For Students: Shelter Medicine Program

Getting Started

Are you a prospective veterinary student interested in shelter medicine? A current student looking for info or opportunities but don't know where to start?

Get Started in Shelter Medicine


The Tufts Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School is committed to raising awareness about the needs of shelter animals and the sheltering community among all veterinarians. Therefore part of our program includes elements of the core DVM curriculum and M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) curriculum, which are required for all students.

In addition, there is a selection of experiential and didactic courses that pre-clinical students can take during Selectives time in the Shelter Medicine Program and elective Clinical Rotations in medicine and surgery are available during the clinical year. Experiential learning and rotations take place both on campus as well as the Cummings School campus, utilizing a network of partnering organizations.

DVM Core Content

The Tufts Shelter Medicine Program is committed to raising awareness about the needs of shelter animals and the sheltering community among all veterinarians. Therefore part of our program includes elements of the core DVM curriculum.

Courses for Masters Students

During the companion animal module of the Animals and Society class, students examine issues surrounding pet ownership, responsibilities towards homeless animals, the way that humans have manipulated animals through selective breeding and the use of animals in sports and hobbies. This course includes an in-depth look at the history of pet overpopulation, how animal shelter policy today is affected and policy considerations that address causes and solutions to pet overpopulation.

Areas of Study

An Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) task force defined the key areas of study for shelter medicine. These topics are essential to the work of the shelter veterinarian and are similar to the framework of content included for Board Certification in Shelter Medicine which is through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

Clinical Programs


An opportunity to personalize one’s education, explore specific areas of interest, and grow professionally.

The program is designed to develop clinical, research, and discipline-based skills; foster networking; provide experiences that will influence career opportunities; and cultivate desirable personal attitudes in, and behaviors of, future members of the veterinary profession.

Clinical Rotations

In the spring of the third year, all Cummings School students enter their clinical year, which includes 17 weeks of Elective time and offers many private practice or other clinical setting rotations for students to gain additional Shelter Medicine experience.

Residency Programs

Faculty members in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are dedicated to providing outstanding training for interns and residents. In addition to exposure to a large caseload, house officers in the department's internship and residency programs have opportunities to attend numerous in-house rounds, seminars, and conferences, to teach fourth-year veterinary students, and to participate in clinical or basic research projects.

Spay/Neuter Externships

Many veterinary students choose to gain additional surgical training by participating in off campus spay/neuter experiences. In addition to the programs offered at Cummings School at The Luke & Lily Lerner Spay/Neuter Clinic, there are opportunities which are hosted by outside organizations around the nation and the world.

Surgical Training Programs

In order to serve the dual missions of both serving the shelter community and teaching veterinary students surgical techniques in the most ethically acceptable manner, the Shelter Medicine Program has partnered with clinical sciences faculty to enhance the surgical teaching program.

Alumni Careers in Shelter Medicine