Loading

AVMA Council on Education Standards for Accreditation


Standards for Accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education Policies

The American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education has the responsibility for accrediting the schools and colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States. Each school or college of veterinary medicine is reviewed every 7 years.

Accreditation reviews the following 11 standards:

 COE Accreditation Policies and Procedures: Requirements

Version: March 2014

7.  Requirements of an Accredited College of Veterinary Medicine

  • The Standards of Accreditation

7.1. Standard 1, Organization

The college must develop and follow its mission statement.

An accredited college of veterinary medicine must be a part of an institution of higher learning accredited by an organization recognized for that purpose by its country's government. A college may be accredited only when it is a major academic administrative division of the parent institution and is afforded the same recognition, status, and autonomy as other professional colleges in that institution.

The chief executive officer or dean must be a veterinarian, and the officer(s) responsible for the professional, ethical, and academic affairs of the veterinary medical teaching hospital must also be (a) veterinarian(s).

There must be sufficient administrative staff to adequately manage the affairs of the college as appropriate to the enrollment and operation.

7.2. Standard 2, Finances

Finances must be adequate to sustain the educational programs and mission of the college.
Colleges with non DVM undergraduate degree programs must clearly report finances (expenditures and revenues) specific to those programs separately from finances (expenditures and revenues) dedicated to all other educational programs.
Clinical services, field services, and teaching hospitals must function as instructional resources. Instructional integrity of these resources must take priority over financial self-sufficiency of clinical services operations.

7.3. Standard 3, Physical Facilities and Equipment

All aspects of the physical facilities must provide an appropriate learning environment. Classrooms, teaching laboratories, teaching hospitals, which may include but are not limited to ambulatory/field services vehicles, seminar rooms, and other teaching spaces shall be clean, maintained in good repair, and adequate in number, size, and equipment for the instructional purposes intended and the number of students enrolled.

Administrative and faculty offices, and research laboratories must be sufficient for the needs of the faculty and staff.

An accredited college must maintain an on-campus veterinary teaching hospital(s), or have formal affiliation with one or more off-campus veterinary hospitals used for teaching. Appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic service components, including but not limited to pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic support services, isolation facilities, intensive/critical care, ambulatory/field service vehicles, and necropsy facilities must be provided to support the teaching hospital(s) or facilities with operational policies and procedures posted in appropriate places.

Facilities for the housing of animals used for teaching and research shall be sufficient in number, properly constructed, and maintained in a manner consistent with accepted animal welfare standards. Adequate teaching, laboratory, research, and clinical equipment must be available for examination, diagnosis, and treatment of all animals used by the college. Safety of personnel and animals must be assured.

7.4. Standard 4, Clinical Resources

Normal and diseased animals of various domestic and exotic species must be available for instructional purposes, either as clinical patients or provided by the institution. While precise numbers are not specified, in-hospital patients and outpatients including field service/ambulatory and herd health/production medicine programs are required to provide the necessary quantity and quality of clinical instruction.

It is essential that a diverse and sufficient number of surgical and medical patients be available during an on-campus clinical activity for the students' clinical educational experience. Experience can include exposure to clinical education at off-campus sites, provided the college reviews these clinical experiences and educational outcomes. Further, such clinical experiences should occur in a setting that provides access to subject matter experts, reference resources, modern and complete clinical laboratories, advanced diagnostic instrumentation and ready confirmation (including necropsy). Such examples could include a contractual arrangement with nearby practitioners who serve as adjunct faculty members and off-campus field practice centers. The teaching hospital(s) shall provide nursing care and instruction in nursing procedures. A supervised field service and/or ambulatory program must be maintained in which students are offered multiple opportunities to obtain clinical experience under field conditions. Under all situations students must be active participants in the workup of the patient, including physical diagnosis and diagnostic problem oriented decision making.

Medical records must be comprehensive and maintained in an effective retrieval system to efficiently support the teaching, research, and service programs of the college.

7.5. Standard 5, Information Resources

Information retrieval, evaluation, and efficient use are essential to veterinary medical education, research, public service, and continuing education. Timely access to information resources and information professionals must be available to students and faculty. The college shall have access to the human, digital, and physical resources for retrieval of relevant veterinary and supporting literature and development of instructional materials.

7.6. Standard 6, Students

The number of professional degree students, DVM or equivalent, must be consistent with the resources and the mission of the college.

Colleges should establish post-DVM/VMD programs such as internships, residencies and advanced degrees (e.g., MS, PhD), that complement and strengthen the professional program.
Student support services must be available within the college or university. These must include, but are not limited to, appropriate services to support student wellness and to assist with meeting the academic and personal challenges of the DVM program; support for students with learning or other disabilities; and support of extra-curricular activities relevant to veterinary medicine and professional growth.

In relationship to enrollment, the colleges must provide accurate information for all advertisements regarding the educational program by providing clear and current information for prospective students. Further, printed catalog or electronic information must state the purpose and goals of the program, provide admission requirements and procedures, state degree requirements, present faculty descriptions, clearly state information on tuition and fees along with procedures for withdrawal, give necessary information for financial aid programs, and provide an accurate academic calendar. The information will include national and state requirements for licensure.
Each accredited college must provide a mechanism for students, anonymously if they wish, to offer suggestions, comments, and complaints regarding compliance of the college with the Standards of Accreditation. These materials shall be made available to the Council annually.

7.7. Standard 7, Admission

The college shall have a well-defined and officially stated admissions policy. The policy shall provide for an Admissions Committee, a majority of whom shall be full-time faculty members. The Committee shall make recommendations regarding the students to be admitted to the professional curriculum upon consideration of applications of candidates who meet the academic and other requirements as defined in the college's formal admission policy.

Subjects for admission shall include those courses prerequisite to the professional program in veterinary medicine, as well as courses that contribute to a broad general education. The goal of preveterinary education shall be to provide a broad base upon which professional education may be built, leading to lifelong learning with continued professional and personal development.
Factors other than academic achievement must be considered for admission criteria.

7.8. Standard 8, Faculty

Faculty numbers and qualifications must be sufficient to deliver the educational program and fulfill the mission of the college. Participation in scholarly activities is an important criterion in evaluating the faculty and the college. The college shall give evidence that it utilizes a well-defined and comprehensive program for the evaluation of professional growth, development, and scholarly activities of the faculty.

Academic positions must offer the security and benefits necessary to maintain stability, continuity, and competence of the faculty. Part-time faculty, residents, and graduate students may supplement the teaching efforts of the full-time permanent faculty if appropriately integrated into the instructional program.

7.9. Standard 9, Curriculum

The curriculum shall extend over a period equivalent to a minimum of four academic years, including a minimum of one academic year of hands-on clinical education. The curriculum and educational process should initiate and promote lifelong learning in each professional degree candidate.

The curriculum in veterinary medicine is the purview of the faculty of each college, but must be managed centrally based upon the mission and resources of the college. There must be sufficient flexibility in curriculum planning and management to facilitate timely revisions in response to emerging issues, and advancements in knowledge and technology. The curriculum must be guided by a college curriculum committee. The curriculum  as a whole must be reviewed at least every seven (7) years. The majority of the members of the curriculum committee must be full-time faculty. Curriculum evaluations should include the gathering of sufficient qualitative and quantitative information to ensure the curriculum content provides current concepts and principles as well as instructional quality and effectiveness.

The curriculum shall provide:

a. an understanding of the central biological principles and mechanisms that underlie animal health and disease from the molecular and cellular level to organismal and population manifestations.

b. scientific, discipline-based instruction in an orderly and concise manner so that students gain an understanding of normal function, homeostasis, pathophysiology, mechanisms of health/disease, and the natural history and manifestations of important animal diseases, both domestic and foreign.

c. instruction in both the theory and practice of medicine and surgery applicable to a broad range of species. The instruction must include principles and hands-on experiences in physical and laboratory diagnostic methods and interpretation (including diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, and necropsy), disease prevention, biosecurity, therapeutic intervention (including surgery), and patient management and care (including intensive care, emergency medicine and isolation procedures) involving clinical diseases of individual animals and populations. Instruction should emphasize problem solving that results in making and applying medical judgments.

d. instruction in the principles of epidemiology, zoonoses, food safety, the interrelationship of animals and the environment, and the contribution of the veterinarian to the overall public and professional healthcare teams.

e. opportunities for students to learn how to acquire information from clients (e.g. history) and about patients (e.g. medical records), to obtain, store and retrieve such information, and to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.

f. opportunities throughout the curriculum for students to gain an understanding of professional ethics, influences of different cultures on the delivery of veterinary medical services, delivery of professional services to the public, personal and business finance and management skills; and gain an understanding of the breadth of veterinary medicine, career opportunities and other information about the profession.

g. knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, aptitudes and behaviors necessary to address responsibly the health and well-being of animals in the context of ever-changing societal expectations.

h.    fair and equitable assessment of student progress. The grading system for the college must be relevant and applied to all students in a fair and uniform manner.

7.10. Standard 10, Research Programs

The college must demonstrate substantial research activities of high quality that integrate with and strengthen the professional program.

7.11. Standard 11, Outcomes Assessment

Outcomes of the DVM program must be measured, analyzed, and considered to improve the program. Student achievement during the pre-clinical and clinical curriculum and after graduation must be included in outcome assessment. New graduates must have the basic scientific knowledge, skills, and values to provide entry-level health care, independently, at the time of graduation.

The school/college must develop relevant measures and provide evidence that graduating students have attained the following competencies:

  1. comprehensive patient diagnosis (problem solving skills), appropriate use of clinical laboratory testing, and record management
  2. comprehensive treatment planning including patient referral when indicated
  3. anesthesia and pain management, patient welfare
  4. basic surgery skills, experience, and case management
  5. basic medicine skills, experience and case management
  6. emergency and intensive care case management
  7. health promotion, disease prevention/biosecurity, zoonosis, and food safety
  8. client communications and ethical conduct
  9. critical analysis of new information and research findings relevant to veterinary medicine.

The Council on Education expects that 80% or more of each college's graduating senior students sitting for the NAVLE will have passed at the time of graduation.*

*The Council will calculate a 95% exact binomial confidence interval for the NAVLE scores for colleges whose NAVLE pass rate falls below 80%. Colleges with an upper limit of an exact 95% binomial confidence interval less than 85% for two successive years will be placed on Probationary Accreditation. Colleges with an upper limit of an exact 95% binomial confidence level less than 85% for four successive years will, for cause, be placed on terminal accreditation.

For More Information

For more information on the AVMA and the accreditation process, please visit the AVMA website.

Students wishing to offer suggestions, comments or voice complaints regarding compliance of the School with the Standards for Accreditation may do so anonymously by writing to Dr. Kathy Michel, Office of the Associate Dean for Education, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA. 19104. Suggestions, comments or complaints may also be sent via email to student-affairs@vet.upenn.edu. While using email is not anonymous, the confidentiality of the student will be protected. All suggestions, comments and complaints will be made available to the AVMA Council on Education annually.