K-State Is A Long-time Heavyweight


Whether their future lies in small animals, public health or the laboratory, DVM students at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are ensured of a well-rounded education.

“One thing that is a bit unique about our curriculum is that by the end of the third year, before they can begin clinicals, students have to complete three courses: small-animal clinical skills, large-animal clinical skills and non-practice clinical skills,” says the college’s dean, Ralph C. Richardson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM.

The course work is done away from campus under a practicing veterinarian’s guidance.

“We had students who were fearful of handling some species,” Dr. Richardson explains. “Some were large-animal people fearful of handling small animals. Others were small-animal people fearful of handling large animals. We thought, ‘What better place to get that training than from someone who’s doing it out in the field?’


At a Glance

Established: 1905

Annual tuition: $20,912 (Kansas residents), $46,284 (non-residents)

Website: www.vet.ksu.edu

“We believe there are very few veterinary students who know exactly what they’ll be doing five, 10, 15, 20 years from the time they start veterinary college. Our goal is to give them a breadth and a depth that will allow them to enter mixed practice, small-animal practice, food animal practice, public practice, military, academe.”


K-State is a long-time heavyweight in veterinary education, with the college graduating more than 5,000 students over the past 105 years. Roughly 450 DVM students and 70 residents, interns and graduate students are enrolled on the Manhattan, Kan., campus.

“Kansas State offers more positions for nonresident applicants, to my knowledge, than any other veterinary college in the country. Over half of our student body comes from outside the state of Kansas,” Richardson says. “That brings in a diversity of learning cultures.”

Of the 1,107 applicants for the Class of 2012, 415 were granted interviews, 232 were offered admission and 108 were accepted.

“We evaluate applicants first on their core science grad-point average, their overall grade-point average, their Graduate Record Examination, their letters of reference and their narrative on their application,” Richardson says. “Once those are in, that helps us say, ‘Does this person have the academic capacity to weather the storm of veterinary college?’

“Then we have an interview process in which we try to discern the communications skills, the passion, the reality of becoming a veterinarian, and make our final decision based on the input of all those pieces of the puzzle.”

Veterinary experience is important, Richardson says, but does not have to be clinical.

“We want a person to know what their profession would be like,” he says. “They might have gained that in a laboratory animal research setting. They might have learned it in a public health shadowing experience. We want them to have spent time with veterinarians before they apply so at least they understand, ‘This is what it’s all about.’ ”

Once on campus, DVM students find a compact, robust learning environment. Of the three major buildings that make up the veterinary college, one is dedicated to teaching and learning.

“Students don’t have to go from room to room to go to classes,” Richardson says. “Instructors come to their one class, their one laboratory, and that’s their home for the year.”

Clinical rotations are done in one of the nation’s largest veterinary teaching hospitals.

“We have CT scan, MRI, echocardiography, diagnostic ultrasound, nuclear scintigraphy, a very modern intensive/critical care unit,” Richardson says. “We have within the hospital a community practice area as well as our referral service areas.”

DVM in hand, more than 25 percent of students pursue further training through internship, residency or graduate programs. Those who stay at K-State find three areas of study:

  • Traditional graduate programs. “We have particular strengths in infectious diseases of animals, zoonotic diseases, bovine production,” Richardson says. “We have the greatest cluster that I’m aware of, of beef cattle veterinarians anywhere in the country, if not the world.”
  • An interdisciplinary public health program with tracks in infectious diseases, zoonotic diseases, food safety and nutrition.
  • Traditional internship and residency programs. “We have strong residencies in small-animal internal medicine, small-animal surgery, oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, radiology,” Richardson says. “On the large-animal side we have equine medicine, equine surgery, food animal medicine and surgery. We have one of the only board-certified food animal veterinarians in surgery [David E. Anderson, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS] that there is in academe.” <HOME>

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