PAVE/Evaluated Clinical Experience – Apply


Before embarking on the ECE year, candidates should check AAVSB stipulations: must have graduated from an AVMA-listed school of veterinary medicine, be fluent in spoken and written English, and have passed the PAVE Qualifying Science Examination (QSE).

The North American Licensing Examination (NAVLE) is not a prerequisite, it may be taken before or after the ECE year.

Your application for the 2024-25 academic year should reach us by August 1, 2023 unless agreed otherwise. We will ask you to submit the following (with English translations), by email to

  • 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)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Veterinary education credentials (diploma, grades)
  • QSE result, or date on which examination will be taken
  • English language (TOEFL) test results or other official score demonstrating fluency (oral and written)
  • Form of identification: passport photograph page copy or screenshot
  • Names and contact information for three referees: veterinary school tutors and/or veterinary professionals you have worked with since graduating (you may also enclose letters now, or wait until later in the application process)

Your application will be acknowledged, and will then be reviewed by Penn Vet’s ECE Admissions Committee. We will conduct interviews by video-conference with short-listed candidates in October. Your referees may be contacted during the selection process.


Candidates often ask what they can do to increase their chance of success (in being interviewed, accepted, and for the year itself). Aside from your solid academic performance, important things to demonstrate are breadth of knowledge of different species; how you have learned from/developed through your experiences; also anything you have done that goes beyond what has been required (volunteer work and research, for example). In addition, practising your English language skills, in order to be able to demonstrate good understanding and communication, will really help.


If your application is successful, and you wish to accept the place, you will be required to pay a $4,000 deposit to secure it by the date specified in the offer letter. (This amount will be subtracted from your total fee for the year.) Withdrawal after accepting an offer will mean the $4,000 is forfeited.


Please read the advice under Cost of Attendance: Tuition, Fees & Expenses for cost of attendance and budgeting for the year, and specifically the ‘4th Year’ and ‘Total (non-PA resident)’ figures. Invoices are sent out before each semester begins.

Upon acceptance, the visa process can begin.


Penn’s International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) is a resource for advice on the F-1 student visa and obtaining Form I-20. Candidates are enrolled as full-time, out-of-state students. All visa expenses are the responsibility of the candidate.


Penn’s Student Health Services page sets out the immunization process for uploading proof of vaccinations, including COVID and flu shots. Rabies immunization is a Penn Vet-specific requirement; you will need to insert rabies information on the vaccination form, under ‘Other’. Students will need to provide proof of health insurance cover.

Performance Expectations and Evaluation

Candidates will follow the same curriculum as final year veterinary students, rotating through the specialties (small and large animal), and completing a set of core competencies. Read more about this here. Performance is also evaluated in the same way as for an enrolled full-time student. Confirmation of satisfactory completion of the ECE is submitted to the AAVSB on each candidate’s behalf.

Failure to comply with attendance regulations could result in dismissal from the program, with loss of visa status and no recourse for reimbursement of fees. Unauthorized absences of longer than three days must be reported to Penn Vet and to the Department of Homeland Security. Candidates are entitled to two weeks of vacation (to be taken consecutively).

Orientation and Probationary Period

Successful candidates are expected to arrive and be present for orientation two weeks prior to the first day of the program. There is a four-week probationary period. Each student is allocated a mentor from the peer group. Penn Vet does not guarantee that participants will pass the year; program requirements may change from year to year.


The What You Need to Get Started page is a useful resource for all Penn Vet students; these FAQs are specific to the ECE; and there are some general FAQs here. Please email any additional questions to the Program Coordinator at