CyGuide: College of Veterinary Medicine

Samantha Weese

Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 28 veterinary colleges and is the oldest public veterinary college in the country, founded in 1879.

The college has five departments: biomedical sciences, clinical sciences, diagnostic and production animal medicine, microbiology and preventive medicine and veterinary pathology.

“Our student body is diverse and brings in students from all over the country and the world,” said Lisa Nolan, dean of the veterinary college.

The college has graduated more than 7,000 veterinarians who work in all aspects of veterinary medicine, veterinary diagnostics and research.

“There are Iowa State veterinarians all over the world and they’re playing a big role in the profession, so students who come through our program have networking possibilities everywhere,” Nolan said.

More than 80 percent of the veterinarians in Iowa are ISU graduates.

Alexandra Nettleton, a first-year vet student at Iowa State, said she is enjoying her experience.

“My favorite part so far of vet school is getting to learn the medical material that I have been waiting to learn since I was about 8 years old and getting to do it with an amazing group of people,” Nettleton said.

ISU veterinary graduates have many different job opportunities and go into many different fields after graduation.

“A lot of our students go into private practice, academia or they go into government service, and a lot go into business,” Nolan said. “Veterinarians can do a lot of different things.”

Some things about Iowa State’s veterinary college that help it stand out are the new expansions that have been completed.

The recently completed expansion of the small animal hospital, which has added more than 17,000 square feet of new space and renovated more than 88,000 feet of old space, making it the most state-of-the-art facility in the country.

“We have one of the newest and most spectacular veterinary teaching hospitals anywhere. It’s really something to be proud of,” Nolan said.

For Nettleton, the programs that Iowa State’s veterinary college offers were what made up her mind about attending.

“I chose Iowa State over other vet schools because I grew up hearing about how awesome the program was, so I have wanted to go here since I was very young,” Nettleton said.

Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine is partnered with several programs offering students opportunities such as study abroad, the Great Ape Trust, the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines and shelter medicine, among others.

Students usually complete four years of undergraduate work and then enter into another four years at the veterinary school.

“Get as much experience as you can, even if it’s just volunteering at a vet clinic or shelter,” Nettleton said regarding advice for freshmen thinking about applying to the vet college. “Get life experiences because grades may help you get an interview, but in the end they want to know what you can bring to the college and profession, not how well you can take tests.”

Iowa State’s veterinary college is state-of-the-art and offers many diverse and different opportunities for students not found anywhere else.

“People know when you say you graduated as an Iowa State veterinarian. That means something,” Nolan said. “It means you went through a rigorous program, but that you have great hands on skills, and it also means you work hard.”