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University of Calgary veterinary program expanded

The Alberta government is helping students study closer to home by funding more spaces in the University of Calgary’s Veterinary Medicine program.

University of Calgary veterinary program expanded

Minister Schmidt and Baljit Singh, dean of University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine, tour Spy Hill campus to get a glimpse into the hands-on experience students receive daily.

The university will expand enrolment in the program, adding 80 additional seats by 2023, bringing its capacity to over 200 veterinary students.

More students and communities across the province will benefit from the program’s community-based practicum model, which connects veterinary students with rural practices to meet labour market demand and strengthen Alberta’s agricultural sector.

Previous government funding for an interprovincial veterinary medicine program at the University of Saskatchewan will be moved to support the University of Calgary’s program expansion.

“The University of Calgary’s veterinary program has grown into a world-renowned institution, and with this new funding we will now have the capacity to train all of our students right here in Alberta. The partnership with the other provinces worked for many years, but by focusing our support on one Alberta-based program, we will achieve provincial cost savings and increase access. This will make life better for students, families, and communities.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

Government will reallocate $4.7 million per year to the University of Calgary’s veterinary program. The move takes effect in 2020 with incremental increases of 20 seats per year, allowing current students in the University of Saskatchewan program to complete their studies and saving government $3.3 million annually.

“In a short period of time, the University of Calgary has established a globally competitive school of veterinary medicine. Increased funding provided by the Government of Alberta allows more Alberta students the opportunity to study in their home province and serve rural and remote communities. This investment cements the leadership role taken by the Government of Alberta to specifically support its livestock industry and the public health of all Albertans.”

Dru Marshall, provost & vice-president (Academic), University of Calgary

“I appreciate the Government of Alberta's decision to support the expansion of our globally recognized teaching and research programs at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. This investment gives more Alberta students the opportunity to enter our community-embedded veterinary medical training programs and increases our capacity to graduate local veterinarians to support the province's food animal, equine, and pet-owning communities.” 

Baljit Singh, dean of University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

"One thing that makes this program so unique is the community- based learning that allows students to spend their final year out in practices around the province. This helps us build relationships, network ourselves and experience veterinary medicine in a variety of different clinical settings. Increasing the class size will provide more students in Alberta the same opportunity that I have had.”

Jessica Newman, third-year student at UCVM

Shifting enrolment funding to the University of Calgary also means more Alberta students will benefit from an integrated Alberta approach to veterinary medicine. For instance, the University of Calgary’s partnership with the University of Alberta on a Bachelor of Animal Science and a Masters of Public Health/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine offers students a number of collaborative opportunities.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan was established in 1963 through an interprovincial cost-sharing agreement with the governments of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Alberta currently funds 80 seats at a cost of $8 million. In 2005, a veterinary medicine program was established at the University of Calgary to meet Alberta’s need for veterinarians. There are currently 130 seats in the program. The labour market demand forecast for Alberta is nearly 1,100 veterinarians by 2023.


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