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Behind-the-scenes advice for your journey to become a vet

How to Get Research Hours for Vet School

It’s no secret that getting into veterinary school is highly competitive. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to make your vet school application stand out from the rest. One key thing? Get pre-vet research hours.

What Are Research Hours?

Research hours are – you guessed it – hours spent on an animal research project or course. While not an explicit requirement to get into vet school, you will have the opportunity to list all research hours earned on your VMCAS application. Showcasing an avid interest in animal research will certainly help demonstrate passion and dedication in your field while simultaneously helping your application to stand apart from others. 

That being said, not all research programs are created equally and it’s important to take the time to assess any that have piqued your interest before committing. Be sure to ask any program providers whether or not they offer certificates demonstrating the number of hours earned, provide credit for their programs, have opportunities to work alongside vets, and so on.

How to Get Research Hours for Vet School

So, how to get VMCAS research hours, you ask? Loop Abroad has several program options available that offer students the ability to gain hands-on animal experience while also contributing heavily to their number of research hours. These opportunities are all real, ongoing research projects where the information is being used to protect animals and conserve important regions.

Check out some of course offerings:

In-Person Opportunities

Loop Abroad is proud to offer several in-person programs that help students get pre-vet research hours while enjoying incredible adventures abroad.

  1. Belize Big Cats and Primates Research

Our Belize Big Cats and Primates Research program offers approximately 80 research hours and 10 veterinary and clinical hours.

With a focus on jaguars and the negative impacts of deforestation, this program gives you the chance to help researchers understand and protect these beautiful big cats. You’ll also get the amazing opportunity to work on howler monkey release projects, getting real-world experience practicing monitoring and data collection.

  1. Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation and Research

This program can be taken as a one-week or two-week course. Students will receive a certificate for 40 service hours per program week completed.

Working directly with wild sea turtles, this conservation and research program contributes to the overall knowledge about habitats used by sea turtles and the dangers they face.

  1. Costa Rica Shelter Medicine and Dolphin Research

This two-week program grants students 40 research hours that can be used on vet school applications.

Students will spend half their time practicing small animal medicine and the other half contributing to marine life research as they live at a dolphin research facility doing boat-based and lab research of dolphin health and behavior. 

Virtual Experiences

Of course, in-person research opportunities aren’t for everyone. Luckily, Loop Abroad offers a variety of virtual fellowships where students can get research hours for vet school.

  1. Zoo Research Fellowship

Offering both a 3-week and 6-week fellowship, our Zoo Research Fellowship grants students 50 and 100 research hours, respectively.

Fellows will be supervised and mentored virtually in group and one-on-one settings by the Lory Park Zoo Park Manager. You will learn the exact skills used every day by field researchers, and zookeepers to understand and support captive animal welfare. 

  1. Belize Jaguar & Howler Monkey Research Fellowship

Students can earn 100 research hours upon completion of this program.

This unique online fellowship will encompass two on-going projects at Runaway Creek in Belize and will require the students to work with long-term data on howler monkeys and jaguars. Through a combination of lectures, assignments and one-one-one instruction, students will be introduced to conservation issues within the Maya Forest Corridor, primate behavior, wildlife monitoring and research techniques, the importance of vegetation sampling, and other ongoing research by the FWC team. 

  1. Belize Crocodile & Manatee Research Fellowship Online

This virtual fellowship also offers students the opportunity to earn 100 research hours.

With the Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC), students will join the team to collect and analyze data, a critical step in order to protect the area as a Wildlife Sanctuary.  Although the CRC’s primary study species is crocodiles, the CRC takes a more holistic approach to conservation that includes research of various species (including manatees) within crocodile habitat and involving various community members to create local stewardship of the lagoon.

Ready to Get Pre-Vet Research Hours?

If you’d like to learn more about how to get VMCAS research hours, reach out today! We’d be happy to help you find the program that’s right for you.