Photo: Curriculum
Class of 2014 during first week orientation.

Curriculum: Classes of 2015 and beyond

After 5 years of review and planning, the School of Veterinary Medicine introduced a new curriculum beginning with the Class of 2015.

The new curriculum is on the semester system, aligning UC Davis with most other North American veterinary schools. The first year class started August 15th 2011 and finished May 25th 2012, while the second year class will start August 13th 2012 and finish May 31st.

The curriculum is comparative across species, integrates material vertically and horizontally, is centered on body systems rather than disciplines, and is taught using problems, cases, lectures, small groups discussions and laboratories.  Students will learn normal and abnormal together so that learning takes place in the context of how students will use the material. The curriculum is learner-centered rather than teacher-centered and designed with less contact time in the classroom to allow students to work in small groups researching informa¬tion and problem solving. Starting in first year, students will spend a day every three weeks working with senior students in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, so they can put into practice what they are learning in the classroom. 

The first two years of the curriculum are core for all students and feature a comparative approach. The first year starts with a prologue block where students will be introduced to what it means to be a veterinarian. They participate in exercises that emphasize team building, leadership and communication skills as well as ethics and professionalism. The next block provides foundational material common to years 1 and 2. Blocks for each body system follow for the next two years, integrating normal and abnormal form and function. Second year finishes with blocks covering oncology, immunology and infectious disease, population health and then clinical foundations as an introduction to the third year. 

For the third and fourth years, students select one of two streams: : small animal or large animal. Within the large animal stream, all students will initially study core material but will then select an emphasis in equine, livestock or zoologic for the remainder of the stream.  Students electing to study two streams such as small animal and large animal (core) will be able to accomplish this through doing one stream in third year and the other stream in fourth year.

The new curriculum is outcome-based in that it will emphasize and track what a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis needs to know and do at graduation. The Council on Education, our accreditation body, has added as the 11th standard, outcome assessment, and more recently, clinical competency outcomes. The New Curriculum has been designed taking into consideration DVM learning outcomes and core competencies established by the faculty with input from stakeholders. These learning outcomes and competencies guide the content in the New Curriculum. The competencies will provide for specific emphasis within the curriculum with a core set that every student must master irrespective of emphasis and then competences that are specific to areas of emphasis.

Utilizing an outcome assessment model, the Curriculum Committee will monitor the new curriculum by collecting and analyzing data and making smaller, more frequent curricular adjustments to align the curriculum with veterinary professional needs. These on-going adjustments should reduce the need for future major curricular overhauls.