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Clinical Curriculum

RUSVM students are required to complete a minimum of 45 weeks of supervised and evaluated clinical curriculum at an affiliated school/college to be eligible for graduation. RUSVM students must spend a minimum of 20 weeks in the "core" clinical curriculum. The remaining time (generally 25 weeks) consists of a combination of electives and externships.

CORE ROTATIONS (minimum 20 weeks):

1. Small Animal Medicine: Includes Preventive Health Maintenance/Community Practice - (a minimum of 4 weeks)
2. Small Animal Surgery: (a minimum of 4 weeks)
3. Medical Services: Includes Anesthesiology and Diagnostic Imaging - (a minimum of 4 weeks)
4. Diagnostic Pathology: Includes Clinical Pathology, Parasitology, Microbiology, Necropsy (diagnostic pathology) services (a minimum of  4 weeks)
5. Large Animal Medicine: A minimum of 4 weeks in one of the following: Food Animal Medicine and/or Surgery. Includes Ambulatory Services, Theriogenology, and/or Food Animal Production Medicine where offered
Equine Medicine and/or Surgery:
Includes Ambulatory Services where offered


  • Electives Overview

    An elective is an evaluated rotation that allows the student to hone in on a particular veterinary specialty to further learning beyond the core curriculum. Many institutions define electives as non-core on-campus rotations or clerkships, though it is possible to take elective rotations off-campus also. Normally students will receive a grade (associated with a course number) after completion of an elective rotation.

  • Externships Overview

    An externship is an off–campus supervised and evaluated learning experience. The objective of externships is to give the veterinary student an opportunity to actively explore their interests through practical personal experience (active and interactive learning), under qualified DVM or PhD supervision. It is advisable to use this time to investigate areas of special interest to you (i.e., exotic animal medicine or lab animal medicine) or to strengthen an area of weakness or look for employment opportunities. Externships may be conducted anywhere in the world, as long as they are approved by the clinical affiliate. Normally students receive a pass/fail grade after completion of an externship.

additional externship information

Externships must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be directly supervised and evaluated by a DVM or PhD
  • Must be in a veterinary or veterinary related field
  • Must be approved by your affiliate school (except for Cornell, Tennessee & Kansas State University*)

Externship/Off-Campus Course Outline:

Each clinical year student in veterinary medicine will spend externships working with the preceptor(s) of their choice, who may be involved in one of the following areas:

  • Private or specialty practice
  • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Research
  • Zoo, exotic, or alternative medicine
  • Federal or state service
  • Industry

Externship Approval:

Before accepting an externship, students should seek approval from their clinical affiliate.

Compensation for Externships:

You are permitted to be compensated by your externship site including reimbursement for any travel, food, and lodging expenses incurred.

* Externships at Cornell University, the University of Tennessee and Kansas State University are under the direct control and supervision of Oklahoma State University. Students attending one of these clinical affiliates will need to have their externship experience written evaluation sent from the externship site directly to the correct person in Oklahoma State University. It is the student's responsibility to obtain the externship evaluation form, provide it to the externship site and to be sure that it is returned to the appropriate RUSVM personnel in a timely manner.

Liability Insurance

Student Professional Veterinary Medical Liability Insurance

Your affiliate school, and most locations where you might do an externship, will require malpractice insurance. This insurance has been provided for your clinical year by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine through Essex Insurance Company. This Policy can be found in the RUSVM Portal under Clinical Affairs.

North American Veterinary Licensing Examination ® (NAVLE)

The NAVLE is a computer-based, multiple choice examination that is required for licensure to practice veterinary in North America and is administered by the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ® or NBVME. The exam is offered throughout North America and at certain overseas sites at computer testing centers. The NAVLE is typically available during a four-week testing window in November-December, and a two-week window in April.

Information on this essential licensing examination is available on the NBVME website.

State Vet Boards

The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) is an association whose membership is comprised of 57 veterinary licensing boards including the United States, four Canadian provinces, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. AAVSB serves the veterinary regulatory agencies by providing quality, relevant programs and services that these Boards can rely on to carry out their statutory responsibilities in the interest of public protection.

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