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Opportunities in Education & Research

Graduate and Dual Degree Programs at Penn Vet

Some of us have had to explain – to parents or peers – our desire to enter a profession that many do not feel is as central to human health and human challenges. However, veterinarians have always played key roles in public and human health and welfare – and current events have only underscored the importance of our profession to interprofessional efforts addressing the complex health challenges we face.   It is arguable that we can all better communicate the importance of our profession in human and global health.  It is also arguable that we can be more explicitly trained to engage in interprofessional problem solving.

Penn Vet has taken innovative steps to provide students with opportunities to train and work with other schools at Penn, including Wharton School of Business, School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2), School of Arts and Sciences, and Penn Medicine to develop novel educational opportunities among which are dual degree programs. Under Dean Andrew Hoffman's leadership, we are in the planning stages of developing more of these innovative degree programs, including the VMD/Master's of Law, and the VMD/Master's of Education.

These partnerships are also beginning to open opportunities for those of you who might not want to pursue two full degrees, but still want to make intellectual and professional connections with other health care disciplines.   Please contact Dr. Punt ( and/or her One Health Unit ( with questions!  You are an all-important part of the future of veterinary medicine and advancement in global health.

Find more information about our dual degree programs...

VMD/MBA Dual Degree

The combined VMD/MBA training program is designed to address the stark challenge of feeding over nine billion people by 2050 with limited resources of land and water, poor infrastructures, mounting inequality, and the uncertain effects of climate change.

VMD/MES Dual Degree

The VMD/MES dual degree program is offered jointly by Penn Vet and Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. This unique combined degree offers students the opportunity to earn a professional degree in Veterinary Medicine (VMD) and a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) concurrently.

VMD/MPH Program

The VMD/MPH is a flexible dual degree program that trains students in both veterinary medicine and public health. The addition of an MPH adds to veterinarian training by:

  • Strengthening epidemiology and biostatistics training, as well as methodological practices for doing public health
  • Introducing human healthcare systems and public health laws and ethics
  • Educating about environmental health at the ambient, occupational, and global spheres
  • Providing an understanding for the theories and framework necessary for designing interventions and educational campaigns

Learn more about the VMD/MPH...

VMD/MSW Program

Because veterinarians interact closely with both animal patients and their human clients, they are uniquely privileged health care practitioners. These interactions offer numerous rewards, but at times the complexity of a clinical case can engender situations that challenge a veterinarian’s ability to manage.  Examples include:

  • A family, struggling with the decision to euthanize their dog or cat after a long and costly medical struggle
  • A client who is threatening violence
  • Farmer clients faced with gut-wrenching challenges to balance their own needs with those of their livestock
  • A colleague who might be dealing with suicidal thoughts
  • Myriad cases of animal abuse and neglect

Learn more about the VMD/MSW...

VMD/PhD & Research Training Opportunities

In addition to the VMD, Penn Vet offers research opportunities such as the VMD/PhD program. We also offer internships, residencies, and fellowships.

Our students, including combined degree students (VMD/PhD), postdoctoral fellows and residents, enjoy a wide range of research opportunities in basic, translational and clinical research.


Graduate Programs

  • Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare and Behavior

    This four-course, for-credit graduate Certificate Program in Animal Welfare Science and Animal Behavior is designed for individuals working with animals in research, industry, and the nonprofit sector, as well as for those who are interested in developing careers in animal health and welfare. Taught by nationally and internationally renowned Penn Vet faculty, it prepares to understand and assess animal welfare and behavior.

  • Master's of Science in Animal Welfare & Behavior

    This Master's of Science degree (MSc) reflects Penn Vet’s critical mass of faculty that have a unique expertise in animal welfare and behavior. While the overarching subject of animal welfare embraces both the humanities and the sciences, training programs that focus on the science of animal welfare are relatively less common. 

    Coming from a veterinary school perhaps then it is not surprising that our program is both animal-centric and focuses animal welfare science. The program has been developed around faculty having expertise in both the physical and psychological health of animals as well as the naturalness of their lives and promise a unique educational experience.  We believe that a profound understanding of the animal in animal welfare will benefit anyone interested in improving the quality of lives of animals.

Research Opportunities for Penn Vet Students

From Dr. Jenni Punt, Professor of Immunology and Associate Dean for One Health at Penn Vet:

"You have come to a place rich in research opportunities and extraordinary investigators. As wonderful as this is, it can also be terrifying.

"At its worst, a research community can reinforce some of society’s damaging biases.

"However, at its best, the research endeavor is an extraordinary equalizer – humbling the most famous and rewarding mistakes and crazy ideas.

"It thrives without hierarchy and ego and depends on collaboration. It offers places and spaces where one can let your brain relax - and shift from receiving loads of information to exploring and discovering new information.

"The University of Pennsylvania fosters one of the most collaborative research communities in the world and Penn Vet offers several ways into this research world, which can open doors to new networks of mentors, communities and career opportunities.

"Investigators across the entire campus welcome Penn Vet students in summer research programs and Penn Vet runs a unique summer research program complete with stipends for over twenty students a year who also attend the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium with hundreds of their peers across the country every August.

"However, you don’t have to wait that long to join a community of students interested in research! Our Student Research Club meets once or twice a month for an evening session with good food, beer, and discussion. Some members have a great deal of research experience but many have none – but all enjoy informal discussions in a space where it is safe to ask questions and to not know the answers. Join us!"

Contact Dr. Jenni Punt ( with questions, ideas. Her door is open.