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Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Cost $25,699

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, in conjunction with Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo and John G. Shedd Aquarium, offers a three-year residency in Zoological and Aquatic Animal Medicine.

The residency is approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) and is supervised by at least three diplomates of this college. The residency is supported by a minimum eight full-time zoo, aquatic, exotic and wildlife veterinarians between all the facilities. The residency is designed to integrate experiences from all institutions to provide clinical training that will enable the resident to become competent in exotic, zoo, aquatic, and wildlife medicine and to meet the eligibility requirements for certification in the American College of Zoological Medicine. This residency runs simultaneously with the Illinois Zoological Companion Animal Residency.

Residents rotate among the University of Illinois, Brookfield Zoo, and the Shedd Aquarium.

  • Residents spend their first year with the Zoological Medicine Service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana-Champaign.
  • The second and third year will be spent rotating between Brookfield Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium, with rotations lasting between 4 to 12 months. Residents will spend approximately 10 to 14 months at each of these facilities.
  • Residents also rotate through The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif.

These world-class institutions offer extensive exposure to zoological and aquatic species including megavertebrates, large carnivores, non-human primates, marine mammals, herptiles, birds, fish and small mammals. Residents gain clinical experience under the direction of veterinary and management staff including handling and immobilization, providing preventative medicine, management of sick and injured animals as well as population health. Residents have the opportunity to rotate through relevant specialty services while at the University of Illinois.

The program includes training in research and scholarly writing and requires the completion of a non-thesis or thesis master’s degree, which includes graduate-level coursework (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Zoological Medicine Seminar, and Special Topics in Zoological Medicine) through the University of Illinois. Residents rotate and regularly interact with the University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program, which provides primary service to the institutions based in Chicago.

Primarily emphasizing clinical medicine, the residency will provide scientific opportunity and require scholarly activities of publication and teaching. Residents participate in bi-monthly multi-institutional journal review courses, rounds, and teaching veterinary students on clinical rotations at each facility. Residents will also participate in teaching some didactic course work and laboratories that are part of the veterinary curriculum. Residents are required to write and submit three to five manuscripts produced in conjunction with their residency for publication to fulfill residency requirements and to receive their residency certificate at the completion of their program. At least one manuscript must be an original research project which meets the non-thesis manuscript-based master’s degree guidelines and will be selected with input from veterinary mentors.

Funding is provided to attend and present at a continuing education conference annually as well as one-time attendance at the ACZM preparatory course.

The position starts in mid July of each year with annual re-appointment for a maximum of three years based on annual performance. Residents will be employed by the College of Veterinary Medicine and compensated on a scale of standard residency programs, which includes benefits with vacation and sick leave accruing monthly. For current annual salaries, please see the listing in the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program.

Applicants must hold a DVM from an AVMA-accredited program and have minimally completed a one-year internship or equivalent practice experience. Licensure to practice or eligibility for licensure in Illinois is needed to apply, with full licensure required before beginning the second year of the residency.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact us with any questions that are not answered by the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program description. Applications should be submitted through the VIRMP and should include a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, original transcripts, and three or more letters of reference.

ISCED Categories

Veterinary sciences