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Residency: Zoological Medicine

The primary objective of this program is to assure the clinical competency of the resident in zoological medicine and to prepare the resident for the successful completion, at the end of three years, of all steps of the certification process leading to diplomate status in the American College of Zoological Medicine. A secondary objective of the program is to expose the resident to the fundamentals of clinical research.


This three-year program is designed to provide in-depth training in the medical and scientific aspects of clinical zoological medicine. This training includes non-clinical periods for literature review, basic science training, case report preparation, preparation for board examination, and research.

This program is designed to provide training in all emphasis areas of the American College of Zoological Medicine. Each resident will be selected with a declared interest in one emphasis area. This will determine the second-year and third-year activities of that resident in the program. For example, a resident selected for a strong emphasis in primary care of zoo animals will spend much of the second and third years of the program working with those species in a zoo setting. A resident selected for an aquatic animal focus will spend much of the second and third years based at the NC coast. The first year of the program is designed to provide core experiences to all residents in each of the emphasis areas.

The resident is encouraged, if research is a primary consideration, but not required to seek admission to the graduate program for pursuit of a Ph.D. degree at the conclusion of the clinical program. This decision is best reached before the end of the first year to allow for better planning of the second year research project.

Residency Schedule

Residents will be expected to adhere to the required schedule of the block or course they are participating in at the time. In addition, all residents will be responsible for attending the House Officer seminar held on Thursday mornings at 8 a.m. They will present on a rotating basis as do residents of other programs. Thursday afternoons, August through May, residents will be expected to attend the scheduled afternoon teaching session. Residents should register three times each for credit in CBS 817 and CBS 818, Advanced Topics in Zoological Medicine I and II during their residency. They are expected to attend and participate each year of their residency. Course content includes literature review sessions, faculty presentation on an area of basic or clinical science, resident presentations of recent research or case experiences, and quizzes for all residents related to assigned reading. Other course work may be assigned on the basis of need and opportunity and according to the backgrounds of the entering resident.

Board Preparation

Residents are expected to be preparing for boards throughout the residency program. This preparation will include attending board preparation courses at conferences or online if available, reading appropriate texts in the field under the guidance of the mentors, and keeping abreast of the current literature. NCSU Libraries provides access to materials on the ACZM Annotated Suggested Reading List for the examination in addition to many other relevant resources. Current literature to be reviewed for the Thursday sessions includes the following:

  • Journal Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
  • Journal Wildlife Disease
  • Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
  • Journal Herpetological Medicine Surgery
  • Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association – including
  • AVMA Guidelines
  • American Journal Veterinary Research
  • Zoo Biology
  • Veterinary Record
  • Journal Wildlife Management
  • Journal Fish Disease
  • Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
  • Journal Aquatic Animal Health
  • Conservation Biology
  • Journal Exotic Pet Medicine

Specific reading assignments will be made for each block of the residency and residents are expected to know and understand the material assigned.

Biomedical Resources

The College of Veterinary Medicine is attractively located on a 180-acre farm just outside the Raleigh Beltline, approximately 2 miles from the main NCSU campus. The North Carolina Zoological Park is located 1.5 hours to the west in Asheboro, NC. The three state aquariums are located 2.5, 3 and 3.5 hours away at the Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores and Manteo, NC, and the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST), which houses much of the marine aspects of the program, is located on Bogue Sound in Morehead City, NC, near the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries and very near the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium, the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Laboratory, and Duke

Publications and Presentations

The resident is required to prepare five papers for publication, four of these by the end of their second year. This target ensures a buffer for meeting ACZM credentialing requirements in time and accounting for potential journal manuscript review delays. Some papers may be case series, but at least one paper must be a prospective research report. In the second year they are expected to make a case or research presentation at an appropriate scientific meeting. In the third year the resident is expected to present at the meeting appropriate for their emphasis area. Other presentations will be assigned throughout the course of the program.

Extramural Training

The resident is provided some funds annually from the House Officer Program Office and from the Zoological Medicine Residency Program, as available, to help offset travel and lodging expenses incurred by the dispersed locations of the varied clinical practice opportunities and conference attendance. Notwithstanding these supplementary funds, much of the necessary travel comes at the resident’s expense. As part of the core year the resident is expected to participate in a training opportunity on marine mammal medicine in California. This varies from year to year. During the second and third years of the program the resident will be working primarily in their emphasis area, which will require considerable off campus effort. Additionally, there will be cross-training outside of the area of emphasis, at the coast (NC Aquariums and Center for Marine Sciences and Technology), at the NC Zoo, and on campus (Exotic Animal Medicine Service). Living arrangements for these activities will be the responsibility of the resident.

Program Reviews

At the beginning of the program a committee is assigned to oversee the training program of the resident and to handle any problems that arise. The committee is composed of two program mentors and one additional faculty member. The resident is evaluated informally by the mentors quarterly and formally by the entire committee and faculty each 6 months, with written reviews filed in the offices of the Department Head of DOCS and the Associate Dean for Veterinary Medical Services. Progression to the second and third years are dependent upon favorable progress reports during the first and second years respectively.

Program Leadership


This residency participates in the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians’ (AAVC) Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) when a position is available.

Information for International Applicants

Preference is given to applicants who have graduated from a college that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you wish to apply for an internship or residency program, things to keep in mind:

  1. Have your degree translated and evaluated by a reputable company. Options include Josef Silny & AssociatesTrustforte Corporation, and World Education Services
  2. Some programs require the TOFEL exam to qualify for an internship or residency position.
  3. Most foreign interns and residents are appointed to H-1B visas.
  4. To ensure that a foreign national candidate has the H-1B visa at the start of the program, the candidate will be asked to pay for the premium processing filing fee of $1,225 USD, if necessary.
  5. Getting a visa takes between four and six months. If the visa is expedited, it takes approximately 15 business days.
  6. Take the initial steps and apply for the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certification program, which is accepted by all state veterinary regulatory boards and the federal government as meeting, either in part or full, the educational prerequisite for licensure or certain types of employment, respectively.