency already holds an MS or PhD degree, the residency will be combined with the MS program.

    Residencies are offered in the following specialties:

    • Anesthesiology
    • Dermatology
    • Diagnostic Imaging
    • Emergency and Critical Care (Small Animal)
    • Equine Internal Medicine
    • Equine Surgery
    • Oncology
    • Ophthalmology
    • Rural Animal Health Management
    • Small Animal Internal Medicine
    • Small Animal Surgery
    • Theriogenology

    (Note: Clinical pathology residencies are offered through the Department of Pathobiology; clinical pharmacology residencies are available in the Department of Comparative Biosciences.)

    The length of a residency is defined by the appropriate clinical specialty board of the American Veterinary Medical Association (usually two, three, or four years), and the MS program may add an additional year to the defined residency period. Therefore, the length of time required to satisfy the objectives of a combined residency/MS program is three years for most clinical specialty boards, or up to four years for radiology boards.

    All residents have a supervising diplomate who is board certified in the appropriate area of study as well as a committee that supervises their clinical and graduate programs.

    Residents are expected to attend and give staff seminars and to assist in the clinical and laboratory teaching of students in the DVM program. It must be emphasized that, as in most advanced training programs, much of the initiative to obtain knowledge is left to the individual: the benefit the resident derives from the program will be directly related to the effort the resident is willing to expend.

    All residents will be required to write at least one paper during their residency. They are encouraged to publish not only for their own development but also to fulfill the eligibility requirements of the appropriate clinical specialty board.

    • Residencies start on or after July 15.
    • Residents are initially appointed for one year; continuation in the program is contingent upon mutual satisfaction of the resident, the supervising diplomate, the resident’s section head, and the head of the department.
    • Residents are paid $30,500 in their first year. They have a 100% appointment and receive a tuition waiver.
    • Residents are entitled to 10 days of vacation per year in addition to university holidays.

    See Application Procedures Below

  • Internship Program

    • Internships are non-degree certificate programs that provide guidance in the in-depth management of clinical cases. Internships last 12.5 months and fulfill the requirements for eligibility to apply for clinical specialty residency programs.

    Small animal internships involve a rotation of duty in most of the following areas: anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, emergency and critical care, oncology, ophthalmology, medicine, radiology/imaging, and surgery.

    Large animal internships are available in the Equine Medicine and Surgery section and the Rural Animal Health Management section.

    Special internships are available in Wildlife, Dermatology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, and Shelter Medicine.

    All interns work under the supervision of senior staff members, are responsible for some of the daily services of the hospital, and provide emergency services on a rotating basis. Interns also share some teaching responsibilities in the form of intern seminars, rounds, and clinical instructions to senior students and will be required to prepare a manuscript (e.g., a case report).

    • Internships start in late June.
    • Interns are paid $26,142 and are entitled to 10 days of vacation per year in addition to university holidays.
    • Interns are charged for parking.
    • Interns do not register for course work.

    See Application Procedures Below

Application Requirements and Procedures

  • MS and PhD Degrees

    Application requirements:

    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or equivalent from a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or an appropriate undergraduate degree
      (Applicants who do not have a DVM or equivalent degree must also submit an official copy of the results of the GRE General Test, taken within the past five years.)
    • Minimum grade point average* of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants with a grade point average below 3.0 may be considered for admission on limited status on the basis of individual merit.

    *Note: GPA is computed as follows:

    • Applicants with DVM or equivalent: GPA based on grades from veterinary coursework
    • Applicants without DVM: GPA based on grades from the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies
    • Applicants who have completed graduate study or graduate degree: GPA based on grades from graduate courses as well as undergraduate or professional degrees

    Students seeking to transfer from other graduate programs will be judged on the basis of past undergraduate and graduate performance.

    Prospective applicants should contact the department head or a faculty member in the department before starting the application process, in order to determine whether a suitable research training position is available.

    Applicants must apply to and be accepted by both the department and the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Apply to the Graduate College now

    The departmental application must include all of the following:

    • Letter of intent
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Official transcripts from each university that the applicant has attended
    • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the applicant’s potential for graduate studies

    These must be mailed to:

    Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
    Graduate Program
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    1008 West Hazelwood Drive
    Urbana, Illinois 61802

    For additional information, contact the department: 217-333-5310; email VCMGradProgram@vetmed.illinois.edu.

    Foreign applicants must also include the following in their departmental application:

    • Evidence of financial support (such support should be discussed with the department head before formal application is made)
    • Evidence of satisfactory performance on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam for students for whom English is not their native language. A satisfactory TOEFL score is at least 550 (on the paper based test) or 213 (on the computer-based test); these TOEFL scores are the minimum required by the Graduate College.
  • Residency Programs

    Application requirements:

    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or equivalent from a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association
    • Successful completion of a one-year rotating internship or its equivalent

    Residents are expected to obtain Illinois licensure, although it is not mandatory. Graduates from non-AVMA-accredited schools may not be able to take the licensure examination unless they have completed the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) program.

    Residencies are usually filled via the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program, which posts deadlines for receipt of completed applications on its website.

    Apply to the Matching Program Now

    After formal notification of acceptance into the residency program, successful residency applicants who do not yet have a MS or PhD degree will need to apply to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate College for admission to the MS degree program.

  • Internship Program

    Application requirements:

    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree or equivalent from a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or senior year status in a DVM program at an AVMA-accredited school
    • Licensure to practice veterinary medicine in a state or Canadian province by the start of the internship program. Licensure in Illinois is encouraged.

    Internships are usually filled via the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program, which posts deadlines for receipt of completed applications on its website.

    Apply to the Matching Program Now


The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.