Sixteen courses, each two weeks in length, make up the core of the third year curriculum. Students are assigned to preselected locations in groups (generally three or more). Students are assigned in groups in order to continue the sharing of learning experiences developed in years one and two of the curriculum.


Each course syllabus details learning objectives and skills intended for each course. At the end of each eight week block students return to campus for exams and other educational activities for one week.

The courses include:


Clinical/Institutional Locations


  • Small Animal Practice (4 courses)
  • Livestock Mixed Practice (2 courses)
  • Equine Practice (2 courses)
  • Surgery/Anesthesia
  • Diagnostic Laboratory & Pathology
  • Laboratory Animal & Research
  • Zoo Animal & Wildlife


Campus Based Courses


  • Population Health & Production
  • Veterinary Public Health
  • Food & Feed Safety
  • Global Animal Health



In addition to the above two-credit courses students are scheduled during the academic year to complete two one-credit courses



  • Introduction to Practice Management
  • Third Year Student Presentations



Western University CVM faculty work closely with clinical preceptors in the design and implementation of the curriculum. It is expected that each student will spend on the average approximately one-half of each course day participating in patient care with the preceptor or associates. The other half of the day will be spent in group study reviewing medical records, participating in follow-up care of patients, participating in follow-up contact with clients (where approved by the clinical site coordinator), and studying biomedical information to meet the learning objectives of that course site. Students will be expected to maintain case logs and a log of clinical skills practiced in each course. These are transmitted electronically at the end of the course using a web-based program.

Each student provides a summary evaluation of his or her learning experiences at the end of each course. Preceptors also provide an evaluation of each student to the WU-CVM faculty in charge of the course. This evaluation becomes part of the overall assessment for each student.


Site criteria and oversight


Clinical and institutional sites are chosen based on their ability to provide a rich educational experience for third year students. Factors taken into consideration include but are not limited to the qualifications of the preceptor and associates, the case load, the willingness of site personnel to mentor students, equipment, safety and the proximity to the Pomona campus. The committee on clinical instruction (a faculty committee) reviews all current and proposed sites for adherence to the selection criteria and suitability to remain in the program.


All off-campus sites involved in education of third year students are visited by a faculty member at least once during each two-week course when students are present. The purpose of the visit is to assess the academic progress of the students and address any concerns from either students or preceptors. All visits are documented and filed with the Director of Clinical Relations. Students evaluate the sites after the completion of the course using a web-based program and these evaluations are considered in the overall assessment of the site.


Time Commitments

Scheduled Time:


  • Required courses:
    • Contact time: Normally 20-30 hr/wk (includes rounds, outpatients, inpatients, business meetings, and record maintenance)
    • Non-contact time: As a group 20 hr/wk (includes library/computer/case research, learning objectives, reading)
    • Commuting cost and time is the student responsibility


Self-directed, individual study time:


  • Approximately 10-20 hr/week