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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

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Veterinary Medicine: Small Animal Practice

Dates: June 25-July 16, 2016 (3 weeks)
Credits: 3 credits
Eligibility: current juniors, seniors
(see eligibility requirements)
Apply by: May 13, 2016


This program is offered at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, consistently ranked the number one veterinary school in the nation.

During the program, you’ll become familiar with the anatomy and physiology of cats, dogs, and other domestic animals, and the basics of how these subjects apply to small animal veterinary practice.

Led by Dr. Paul Maza and Dr. Allison Miller, you’ll learn the basic form and function of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and digestive systems, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about common topics in small animal practice, such as spaying and neutering and handling emergencies.

Through laboratory exercises you’ll gain hands-on experience and an understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of companion animals.

You'll attend lectures in the morning and labs in the afternoon, focusing on practicing skills and utilizing equipment.

Course expectations

Students are expected to:

  • be able to understand and recall selected major topics of anatomy and physiology subject matter content in appropriate depth;
  • understand how anatomy and physiology subject matter content is applied to common veterinary medical practice;
  • work cooperatively with others to achieve stated goals in class laboratory activities;
  • gain an appreciation for the scope of work of being a veterinarian; and
  • maintain a positive, respectful attitude towards themselves, classmates, instructors, and animals.


You'll be enrolled in the three-credit course Veterinary Medicine: Science and Practice (VTBMS 1200). It is highly recommended that students have taken a high school biology class to enroll in this course.

This course meets Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., with labs from 1:30–3:30 p.m. Office hours will be held immediately after class from 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Maximum enrollment: 70

There are no required textbooks for this course.

Note: You may combine this with a three-week 2 program to create a six-week Dual Program.

Special scheduling


  • Monday, July 4: In observance of Independence Day, we will not have classes.
  • Monday, July 11: College Admissions Workshop, 2:30–3:45 p.m.


Students and their families are cordially invited to an informal graduation on Saturday, July 16 from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Students will each receive a Cornell University Summer College certificate and be able to take farewell photos with their friends and faculty. Note that attendance is not required, but is highly recommended and is a nice way to conclude the program. Dress is smart casual.

Checkout dates and times

Before making travel plans, review the checkout dates and times for your program. We strictly adhere to these deadlines.

Program directors

Dr. Paul Maza

Dr. Paul Maza is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He obtained his DVM at Ross University and his PhD in science teaching at Syracuse University.

Dr. Maza teaches in the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum at the veterinary college and leads courses in gross and clinical anatomy and the natural history of felines and other carnivores. In addition, Dr. Maza leads the Farm Cat Project, as well as the group FARVets, leading trips abroad to assist local animal welfare organizations in countries in need.

Allison Miller

Dr. Allison Miller earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science and her doctorate of veterinary medicine at Cornell University. After graduation, she completed a year-long internship at the Vermont Large Animal Clinic Equine Hospital in northern Vermont, focusing on equine medicine.

After completing her internship, Dr. Miller worked for five years at a busy sport horse practice near Boston, Massachusetts. There she gained valuable experience diagnosing and treating many different types of lameness, as well as managing medicine cases on the farm and providing routine and emergency care to horses in the field.

A native upstate New Yorker, Dr. Miller is excited to be back in the Finger Lakes region helping to teach first-year veterinary students in the subjects of anatomy and physiology. She is looking forward to teaching students in Cornell Summer College and introducing them to some of the fascinating aspects of veterinary medicine.

Student experiences

"The professors - Dr. Maza and Dr. Hermanson - were amazing. So were the TAs. The course was very hands-on, which I loved. My afternoon section was labs, and it was AMAZING... It has helped me to decide what I might want to do with my life." — Alexis Boone

"The program helped me decide that being a veterinarian is what I want. I loved being in a college environment surrounded by many kids who shared my interests... I really liked being able to do the labs in the afternoon; it was a great way to review the material from the morning. I loved being able to give a physical exam to a real live dog." — Nina Cerminaro

"(This program) is a great way to experience college both socially and academically. It was one of the best experiences of my life... It has encouraged me to continue to be involved in veterinary related things and I loved Cornell. The professors and TAs were all incredibly helpful." — Jenny Beizer

"I know that Cornell's vet school is the best, so I wanted a chance to utilize some of their resources and see if I really wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine... It really prepared me well for freshman year... All of my professors were amazing. They really made it so that we were able to understand basic anatomy and physiology of veterinary medicine, even as high school students... It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget." — Lily Lewis

"It was a great introduction to veterinary medicine. The afternoon session helped me to visualize the concepts learned in the morning session. I now have a better idea of what the requirements are for applying to college and graduate school... I would describe it as a great experience. I would highly recommend it to all of my friends." — Brennan Balson

"In three weeks she learned and experienced more than in most college courses during a semester. Studying at Cornell with the other motivated children was an outstanding first experience that will guide her in making decisions for applying to college. Exceptional by far." — Pam Gulla, parent

"(My daughter) got a good taste of what college life is all about and it reinforced her desire to follow her career goal of being a vet. It is a very worthwhile experience and I highly recommend it... I felt the program was professionaly run and well worth the tuition." — Howard Roth, parent

"The pre-vet program was outstanding. Our son was taught by dedicated, energetic, and inspiring professors and graduate students... It was a rewarding and challenging summer at one of the most beautiful campuses in the world." — Paul J. Balson, parent

"Dr. Maza was an awesomely funny and helpful professor who loves cats, which I loved. Dr. Miller was inspiring. My favorite TA was Gabby Woo, who was kind, funny, understanding, and helpful. " — Vivian De Almeida, 2015

"My teachers were absolutely wonderful and exceeded my expectations. " — Stephanie Perez, 2015