Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, B.S.

Program Code: VBSC_BS

Program Description

This major provides a strong background in those biological and physical sciences underlying contemporary veterinary science and establishes a sound foundation for graduate-level study in veterinary and related biomedical disciplines. The curriculum  provides students with a deep understanding of the foundational sciences while also highlighting the science of animal and human health. Students have the option to focus their area of study through the selection of 400-level supporting courses in a variety of rigorous scientific areas including but not limited to animal health, human and comparative studies, biology, biochemistry, neurobiology, immunology, toxicology, and wildlife science.

The mission of the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major is to prepare students for admission to veterinary school and/or entry into graduate programs. The major can also prepare students for post-baccalaureate employment in many science related fields including biomedical research and development. Students may prepare for employment or matriculation into graduate programs in disciplines such as bioinformatics, genomics, genetics, animal nutrition, animal reproduction, microbiology, animal health, human health, physiology, biochemistry, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and comparative medicine.

What is Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences?

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major provides a hands-on, science-heavy preparation for veterinary school and other careers in the research and allied health professions like lab and field research, industry, pharmacovigilance, pharmaceuticals, biomedical development and sales, and beyond.  The Penn State Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major resides in a small, tight-knit community united by a fascination with animal health and well-being. The major has board-certified and clinically experienced veterinarians on faculty who are experienced in various fields of clinical medicine, research, and specialties who guide, instruct, and advise VBSC students. The program also boasts world-class researchers studying topics like cancer, infectious diseases, parasitic diseases, and metabolic diseases.

You Might Like this Program If...

  • an aspiring veterinarian, physician, biomedical researcher, or other biomedical professional
  • interested in One Health, public heath, veterinary public health, or animal health
  • passionate about science and animal health
  • fascinated with applying scientific principles to real-life situations and case-based study
  • focused on issues like emerging infectious diseases, food and agricultural safety and production, and control and prevention of animal diseases

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major a student must have:

  1. attained a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.0 and
  2. completed BIOL 110, CHEM 110, CHEM 111 and earned a grade of C or better in each of theses courses.
  3. attained third-semester classification

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 6-10
Requirements for the Major 86-90

18 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
MICRB 202Introductory Microbiology Laboratory2
PHYS 250Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 251Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course4
VBSC 211The Immune System and Disease3
VBSC/BIOL 421Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates4
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ANSC 201Animal Science4
ANSC 301Principles of Animal Nutrition3
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
Additional Courses
ANSC 423Comparative Physiology of Domestic Animals3
or BIOL 472 Human Physiology
MICRB 201Introductory Microbiology3
or MICRB 201H Introductory Microbiology
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course3-4
or STAT 250 Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Economic Principles of Agribusiness Decision Making Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Business Keystone/General Education Course
Principles of Economics Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Biology: Populations and Communities
Biology: Molecules and Cells
Biology: Function and Development of Organisms
Molecular and Cell Biology I
Select 6-8 credits from the following:6-8
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry I
and Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry II
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry II
and Laboratory in Organic Chemistry
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Elementary Biochemistry
and Elementary Biochemistry Laboratory
and Applied Biochemistry
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
BIOL 110Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course4
or BIOL 110H Honors Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
BIOL 222Genetics3
or BIOL 322 Genetic Analysis
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
or MATH 140B Calculus and Biology I Keystone/General Education Course
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
or MATH 141B Calculus and Biology II Keystone/General Education Course
VBSC 403Principles of Animal Disease Control3
or VBSC 403H Principles of Animal Disease Control
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits of 400-level courses from department list9

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits

Exploration

  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Critical Review of Literature: Students will be able to search, critically evaluate, and discuss the scientific literature and popular press articles in the field of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Life & Physical Science Competency: Students will exhibit competency in the physical and life sciences, including anatomy, physiology, chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, and immunology.
  • Application of Data and Knowledge: Students will be able to apply research data and their knowledge from the physical and life sciences toward the management of health and diseases of animals.
  • Effective Communication: Students will demonstrate effective oral and written communication to both professional and lay audiences.
  • Career Development: Students will know career options within the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and be prepared to succeed in post-graduate jobs and in professional or graduate schools.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Jennifer Koehl, Ph.D., MPS
Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator, One Health Minor Coordinator, Assistant Teaching Professor
108E Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
jzk335@psu.edu

SUGGESTED ACADEMIC PLAN

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
VBSC 50 (or First-Year Seminar)1-3ENGL 15 or 30H (GWS)*3
Economics/Business Selection (GS)13General Education selection (GA/GH/Integrated)3
CHEM 110 (GN)*23CHEM 112 (GN)3
CHEM 111 (GN)*21CHEM 113 (GN)1
MATH 140 or 140B (GQ)*4MATH 141 or 141B (GQ)*4
General Education selection (GA/GH/GHW/Integrated)3General Education selection (GA/GH/GHW/Integrated)3
 15-17 17
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 110 (GN)*24BIOL 220W, 230W, 240W, or BMB 251 (GN)3-4
PHYS 250 (GN)4PHYS 251 (GN)4
CHEM 202 or 2103CHEM 203 or 212 and 213W3-5
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)*3ANSC 201*4
General Education selection (GA/GH/GHW/Integrated)3 
 17 14-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BMB 401 or 211 and 2123-4BMB 402 or 2212-3
ANSC 301*3VBSC 211 (GN)3
STAT 250 or 200 (GQ)3MICRB 2013
BIOL 222 or 322*3MICRB 2022
General Education selection (GA/GH/GHW/Integrated)3Elective3
 General Education selection (GA/GH/GHW/Integrated)3
 15-16 16-17
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
VBSC 4214VBSC 403*3
Supporting Courses (see department list)*6BIOL 472 or ANSC 4233
Elective3Electives6
ENGL 202C (GWS)*43Supporting Courses (see department list)*3
 16 15
Total Credits 125-132
*

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education

#

Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement

1

Selected from BA 100, ECON 14, ECON 102, ECON 104, or AGBM 101

2

Entrance-to-Major Requirements:

3

ENGL 202C is strongly recommended. Graduate and professional schools may require technical writing.

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL 15/ENGL 30H and CAS 100A/CAS 100B/CAS 100C. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Notes:

  • Courses with 497 numbers and 500 level courses MAY be eligible for substitution for the above list. Consult your adviser and the program coordinator concerning substitution prior to registration in the course.
  • BMB selection follows Organic Chemistry selection. Students enrolled in CHEM 202, 203 must select BMB 211/212,/221. Students cannot receive credit for both BMB 211 and BMB 401.
  • Students wishing to attend veterinary or graduate school are encouraged to select courses required for matriculation at their future institutions.

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, B.S. at Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
AGBM 101, ECON 102, or ECON 1043CHEM 1123
CHEM 110*#†3CHEM 1131
CHEM 111*#†1MATH 141‡†4
MATH 140‡†4ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15‡†3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
First-Year Seminar1-3General Education Course3
 15-17 17
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 110*#†4BIOL 220W, 230W, 240W, or BMB 2513-4
CHEM 202 or 2103CHEM 203 or 212 and 2133-5
PHYS 2504PHYS 2514
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C‡†3General Education Course3
General Education Course3 
 17 13-16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
STAT 250 or 2003-4MICRB 2013
ANSC 201*4MICRB 2022
BMB 401 or 211 and 2123BMB 402 or 2212-3
BIOL 222*3VBSC 2113
Elective3ENGL 202C‡†3
 General Education Course3
 16-17 16-17
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ANSC 301*3BIOL 472 or ANSC 4233
VBSC 4214Supporting Course 400 Level*3
VBSC 403*3Elective3
Supporting Course 400 Level*3Elective 3
Supporting Course 400 Level*3Elective 3
 16 15
Total Credits 125-132
*

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education

#

Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

Advising Notes:

  • Students should consult with an academic adviser regarding selection of CHEM 202 and CHEM 203 versus CHEM 210, CHEM 212, and CHEM 213.
  • If completing CHEM 212, CHEM 213 must also be completed.
  • The BMB selection should be based on the student’s Organic Chemistry selection.  In most cases, students enrolled in CHEM 202 and 203 course select BMB 211, BMB 212, and BMB 221.
  • Students cannot receive credit for both BMB 211 and BMB 401.
  • Students that desire to attend veterinary school or graduate school are strongly encouraged to select additional animal biology courses in their elective selections.
  • Students should consult with an academic adviser regarding the appropriate selection of supporting courses.  Supporting courses must be selected from an approved list.
  • Students should work with an academic adviser in the development of their plan as some courses are not taught every semester.

CAREERS

The major provides a high-science education that opens doors for careers in pharmaceuticals, industry, human health fields, laboratory medicine, and research. Student often develop new interests through exposure to fields they never knew. This broad science curriculum supports career flexibility within the science field!

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE AGRIBUSINESS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDY

Grads thrive at top veterinary, medical, and other biomedical programs, and are recruited to work, teach, and conduct biomedical research across numerous STEM and animal health industries. The VBSC department also offers graduate study in various disciplines.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDY

Contact

DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
Animal, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Building
University Park, PA 16802
vetbiomedsci@psu.edu

https://vbs.psu.edu/about/contact