Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/MBA

The need for business education and skills in veterinary medicine has never been greater. 

To better prepare graduating DVM students, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Business at Iowa State University have collaborated to offer the DVM/MBA degree program. Incorporating business skills relevant to today’s veterinarian will equip new graduates with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their careers. The DVM/MBA is a five-year program, resulting in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and the Master of Business Administration degree.

Rationale for an DVM/MBA Concurrent Degree Program

Many veterinarians today would benefit from the knowledge and skills gained from an MBA program. There are several major trends occurring in the veterinary profession that speak to the need for the veterinarian to have more business education. These trends include:

  • Integration and regionalization of veterinary practices
  • Development of corporate practices (veterinary franchises)
  • Assumption of enterprise management of large scale livestock operations
  • Increased utilization of veterinarians by the pharmaceutical and biologics industry in sales, marketing, management, and leadership roles
  • Recognition by the veterinary industry that veterinary practices must employ fundamental business practices to enhance revenue streams, increase the quality of patient care, and the quality of life for veterinarians

Regionalization of Veterinary Practices

A common occurrence throughout the Midwest is the formation of practice alliances and the creation of regional veterinary practices. These regional practices employ from five to 15 veterinarians and 15 to 40 support staff and generate gross revenues from $2 to $6 million annually. These practices require the typical functions of any small business including financial management, operations management, service marketing, personnel management, strategic and scenario planning, and quality control. Additionally, there is an increasing need and utilization of management information systems for tracking financial, client, patient, personnel, inventory, and medical records data. 

Corporate Veterinary Medicine

One of the major changes in veterinary medicine within the last decade is the development of corporate veterinary medicine. The corporate practice will own from 15 to over 200 veterinary practices either regionally or nationally. Some of these entities are privately held while others are publicly traded on the stock exchanges. Many of the principles in the corporate entities are and will continue to be veterinarians. Some corporate practices will employ in excess of 500 people and will have annual gross revenues of from $1 to $2 million per practice owned. Veterinarians engaged in corporate veterinary medicine need and require all of the same business skills and knowledge required to manage any small company profitably.

Veterinary Livestock Enterprise Management

The owners of a number of large scale beef, swine, poultry and dairy operations have turned to veterinarians and veterinary practices for enterprise management. Veterinarians engaged in these enterprises must employ all modern business systems to make the enterprises profitable. Of increasing importance to veterinarians working in enterprise management is complete control of all input, throughput and output activities. In addition to traditional business functions, the areas of logistics, employee education and training, product marketing and distribution channels are critical. Veterinarians engaged in livestock enterprise management oversee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Veterinary Pharmaceutical and Biologics Industry

Increasingly, veterinarians are employed by the pharmaceutical and biologics industry. In addition to traditional technical and research roles, veterinarians are sought for positions in sales, marketing and management. Often veterinarians assume leadership roles in these industries. More and more, veterinarians are active in global initiatives involving, product development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution channels. 

Veterinary Profession Recognizes Need for Sound Business Practices

Several major national studies have confirmed the need for the veterinary profession to implement sound business practices in order for veterinary practitioners and the profession to increase economic status. Incorporation of business classes and MBA education into the veterinary curriculum will be important for the profession to restore its economic viability. 

Program Requirements

The DVM and MBA degrees require the completion of 48 credits and 158 credits respectively. The concurrent DVM/MBA concurrent degree will permit up to six credits of approved 500-level elective DVM coursework on the MBA program of study  (e.g., VDPAM 514 Veterinary Entrepreneurship).

Normally, students will begin the first year of the DVM/MBA concurrent degree program by taking the required MBA core courses. Two MBA core courses, MGMT 502 and MGMT 503, are replaced by MGMT 581 and MGMT 582 for concurrent DVM/MBA students only. The requirements for the DVM degree will be taken in year two through five of the concurrent program. It is expected that students will complete the remaining requirements for the MBA degree during the first three summer sessions of the concurrent program. The following table illustrates the anticipated timeframe for completing both degree requirements for the DVM/MBA concurrent program.


Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Total
MBA 33 crs 9 crs 6 crs



48 crs


37 crs 38 crs 35 crs 44 crs 158 crs*
Total 33 crs 46 crs 44 crs 35 crs 44 crs 206 crs

* Includes four DVM elective credits which must be come completed before final year.

Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in both the graduate business and professional veterinary medicine curricula. If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0 in either the MBA or DVM, s/he will be counseled regarding continuation in the concurrent degree program.  

When the requirements for the MBA are met, the student is awarded the degree. Completion of the MBA normally occurs the summer prior to the third year of the DVM program, although an extension is possible that would allow the student to finish the MBA following completion of the DVM program. 

Admission Requirements & Procedures

The following application materials are required and will be reviewed separately by the respective admissions committees for the DVM and MBA programs:

  • Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) online application form
  • College of Veterinary Medicine online supplemental application
  • Transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended (bachelor’s degree required)
  • VMCAS letters of recommendation (three)
  • Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Graduate College Application** (send a copy of the electronic application to College of Business Graduate Programs Office)
  • Narrative addressing motivations for participating in the MBA/DVM concurrent program (included on the College of Veterinary Medicine online supplemental application)**
  • Resume** (send directly to the College of Business Graduate Office)
  • An interview

**More Detail Regarding the MBA Application Requirements Beyond DVM Application Requirements

  • Potential MBA students are required to have completed an undergraduate degree.
  • Graduate application:
  • One additional essay:  How will the Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University complement your career goals?  How do you see yourself utilizing business skills in the field of veterinary medicine?
  • A resume should be sent to: Graduate Programs Office, College of Business, 1360 Gerdin Business Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1350

Interested candidates should mark the MBA option on the College of Veterinary Medicine online supplemental application and complete the MBA application requirements.


If admitted to the DVM/MBA concurrent degree program, students must complete the Concurrent Enrollment Request Form for Graduate/Veterinary Medicine Degrees.


Students who are admitted into the DVM/MBA current degree and successfully complete the first year of the MBA program (cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better) will be automatically granted a position in the DVM entering class the following year.  


Applicants applying to the DVM/MBA concurrent degree program who are denied that opportunity will automatically be considered in the regular DVM admission cycle. Thus, candidates interested in the DVM/MBA will not be at a disadvantage compared to applicants who apply only to the DVM program.

Tuition and Fees

Students will pay graduate tuition for all MBA courses taken in the first year and summer sessions. Students will pay veterinary medicine tuition and laboratory fees for all professional veterinary coursework. Non-resident students will  pay the respective non-resident tuition for MBA and veterinary coursework.


Exceptional DVM/MBA concurrent degree students will be considered for a graduate assistantship during the first year of study in the MBA program.

Contacts & Questions

If you have questions regarding the DVM/MBA concurrent degree program, please contact:


Director, MBA Marketing and Recruitment


Dr. Monica Howard

Director of Student Programs