AVMA Essential Requirements

The UGA CVM is an AVMA COE accredited institution. Printed below are the Essential Requirements for an Accredited and Approved College of Veterinary Medicine. These guidelines have been established by the Council on Education, which is charged with updating these guidelines and making sure that veterinary colleges meet these standards.

Please review the essentials carefully. A hard copy can be found at the reception desk in the Reading Room. Comments and suggestions from students regarding the compliance of The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine to these Essential Requirements are encouraged and welcome.
These can be hand-written and placed in the box provided for this purpose at the reception desk in the Reading Room.

Alternatively, students can give anonymous feedback electronically by sending it in an e-mail message to sandraf@uga.edu from any of the computers in the CALC Center.
Please type "essentials" in the subject heading of the message. The origin of the message will be identified by the computer number only.

Standard requirements of an accredited College of Veterinary Medicine


Colleges of veterinary medicine are evaluated by the Council on the basis of compliance with the standards as each relates to the mission of the college.

The Council bases its decision on compliance with the findings related to the particular standard, and not on the impressions of the overall college program. Information on which standards are evaluated includes the College self-study report and the findings of a site visit team.

It is recognized that assessment of compliance with a standard may change between the submission of the self-study, the site visit, and when the full Council makes its final determination. There must be a specific time frame in which the facts and data are considered and an accreditation decision is made. Failure to function within these parameters prohibits effective accreditation decisions. Procedures exist to provide a timely reevaluation by the Council at the request of a College that believes identified deficiencies have been corrected.



The college must develop and follow its mission statement.

An accredited college of veterinary medicine must be a part of an institution of higher learning accredited by an organization recognized for that purpose by its country's government. A college may be accredited only when it is a major academic administrative division of the parent institution and is afforded the same recognition, status, and autonomy as other professional colleges in that institution.

The chief executive officer or dean must be a veterinarian, and the officer(s) responsible for the professional, ethical, and academic affairs of the veterinary medical teaching hospital must also be a veterinarian.

There must be sufficient administrative staff to adequately manage the affairs of the college as appropriate to the enrollment and operation.


Finances must be adequate to sustain the educational programs and mission of the college.

Clinical services, field services and teaching hospitals must function as instructional resources. Instructional integrity of these resources must take priority over financial self-sufficiency of clinical services operations.

Physical Facilities and Equipment

All aspects of the physical facilities must provide an appropriate learning environment. Classrooms, teaching laboratories, seminar rooms, and other teaching spaces shall be clean, maintained in good repair, and adequate in number, size, and equipment for the instructional purposes intended and the number of students enrolled.

Administrative and faculty offices, and research laboratories must be sufficient for the needs of the faculty and staff.

An accredited college must maintain or be formally affiliated with a full-service acceptable teaching hospital(s) for the welfare and treatment of animals. Appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic service components, including but not limited to pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic support services, dedicated isolation facilities, intensive/critical care and necropsy facilities must be provided to support the teaching hospital(s) with operational policies and procedures posted in appropriate places.

Facilities for the housing of animals used for teaching and research shall be sufficient in number, properly constructed, and maintained in a manner consistent with accepted animal welfare standards. Adequate teaching, laboratory, research, and clinical equipment must be available for examination, diagnosis, and treatment of all animals used by the college. Safety of personnel and animals must be assured.

Clinical Resources

Normal and diseased animals of various domestic and exotic species must be available for instructional purposes, either as clinical patients or provided by the institution. While precise numbers are not specified, in-hospital patients and outpatients including field service/ambulatory and herd health/production medicine programs are required to provide the necessary quantity and quality of clinical instruction.

It is essential that a diverse and sufficient number of surgical and medical patients be available during an on-campus clinical activity for the students' clinical educational experience.
Experience can include exposure to clinical education at off-campus sites provided the college has direct responsibility for carefully planning, closely supervising, and regularly monitoring such clinical experiences.
Further, such clinical experiences should occur in a setting that provides access to subject matter experts, reference resources, modern and complete clinical laboratories, advanced diagnostic instrumentation and ready confirmation (including necropsy).
Such examples could include a contractual arrangement with nearby practitioners who serve as adjunct faculty members and off-campus field practice centers.
The teaching hospital(s) shall provide nursing care and instruction in nursing procedures. A supervised field service and/or ambulatory program must be maintained in which students are offered multiple opportunities to obtain clinical experience under field conditions.
Under all situations students must be active participants in the workup of the patient, including physical diagnosis and diagnostic problem oriented decision making.

Medical records must be comprehensive and maintained in an effective retrieval system to efficiently support the teaching, research and service programs of the college.

Library and Information Resources

Libraries and information retrieval are essential to veterinary medical education, research, public service, and continuing education. Timely access to information resources, whether through print, or electronic media, or other means, must be available to students and faculty. The library shall be administered by a qualified librarian. The college shall have access to the human and physical resources necessary for development of instructional materials.


The number of professional degree students, DVM or equivalent, must be consistent with the resources and the mission of the college.

Colleges are encouraged to establish post-doctoral programs including internships, residencies and advanced degrees (MS, PhD).

Student support services must be available within the college or university.

In relationship to enrollment, the colleges must provide accurate information for all advertisements regarding the educational program by providing clear and current information for prospective students.
Further, printed catalog or electronic information, must state the purpose and goals of the program, provide admission requirements and procedures, state degree requirements, present faculty descriptions, clearly state information on tuition and fees along with procedures for withdrawal, give necessary information for financial aid programs, and provide an accurate academic calendar.
The information provided will contain details regarding licensure. The grading system for the college must be relevant and applied to all students in a fair and uniform manner.

Each accredited college must provide a mechanism for students, anonymously if they wish, to offer suggestions, comments, and complaints for the college related to the Standards for accreditation. These materials shall be made available to the Council annually.


The college shall have a well defined and officially stated admissions policy. The policy shall provide for an Admissions Committee, a majority of whom shall be full-time faculty members. The Committee shall make recommendations regarding the students to be admitted to the professional curriculum upon consideration of applications of candidates who meet the academic and other requirements as defined in the college's formal admission policy.

Subjects for admission shall include those courses prerequisite to the professional program in veterinary medicine, as well as courses that contribute to a broad general education. The goal of preveterinary education shall be to provide a broad base upon which professional education may be built, leading to lifelong learning with continued professional and personal development.

Factors other than academic achievement should be considered for admission criteria.


Faculty numbers and qualifications must be sufficient to deliver the educational program and fulfill the mission of the college. Participation in scholarly activities is an important criterion in evaluating the faculty and the college. The college shall give evidence that it utilizes a well-defined and comprehensive program for the evaluation of professional growth, development, and scholarly activities of the faculty.

Academic positions must offer the security and benefits necessary to maintain stability, continuity, and competence of the faculty. Part-time faculty, residents, and graduate students may supplement the teaching efforts of the full-time permanent faculty if appropriately integrated into the instructional program.


The curriculum shall extend over a period equivalent to a minimum of four academic years, including a minimum of one academic year of hands-on clinical education. The curriculum and educational process should initiate and promote lifelong learning in each professional degree candidate.

The curriculum in veterinary medicine is the purview of the faculty of each college, but must be managed centrally based upon the mission and resources of the college.
There must be sufficient flexibility in curriculum planning and management to facilitate timely revisions in response to emerging issues, and advancements in knowledge and technology.
The curriculum must be regularly reviewed and managed by a college curriculum committee.
Curriculum evaluations should include the gathering of sufficient qualitative and quantitative information to assure the curriculum content provides current concepts and principles as well as instructional quality and effectiveness.
Diversity in delivery of the curriculum is encouraged.

The curriculum shall provide:

  • An understanding of the central biological principles and mechanisms that underlie animal health and disease from the molecular and cellular level to organismal and population manifestations.
  • Scientific, discipline-based instruction in an orderly and concise manner so that students gain an understanding of normal function, homeostasis, pathophysiology, mechanisms of health/disease, and the natural history and manifestations of important animal diseases, both domestic and foreign.
  • Instruction in both the theory and practice of medicine and surgery applicable to a broad range of species. The instruction must include principles and hands-on experiences in physical and laboratory diagnostic methods and interpretation (including diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, and necropsy), disease prevention, therapeutic intervention (including surgery), and patient management and care (including intensive care, emergency medicine and isolation procedures) involving clinical diseases of individual animals and populations. Instruction should emphasize problem solving that results in making and applying medical judgments.
  • Instruction in the principles of epidemiology, zoonoses, food safety, the interrelationship of animals and the environment, and the contribution of the veterinarian to the overall public and professional healthcare teams.
  • Opportunities for students to learn how to acquire information from (diagnostic history) and about (archival documents) patients, to obtain, store and retrieve such information, and to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.
  • Opportunities throughout the curriculum for students to gain an understanding of professional ethics, delivery of professional services to the public, personal and business finance and management skills; and gain an understanding of the breadth of veterinary medicine, career opportunities and other information about the profession.
  • Knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, aptitudes and behaviors necessary to address responsibly the health and well being of animals in the context of ever-changing societal expectations.
  • Fair and equitable assessment of student progress.
Research Programs

The College shall demonstrate substantial research activities of high quality.

Outcomes Assessment

Outcomes assessment measures that address the college mission must be developed and implemented. Outcomes assessment results must be used to improve the college programs.