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Veterinary Student Clinical Externships

Offered to third and fourth year veterinary students with an interest in laboratory animal medicine, the Veterinary Student Clinical Externship Program provides a unique educational experience at one of the nation’s top public research institutions.

The program emphasizes training on key issues in laboratory animal science, including:

  • Clinical and preventative medicine,
  • Pathology, anesthesia, and perioperative care,
  • Appropriate handling and restraint techniques for a variety of laboratory animal species,
  • Design and operation of animal housing facilities,
  • Animal disease models,
  • Proper research techniques and principles, and
  • The laws and regulations that govern laboratory animal care and use in the United States.

Externships typically run for two to three weeks, depending on student schedules and availability, and are offered from September through May each year. Externships are unpaid and students must provide their own housing and transportation.

As part of their externship, a student must complete an assigned project. Project topics are varied, but tailored to the student’s specific areas of interest.

About the Program

Expected Time Commitment:
  • Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Occasional Saturday or Sunday (not a full day)
  • Weeknights, approximately 1 or 2 hours per night for reading and/or reviewing materials
Evaluation Criteria:

In order to determine successful program completion, students are evaluated on:

  1. Professional conduct
  2. Attendance and participation
  3. Clinical acumen
  4. Completion and quality of assigned project(s)

The Veterinary Student Clinical Externships Program offers a variety of activities aimed at expanding a student’s understanding of the laboratory animal medicine field. Activities and learning objectives may include, but are not limited to:

  • Expanded knowledge base in husbandry, biology, and diseases of common laboratory animal species through clinical work and participation in didactic seminars, study groups, and journal club.
  • Improved and expanded clinical skills through direct participation in clinical cases and clinical rounds by shadowing veterinary technicians and/or residents, and through participation in case management with resident or faculty oversight.
  • Increased understanding of animal pathology through direct work with pathologists and residents on current case submissions, attendance and participation in necropsies, and pathology rounds.
  • Better understanding of animal anesthesia and perioperative care of multiple species through assisting Animal Surgery Operating Room Technicians with surgical procedures.
  • Learn the basic principles of managing large colonies of laboratory animals by studying the basics of rodent health monitoring and quality assurance, attending Rodent Health Surveillance Team meetings, and shadowing Rodent Health Surveillance Technicians.
  • Gain exposure to research techniques and animal models of disease through the study of clinical cases, review of animal protocol proposals, and attending select Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee animal use training courses.


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