Academic Programs Catalog

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Graduate Study
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.