A Vet Student's Tips for Course Selection

November 4, 2019

Hello Future Vets!


Stressed out about course selection? Not sure which reviews to trust on Rate My Prof? Worry no more because I have some excellent recommendations coming your way. To give you a little information about myself, I am currently in Phase 1 of OVC (go Opal Otters!) and completed 3 years of the Biomedical Science major at Guelph prior to starting vet school. Here are some courses I took in undergrad that were enjoyable, helpful for vet school, and in my opinion, easy to get great marks in as long as you put in the work.


Comparative Mammalian Anatomy (BIOM*3010)

Dr. Matt Vickaryous and Dr. Jim Petrik

This was hands down my favourite course of undergrad and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in veterinary medicine. You are taught the musculoskeletal, respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems in lecture, then concepts are reinforced during dissection labs where you get the opportunity to work on dog, rabbit, sheep, and pony cadavers. Dr. Vickaryous and Dr. Petrik are amazing instructors and do a great job of explaining concepts that could otherwise be very confusing. The evaluations are very fair and reasonable, and studying is fun since the content is so interesting. Most importantly, this will prepare you well for the anatomy course in Phase 1 of vet school where you go over the same things but in much more detail. Trust me, you will appreciate having the extra experience you get from this course when you are overwhelmed with information from all your other Phase 1 courses!


Fundamentals of Nutrition (NUTR*3210)

Dr. David Mutch

If you want to learn about vitamins and minerals, then this is the course for you. I initially had low expectations for this course because nutrition was never something I was interested in, but I was pleasantly surprised by the contents of the course and how great Dr. Mutch is at teaching. He is very knowledgeable, clear with his explanations, and provides organized notes that are easy to understand. I would not have enjoyed the course as much as I did if it was taught by someone else. As a disclaimer though, different people are receptive to different ways of teaching, and while some students had a great time in this course, there were also others who struggled to keep up and were not as enthusiastic about the teaching methods. This course has a lot of information to memorize and it definitely does not have a light workload, but I still found it to be one of my favourite courses of undergrad. If you put enough time into studying, it is more than feasible to get a good mark (and as a plus, you can bother family and friends with obscure nutrition facts whenever you’re back home).


Endocrine Physiology (BIOM*4030)

Dr. Pawel Bartlewski and Dr. Neil Maclusky

This was a relaxing course with a very manageable workload. You are taught the different hormones of the body, how they are made and regulated, as well as what diseases occur if they are out of balance. These are things you will need to understand in order to treat conditions like hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes, all of which you will almost certainly come across in future patients. Also, if you ever have any questions about your assignments, ask your prof! Dr. Bartlewski is very kind and approachable—you can tell that he genuinely wants students to do well, which is a nice change from the usual cutthroat undergrad environment. There is a group presentation for this course, which I dreaded, but it was a great opportunity to practice public speaking and was helpful preparation for the MMIs. With the reasonable workload and fair marking scheme, there is no way to lose if you take this course!


I would like to stress that although I had great experiences with these courses, everybody is different; what worked for me may not work for you. Ultimately, you should go with what genuinely interests you the most after considering the advice and opinions of others. With that being said, I hope I have provided you with at least one piece of information that you found helpful. As an aside, I know that applying to vet school is probably the most stressful process you have ever gone through, but please don’t forget to take care of your own well-being and mental health. Take a break, talk to someone, or cuddle a four-legged friend when you feel overwhelmed. Thanks for reading to the end and best of luck for the coming semester and beyond!



Michelle Lai

Student Veterinarian

Ontario Veterinary College