University of Saskatchewan

Western College of Veterinary Medicine

WCVM Student Handbook

The WCVM Academic Experience

Basic Goals of the WCVM Curriculum

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan offers a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program. This rigorous, science-based program is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and is designed to ensure that students acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviours implicit in a modern veterinary education, and are prepared for external licensing examinations. 

The program provides the flexibility and choices essential for our graduates to meet the ever-changing challenges facing the veterinary profession and will prepare them to enter their chosen career path with confidence. The WCVM also offers internship, residency, Masters and PhD programs for graduate veterinarians wishing to pursue further education and career opportunities.

Selection to the DVM program is based on academic achievement in a minimum of 60 credit units of required and elective courses as well as, by way of a structured interview, an assessment of a number of factors including mental aptitude, motivation, maturity, experience with animals, leadership qualities, social awareness, deportment, verbal facility and ability to communicate, and an understanding and knowledge of the veterinary profession.

The College's new DVM curriculum is complete and has been implemented between 2008 and 2010.

Professionalism and the Honour Code

Q. What does it mean to you as a veterinary student?

An important part of a professional education, in addition to acquisition of knowledge and skills, is becoming aware of what it means to be professional. Although there is no set, universally accepted definition for "being a professional," most would agree that professional behaviour is based upon one's attitude. More precisely, it is based upon a person's attitudes toward themselves, their colleagues and the non-professionals with whom they come in contact.

A good, general introductory statement to professionalism may be found in the two-paragraph introduction to the WCVSA Honour Code:

"The Honour Code is an educational asset to be conserved and strengthened. It is an opportunity for students to learn to govern themselves in the principles and practices of honour and personal integrity, so fundamental in the successful relationships among the individuals of a profession and in the scholarly education of its members."

The above constitutes a part of the student's attitude toward themselves. Their attitudes toward others will usually be involved with their association with three groups: the faculty, their fellow veterinary students and those outside the College.

In regards to student's attitudes toward the faculty, perhaps the most useful statement that could be made is that students should not perceive their relationship with the faculty to be that of an adversary. It is the responsibility of the faculty to assure that academic standards are maintained, but this maintenance should not be construed to be a series of barriers to be overcome or battles to be fought in which the faculty is the enemy. Each faculty member has the desire for all students to succeed in the veterinary program and an attitude as is found in a co-operative venture should be found among both students and faculty.

Student-Faculty Advisor System

A College Student-Faculty Advisor System has been designed to assist students as they progress through the four-year DVM program.

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor. Should you find a need to discuss any matters related to your academic progress or other areas of academic success, your faculty advisor is available for you. Students should utilize their faculty advisor to discuss marginal performance and problems that are affecting their academic performance, and to seek advice on personal matters.

First-year students are encouraged to get to know their faculty advisor as soon as possible. In the event a student receives a grade between 55 per cent and 60 per cent, the student is required to meet with the instructor of the class. If a student receives a grade below 55 per cent, the student is required to meet with his/her Faculty Advisor and the instructor.

If you have any questions regarding the Student-Faculty Advisor System, please contact Paige Links, Manager of Student Services.

Academic Performance and Examination Regulations

Visit Academic Performance and Examination Regulations for specific details about general performance and examination regulations at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.