Caribbean Veterinary Schools: A Comprehensive Overview

Have you applied to veterinary programs in the US and not gotten in? The Caribbean veterinary schools have what is called rolling admissions. This means that they do not just have one incoming class per year. They each have two to three incoming freshman vet students each year with start dates in the fall, winter, and spring. In turn this equates to more available spots in the DVM program. This article will cover the differences and similarities in the three Caribbean veterinary schools.

Attending a Caribbean veterinary school means getting to study parasitology while looking out at an ocean of endless blue in the distance. It is almost surreal, especially if you are from an area where you don’t get to stare out at the ocean every day.

As of 2020, there are over 50 accredited veterinary colleges worldwide, two of those are Caribbean vet schools.  A veterinary college gains accreditation if they have no deficiencies in any of the required standards. Some of the required standards include:

  • Safety of personnel and animals as a high priority.
  • Must maintain on-campus veterinary teaching hospitals.
  • A diverse number of animal patients be available to students.
  • The college’s admissions policies must be non-discriminatory, as consistent with applicable law.

  • Must have an 80% NAVLE pass rate.

The above items are just a small sample of the long list of requirements that a college must meet in order to become accredited. If you want to see the complete list check out the AVMA policies and procedures for accreditation.

There are currently three Caribbean Veterinary Schools. They are Ross University College of Veterinary medicine, St. George’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and St. Mathew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Let’s start with an overview Caribbean veterinary college called  Ross University. Ross has been accredited since 2011 and is on the small island of St. Kitts.  Ross has an accelerated curriculum which means that they have 3 semesters starting per year, unlike most other vet schools that have one start date in the fall. There are students like Elizabeth who choose to attend RUSVM for this exact reason.  Then there are students like Stephanie (now a practicing DVM in her home state), who applied 3 years in a row to US vet schools without gaining an acceptance letter. Finally, she decided to apply to Ross University and got in on her first try. Most Ross students love the experience. Just like this veterinarian who graduated from Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Some positive aspects about Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • The anatomy lab overlooks the Caribbean ocean!
  • You get to become a DVM while living on a tropical island.
  • They have an active animal hospital that serves the whole island of St. Kitts. Which provides a great learning opportunity.
  • Tuition as of 2020 is $208,726.00.
  • There are weekly tutoring sessions held by upper-class students.
  • The staff helps each student assimilate to the island during orientation week.
  • They have shelter dogs on campus, who have a very important job. They help the students learn how to perform exams. After the students finish learning from the dogs, the students, faculty, and St. Kittians adopt the dogs. Many students return back to the US with a coconut retriever.
  • The average class size at RUSVM is 120-145.
  • The graduating students become DVM’s and have no problem finding work in veterinary clinics throughout the US and worldwide. Bailey graduated from Ross and is now a practicing DVM.
  • Ross University has an on-campus teaching hospital for large and small animals.
  • There is an aviary on campus for those students interested in becoming an avian vet.
  • A diverse range of on-campus clubs will ensure that your veterinary interests are met.
  • You can take out the same type of US Dept of Education loans as you would if you were attending a US school.
  • They have a brand new pathology and research building that houses eight laboratories and already has a number of in-depth research projects going on.
  • Learn about and care for the campus tortoises.     

RUSVM a Caribbean vet school with campus tortoises

Next up, we have St. George’s College of Veterinary Medicine! St. George’s gained their accreditation the same year that Ross did, in 2011. St. George’s is on the island of Grenada.  Read about the admissions criteria that one St. George’s University vet student had before getting in.

  • St. George’s has many dual degree programs, for example, DVM/MBA and  DVM/MPH. Check out their website to see the full range of dual degree programs offered.
  • Tuition as of 2020 is $197,266.00
  • Rolling admissions. Rachel only applied to one school: SGU vet school, for the primary reason of being able to start veterinary school in January, getting a headscarf.
  • US Federal loans are available for the DVM degree. They are not available for the MPH, MSc, or any of the other dual portions of the degree; only for the DVM.
  • It has a wide range of student organizations and campus clubs to fit the needs of each and every student. During Colleen’s veterinary courses at St. George’s University she joined a number of clubs to learn new veterinary skills.
  • Being able to experience beautiful sunrises and sunsets can put a silver lining on the long days of studying.
  • Adopt a coconut retriever! LOL
  • The NAVLE pass rate for 2019 was 92%.
  • Study with a view of the ocean.
  • Meet students from all over the world.
  • Participate in necropsies and lead scientific research studies like this one.
  • Hands-on experience (performing animal exams) starting in the first semester.

Check out this video by Brittney Kilgore, why did Brittney choose SGU? Brittney interviews some students and highlights the pros and cons of attending a Caribbean vet school (St. George’s University).

The last Caribbean veterinary school we will feature is St. Mathew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. St. Mathew’s veterinary university is on the Grand Cayman island. St. Mathew’s is a small school compared to Ross and SGU. The class size ranges from 10-20 students.

Some facts about St. Mathew’s vet school:

  • This Caribbean vet school has a surgery facility that services the general population on the island.  This is a great feature to have for learning surgical techniques.
  • Tuition as of 2020 is $174,875.00
  • St. Mathew’s partners with over 5 North American veterinary universities for clinical rotations.
  • The NAVLE pass rate for 2019 was 92%.
  • There are many non-traditional students at this Caribbean vet school.
  • New students can live on-campus or off-campus.
  • No VMCAS application.
  • Opportunity to study marine mammal medicine.
  • Students attend this Caribbean vet through right through the summer. Allowing you to graduate and start your veterinary career faster.
  • Must get private student loans to fund this Caribbean veterinary school education.
  • You will begin learning basic suture techniques during the first semester.

Each of the three Caribbean veterinary schools has its own advantages. In light of St.  Mathew’s not being AVMA accredited some students might choose St. Mathew’s veterinary school over the other two Caribbean vet programs for various reasons.  Not having to apply through VMCAS, can certainly be a plus for many potential veterinary students.

Whereas other students like St. George’s proactive recruitment of vet students. They will often fly potential students down to Grenada for a tour of the school. Then, on the other hand, many pre-vets choose Ross due to their state of the art facilities with research labs and excellent gross anatomy laboratories.

Given these points, now that we have provided some facts about all three Caribbean vet schools, what do you think? If you attend one of these Caribbean veterinary schools please leave a comment below.