Here, I summarize why someone might be interested in complementary degrees to the DVM and dual-degree options, and what the program requirements are. I also include a link to a page from North Carolina State University, which lists all the veterinary schools' with dual degree programs and a link to their separate pages. Note: A dual-degree program is not the same as specializing or completing a residency-- medical specialties are achieved after the DVM, and I will write another blog post about the various specializations in the future!
Link to see the list of vet schools with dual-degree programs: harvest.cals.ncsu.edu/vetpac/home/dual-degree-options/
Maybe you're debating about whether to do a DVM or a PhD. Maybe you want both, but not sure which one to do first. Maybe you want to do them both at the same time! A DVM/PhD program typically is an 8-year commitment. At UC Davis, DVM/PhD students start with 2 years in the veterinary curriculum, then switch over to doing their 4 year PhD studies, which includes conducting scientific research for publication. Then, the student returns to the DVM curriculum to complete 3rd and 4th year. A nice bonus is that often the DVM/PhD programs are fully funded! Applications for the DVM/PhD are usually done the same time you apply for the DVM only, so you should have already demonstrated experience and interest in research during your pre-vet years. However, some schools, like UC Davis, also allow first year veterinary students to apply. The DVM/PhD program is called the "Veterinary Scientist Training Program (VSTP)" at UC Davis. DVM/PhD programs are very competitive positions where typically 1-3 students are awarded this position per program per year. Take note that some programs, like Colorado State University's, only allow you to apply for one "category" meaning either you apply for the DVM or the Dual DVM/PhD-- if you do not get in to the DVM/PhD, you will not be considered for the DVM only. However, UC Davis' admission policy is not like that. DVM/PhD degrees set you up for careers in academia, other research organizations, public health, epidemiology, and wildlife conservation jobs.
An MPH, or Masters of Public Health, is open people with Bachelor's degrees and higher, including MDs (human doctors) and DVMs (veterinarians). The MPH is a 1-2 year degree, but some MPH programs are offered concurrently within the 4-year DVM curriculum. You learn things like epidemiology, disease transmission, advanced medical statistics, risk assessment, and health policy. It may or may not involve a research component; this is dependent on the program. You typically have to pay additional tuition for the MPH program. A DVM/MPH sets you up for a unique veterinary career addressing the needs of the human-animal interface through a government career such as the CDC, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, or a non-governmental organization such as the World Health Organization.
An MPVM is a Masters in Preventative Veterinary Medicine, and only admits veterinarians and veterinary students. Coursework is similar to an MPH, but tailored to tap into the unique skills, interests, and training of veterinarians so that they are prepared to investigate, evaluate, and address animal population health problems. In an MPVM program, you will learn things like epidemiology, disease transmission, advanced medical statistics, risk assessment, and health policy. An MPVM is conducive to a career in One Health, wildlife management, public health, regulatory medicine, shelter medicine, and food animal health such as livestock, poultry, or swine. You typically have to pay tuition for the MPVM program. UC Davis only offers the MPVM as a post-DVM degree, although several years ago it was offered as a concurrent degree program. Like the MPH, an MPVM is a 1-2 year program, depending on if you do a research project or not. UC Davis requires a research component for completion of the MPVM. A DVM/MPVM will give you the tools and knowledge to work in wildlife conservation medicine and research, or with a public health agency such as the CDC, FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine, other federal or state health departments, WHO, and other non-governmental health agencies.
Articles in this blog are oriented to readers interested in going to veterinary school.