Numerous well-known publications and websites periodically release rankings for the nation's top veterinary colleges. Perhaps the most widely recognized and respected in the area of vet school ranking is the report published by U.S. News & World Report about every four years. The last was released in 2016 and the next is expected for the 2019–2020 academic year.
The reports published in 2008 and 2011–2012 named Cornell as the top vet school in the nation. A new top program took first place in the 2015–2016 rankings—the University of California at Davis. Cornell dropped to second place.
How Vet School Rankings Are Assessed
Rankings are based on peer assessment surveys that U.S. News sends to the 30 veterinary colleges accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Deans, faculty members, and other staff are encouraged to complete the survey and contribute to the rankings. The response rate is generally reported to be about 50 percent.
Students applying to vet school might be interested in taking a look at the 2016 rankings listed below. We've included a brief profile of each school, incorporating data from individual program websites. We've also included some 2018 honorable mentions from other websites to give you a more comprehensive view while you wait for the 2020 list.
Vet School Rankings of U.S. Colleges in 2016
University of California, Davis
- University of California, Davis
- Location: Davis, Calif.
- DVM Program Established: 1948
- Previous Rankings: No. 2 (tie) in 2008, No. 2 in 2011–2012
Need help deciding if this is the right school for you? TopUniversities.com has ranked University of California, Davis as #1 in the world—not just the country—every year since 2015. The average acceptance rate is about 42 percent as of 2018, with SAT scores in the 1330 to 1530 range. Veterinary school alumni won six national and international awards in 2017.
- Cornell University
- Location: Ithaca, N.Y.
- DVM Program Established: 1894
- Previous Rankings: No. 1 in 2008 and 2011–2012
Students at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine start working with animals literally on their first day, so this school might appeal to you if you prefer the most hands-on education possible. The acceptance rate here is only about 14 percent as of 2018, however. There are only 120 open seats available in each class each year.
Colorado State University and North Carolina State University (tie)
- Colorado State University
- Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
- DVM Program Established: 1907
- Previous Rankings: No. 2 (tie) in 2008, No. 3 (tie) in 2011–2012
This school is famous for teaching surgical techniques using artificial tissue that can easily pass for the real thing. These surgical classes are available in your third and fourth year.
- North Carolina State University
- Location: Raleigh, N.C.
- DVM Program Established: 1981
- Previous Rankings: No. 5 in 2008, No. 3 (tie) in 2011–2012
North Carolina State is somewhat unique in that it will allow you to combine your studies to pursue an MBA or a Ph.D. in addition to your doctorate of veterinary medicine. You'll also get to study at the renowned North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital in your fourth year. You definitely won't be exposed to just hamsters and puppies.
Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin (tie)
- Ohio State University
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- DVM Program Established: 1885
- Previous Rankings: No. 5 (tie) in 2008, No. 5 (tie) in 2011–2012
Ohio State enjoys a top-notch reputation in the world of college athletics, but you want to heal animals. Still, the possibility of some edge-of-the-seat sporting events doesn't hurt. This school is home to the Ohio State Veterinary Center as well, which treats more than 30,000 patients annually. As a student, you'll get to work there.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Location: Madison, Wis.
- DVM Program Established: 1983
- Previous Rankings: No. 5 (tie) in 2008, No. 5 (tie) in 2011–2012
This school estimates that it will cost Wisconsin residents a little more than $29,000 annually to attend, and nonresidents will pay in the area of $48,000. This doesn't include room and board or books and supplies.
Texas A&M College Station and University of Pennsylvania (tie)
- Texas A&M College Station
- Location: College Station, Texas
- DVM Program Established: 1916
- Previous Rankings: No. 5 in 2008, No. 8 in 2011–2012
This four-year program includes three years of classroom and lab instruction followed by a year of clinical rotations in the teaching hospital. Texas A&M offers specialty tracks in animal dermatology and dentistry as well as zoological medicine. If horses are your thing, the school is in the process of building a state-of-the-art equine complex in 2018.
- University of Pennsylvania
- Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
- DVM Program Established: 1884 (second oldest in U.S.)
- Previous Rankings: No. 4 in 2008, No. 5 in 2011–2012
Penn Vet has the notable distinction of being the only veterinary school affiliated with a major medical university. You can choose between two campuses. One is in Philadelphia if you prefer to be surrounded by the rush of a big city.
University of Minnesota
- University of Minnesota
- Location: St. Paul, Minn.
- DVM Program Established: 1947
- Previous Rankings: No. 10 in 2008, No. 9 (tie) in 2011–2012
In a recent poll, 65 percent of students at the University of Minnesota indicated that they were easily able to get the classes they wanted. This school is particularly active in cutting-edge animal research.
Tufts University and University of Georgia
- Tufts University
- Location: North Grafton, Mass.
- DVM Program Established: 1979
- Previous Rankings: N/A
Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine offers two dual programs: one with a Master of Public Health degree and the other with an Master of Science in lab animal medicine. It also provides four specialty programs in international medicine, animal welfare, wildlife and conservation medicine, and an Accelerated Clinical Excellence (ACE) program. It could be a good fit for those who really want to explore their practice options.
- University of Georgia
- Location: Athens, Ga.
- DVM Program Established: 1946
- Previous Rankings: No. 9 (tie) in 20111–2012
The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine says its mission is to "help students, faculty and administrators of the College make meaningful contributions to the understanding of international veterinary medicine and the inter-relatedness of animal health globally."
A Few Honorable Mentions
These schools didn't make the U.S. News rankings in 2016, but some other publishers and websites think they're notable. You might want to check out one or more of them while you're waiting for the next USN&WR list for the 2019–2020 academic year.
- Auburn University
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Michigan State
- University of Delaware
- University of Florida
- University of Missouri
- Virginia Tech