More than 450 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the internationally-recognized veterinary college that includes a veterinary medical centre, a provincial diagnostic laboratory and large-scale research facilities. The WCVM is part of the University of Saskatchewan campus, located along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Each year, up to 78 students begin the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. Based on an interprovincial agreement with three western provinces, WCVM accepts an allotted number of applicants from British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The college also considers applicants from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
In 1963, Canada's four western provinces agreed to establish a regional veterinary college at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1969, the first class graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and the new building was officially dedicated.
The college's regional responsibilities for providing veterinary education, expertise and research are officially recognized in the WCVM Interprovincial Agreement — a unique document that is updated and renewed by the western provinces and WCVM every five years. The longstanding agreement spells out the terms with respect to provincial enrolment quotas, residency status of applicants to the college and the cost-sharing formula for funding the regional college at the U of S.
In turn, this agreement outlines the college's commitments in seven key areas.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programThe college's DVM program provides future veterinarians with a contemporary, relevant education that enables them to meet the changing needs of society. Nearly 80 faculty — including specialists in a range of different clinical disciplines — deliver the four-year program that's designed to prepare students for vital careers in private practice, public service, research, academia and industry.
Post-graduate programsWCVM's graduate training includes master's and PhD degree programs, as well as internships and residencies in a range of clinical disciplines. WCVM's graduate student population is at an all-time high with more than 150 graduate students working in a range of areas through the college.
Research in biomedical and veterinary sciencesThe veterinary college annually attracts more than $10 million in public and private research funding. In return, WCVM researchers are making internationally significant discoveries in a range of areas including basic and applied sciences, clinical sciences, comparative medicine, food safety, toxicology, public health and environmental health.
Public extension educationEach year, WCVM faculty members present some of the latest information and research discoveries at conferences organized by livestock or breed associations, sport organizations or wildlife groups. When important health issues arise in the region, the college plays a key role in organizing information meetings or distributing fact sheets that provide science-based answers to the public's questions and concerns.
Clinical and diagnostic services and consultationsThe WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre is a highly advanced medical facility where undergraduate and graduate students can develop their clinical and diagnostic skills. The teaching hospital serves as Western Canada's premier referral centre with the latest in advanced diagnostic and treatment options for animal health care.
Continuing education for veterinariansThe WCVM helps to organizing continuing education courses and seminars for veterinary organizations. In addition, faculty members regularly share their research findings at veterinary conferences and by publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
Training support for veterinary technology students
Each year, the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre becomes the clinical training ground for students enrolled in the veterinary technology program at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon, Sask.
In October 2018, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) released its strategic plan, the University the World Needs, which sets major priorities and cross-campus commitments through to 2025.
As part of this planning process, a team of WCVM representatives worked on the college’s own strategic plan based on discussion and feedback from the college's community. This team identified four fundamental goals that will guide our efforts:
- Ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the college
- Strengthen and expand the WCVM’s research mission
- Enrich and expand the student experience
- Advance and promote our clinical expertise, training and outreach
These goals dovetail with USask’s core principles of sustainability, creativity, diversity and connectivity, along with the university plan’s priority on three key commitments: courageous curiosity, boundless collaboration and inspired communities.
WCVM Advisory Council
To maintain the co-operative, regional approach to higher education, regional representatives from all western provinces participate in the WCVM's Advisory Council that was established in 1965. The council's members, which include representatives from the veterinary profession, advanced education, agriculture and industry, provide formal communication on regional needs between the four provinces and the college.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine holds the status of full accreditation with the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) Council on Education. After an accreditation team site visit in October 2017, the AVMA Council on Education confirmed the WCVM's full accreditation status in April 2018.
The college's next AVMA COE accreditation site visit will take place in 2024.
- WCVM student pass rate (2018-19): The pass rate for recent WCVM graduates on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination was 99 per cent. The current pass rate required by the AVMA Council on Education standard for outcomes assessment is 80 per cent.
Accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Education (COE) represents the highest standard of achievement for veterinary medical education in the United States and Canada. AVMA-accredited veterinary institutions have completed a stringent, comprehensive peer review to ensure their commitment to quality and continuous improvement.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Medical Centre is an accredited member of the American Animal Hospitals Association (AAHA).
The AAHA worked with a group of veterinary experts to develop the AAHA Standards of Accreditation as benchmarks of excellence. Hospitals and animal health care centres must undergo an extensive evaluation process before accreditation is given, and re-evaluations are conducted every three years.
Voluntary AAHA accreditation ensures that the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre is up to date on changes in veterinary medicine and is offering the highest quality of care and service to its patients and clients.