Section 2: Curriculum
The DVM curriculum is designed to be horizontally and vertically integrated, where courses presented in each semester build on those from previous semesters. It is therefore important for students to have completed all core courses offered in each semester before progressing to the next semester.
The DVM curriculum is constantly monitored and reviewed by the College’s Curriculum Committee. Each DVM class has a voting representative on this committee and they may present student concerns for their consideration. In addition, the College is monitored by the AVMA’s Council on Education (COE) and every year the College must submit an updated report on the 11 standards by which all Veterinary Colleges in North America are evaluated. All students in the CVM have an opportunity to anonymously comment on the College’s adherence to these standards through an electronic drop box which is located on the intranet under Academics; DVM Student Information; Commonly Used Forms, and AVMA COE Feedback Form. Alternatively, they may send concerns to their class Curriculum Committee representative.
The courses and clerkships (core, track, and elective) that are offered in the DVM program are included in the Course Catalog on our website. Classroom teaching in the DVM curriculum is divided into two blocks; 1st Classroom Experience occurs in years 1 and 2 (81 credits), with a 2nd Classroom Experience in year 3 (minimum of 32 credits). Clinical teaching will occur between years 2 and 3, and in year 4 (68 credits total). The syllabi for all courses and clerkships are available on the intranet under: Academics; DVM Student Information; Curriculum; Course and Clerkship Syllabi.
The curriculum at the CVM is a tracking curriculum where students may choose one of 5 tracks available (Small Animal, Equine, Food Animal, Mixed, and Public/Corporate). Students are required to select a track at the end of the 2nd semester before entering clinics in the summer between 2nd and 3rd year. Your track may only be changed prior to the closing of course registration for the fall semester of the 2nd classroom experience (3rd year).
Progression within the curriculum is dependent upon your meeting specified standards as determined by the faculty and evaluated through assessments. In the context of the DVM program, assessment is defined as a procedure that is used to determine the degree to which individuals have achieved the intended learning outcomes of instruction. It includes electronic, written, and performance assessments, plus judgments concerning progression.
Academic Affairs will enroll all DVM students in their core, track, and elective courses for the first and second classroom experience (years 1-3). Academic Affairs will notify students if they are unable to enroll you e.g., due to blocks on your account.
In March and October, the Office of Academic Affairs will distribute a document to students in the third year of the program with details of the courses available in the fall and spring semesters respectively. This will include the concurrent courses, track or elective classes with size restrictions (caps), which may require “lottery” draws, as well as drop/add deadlines. If a student misses out on an elective course(s) they have selected due to the presence of caps, they will be notified in a timely manner allowing them to choose an alternate course.
It is each student’s responsibility to verify their enrollment on Hokie Spa is correct. Each student is also responsible for ensuring they have taken the correct courses for the track in which they are registered.
Courses taken as electives in the 2nd Classroom Experience may be added or dropped after the start of the semester. Students may request to add/drop these courses using the following timetable:
- the add deadline will be the end of the first week of the semester
- the drop deadline will be the end of the second week of the semester unless the elective is completed within the first two weeks of classes, in which case the drop deadline will be two days before the beginning of the course.
A maximum of two (2) elective courses may be dropped beyond the normal two-week drop deadline date during the second classroom experience as long as the course is NOT either animal-use, cadaver, or a capped course. These courses cannot be dropped. The following stipulations apply to the dropped elective courses:
- Dropping the course does not cause the student to have fewer than the required number of credits (16) for the semester
- The option may be exercised for courses in which a student is currently enrolled up through the day before the final exam
- To exercise this option, students must complete a formal Course Withdrawal Form, which is available through the Office of Academic Affairs and also online. After completing the CourseWithdrawal Form, students should submit the form to the Course Leader and to the associate dean for Professional Programs for signing and approval
- Students may request a withdrawal from an elective course irrespective of the grades earned in the elective up to the point of their request for withdrawal
- Courses from with the students withdraw under the terms of this procedure will appear on their transcript with a “grade” of “WG” and will not affect the student’s GPA
- Withdrawal from electives after the semester is over is not permitted
Withdrawal from animal-use/cadaver/capped courses is not permitted unless approval is granted by both the Course Leader and the Associate Dean. This will only occur if:
- the course is dropped before the use of animals has begun and dropping will not impact the number of animals organized for the course, OR
- another student wishes to take the course and can be switched with the student wishing to drop the course, OR
- the student is academically “at risk” (see under Section 6: Policies for Academic Progression)
At the college, auditing courses means attendance without enrollment. Students enrolled in the DVM program may audit an elective or non-track required course where attending (auditing) lectures are permitted with approval from the Course Leader. Auditing laboratory classes is not permitted. If a course is audited, notations for auditing will not be added to the student’s transcript. Students auditing courses are requested not to email course leaders regarding questions they may have on the course material.
Attendance is expected in all academic sessions (lectures, laboratories, discussion sessions, clinical clerkships, etc.) of all courses. However, attendance is required for some components of a course. In the case of exams (class or laboratory), student attendance is required to take the exam, unless an approved excused absence is obtained. In the case of lectures, laboratory classes, and quizzes, the Course Leader (or relevant instructor) will indicate those activities requiring attendance at the beginning of the course, or portion of the course for which he/she is responsible, and/or state this requirement in the course syllabus. If these activities (lectures, labs, and/or quizzes) require attendance by the instructor, an approved excused absence must be obtained if a student misses the activity or they will not receive credit for this portion of the course.
An excused absence is one where a student has approval to miss a required section of the course due to unavoidable circumstances that are consistent with those outlined below. The required section of a course will include all summative assessments (e.g., exams, quizzes), laboratory classes, integration sessions, and their assessments or lectures as determined by the Course Leader.
Excused absences will only be granted from required activities for the following reasons:
- Physical or mental/emotional illness that is personal or involves a member of the immediate family (spouse [including de facto relationship], children [including stepchildren], parents[including stepparents, and parents-in-law], siblings [including stepsiblings and siblings-in-law], grandparents [including step-grandparents and grandparents-in-law], legal guardians). For additional information see section (iii) below.
- Weddings and graduations in the immediate family (as defined above); other situations may be considered on a case-by-case basis
- Death in the immediate family; other situations may be considered on a case-by-case basis
- Required court appearances (e.g., subpoena or jury duty) that cannot be changed
- Religious and ethnic holidays
- Professional circumstances – see additional information below
- Other serious, unavoidable circumstances beyond the student’s control (these categories may include a motor vehicle accident, military requirements, etc. but exclude heavy traffic, oversleeping, etc.) and must be approved by the Associate Dean in conjunction with the course leader
An excused absence will not be granted for any reason after an exam has been taken i.e., a student cannot request an excused absence for an exam they have completed the exam.
A written or email request for an excused absence from a required examination, lecture, laboratory class, or quiz should be made to the Course Leader and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs at least 20 days prior to the anticipated absence. It is recognized that in an emergency situation (e.g., illness, death in the family), advanced notice may not be possible. In these cases students should notify the Course Leader and Associate Dean as soon as possible and preferably before the absence. If the circumstances for Excused Absence are not routine, the Course Leader and Associate Dean will discuss the matter to ensure standardization of these requests before approval.
*A new electronic system for submitting excused absence requests is being implemented in Fall 2023; an email regarding how to find and use the new system will be sent out to all first and second-teaching time students once it is fully executed. Until you receive this notification, please follow the procedures stated here. Once the new system is started, the deadlines will remain the same but the process will be streamlined as we attempt to make the request system as efficient as possible
In addition, approval for excused absence involving illness (physical or mental/emotional stress) of the student, or their immediate family, will only be granted if the student provides a statement from a health-care provider (e.g., Schiffert Health Center, Montgomery Hospital, Cook’s Counseling Center) indicating that the student has/had an illness at the time of the exam, quiz, lecture, or laboratory class, which prevents them from attending class. Alternatively, a discharge notice from a hospital may be used for this purpose. Except in extenuating circumstances, the statement must be obtained the day of, or immediately prior to, the absence.
Approval for an excused absence for illness would NOT include:
- a statement from a health care provider stating a student had an appointment on the date of the exams, quiz, or laboratory class
- minor illnesses such as colds, allergies, etc. Note, Schiffert Health Centre provides excused absence statements ONLY if the health care provider (MD, FNP, etc.) believes the student should not be in class that day due to a serious or highly contagious illness.
The VMCVM recognizes that DVM training is primarily the responsibility of the College and its instructors. However, there are times during their professional education when it is appropriate for students to be allowed to attend scientific meetings. The guidelines whereby attendance at scientific meetings will be approved include:
- first, second and third-year students are eligible as long as they are not “at risk” (see underSection 6: Policies for Academic Progression)
- students may receive an Excused Absence to attend one professional meeting (e.g., AAEP, AABP, SCAVMA leadership meeting, etc) during the 1st and 2nd classroom experience of the DVM program. Permission for this Excused Absence must be obtained from the Course Leader and the associate Dean for Professional Programs. A form (“Excused Absence for ProfessionalPurposes Form”) also must be completed and lodged with the Office of Academic Affairs (seen on the VMCVM Intranet under DVM student information)
In addition to the above approved excused absence, students presenting a research/discussion paper, or who have obtained a specific external scholarship for attendance at a SAVMA or student chapter-associated scientific meeting (e.g., AAHA, AAEP, AABP) may obtain an Excused Absence for Professional Purposes. Again, this must be approved by the Course Leader and Associate Dean for Professional Programs.
Note: The exception to this excused absence policy is for laboratory exams (including animal-use exams), where excused absences for professional purposes will not be approved.
Notification (see above) and rescheduling (see below) of make-up exams or quizzes are the responsibility of the student and will follow the same guidelines as for routine excused absences.
It is the responsibility of the student to do assignments or get material, that s/he missed during approved excused absences. Faculty has no obligation to provide anything beyond regular class material.
Students are permitted to attend only one scientific meeting (up to 3 working days) per academic year in order to present a paper/poster. In exceptional circumstances, a student may petition to attend an additional meeting.
Students holding leadership positions in national bodies relevant to veterinary medicine (e.g., SAVMA) may petition the Associate Dean to get an excused absence to attend additional meetings.
Approved absences for professional purposes will not be granted from laboratory classes if the syllabus states lab attendance is mandatory unless the same lab is offered at an earlier or a later date and rescheduling can be arranged.
Any other excused absences for professional purposes must have joint approval of the Course Leader and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. It should be noted, the Associate Dean will not approve a request denied by the Course Leader.
Rescheduling laboratory classes and exams are more difficult due to personnel and resource issues. If the mandatory laboratory class or exam cannot be replicated, an alternate exercise and/or assessment may be utilized at the discretion of the Course Leader.
Alternatively, an excused absence for a laboratory exam or mandatory lab sessions may result in an incomplete grade for the course if the original experience cannot be replicated or another experience is offered within the current semester. In these cases, attendance of the lab in a later year may be required.
If an excused absence is approved by the Associate Dean and the Course Leader or instructor, rescheduling the missed exam or quiz is the responsibility of the student involved and will be done in conjunction with the Course Leader and Academic Affairs. Where possible, the student will be strongly encouraged to take the exam/quiz/laboratory class prior to the scheduled date of the exam/quiz/lab. An example of this situation would include a wedding where the date of the absence is known in advance.
If it is not possible to schedule the exam/quiz or required laboratory class prior to the missed class, the student must reschedule this activity as soon as possible after the missed date. It is recommended that the activity be rescheduled no longer than five working days after the original exam/quiz/laboratory class unless extenuating circumstances occur. Delays in rescheduling missed exams cause delays in the distribution of results of exams/quizzes to the remainder of the class and often past the university grade deadlines.
If make-up work (e.g., laboratory review sessions, examinations) requires the use of lecture or laboratory space coordinated by the MDL staff, the instructor and student must plan in advance with the MDL staff manager so that use of the space can be coordinated with other uses and with other MDL staff duties.
Missing a mandatory assessment without an approved excused absence will result in a score of zero (0) for that assessment. If, however, in the judgment of the Course Leader and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, an equivalent assessment can be rescheduled the maximum score that can be obtained will be 74% of the available points. In this case, the assessment must be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Some assessments cannot be rescheduled due to the availability of resources and other deadlines, in which case the student will receive a zero (0) for the assessment.
Classes may be postponed or canceled because of malfunction of equipment (e.g., projector), or a University decision to cancel classes (e.g., inclement weather, football).
Lectures and/or laboratory classes will be rescheduled, if feasible, at the earliest available time. This may occasionally include lunchtimes and/or after hours. Rescheduling will be done by the Course Leader and/or instructor in conjunction with the Class President and/or student course representative and Academic Affairs. Alternatively, if the lecture from the previous year has been recorded through lecture capture, this recording may be used to deliver the material that has been missed. If the lecture has not been recorded, and rescheduling is not feasible, students will be responsible for notes, reading assignments, and other materials scheduled for the missed contact period.
Every effort will be made to reschedule any missed exams. In these cases, the Course Leader and Class President should immediately contact the Associate Dean for Professional Programs so that they may coordinate the rescheduling of exams as soon as possible. In most cases, rescheduled exams will take precedence over lectures.
In the event that a lecturer or laboratory instructor does not arrive within the first 5 minutes of class, a designated class member (preferably the student course representative if applicable) will announce to the class s/he is going to attempt to locate the missing person by one of 2 methods:
- The designated class member will contact either the First Classroom Experience Specialist for courses in the 1st or 2nd year, the Second Classroom Experience Specialist for courses in the third year, or MDL Manager for laboratory classes. Alternatively, they may visit the Office of Academic Affairs and provide information about the missing lecturer/laboratory instructor and the lecture/course from which the instructor is missing.
- The designated class member will attempt to locate the missing person directly. If they are not able to locate the missing person by phone, they should check the missing person’s office area, and another person should check his/her research laboratory or the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
If the missing instructor cannot be found by 15 minutes past the start of the lecture or laboratory class or s/he states s/he will not be able to attend class that day, then the class is dismissed.
The instructor or Course Leader will determine when the lecture or laboratory sessions will be rescheduled. All rescheduled lectures must be coordinated through the Academic Affairs/MDL office.
Evaluation of the curriculum is an important and ongoing process in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Student input is an important component of this process. For this reason, students are asked to complete course and instructor evaluations.
Course evaluations are conducted for all core, track, and elective courses each year. The evaluations are conducted near the end of the course, and usually before final exams. These evaluations provide information that is useful to both the Curriculum Committee (which includes four student members) and to individual faculty members in assessing course content, delivery, and assessment of student learning. The Curriculum Committee will review student course evaluations at the conclusion of each semester and may request a comprehensive course review based on needs/concerns expressed in the student evaluations, but only if there is greater than or equal to a 20% response rate. If the sum rating of a course that has met the minimum response rate averages ≤58%, a comprehensive course review will be required and conducted by the Curriculum Committee.
Instructor evaluations are one component of the data used for the selection of faculty for teaching awards, as well as in annual faculty evaluations. As a result of feedback from students (as well as alumni and employers), there have been substantial changes in some courses and the introduction of new courses. Thus, student feedback is of significant importance and carries a high degree of responsibility.
Unprofessional comments such as disparaging remarks, offensive language, or personal attacks are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Any forms with such comments will be discarded.
Participation of all students on an individual basis in the evaluation process is essential. Evaluations are to be completed independently and not as a group. Constructive suggestions are always welcomed. If you do not like some particular behavior exhibited by the instructor, please state it in specific terms (e.g. I did not like Dr. X’s reluctance to answer questions during the lecture). Similarly, if there was something about the instructor or the course that you liked it is equally important that you comment in specific terms (e.g. I thought Dr. Y’s examinations were fair and focused on major concepts addressed during the course). All exams are conducted under the DVM Honor Code policies and will be enforced. Students should review these policies before exams.
Examinations in the 1st Classroom Experience are usually given every two weeks. The length of time for the exams is variable, but most are two hours in length. Exam dates for courses 2nd Classroom Experience time are scheduled by the course leaders and the Second Classroom Experience Support Specialist. Laboratory exams and Objective Structure Clinical Exams (OSCEs) may also be scheduled for some 1st and 2nd Classroom Experience courses and are usually in alignment with the lecture exams.
Once dates are set and the schedule is published, exam dates will not be changed except in extenuating circumstances (e.g., University closure) or with the approval of the entire class and the Course Leader.
The following examination procedure applies to all in-class exams that are delivered using Exam Soft:
- Students may only bring into the exam room their primary testing device i.e., computer or iPad; no other electronic devices (e.g., smartwatch, phones, calculator, etc.) can be brought into the room
- Scratch/note paper will be provided by Academic Affairs/proctor; students are not permitted to bring in their own scratch paper
- Students may enter the exam up to 20 minutes after the official start time, but will not be given additional time to complete the exam
- Students are not permitted to enter the exam room and sit for the exam if they are more than20 minutes late; in these instances, students will have an unapproved excused absence and must contact the course leader regarding the next steps
- Students are not permitted to finish their exam/exam review and leave the exam room until 20 minutes after the exam starts
- Students are permitted to use the restrooms during the exam; they should pause their exam so that other students cannot see their answers and must leave their computers in the exam room; they should go to the closest restroom and return to the exam room as quickly as possible
- If a student finishes the exam/exam review before the allocated time, they should submit their answers to Exam Soft, then should show their exit screen (green screen) to the proctor and quietly leave the room
- Alternatively, at the end of the time allocated for the exam, the instructor will announce completion of the exam at which time all students must cease and exit Exam Soft and demonstrate to the instructor or proctor that the program has been closed before leaving the exam room
Students needing accommodations on examinations will be provided those as specified by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) (See section e – DVM students with accommodations).
Most exams in the DVM program are delivered through the computer program Exam Soft. Student-owned computers and tablets (e.g., iPads) that meet University specifications can be used for these exams. The use of any other electronic devices including, but not limited to cellular telephones, digital music players such as iPods, MP3 players, CD/DVD players, personal digital assistant devices, calculators, Apple Watches, etc., during examinations is forbidden. Exceptions may be granted if expressly permitted by the course leader when the use of an electronic device (e.g., an approved type of calculator) is integral to the completion of an examination or if an approved accommodation for the device has been obtained from Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Violation of this policy is a breach of the DVM Honor Code.
Many assessments in veterinary school are timed (e.g., exams) or are associated with a deadline (e.g., papers, assignments). The maximum score for any work turned in after an announced deadline which includes: 1) exams still open after the instructor calls for Exam Soft to be closed, and 2) homework or assignments turned in after a specified class or online deadline, is 74% of the points allocated to the assessment. The instructor is not obligated to accept late submissions.
Virginia Tech’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) provides accommodations to students (including DVM students) on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of disability. Students with identified or suspected disabilities should directly contact SSD to determine the accommodations that will be approved by SSD for their DVM program. The SSD office works with the Office for Academic Affairs to provide these accommodations either in the college or in the SSD Office.
The college is unable to provide accommodations to students who have not gone through the formal process for requesting them; all accommodations must be approved through the SSD office to ensure we are providing the correct and appropriate accommodations to students with documented needs. For these reasons, we strongly encourage you to meet with the SSD office as soon as possible if you are already receiving accommodations.
If, during routine reviews of student performance, a faculty or staff member identifies a potential concern, the student will immediately be referred to the SSD office to begin the process to determine if accommodations are appropriate. Please ask anyone within the Office of Academic Affairs if you need help with this process or have questions about where to go, who to contact, or what to do if you suspect you might need this additional support at any time during the program of study.
Lecture exams during the semester
Routine accommodations (e.g., double time, quiet space) may be provided by the College for lecture exams. Additional accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis through discussions with the SSD Office and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs.
For Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs) and laboratory exams that are related to the practice of veterinary medicine (e.g., ovariohysterectomy, anesthesia lab exam) requests for extended time will be considered on a case-by-case basis through discussions with the SSDOffice, the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, and the pertinent instructor.
In some situations, the length of time for lab exams for students with accommodations may be extended (e.g., one where there are exercises (e.g., calculations) that are part of the final grade and the students work individually). If s/he works in a group, extended time is not given.
When possible, accommodations exams will be scheduled at the same time as the class exam, either adding time before or after the class exam. Additional examination time will usually be scheduled during office hours (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.), with exceptions for an early starting time (e.g., 7 a.m.) when possible to prevent students from missing lectures due to their extended time. Some accommodations may extend into the lunch hour.
Prior to the first exam of the semester, Academic Affairs staff (First Classroom Experience Staff Specialists for first and second-year students and Second Classroom Experience Staff Specialist for third-year students) will meet with students with accommodations in each class to discuss the exam schedule. Once the schedule is finalized, it will be emailed to the students with accommodations. The exception is when lecture and lab exams are run concomitantly, where the Course Leader will determine the schedule for the accommodations exams.
Exams for students with accommodations will be conducted in approved rooms. Monitoring may be conducted via in-class camera including video, or in-person, ensuring students with accommodations are proctored at all times. If, however, this facility does not provide appropriate accommodations as approved by SSD, the student may take exams at SSD facilities. This alternate accommodations procedure will be determined by the SSD Office and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs. Scheduling of these exams must be done in conjunction with Academic Affairs Staff and SSD personnel.
Approximately 10 minutes before the exam is due to begin the student(s) should arrive at the Office of Academic Affairs to sign in for the exam. A member of staff/faculty in the Office of Academic Affairs will meet them, ask them to sign in, show them to Room 231, provide the code that is needed to start the exam and announce the duration of the examination.
If a student arrives late for the exam (>5 minutes after the start time), they will be given a warning regarding tardiness. No additional time will be given for the exam for which they have arrived late. If they arrive late for any further exams in the semester, they will be required to meet with the Associate Dean for Professional Programs.
If a student finishes the exam early, they must close Exam Soft, quietly leave the examination room, and bring their computer to the Office of Academic Affairs to show their “green screen” that demonstrates they are no longer in the program.
Alternatively, at the designated completion time (e.g., after 4 hours), a member of staff/faculty in the Office of Academic Affairs will ask the student(s) to close the program so that they finish the exam.
Course Leaders will have access to the results of these exams through Exam Soft.
At the start of each Semester
Before the first scheduled exam for each semester, it is the responsibility of each student with accommodations to pick up their letter from SSD and to provide a copy of the letter to either the First Classroom Experience Specialist (years 1 & 2) or the Second Classroom Experience Specialist (year 3). Accommodations within the College will not be provided until Academic Affairs has received the appropriate documentation. *Exceptions to this rule are allowed if the student is in the process of obtaining the required documentation and the student can provide evidence that they are currently being evaluated by SSD.
DVM students are not required to have the Course Leaders/Instructors sign the form provided to them by the SSD Office.
Before the first exam in a course, or at the start of the semester for the 2nd classroom experience, Academic Affairs will organize a meeting for students with accommodations in a class to finalize the schedule and go over their requirements. Students with accommodations must attend this meeting if they wish to undertake exams with accommodations in the College.
New or Updated Accommodations during a Course
If a student receives a new or updated accommodations letter from SSD after the semester has commenced, and the accommodations are to be used during the remainder of the semester, the student must provide the updated accommodations letter to the Office of Academic Affairs.
A student who receives a letter of accommodation is not required to use (all) the accommodations stated, but they must let the Office of Academic Affairs know which ones they will be using.
Arriving on Time
Students must arrive 10 minutes before the start of an exam to alleviate stress for the other student(s) and prevent distractions. No additional time will be given to complete the exam if arriving late. In order to monitor students taking the exams, all students must sign in at Academic Affairs before the exam and sign out once completed.
Items not Allowed in the Exam Room
The following items are not permitted to be taken into the exam room:
- book bags, personal belongings, and blankets
- electronic devices such as cellular telephones, digital music players (e.g., iPods, MP3 players,iPads), Apple Watches, calculators (unless required by the Course Leader and they must be an approved type i.e., cannot download external data), personal digital devices etc. *Approved computers will be allowed in the room in order for the students to take the exams in Exam Soft.
- scratch paper – if needed (and permitted) will be provided by Academic Affairs. Students are not allowed to bring in their own scratch paper.
Food and Drinks
Food is not permitted in the accommodations room. If the student wishes to eat during an exam, they may request a break from the proctor in Academic Affairs and be monitored during this process. Water may be taken into the accommodations room.
Food is not permitted in the accommodations room. If the student wishes to eat during an exam, they may request a break from the proctor in Academic Affairs and be monitored during this process. Water may be taken into the accommodations room.
In some courses, exam reviews in Exam Soft may occur immediately after completion of the exam and which provide preliminary exam scores, where these scores may be updated after review of the exam by the course leaders. Immediate review of exams is not available for those taking exams remotely. Alternatively, for some courses, students may review their exam answers during organized exam review sessions.
Students are reminded that it is a breach of the DVM Honor Code, to reproduce by any means, or have unapproved use of, any exam, quiz, assignment, etc. that is part of the score in a course unless stated otherwise in the course syllabus or specifically approved by the course instructor. Please refer to the section on the DVM Honor Code for consequences of breaches of this policy.
Final exam scores will be provided to students on the course Canvas site, generally only after all exams have been graded.
All courses and clerkships will be graded P/F. Students will receive a passing grade for course grades of ≥64%.
Assignments of scores will be consistent for all courses in the DVM program. No rounding will occur in any course (e.g., 72.9 will stay as 72.9 for calculation of class rank).
A class rank will be calculated at the end of each semester and will be based on the cumulative sum of weighted course scores [final course percentage (to 2 decimal points) multiplied by the number of credit points for the course]. Students wishing to know their class rank at the end of each semester must contact Academic Affairs to obtain their rank.
Final course outcomes (Pass or Fail) are reported by the Course Leaders to the University Registrar via Banner before the University determined deadlines for each semester. A grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be given to a student only when, for reason(s) satisfactory to the Instructor and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs, the requirement of the course has not been completed. A grade of “I” must be removed and replaced by a P/F by the end of the first week in the next (subsequent) semester. If the grade is not changed at this time, the student will receive an automatic “F” for the course and will be dismissed from the program.
This procedure has been approved by the College of Veterinary Medicine to supplement the Virginia Tech Policy 6800, as well as the Graduate and Undergraduate Catalogs.
Assignment of a score in a course is the sole prerogative of the instructor(s). Faculty should adhere to principles of fairness and clear communication with respect to the assignments of grades. Failure to follow the following standards may provide justification for a grade appeal and include:
- Scoring and testing procedures are described in the course syllabus, which is available on the course Canvas site.
- Marking procedures are applied uniformly to all students in the course.
- Students will be given feedback in the form of scored assessments or assignments during the course, thus providing opportunities for student improvement before the final course grade is assigned.
- There is no evidence of personal bias or discrimination during course administration.
- Assessments should align with course content, objectives, and delivery.
Based on VT Policy 6800, there are up to three levels of appeal for a final course grade. For the DVM curriculum, the Department/Division level of appeal will be provided by the Office of Academic Affairs.
The student is responsible for initiating levels 1 and 2 of written appeal (Instructor and Associate Dean). If a Level 2 appeal is denied, the appeal is automatically forwarded to the Dean as a Level 3 appeal. The person responsible at each level of appeal will provide the student with written notification of the decision and where appropriate, a copy will be sent to the Course Leader. If a grade change is made at any level, the person responsible will send a written notification to the Office of Academic Affairs, and the student’s academic record will be updated after verifying with the Associate Dean for Professional Programs.
Level 1 Grade Appeal: Instructor assigning the grade
Within 10 working days of written notification (including email) of the final course grade, a student may file a written grade appeal to the instructor assigning the grade if the student believes the grade was calculated incorrectly, was not assigned in accordance with established criteria, or was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner. In their appeal, the student should address the five principles of fairness and clear communication listed above, and outline how these were not been met in their situation.
Level 2 Grade Appeal: Associate Dean
Within 10 working days of written notification (including email) of the level 1 appeal, the student may file a second level of appeal to the Associate Dean, who will refer the request to the Standards Committee. If the Standards Committee has already rendered judgment on the student pertaining to dismissal or reinstatement in the same semester as the course for which the grade is being appealed, the Associate Dean will form an ad hoc committee consisting of four faculty not providing instruction or assessment in the course/clerkship being appealed. Either committee’s responsibility is to ascertain whether the grading standards were clearly stated in the syllabus, the grade was assigned in accordance with established criteria, and assigned in a fair manner consistent with performance of required work and assessment of other students in the course. Either committee is advisory to the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean has the prerogative to send the appeal back to the Committee for additional fact-finding on the issues raised by the student or Committee in the appeal.
Level 3 Grade Appeal: Dean
If a level 2 appeal is denied, the Associate Dean automatically forwards the levels 1 and 2 material to the Dean unless directed otherwise by the student appealing the grade. The student may forward to the Dean a response to the level 2 report within 21 calendar days of receipt of the report. The purpose of the third level of appeal is to ascertain whether appropriate due process has been followed in the first two levels of appeal. The Dean has the prerogative to send the appeal back to the Committee for additional fact-finding on the issues raised by the student or Committee in the appeal. The Dean’s decision is final.
If the grade(s) being appealed has (have) resulted in dismissal from the DVM program, the student is permitted to continue in the program on probation until the grade appeal(s) is/are completed. In the event of the appeal(s) being denied, no credit can be received for any subsequent grade(s) received during the appeal process. If the appeal is denied and a student is dismissed, tuition refunds will follow university policies and procedures. In addition, appeals will be held in abeyance for any subsequent grade(s) received while the original grade(s) that resulted in dismissal is being appealed. If an appeal is resolved in favor of the student, then an appeal of a subsequent grade may be submitted by the student and will be considered.
A student filing a grade appeal as a result of being dismissed in semester four cannot commence clerkships until either the grade appeal is resolved in the student’s favor or the semester is successfully retaken. If a failed clerkship grade is being appealed and the student fails another clerkship s/he will be placed on a leave of absence pending a decision on the original appeal. For further details regarding progression and clerkship grades refer to the Clinical Year Handbook.
The following policies apply to DVM students.
- All courses and clerkships will be graded as Pass/Fail (“P”/”F”).
- A course score below 64% will be considered failing (including all core, track, and elective courses) unless another mechanism for standard setting is stipulated in the course syllabus and approved by the DVM Curriculum Committee.
- There will be no rounding of course scores.
- A record of the course (percentage) scores will be maintained by Academic Affairs for the purpose of calculating class performance rankings.
- The minimum number of VM credits for a DVM student to advance to the Second Clinical Time is 111 credits, which includes a minimum of 32 credits in the Second Classroom Experience.
- A failing score is the final score assigned to a student in a course. This score may be assigned after completion of Advancement Exams (see below).
- The following conditions will result in automatic dismissal for academic causes:
- Receiving a failing score (<64%) in a core, track, or elective course.
Students who fail to achieve an overall passing score in a course will be offered the opportunity to take an advancement examination and be permitted to progress in the curriculum if the conditions listed below are met:
- Adequate mastery of course content is demonstrated by successful completion of the advancement examination (achieving a score of at least 64%). The advancement examination for a course may include separate assessments for the different components of the course (e.g., lecture and lab).
- No more than one advancement examination may be taken in each academic year for Years 1 and 2 of the curriculum.
- Students may sit a total of three advancement exams in the second classroom experience (year 3 of the DVM program) but they may not sit more than two advancement exams in any one semester (fall or spring).
- An advancement exam will not be offered to students repeating a course.
- When a student is approved to take an advancement examination, an incomplete grade of “I” will be recorded in Banner pending completion of the examination.
- The advancement examination must be taken no sooner than 7 calendar days after the failing score is officially recorded with the University Registrar, and must be completed within 30 calendar days from the end of the semester in which the grade was received. The scheduling of the advancement exam will be determined by the faculty leader for the course in consultation with Academic Affairs.
- The advancement examination will be comprehensive. The format will be outlined in the course syllabus and approved by the DVM Curriculum Committee.
- If the student completes the examination successfully, a course score of 64% will be recorded and a passing grade of “P” will be assigned. If the student fails to pass the examination(s) successfully, the original course score will be recorded and the student will be assigned a failing grade of “F”.
- Upon re-entry to the DVM program after academic dismissal, a student is required to retake only the courses they failed during the repeated semester.
Students may leave (withdraw) from the professional DVM program due to voluntary resignation, including Medical Leave and Academic Relief, or be dismissed due to academic failure (see Standards for Academic Progress), or unacceptable behavior/professional misconduct (see Professional Standards and DVM Honor Code).
In accordance with university policies, voluntary resignation/medical leave from the professional program can be made at any time with the permission of the Associate Dean of Professional Programs. To begin this process, students must provide the Associate Dean with an email outlining the reasons for resignation; upon acceptance of this explanation, the Associate Dean will ask the student to complete a withdrawal form or complete the form on behalf of the student based on the student’s wishes. A completed form will be filed in Academic Affairs and a copy provided to the student for their records. The completed form will be submitted to the VT Registrar’s Office by the Office of Academic Affairs. Refunding of tuition and fees is dependent on the date of the withdrawal on the Student Resignation/Withdrawal Form and is in accordance with University policy.
Students that are dismissed on academic or professional grounds will have a withdrawal form submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the Office of Academic Affairs. Students who withdraw for academic reasons should follow the procedures outlined below if they wish to re-enter the program. Students who are dismissed for unacceptable behavior/professional misconduct by the veterinary school must follow the procedures outlined below, as discussed in the section covering those who withdrew voluntarily or for medical reasons. All dates and time limits are the same, regardless of the type of petition.
A student who resigns voluntarily for personal/medical reasons, or who is dismissed from the program by the Associate Dean for Professional Programs for academic failure or unacceptable behavior/professional misconduct has the right to apply for reinstatement by written petition. This petition should be addressed to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions in cases of withdrawal due to voluntary resignation/medical leave or to the DVM Standards Committee in cases of voluntary resignation while failing one or more courses or due to academic failure. The petitions for reinstatement must be sent to the appropriate person before 31 March for students wishing to re-enter the program in the fall of the same calendar year, and before 15 October for persons wanting to re-enter in the spring of the next calendar year. Additionally, petitions for re-entry must be filed no more than 2 years after the date of withdrawal stated on the withdrawal form. In the event that a student wishes to re-enter the program after the 2-year period has passed, the student must go through the full application process to gain admittance.
The petition should be addressed to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions in cases of withdrawal due to voluntary resignation/medical leave or to the DVM Standards Committee in cases of voluntary resignation while failing one or more courses or due to academic failure. This person/committee will make a recommendation to the Associate Dean, whose decision is final. There is no appeal process. Reinstatement into the professional DVM program will not be automatic but will be contingent on satisfactory demonstration that the reasons for resignation have been addressed. More stringent academic standards may be a condition of reinstatement whether it was involuntary or voluntary resignation.
In consideration of all reinstatement requests, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions or the DVM Standards Committee may consult with appropriate individuals which could include the student, the student's instructors, counselors, and other responsible parties, and will recommend to the Associate Dean if reinstatement should be offered and if additional actions or steps for remediation are needed. If reinstatement is offered by the Associate Dean, the conditions will be defined and presented to the student in writing. Each agreement will be customized for the specific case and will be structured to support the student and protect the interests of fellow students and the University.
Students who are reinstated after academic failure, or after voluntary resignation while failing one or more courses, will automatically be designated “at risk”. The weighted course scores from previously completed semesters will remain the same upon re-entry. Advancement exams in a previous semester of the academic calendar year will remain on record. Students are required to pass all repeated courses, but will not be offered an Advancement Exam for repeated courses.
Petitions for readmission after a second or subsequent dismissal will be considered but will be granted only in cases involving extraordinary extenuating circumstances where convincing evidence is presented that all barriers to successful completion of the program have been eliminated.
For students who are dismissed by Virginia Tech University, the College will follow all policies and procedures as dictated by the university with regard to re-entry.
The Office of Academic Affairs here at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is invested in your overall success, including academic success. The Proactive Support & Intervention Program (PSIP) is a program designed to provide academic support at various stages throughout the program. We will work with students who may require academic support to identify needs and establish short and long-term action plans that promote academic, personal, and professional accomplishments.
While enrolled in the PSIP, the student will not be permitted to serve in any student leadership position. This includes class officers, student clubs, Honor Board rep, Ambassador Program, etc. The Director of Admissions and Student Support will assist the student with any transition from a leadership position. Additionally, students who score 70 or below on the first exam in the program (Normal Animal Exam 1) will not qualify to serve in any of the above-mentioned leadership positions for the duration of a semester.
Level 1 of the PSIP, is to implement services and support earlier in the academic program and prior to the completion of the semester. A student receiving below a 67% on any exam in the first classroom experience (first 2 years of the DVM program) will automatically be enrolled in Level 1 of the PSIP unless the student is already enrolled in the PSIP program.
- Upon initial enrollment or re-enrollment in the PSIP, the student will be required to meet with the Director of Admissions and Student Support to discuss and identify reasons for the low exam performance.
- College and university resources will be identified to support the student, which may include the DVM Peer Tutoring program, the DVM Peer Mentoring Program, study skills and time management assessment, accommodations evaluation, and mental health support systems. After support systems and resources have been identified, The Director of Admissions and Student Support will refer students to the Assistant Director of Student Support for continued support.
The Level 1 PSIP enrollment will last the entire duration of the course, even if performance improves on subsequent exams. Upon completion of the course, the student will be removed from the PSIP if the final course grade is at, or above, a 70%.
A student with an average lecture exam score of less than 67% at the end of each semester during the first classroom experience (first 2-years of the DVM program), OR who receive a final course grade of less than 70% in Becoming a Veterinary Professional I, II, or III, will be automatically enrolled in Level 2 of the PSIP, and required to participate in the Academic Success Program (ASP). The Associate Director of Student Support will provide guidance to the student on requirements and will offer continued support.
- Any previously identified academic support systems (e.g., DVM Peer Tutoring Program) may remain in place, but additional services or support systems may need to be identified, depending on a student’s needs.
- The student will be removed from Level 2 of the PSIP IF the student maintains an average exam score of 70%, or above, within each course, by the end of a semester.
If a student is dismissed from the DVM program and petitions for re-entry, the Academic Standards Committee will consider, as part of their decision-making process, what support systems were offered and how often they were utilized by the petitioner.
At the conclusion of the First Classroom experience (years 1 & 2), all lecture exams taken during the first two years of the program will be averaged for each student. Students with an exam average of less than or equal to 67%, will be placed into Level 3 of the PSIP for the duration of their 3rd year in the program.
- Firstly, Level 3 PSIP students will be required to participate in the ASP.
- Support systems, resources, and programs will be made available to the student, in consultation with the Assistant Director of Student Support.
If a student is dismissed from the DVM program and petitions for re-entry, the Academic Standards Committee will consider, as part of their decision-making process, what support systems were offered and how often they were utilized by the petitioner.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Schools must have written permission, in the form of the FERPA Waiver, in order to release any information from a student’s education record. This means that anytime a student requests a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or needs a letter of good academic standing, or other information about their academic performance, the student will need to have a FERPA waiver on file. If a student chooses to sign a waiver allowing anyone to view their records, the student must be aware of the implications of that decision.
The University and Colleges may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, local and permanent address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, enrollment status, anticipated graduation date, dates of attendance, etc. A student may choose to designate some or all of your directory information as confidential. However, doing so will result in:
- student name and address being excluded from web and print directories
- student name and degree information excluded from all commencement programs and dean’s lists and award listings
- verification of enrollment, graduation, or degrees awarded will not be provided to third parties, including potential employers.
To mark part or all of your record confidential, you may do so via Hokie Spa (under the Hokie Plus menu and click on the “Confidentiality Options”.