How do I become a vet?

To become a vet, you will spend five and a half years studying at one of the two Vetsuisse faculties (University of Bern and University of Zurich).

First year of study: You will go over the chemistry, biochemistry and physics knowledge that you obtained in high school (to the level required for scientific subjects). You will learn about animal anatomy and physiology. Further areas of study include imaging techniques (radiology), statistics and epidemiology, animal welfare and animal husbandry. You will gain in-depth knowledge of the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system.

Second and third years of study: You will gain knowledge on all the organ systems in the various topic blocks. Alongside this, you will learn how to examine animals.

Every year, you must pass examinations in order to progress to the next year of study. At the end of the third year, you will receive the title of "Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine".

Fourth year of study – the first year of the master's degree program. You can choose from six specialist areas: Livestock (ruminants and pigs), horses, small animals (cats and dogs), pathobiology, veterinary public health, biomedical research. You will spend approximately half of your time studying your chosen specialist area up until the end of your degree program, giving you in-depth knowledge in this area.

Fifth year of study – your final year of study and the second year of the master's degree program: You will spend half the year putting your theoretical knowledge to use in clinical operations and pathology. You will also write a master thesis.

At the end of the second year of your master's degree program, you will receive the title of "Master of Veterinary Medicine". You can then apply to take the Swiss federal examination. Once you have passed this exam, you are authorized to work as a vet.

After your studies, you can continue your training at the Vetsuisse faculty or in a veterinary practice, or you can go into public health, research or the industrial sector – training as a vet opens up all manner of possibilities.

The requirements for admission to studies are

  • A Swiss or federally recognized school leaving certificate
  • A Swiss vocational school leaving certificate in connection with a pass in the Swiss supplementary examination. Maturity Commission
  • A bachelor's degree from a Swiss university, university of applied sciences or university of teacher education
  • A master's degree, licentiate or equivalent from a Swiss university

The number of places is restricted to 70 in Bern and 80 in Zurich in order to ensure that the excellent education standards are maintained. The available places are allocated on the basis of the results of an aptitude test.

You must register for the aptitude test by February 15. You can find more information at http://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/services/applying-to-medical-school/
The aptitude test takes place in July of the year in which your studies are due to begin. It is also offered in French and Italian.
The university where you have applied to study will inform you of the results by mid-August.

You can specify your desired study location (Bern or Zurich) when applying. Unfortunately, your preference cannot always be taken into account. Places at the Bern site are allocated to students from French-speaking Switzerland as a priority.

Studies begin in the fall semester in mid-September.

In the first year, there are approximately 100 students. In the following years, you will be studying with approximately 55 to 60 fellow students. Approximately 85% of students are women.

Gain as much experience of veterinary practices as possible! Take on internships in a range of practices so that you can familiarize yourself with the daily ins and outs of working with animals. Try and find an agricultural placement to give you an idea of a farm vet's working environment.

As a rule, this is not possible. Foreign students are only admitted to a course of study if they or their parents have a permanent residence permit (C permit). You can find more information at International Student Admissions There are special regulations for Swiss citizens abroad.