BS in Biology With a Pre-Veterinary Medicine Degree Emphasis

Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Veterinary Medicine degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is well-suited for students who aspire to go to veterinary school. This foundational pre-vet program prepares you for graduate study in veterinary medicine, animal sciences and other related degree programs.

Offered through GCU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology, you are immersed in specialized coursework and labs that set you up for success in your graduate studies and professional careers. 

Choose GCU’s Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine Emphasis

Graduates of this emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine program acquire foundational knowledge in biological, physical and social sciences, as well as animal and human healthcare issues. Additionally, you will gain interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, and investigate the psychological, spiritual and physical components of health, wellness and medical intervention.

GCU’s 120-credit, pre-veterinary medicine major emphasis degree builds core competencies in five primary areas of animal sciences and pre-veterinary medicine:

Gain Necessary Skills and Knowledge in Pre-Vet Science and Medicine

Examine the process of genetic change, identify the relationship between an anatomical structure and its physiological function, predict products of a major reaction mechanism, and examine the quantitative relationships of mass and energy in a chemical reaction.

Develop Your Scientific Reading, Writing and Speaking Skills

Analyze scientific literature, organize central ideas and concepts in a logical manner and demonstrate effective written and oral communication.

Practice Workplace Behaviors Valuable for Future Careers in Veterinary Medicine

Exhibit professional behavior in all regards, analyze the relationship between society and science and illustrate the collaborative nature of science.

Create, Test, Manage and Analyze Data for Real-World Experimental Designs

Develop an appropriate test of hypothesis using various experimental designs, apply quantitative skills and tools in the management and analysis of data sets, learn how to analyze, interpret and apply data, and identify subsequent analyses based on interpretation of data.

Learn to Identify Animal Behaviors, Nutritional Needs and Diseases

Communicate a difficult topic with clarity and compassion, analyze anatomical variations across vertebrate species, predict how instinct and environment impact animal behavior, develop plans that meet nutritional needs of different animal species and demonstrate the ability to differentiate disease processes.

As a faith-based university, the curriculum at GCU is taught and learned through a Christian worldview and how it affects personal and professional discipline, human dignity and ethical decision making.

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Why You Should Earn Your Pre-Veterinary Medicine Degree Emphasis

Requirements for veterinary school vary, but accredited institutions generally require a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a pre-veterinary medicine program emphasis or a science related field. Veterinary schools may also require an admissions exam (GRE) and the successful completion of foundational pre-vet courses, including biology, chemistry, math and physics.

Earning an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine degree allows you to gain the knowledge, skills and academic credentials to begin your path toward a successful veterinarian career.

Explore Your Future Career in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinarians diagnose and treat ill and injured animals, including pets, livestock and working animals. In addition to maintaining and promoting animal health, veterinarians understand the importance of animal welfare and the integral relationship between animals and humans. 

Careers in veterinary medicine fall into three main areas:

These professionals generally work in private clinics or hospitals treating pets.

These veterinarians visit farms and ranches to treat, test and vaccinate animals that are raised to be food sources.

These professionals inspect and test livestock and animal products for diseases, as well as conduct research and provide public health programs to help prevent and control transmissible diseases.

Veterinary professionals play an important role in every community by ensuring the nation’s food supply is safe, helping to control the spread of diseases and conducting research that helps both animals and humans. 1

Professionals who practice forensic veterinary medicine identify, collect and assess evidence from animals and their environments. They use their medical knowledge and scientific expertise to analyze evidence and convey their findings in cases of animal abuse and neglect.

Clinical veterinarians diagnose and treat animals similar to how doctors treat people. They perform routine checkups and treat illnesses, injuries and diseases. They also conduct X-rays, ultrasounds and surgeries when needed.

Holistic veterinary medicine examines the whole patient, looking at their environment, disease patterns and relationships. A veterinarian who practices holistic medicine develops treatments using a combination of conventional and alternative therapies to heal their patients in a gentle, minimally invasive manner.

Bachelor’s in Pre-Veterinary Medicine Degree Emphasis FAQs

GCU has prepared answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding our Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Veterinary Medicine program.

Pursuing an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine degree is often emotionally stressful and physically demanding. It requires many years of study and perseverance. However, for the right people, a veterinary medicine degree emphasis is the perfect fit. If you embody traits of flexibility, excellent communication skills, innate curiosity for learning and medicine, a deep love and compassion for animals and a solid understanding of science, you may want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pre-veterinary medicine emphasis. Prospective veterinarians should also be able to handle the physical demands of the job and be willing apply yourself. 

Veterinary medicine focuses on the promotion of health and welfare of animals and their interdependence with humans. Animal sciences is an alternative area of study to veterinary medicine. It involves studying the structure and function of animals and their management and welfare from an agricultural, laboratory and wildlife standpoint.

Yes, aspiring veterinarians must earn their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in order to practice. During a DVM program, students take advanced courses and labs in veterinary medicine and surgery. They also participate in supervised clinicals at professional training sites.

The Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Veterinary Medicine degree at GCU requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Most courses in our bachelor’s degree in pre-veterinary medicine program emphasis are 15 weeks long. 

1 Retrieved from American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, A Career in Veterinary Medicine in June 2022. 

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
[More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Required General Education Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare learners to integrate fundamental mathematical concepts with the critical and quantitative thinking needed to solve workplace-related problems. The course is founded upon a functional and technological approach to algebra. Topics include functions and their graphs; polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions; algebraic and exponential equations; and probability. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ understanding of mathematical representation and logical reasoning to solve real-world problems. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-110.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to technical and scientific writing in fields such as engineering, biology, computer science, and other STEM disciplines, and provides students with a background in logic and communication. In accordance with the Council of Writing Program Administrators Outcomes Statement and the Elon Statement on Learning Transfer, this course provides practice with a variety of scientific genres of communication, including their expected writing styles and structures. This course supports students in the ability to transfer knowledge of writing across technical and scientific disciplines and adapt to new and different writing tasks throughout their careers in the sciences.

Course Description

This course presents the fundamentals of algebra and trigonometry with some applications; it provides the background and introduction for the study of calculus. Topics include review of linear equations and inequalities in one and multiple variables; functions and their graphs; polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; systems of equations and matrices; and sequences and series. Slope and rate of change are introduced to set up the concepts of limits and derivatives. There is an emphasis on both an understanding of the mathematical concepts involved as well as their applications to the principles and real-world problems encountered in science and engineering. Technology is utilized to facilitate problem analysis and graphing. Prerequisite: MAT-134 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the analysis skills required for scientific problems. Students will study approaches on inquiry, reasoning, and logic as applied to science, the systematic use of data to make critical decisions, and the expectations of science careers in healthcare or research.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

This course explores the principles of Mendelian and molecular genetics, focusing on the relationship of inheritance to biological function at multiple levels: molecular, cellular, and with multicellular organisms. By examining the multiple levels of genetic organization, students will master concepts related to patterns of inheritance, genetic relationships across species, and biotechnological applications. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course, designed for Science majors, introduces the principles of microbiology and the study of the general characteristics, growth, and diversity of microorganisms. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, bacterial genetics, immune response and immunization, physical and chemical control of microorganisms, specific characteristics and mechanisms of antimicrobial medications, and microbial diseases with emphasis on pathogenesis, epidemiology and treatment. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215L.

Course Description

The General Microbiology laboratory supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture. Students develop fundamental skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, microscopy methodologies, molecular methods of detection, and the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course is the second in a one-year introductory physics sequence. In this course, the basics of three areas in physics are covered, including electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Course topics include an introduction to electric and magnetic fields, the nature of light as an electromagnetic wave, geometric optics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear reactions. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-112 lecture course. Some of the topics learners understand and analyze involve the relationship between electric charges and insulators/conductors, magnetism in physics, energy transformations in electric circuits, the relationship between magnetism and electricity, and how they relate to the medical industry. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112.

Course Description

This course is the first of two organic chemistry courses. The first half of this course develops the vocabulary and concepts of chemical bonding, chemical structure, acid-base principles, and nomenclature needed to understand properties and reactions of organic compounds. The second half of this course discusses chemical reactions, including radical reactions, substitution and elimination reactions, and synthesis and reactions of alkenes. Students learn how to predict reaction products and draw reaction mechanisms. Organic synthesis and structural determination are also covered. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-231 reinforces principles learned in the lecture course through various techniques that organic chemists use to synthesize compounds. Students use these techniques throughout the semester. These techniques include determination of melting point, determination of solubility, thin layer chromatography, recrystallization, and distillation. Structural determination using theories discussed in CHM-231 is applied to unknown compounds. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231.

Course Description

This courses introduces students to biological change at multiple levels of life, including molecular, cellular, organismal, and population. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms of change and how they work, as well as the patterns that result by examining molecular and organismal data, geological time, fossil evidence, and the history of Earth and man. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course covers the functions of cells, organs, and systems of vertebrates. Prerequisite: BIO-182, BIO-182L.

Course Description

This course is the second of two organic chemistry courses. The course is organized by common organic functional groups, including alkynes, alcohols, ether, aromatic compounds, ketones and aldehydes, amines, carboxylic acid, and carboxylic acid derivatives. The reactions and properties of each functional group are discussed. Students learn how to predict reaction products, draw reaction mechanisms, and predict physical properties. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-232L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-232 supports and extends principles learned in the lecture course. Students carry out various organic syntheses using techniques taught in CHM-231. The experiments include preparation of an alkene from an alcohol, a Grignard reaction, preparation of cinnamaldehyde, nitration of methyl benzoate, synthesis of N-Methyl Prozac, an Aldol reaction, Benzimidazole synthesis, and a Diazonium coupling reaction. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-232.

Course Description

This course is a study of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. By integrating their history, morphology, physiology, ecology, and behavioral adaptations, students will develop a greater understanding of vertebrates and how they survive effectively in their natural habitats. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-415L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of Vertebrate Zoology reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-415.

Course Description

This course examines the complexities of animal behaviors and how we study them. Specifically, students will develop an understanding of how animals learn and communicate with each other, as well as other behaviors to help them survive and thrive in their natural habitats, by integrating concepts, theories, and models of the discipline with behavioral analyses and an historical perspective. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-328L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of Animal Behavior reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-328.

Course Description

This course covers the language of medicine that will be used as a foundation for understanding upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses to follow. It will include pronunciation, definition, usage and origins of medical terms. Medical terms presented will be used to identify signs, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options for selected pathologies. With these skills the student will be able to effectively interpret and communicate in a healthcare setting. Prerequisite: BIO-192 or BIO-202 or BIO-211 or BIO-364.

Course Description

This course reviews and reinforces the fundamental components of the scientific method. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of scientific literature, with discussion of hypotheses, experimental design, results, and possible alternative explanations and experiments. Students will learn to critically review current scientific literature and apply these examples to the proper design of novel experiments. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

The course objective is to survey basic biochemical principles, including the composition, structure, and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Important biochemical principles include structure-function correlation, chemical reactivity, kinetics and equilibrium, thermodynamics, membrane structure and function, and metabolic energy pathways. The application of biochemical concepts in the medical field is emphasized. Prerequisite: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-360L.

Course Description

This laboratory course covers modern biochemical laboratory techniques and their theoretical foundations. Topics include methods for protein, nucleic acid, and lipid isolation and characterization; enzyme assays; chromatography; electrophoresis; and representing and manipulating proteins and nucleic acids. Experiments are designed for hands-on experimentation and students acquire practical techniques currently used in biochemistry laboratories. Prerequisite: BIO-181, BIO-181L, CHM-231, CHM-231L. Co-Requisite: CHM-360.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on digestive anatomy of various domestic species and the classes of nutrients including their digestion, use and sources. Prerequisite: CHM-115, CHM-115L, BIO-364.

Course Description

The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student in the science programs at Grand Canyon University. Students discuss and write on current topics in their field and prepare an extensive written scientific report or proposal on select topics on the sciences, relevant to their program of study. The capstone project needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content and good scientific practice. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: Senior status.

Course Description

This course focuses on the etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations associated with various altered health states and diseases in domestic animals. Prerequisite: BIO-364.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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