The New Curriculum at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Out with the old and in with the new…curriculum, that is. Starting in the Fall of 2011, the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis will begin implementing a new curriculum starting with the Class of 2015! The new curriculum, aside from switching students from Davis’ traditional quarter system to semesters, is very different from the current, or old, curriculum, but I am confident that it will be a very good learning experience for students!

Old curriculum:

The old curriculum was implemented in 1990. It was a traditional curriculum in that it involved a great deal of classroom time but it was also innovative in that it had both a core (75%) as well as an elective component (25%). According to the old system, students were required to “track” by the time students start their 3rd year according to which animals you want to focus on working with (8 tracks, 1 independent). At present, years 1-3 students can expect to be lecture and/or lab from 8 or 9 am until 5pm or later on many, if not most, days.

New curriculum:

The new curriculum is a hybrid curriculum that will be implemented in the Fall of 2011 starting with the Class of 2015. Years 1 and 2 will be focused on providing a comparative core curriculum while years 3 and 4 will have “streams” that are essentially the new way to “track” at the vet school. You will choose ONE stream: Small Animal, Food Animal or Equine. All streams will do comparative case-based streams as well. You will start your clinical work in your 3rd year (surgery, anesthesia, etc) but you will also have the freedom to pursue elective blocks in other areas such as production medicine, zoological medicine, ecosystem health, public policy, and research.

The new curriculum will have a new design known as a “block” design which will focus on body systems, integrating disciplines in a case-based fashion. This new design will focus on giving real, applicable context for the information you learn as a vet student, something I think is incredibly important.

In addition, the new curriculum is going to be “outcome-based” which essentially means that there are certain skills and competencies that the school has outlined that they consider to be essential for you to achieve before graduation in order to be a successful and competent veterinarian.

One major change that will take place is that the school is changing from a format that is heavily classroom-based to a format that is more centered around students, forcing students to take initiative and control of their own learning.

1st Year:

  • Prologue (orientation)
  • Basic Foundations (animal handling, restraint, medical records, general physical exams, etc.)
  • Heme / Lymph / Coag
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neuroscience / Senses / Behavior
  • Gastrointestinal / Metabolism

2nd Year:

  • Cardio / Respiratory
  • Renal / Urinary
  • Endocrine / Repro
  • Skin
  • Oncology
  • Immuno / Infectious Diseases
  • Population Health
  • Clinical Foundations

3rd Year:

  • Medicine Stream
  • Clinics (if you don’t want to do any other elective blocks)

4th Year:

  • Clinics

Don’t worry, though — the week of Orientation (listed above as part of “Prologue”) isn’t going anywhere and we are going to have a ton of fun! I will be returning in the fall as a student mentor for Orientation, so I will be around to meet the Class of 2015, welcome them to vet school and help them with any questions they may have. I look forward to meeting you in the fall!