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. Rolling admission means that they do not just have one incoming class per year. The veterinary schools are among the best colleges in the Caribbean.

Every year, they each have two to three incoming freshman vet students 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. Learning how

long it takes to become a veterinarian is an important part of the vet school journey.

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 2021, there are over 50 accredited veterinary colleges worldwide; two 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:

  • The school must keep the 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 to become accredited if you want to see the complete list check out the AVMA policies and accreditation procedures.

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.

If you plan on becoming a zoological veterinarian, a Caribbean school may provide more opportunities to work on monkeys, birds, and other native species.

Ross University

Let’s start with an overview of a 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 that means that they have three semesters starting per year, unlike most other vet schools with 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 three 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 favorable aspects of Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine are listed below.

  • There is a Caribbean ocean view from the anatomy lab! In addition, you can bring your anatomy flashcards and sit at any outside table that overlooks the ocean to review the material.

  • 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. Working in this animal hospital as a student will help you get hands on experience. Learning what do vets do is important for your success.

  • Tuition as of 2020 is $208,726.00.

  • Upper-class students hold weekly tutoring sessions.

  • The staff helps each student assimilate to the island during orientation week.

  • They have shelter dogs on campus, who have an essential 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 to the US with a coconut retriever.

  • The average class size at RUSVM is 120-145.

  • 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. If you are interested in learning how to become an exotic vet, RUSVM has a lot of resources.

  • 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 several in-depth research projects.

  • Learn about and care for the campus tortoises.     

RUSVM a Caribbean vet school with campus tortoises

St. George’s College of Veterinary Medicine

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.

Facts About St. George’s Vet School

  • 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 second-degree programs offered.

  • Tuition as of 2020 is $197,266.00

  • US Federal loans are available for the DVM degree. They are not available for the MPH, MSc, or any other dual portions of the degree, only for the DVM.

  • 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.

  • Hands-on experience (performing animal exams) starting in the first semester.

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

St. Mathew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine

The last Caribbean veterinary school we will feature is St. Mathew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Grand Cayman island. The veterinary college is a small school compared to Ross and SGU.  This Cayman Islands vet school has a typical class size ranging 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.  An on-campus surgery facility is a great feature to have for learning surgical techniques.

  • This Grand Cayman Island vet school does not require the GRE test for admission. You can take figuring out how to ace the GRE off of your list!

  • Tuition as of 2020 is $174,875.00

  • St. Mathew’s partners with over 5 North American veterinary universities for the student clinical rotations.

  • The NAVLE pass rate for 2019 was 92% at this vet school in the Caribbean.

  • At this Cayman Island vet school, new students can live on-campus or off-campus.

  • No VMCAS application.

  • There is an opportunity to study marine mammal medicine.

  • Students attend this Caribbean vet school right through the summer, which allows 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 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 undoubtedly be a plus for many potential veterinary students.

All Three Vet Schools Are Some Of The Best Colleges In The Caribbean!

St. George’s has proactive recruitment of vet students, unlike St Mathew’s. At SGU, they will often fly potential students down to Grenada for a tour of the school. 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 let us know on our FB page @VeterinarySchool