Academic Programs Catalog

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Annette O'Connor, Chairperson

The Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences offers courses designed to meet the needs of the professional program in veterinary medicine and post-D.V.M. clinical training programs that provide the basis for specialty board certification in large animal medicine and surgery.

Many members of the faculty participate in graduate training at the master's and doctoral level through the interdepartmental program in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology.

Several colleges and departments within Michigan State University cooperate in offering interdepartmental Doctor of Philosophy degree programs with majors in cell and molecular biology, genetics, and neuroscience, which are administered by the College of Natural Science. For additional information, refer to the statement on the doctoral programs in the College of Natural Science section of this catalog.

Graduate Study

Large Animal Clinical Sciences - Master of Science

The principal objectives of the Master of Science program are to introduce candidates to research and to prepare them for positions requiring advanced education. Opportunities are available in veterinary and medical colleges, animal and veterinary science departments, industrial research and development, U. S. Public Health Service, U. S. Food and Drug Administration, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and private business organizations or practices.

The master's degree student is usually required to develop a course of study which requires writing a thesis based upon original research (Plan A). In rare instances, a student may be permitted to elect a non–thesis (Plan B) course of study upon recommendation of the guidance committee and the approval of the department's faculty.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.


The candidate must possess a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or an equivalent degree and be accepted by the graduate faculty of the department.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Large Animal Clinical Sciences

The student must complete 30 credits under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis).
Students majoring in large animal clinical sciences may elect to support the major field with courses in two or three additional areas. Supporting and minor courses may be in anatomy, pathology, physiology, pharmacology, bacteriology, virology, immunology, mycology, parasitology, nutrition, animal science, statistics, chemistry, genetics, or education.

Academic Standards

A second semester of grades averaging below 3.00 constitutes cause for withdrawal from the program.

Large Animal Clinical Sciences - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree program is designed to provide veterinary medical graduates the experience and training necessary to develop an integrative approach to animal disease research. The program emphasizes the development of a firm scientific background in fundamental and basic biomedical sciences, in–depth knowledge in an area of veterinary science, and the conduct of in–depth original research.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Veterinary Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Applicants for admission must hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or another medical degree and have a grade–point average of at least 3.00 in two previous years of graduate or professional study. At least one year of clinical experience is recommended. A Master of Science degree is not required.

Applicants must submit an autobiographical sketch, a statement of interest and objectives, and three letters of recommendation from individuals capable of judging their academic capabilities and accomplishments. The department's Graduate Postgraduate Training Committee reviews applications for admission and recommends persons for admission to the department chairperson. The admissions decision is based upon the applicant's academic record and professional goals, the letters of recommendation, and space and faculty availability.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Large Animal Clinical Sciences

The doctoral program is divided into three phases:  Phase I culminating with a qualifying examination, Phase II culminating with a comprehensive examination, and Phase III culminating with the completion and defense of the dissertation. There is no foreign language requirement.

Phase I consists of fundamental and basic biomedical sciences courses in which the student must demonstrate a high degree of competence. The student must complete 15 credits of inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physiologic chemistry. No fewer than 3 credits must be in biochemistry. The student must also complete no fewer than 3 credits of statistics and no fewer than 6 credits in courses emphasizing mechanisms of animal disease. In order to continue in the doctoral program, the student must pass a qualifying examination formulated and conducted by the qualifying examination committee.

Phase II consists of at least 13 credits in an area of veterinary science chosen by the student. The 13 credits must be in courses at the 400 level or above. At least 8 of the 13 credits must be in courses at the 800 level or above, and it is recommended that these credits be from one of the following departments:  anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology, microbiology, pathology, statistics and probability, or community health science. With the agreement of the department that administers the courses, the 8 credits may contribute to a minor from that department, but a minor is not required for the program.

The comprehensive examination is given by the student's guidance committee toward the end of Phase II when the student has completed most of the required courses. The examination consists of two parts:  an oral examination and the presentation of a dissertation proposal. The oral examination is designed to evaluate the student's depth of knowledge in their chosen area of veterinary science and includes, but is not limited to, material from the required courses. The student must pass the oral examination before he or she may present the dissertation proposal. The proposal must be presented no earlier than 15 days, and no later than 45 days, after the student has passed the oral examination.

Phase III consists of conducting animal disease research, completing the dissertation, and defending the dissertation.

Academic Standards

A candidate may not receive more than three grades below 3.0 in courses required for the degree.