New D.V.M. Curriculum

In Fall 2024, Cummings School will introduce an exciting new D.V.M. curriculum.  The new curriculum builds upon the strengths of the existing curriculum, draws upon the knowledge and experience of our outstanding faculty and teaching staff, and takes full advantage of the excellent teaching hospitals and clinics operated by the school.  Horizontal and vertical integration that bring clinical context to learning is emphasized. Students will learn the foundations of comparative medicine that underpin successful veterinary practice and understand how to apply the principles to clinical cases. The program will continue to take a multispecies approach, without formal tracking, and will provide elective and extra-curricular opportunities so students can pursue areas of personal interests or learn about areas that they are not familiar with.  The new curriculum is broad and deep, designed to challenge students to develop clinical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving. The goal is to focus on ensuring that students learn and develop the competencies necessary to pursue the range of careers available through education in veterinary medicine and veterinary sciences.

The number of didactic lectures is decreased, with increased emphasis on active and hands-on learning. Each year of the program uses a different approach so that students with different learning styles are supported in the program. These approaches include discipline-based foundational veterinary science courses in Year 1, body system disease courses in Year 2, clinical presentations courses in Year 3, and clinical rotations for the last fifteen months of the program. 

Courses that create a thread (think of it as a major learning theme or roadmap for students to follow) across multiple years of the program have been created to ensure the integration and building of knowledge and context as students progress through the program. Emphasis is placed on building competence, confidence, clinical skills, communication, and contextual learning, all in a supportive community. Think of these as the 6 “C’s” of the program and a major goal of the threads.

Threads Running Through the Program

  • Foundations of Health and Disease
  • Clinical relevance
  • Clinical skills and communication
  • Diversity and professional perspectives
  • Veterinarians, animals, and society
  • Research relevance

For example, the Clinical Relevance thread introduces clinical cases and clinical reasoning from week one. Students will work in teams to apply the knowledge learned in the Foundations of Health and Disease courses to clinical cases so that they understand the clinical context and relevance of the material being learned. The Clinical Skills thread is where students will learn the technical skills necessary to diagnosis and treat diseases or conditions. The clinical skills course sessions will be generally aligned with learning about the diseases or systems in the other courses.

Other Highlights

  • Emphasis on development of contextual knowledge and clinical reasoning skills.
  • Focus on student, staff, and faculty wellbeing for class and semester scheduling.
  • Prioritization of collaboration and team-based learning so that students can succeed in the team-based health care environment required in veterinary medicine.
  • Refining of communication skills.
  • Access to summer research opportunities.
  • One Health perspective.
  • Clinical year rotations in primary care in all clinical fields and advanced rotations in diverse veterinary specialties.
  • Exploration of spectrum of care concepts.
  • Opportunities for community outreach.
  • International travel experiences.