PAVE/Evaluated Clinical Experience FAQ

How do I apply for the Evaluated Clinical Experience at Penn Vet?

As long as you have satisfied the AAVSB guidelines, you may apply: Penn Vet requires you to have qualified as a veterinarian already, and to be proficient in the English language. The next step is to email the Program Coordinator at docsam@vet.upenn.edu to register your interest, and for details of how and when to apply.

English is not my first language. Will this be an issue?

If you are not a native speaker, you will need to demonstrate that you are able to understand and communicate in English, so that you can derive maximum benefit from your time at Penn Vet. See the AAVSB website for required standard of English. Take every opportunity to speak and listen to English before you begin your year.

What are the tuition fees?

Fees, as well as cost of living estimates for the Philadelphia area, are set out here. Use the ‘Total (non-PA resident)’ figures.

What supporting documentation will you need me to provide with my application?

Here’s what we require. (You may send these documents via email.)
1. Curriculum vitae and diploma/transcript (translated into English)
2. Your letter of intent (it would be helpful if you could include an overview of your education, your veterinary experience thus far, and your future goals)
3. Names and contact details for three referees
4. English language ability/official score
5. Qualifying Science Examination result, or date on which examination will be taken
6. Form of identification (screenshot/photocopy of passport)

How do I apply for the visa?

This page has general information about the visa process. Unless you have a US passport, you will need an F-1 visa. The University of Pennsylvania’s Office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) will provide the necessary documentation to support your application and your I-20 proof of eligibility. (There is a $180 fee for this service.) For the application, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during the year.

I am a US citizen. Do I need an I-20/DS-2019?

No, as a US citizen and US passport holder, you do not require an I-20/DS-2019. [Awaiting confirmation from ISSS.]

What kind of city is Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is a cosmopolitan and cultural city, with a deep history. There is plenty for visitors to do and see, from museums and art galleries to a vibrant sports scene. Find out more here.

HowcanIkeepmyself safe when Icity is Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is a cosmopolitan and cultural city, with a deep history. There is plenty for visitors to do and see, from museums and art galleries to a vibrant sports scene. Find out more here.

What should I do for accommodation?

You’ll find a list of suggestions and resources here. One year’s lease will suffice. Your clinical rotations span one year, and you will need to arrive a week early for your induction, but in practice it is unlikely that you will need more than 12 months’ accommodation. 2023-24 candidates who are still deciding on accommodation may find the Virtual Housing Fair beginning on March 23 helpful.

Do I need a car?

Parking can be challenging. There is good public transport, and a bicycle is very useful. Try to find accommodation reasonably close to the University, and you should not need a car. You’ll be able to get a ride to New Bolton Center, the large animal facility outside Philadelphia – some students do have cars to get between the campuses and others carpool. There are also dormitories at New Bolton Center, where students may live during rotations there.

I am getting ready to depart! What time should I be with you, and where?

Rotations begin in May, and there will be an induction period for candidates prior to that. For 2023-24, the induction sessions will be held on May 2/3, and rotations start the following week. So bear this in mind when arranging travel plans. You will be asked to come to the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at 3900 Spruce Street and to announce yourself at the front desk or see the security guard. They will inform us, so we can come and collect you.

Is Philadelphia the best airport to arrive at?

Yes. But if you do find a significantly cheaper ticket –  into Newark airport, for example – you can get a train or a bus from there to Philadelphia.

What is the clothing policy?

Dress code is business casual; no sneakers or sports attire. You will need scrubs – solid color, not patterned fabric (most people wear blue or green); you can also buy scrubs once you are here (from FIGS).

How do I obtain a Penn Vet email address?

You can set up your Penn email address here. [Checking with IT when this is available from]

Which vaccinations will I need?

Once you have your PennKey you will be able to log in to the Wellness Portal which you’ll find at the Penn Wellness website. After logging in, you will see the full immunization requirements, and be able to complete the forms and upload your records. Here are the main points:
1. Rabies immunization is extremely important. You are required to be fully vaccinated and show immunity to rabies before beginning clinics. Please provide:
• Proof of original vaccination from your health provider with date, plus boosters, if obtained; and
• Current titer indicating adequate immunity (titer must be taken no more than six months from starting clinical rotations)
2. COVID. Proof of COVID vaccination, including booster, is required.
3. Influenza vaccine: you’ll be able to get this in Philadelphia in September/October for the Winter season.

What other health requirements should I be aware of?

To be compliant with the University’s health requirements, follow these steps:
1. Gather your immunization records or see your medical provider to obtain a copy of them. We accept lab reports of blood tests to prove immunity (titers), records from a previous school or university, international health booklets, international immunization history cards, diagnostic certificates, records from a medical provider’s office, health department records, Occupations Health records, and military records.
2. Log on to the Wellness portal and complete the online compliance forms.
3. Submit immunization records of vaccines you have already received. Upload your records by clicking the “Add Immunization Record” button at the bottom of the Immunizations page of the online compliance form, then click “Submit Final”. You will receive a message informing you of your compliance status.
If you need vaccines or testing after you arrive on campus (except for COVID, which is a prerequisite), you can make a Wellness immunization appointment at Student Health (call 215-746-3535, option 2; or make contact via the Wellness portal). Immunization appointments are limited, and you are strongly encouraged to get your immunizations before arriving on campus.

What kind of insurance will I need?

You will need travel and health insurance, and you must obtain personal liability insurance. Here are some suggestions:

If you enroll in the Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP), the cost of vaccines and blood tests (titers, IGRA blood test) will be covered. If you have private insurance, you will need to seek reimbursement from your insurance company.
Please note: enrollment in the Penn Insurance Plan will not be available until May 1: on this date you will be able to enroll for the Summer semester. That will give you insurance for the period to end July. A new window will have opened by then so that you will be able to enroll for the remainder of your time at Penn Vet.

How can I obtain some practical information on day-to-day living for when I arrive?

http://www.csamatpennvet.com/information and https://global.upenn.edu/isss/prepare have information and links to help you get started – including local banks, the mail service, food and grocery shopping. Log in to Penn Campus Express for access to Penn campus resources.

What is a ‘PennKey’?

The PennKey gives you access to many University resources. Once it is activated you’ll be able to access a range of facilities, including medical records, the Penn Vet Library and the main University library.

What kind of computer should I bring,and how will I get online?

Here are the current minimum equipment recommendations from our IT team (accurate at January 2023 – this advice is revised and updated annually):
• 4 core+ processor (Intel i5, AMD Ryzen 5, or Mac M1 or M2) or better
• 16GB RAM minimum
• 256GB+ SSD internal storage drive
• Integrated full high definition (FHD) or better graphics (discrete graphics card is preferred)
• 3y+ complete coverage warranty including accidental damage

There are AirPennNet WiFi setup videos for iOS, macOS and Windows here which you will be able to view once you have a Box account. (Android users should probably just stop in during walk-in hours as it can be a little more complicated.)
A tablet may be a useful secondary device but it is not a replacement for a proper laptop running Windows or Mac OS: all students should have a modern laptop with at least the minimum specifications outlined above. We do not advise Chromebooks at all.

At what stage is payment required?

Once you have been offered a place, you will be asked to pay a deposit of $4,000 to confirm acceptance (payable by check/money order/wire transfer). This deposit is not refundable, but it will be credited to your tuition account. The balance of the fees will be invoiced in two stages, at the beginning of each semester. You will be invoiced 50% of the year’s fee before the Spring semester begins, and 50% six months later.

Can I use a credit card to pay fees?

We do not accept credit cards at present. You may send a check or wire the money for your deposit (payment/wire transfer details will be on the invoice).

What will my timetable be like?

You will be scheduled for two-week rotations through the year. Rotations will be at the Ryan Hospital and at New Bolton Center, our large animal facility outside Philadelphia. There will be some element of choice in rotations, depending on availability/space. The Penn Vet Curricular Guide is published in February, and you will have the opportunity to see the rotations through the year and indicate your preferences for certain rotations (subject to availability). The timetable will then be created for all students in March. Externships are an option, but not a requirement. You do get two weeks’ vacation and other time in which to arrange this.

Will I get vacation? Will I be on call? Will my presence be required at weekends?

You are entitled to two weeks’ vacation during the clinical year, to be taken in one consecutive block. (Some students use the vacation weeks as an opportunity for extra study, such as for NAVLE; others may opt to do an additional rotation then.) Yes, there will be a rota with some late evenings, and weekend commitment. On call? [Check complete answer] For 2023-24, during the holiday period December 19 to January 1, you will be required to complete three 12-hour shifts; for the rest of this time you are free.


These are some of the questions that we are asked regularly. Please email docsam@vet.upenn.edu if you have a different question, or need further help and advice. Once you have your PennKey and Penn email address, you will find further resources here.