College of Veterinary Medicine

Student Research Involvement

Student Involvement in Research

Two students engaged in researchAs developing scientists, students are encouraged to engage in research during their tenure at WesternU-CVM. Opportunities are available each year of the curriculum for students to strengthen the basic research learning objectives received through core courses. These additional opportunities include apprenticeship in general laboratory maintenance, participation in programs such as the WesternU CVM Veterinary Research Scholars Program (Year 1 and 2) in the summer, Student Technology and Research Symposium (STRS), College Research Day (all years), presentation at national scientific meetings (all years), Junior Presentations (Year 3), Research Rotation (Year 3 and 4), and Independent Research with Thesis. Faculty members within CVM as well as other colleges on campus are available to students as research project coordinators and mentors to help develop the drive toward scientific inquiry in all veterinary graduates.

Western University of Health Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine support the concepts of E. L. Boyer in Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Princeton, NJ). In this examination of the intellectual environment of universities, research encompasses the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching. Learning objectives related to research are fully integrated in our curriculum, providing ample exposure to critical appraisal of scientific literature, laboratory animal medicine, research ethics, data analysis and dissemination of scientific findings.


List Courses With a Special Emphasis on Research Related Skills

Please note that this is non exhaustive list, for more information contact CVM Research Office : cvmresearch@westernu.edu

CVM 7090 Third Year Student Presentation (1 credit) – Semester 5 & 6

Student standing in front of projection screen making an oral presentation Each student is required to make an oral presentation of a case, series of cases, research project, or a herd/flock problem with which they have been involved during years one through three of the curriculum. Students, in preparing their case presentations, carry out a thorough literature search and evaluate the strengths of relevant published materials, as it may apply to their case(s). Presentations are evaluated by faculty and students are encouraged to be both critical and analytical in their presentations.






CVM 7564 Research Rotation (Optional) (4 credits) – Semester 5 & 8

This rotation provides students with hands-on research experience. The student will learn principles of experimental design and good laboratory practices. Early in the rotation, the student will develop a specific hypothesis and design a protocol to test the hypothesis. The student will maintain a laboratory notebook, documenting the procedures and assays that are performed on a daily basis, as well as define and explain the scientific questions that each assay is addressing and the underlying mechanisms by which the assays operate. Depending upon the rotation site, the student may participate in laboratory meetings, seminars, and/or journal clubs. At the end of the rotation, the student will prepare a one page summary of their research project, which will be written in abstract form that contains both a title and an author(s) section, with the body of the abstract addressing the background, objectives, methods, results, and conclusions of the project. Additionally, a four to five-page technical summary of the research project will be prepared. This document should be written in manuscript format, including an abstract (same as above), introduction, methods, results, and conclusions/discussion sections.  



CVM 8095 Independent Research with Thesis (Optional) (2 – 8 credits) – Semester 3 & 8

Two students view a monitorReading glasses placed on an open lab notebookThe goal of this course is to improve the scholarly writing and scientific presentation skills of students. These skills are especially relevant to students considering further clinical (internship or residency) or research (MS or PhD) training after graduation. This course is applicable to students who have previously completed a research rotation (CVM 7564), independent study (8090) or been engaged in scholarly activities during their clinical rotations or during summer programs. The course is designed to allow final preparation of the scholarly writing (article submitted for publication or thesis), preparation of an abstract, and public defense. Students may elect to enroll in this course during Years 2, 3 or 4, and must complete the course prior to graduation. Repeatable to a maximum of 8 credits. Year 4 students are limited to a total of 8 combined credits for concurrent enrollment in CVM 8090 and/or CVM 8095. Prior permission of the Dean’s Office is required to repeat this course. Credit awarded for this course does not count toward the total number of credit hours required for the DVM degree.


Extracurricular Opportunities

Extracurricular opportunities are also available for students interested in strengthening research related skills and/or expanding their understanding of a specific field of investigation.

CVM Laboratory Research Student Scholar Program

The Laboratory Research Student Scholar Program provide opportunities for First and Second Year CVM students to gain hands-on experience in laboratory- based research. Students that participate in this program (considered Student Research Scholars) receive a stipend, and benefit from a flexible schedule to spend 80 hours/ Block (8 weeks) in supervised research.

Introductory Laboratory Research Student Scholar Program: student research scholars will be trained in general laboratory maintenance by the CVM research staff, and will be exposed to the research methodology used by researchers in the college. No prior experience is required and Student Research Scholars can be enrolled for up to 12 months. This program provides a good opportunity for students to explore and prepare for our CVM Veterinary Research Scholar Program during the summer.

Advanced Laboratory Research Student Scholar Program: students must have previous laboratory experience, and must demonstrate competent understanding of the introductory research principles and methodologies. Student participating in this program will work on a research project under direct supervision from a faculty mentor, for up to 4 blocks in Fall and Spring. This experience is especially relevant to previous CVM Veterinary Research students needing additional data to complete their summer projects.

For further information regarding the program and application process:



cvm fear free research

The Fear Free Research program supports students’ engagement in a project that meets the following criteria:

  • Evidence based research in dogs and/or cats investigating the prevention or reduction of fear, anxiety and stress associated with veterinary visits including travel, facilities, procedures, hospitalization or return home
  • OR
  • Evidence based research in dogs and/or cats investigating the effects of enrichment in the home for the prevention or reduction of fear, anxiety and stress.

The Student Research Scholar will be expected to present a poster (incomplete results are allowed) at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium (NVSS), at Tufts University in July 2019. Travel, registration, housing and poster costs will be covered by the CVM Office for Research.

To apply, the student should:

Applications should be submitted by the due date (please check back for the 2019-2020 due date) to receive full consideration, but will not be considered until a project has been funded. The timing of the project is flexible (could start in January) but must be completed within 12 months of funding. Students would be eligible for a Fellowship if they work on the project during the summer.

This project comes with accompanying support for the interested student engaged in research. The CVM Office for Research will match with this funding towards consumables and supplies — please see links below for more information.




CVM Research Rounds consist of a recurring time each month, dedicated to CVM student and faculty development in Research. The objectives of these rounds are:

  • To increase awareness of research currently conducted at WesternU-CVM
  • To increase contact between students and graduate students / residents in preceptor sites
  • To promote mentorship of residents / graduate students in preceptor sites by WesternU, CVM faculty
  • To provide regular updates of Research Interest Groups’ (RIGs) activities to all members of the college
  • To facilitate the scheduling of conferences by external speakers
  • To expose faculty and students to new methodology and equipment in research

Rounds are organized by Research Interest Groups, around the interests of their members. Faculty and Graduate Students from all colleges at WesternU are invited to attend, along with all CVM students.

Topics and presenters will be announced prior to each round. Research Rounds schedule for 2019-2020 can be found here— please check back for updates.



CVM Research Day

CVM Research Day provides a venue for students currently enrolled in the DVM program (Year 1-4) to present their research in podium scientific presentations. Students are able to exchange ideas, share their knowledge, present their research to faculty and students from all colleges on campus, improve their presentation skills, and earn awards. The program ends with a presentation by a keynote speaker. A call for abstracts is sent prior to each event. The 2019 CVM Research Day was held on Feb. 1, 2019.

To view past program:

CVM Student Research Scholars and Research Trainee Travel Support: Presenting Research Abstracts At Scientific Meetings

Established 2014
Purpose: This program supports CVM and post-doc/graduate research scholars presenting the results of their original research at national or international scientific meetings. Travel support up to $1000 will be allocated from the CVM Office For Research per eligible student research scholar with successful application.

Requirements: CVM student research scholars must be enrolled in the CVM curriculum (Year 1 to 4) at the time of presentation; post-doc and graduate student research scholars must be enrolled in a formal graduate program at time of presentation; student research scholars must have been primarily involved in the project (including data collection and analysis) during their curriculum; the primary mentor of the student research scholar must be a current CVM faculty member.

For further details regarding this program and application process: CVM Student Research Scholar Travel Support Program


The Veterinary Research Club (VRC)’s

2019 Veterinary Research Club

The VRC mission is to enhance interest in the field of biomedical research and laboratory medicine and to promote scholarly opportunities for veterinary students. Some of the activities organized in previous years by the club the club include on-campus research facility tours and guest lectures on topics related to veterinary research. Examples include seminars offered by Western University faculty about their ongoing research, presentations on general topics such as navigating on-line research resources, and organization of a meeting between faculty and students interested in CVM Veterinary Research Scholar Program during the summer.

In addition, our club takes an active role during our College’s open house event, illustrating the impact of veterinary research to the general public and introducing such concepts as zoonotic diseases. 

In upcoming years, the research club would like to expand their activities and organize field trips to surrounding research facilities, designed to maximize the exposure of club members to different research settings and career opportunities.