DVM Curriculum

The DVM degree is awarded after 4 years of successful study, and students are encouraged to consider writing a thesis as part of their veterinary school experience.

First Year

Tiger skeleton

The first year of the DVM curriculum consists largely of didactic teaching and laboratory instruction and focuses on the basic biomedical sciences. The major emphasis is on the basic structural and functional relationships that occur in normal animals. The Clinical Skills course provides basic handling and husbandry of large and small animal species

Anatomy I

First Year Farm Husbandry

Anatomy II

General Pathology

Applied Epidemiology & Evidence Based Medicine

Human-Animal Relationships

Applied Molecular Biology


Case Based Learning I & II

International Veterinary Medicine

Clinical Skills I

Introduction to Veterinary Nutrition

Communications I and II

Organ System Structure & Function I & II

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

Veterinary Biochemistry and Metabolism

Second Year

2 veterinarians and a student examining a dog

The instructional program for the second year of the DVM program is mainly concerned with the pathophysiology of specific disease entities as they affect organs in various systems of the body. In these courses, students relate the morphological and physiological manifestations of a specific disease to the functional abnormalities they cause in a particular body system. In addition, the second year introduces students to clinical and imaging topics. Clinical Skills II introduces students to basic physical examination and diagnostic procedures for all species.

Accelerated Clinical Excellence

Ethics & Veterinary Medicine

Respiratory Pathophysiology

Basic Pharmacology

Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology

Second Year Clinical Rotations

Cardiovascular Pathophysiology

General Parasitology

Skeletal Pathobiology

Clinical Pharmacology

Hemic-Lymphatic and Clinical Pathology


Clinical Skills II

Introduction to Veterinary Public Health

Urinary Pathophysiology

Diagnostic Imaging

Introduction to Zoological Medicine

Veterinary Infectious Diseases

Diversity & Professional Perspectives II

Law and Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Microbiology Laboratory

Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals & Initial Accreditation Training

Principles of Surgery

Veterinary Neurobiology

Endocrinology Pathophysiology

Reproductive Pathophysiology


Third Year

student and veterinarian conducting an ultrasound on a small animal

During much of the third year, students integrate the pathophysiological aspects of specific diseases learned in the second year with a comprehensive discussion of the presenting clinical signs, diagnostic criteria and the treatment of these entities. Thus, the third-year curriculum is designed to provide students with a sound basis in clinical medicine with emphasis on diagnosis, prognosis and management. The third year culminates with a two-week period of advanced elective course offerings.

Anesthesia & Analgesia

Farm Animal Medicine & Surgery

Bovine Procedures Lab

Introduction to Small Animal Anesthesia and Surgery Techniques

Clinical Animal Behavior


Clinical Dermatology

Small Animal Clinical Procedures Lab

Clinical Reasoning

Small Animal Dentistry

Communications III

Small Animal Medicine & Surgery I and II

Diagnostic Ultrasonography

Team Dynamics Workshop

Equine & Camelid Medicine & Surgery


Euthanasia Seminar

Veterinary Economics and Practice Management


Zoological Medicine

Fourth Year

student caring for a baby lamb at hospital for large animals

By the beginning of the fourth year, all core didactic courses and some clinical rotations are completed. The student spends the entire year gaining further experience in clinical and other rotations. The core clinical rotation program utilizes the case method approach. Under supervision the student records case histories, performs physical examinations as well as diagnostic and surgical procedures, and learns to assume responsibility for treatment and case and client management.

Core Clinical Rotations


Ambulatory Medicine


Anatomical/Clinical Pathology








Diagnostic Imaging


Emergency and Critical Care


Ethics Seminar

2 hours

Large Animal Medicine


Large Animal Surgery








Small Animal Medicine


Small Animal Surgery - Orthopedic and/or Chief Residency


Small Animal Surgery - Soft Tissue


Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic


Wildlife Clinic






Total Core Rotations




Students in the library

DVM Thesis Option

Students at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are encouraged to consider writing a thesis as part of their veterinary school experience. The program is voluntary and open to all Cummings School DVM students conducting research. Students whose summer research presentations on Student Research Day are deemed viable as a possible thesis will be invited by the chair of the Advanced Education Committee (AEC) through their mentor to participate in the program. Other students and their mentors can also request permission to submit a thesis. Students successfully completing a DVM with thesis will be acknowledged at graduation, and the notation of “DVM with THESIS” will be posted on their transcript.

Learn More About the Thesis Option