PAVE/Evaluated Clinical Experience FAQ

1. 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. Take a look at the application guidelines, or contact the Program Coordinator at to register your interest.

2. How is Penn Vet’s Evaluated Clinical Experience structured?

Candidates will join final year students, and follow a series of rotations through the year, at the Ryan Hospital for small animals, and at our large animal facility, New Bolton Center, about 40 miles from Philadelphia. You will also be required to complete a set of core competencies.

3. What are the tuition fees?

Fees, as well as cost of living estimates for the Philadelphia area, are set out here. Look at the ‘4th Year’ column, and the ‘Total (non-PA resident)’ figures. A deposit of $4,000 is required when a candidate accepts a place. This is not refundable, but it will be offset against total tuition fees.

4. At what stage is payment required?

An invoice is sent out at the beginning of each semester. An invoice for $4,000 will be raised upon acceptance into the program (this is not refundable, but it will be offset against the year’s fees). Payment is by international wire transfer; at present we do not accept credit card payments.

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

Here’s what we require. (You may send these documents via email.)
i. Curriculum vitae and diploma/transcript (translated into English)
ii. 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)
iii. Names and contact details for three referees
iv. English language ability/official score
v. QSE result, or date on which examination will be taken
vi. Form of identification (screenshot/photocopy of passport)

6. How do I obtain the necessary 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 prepare the 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. How can I keep myself safe while I am in Philadelphia?

Try to find accommodation in reasonably close proximity to the university campus. Penn has its own police that monitor the area continuously (see our public safety site); an escort can be made available if you need to work late.

10. 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.

11. Where can I find inexpensive furniture if I take an unfurnished apartment?

Departing students are a very good source of second-hand furniture and domestic items; and here are a few places that may be worth exploring:
Circle Thrift
Philly AIDS Thrift
Bargain Thrift Center

12. Will I need a car to get around Philadelphia, and out to New Bolton Center for the large animal rotations?

Parking can be a challenge. There is very good local public transport, and you can rent a bicycle in multiple locations. 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 – 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. Uber and Lyft are good car services, and Philadelphia airport is well served by taxis. When you have a weekend free and wish to explore the surrounding area, it could be useful to hire a car. This City of Philadelphia page has more detail. As a PennCard holder, you can travel free of charge on the Lucy Loop shuttle service, which operates Mon-Fri around the university district, and to 30th St Station.

13. Can I cycle in Philadelphia?

Yes, a bicycle is useful. Philadelphia is a good city for cycling, as long as you are careful. There are also city-wide, bicycle-share and rental schemes, such as Indego.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. How do I get from the airport?

You can take a bus, taxi or Uber from Philadelphia Airport. It will be useful for you to have some US dollars to cover initial, incidental expenses like this.

17. What is the clothing policy?

Dress code is business casual; no sneakers or sports attire. We will provide you with two white coats with the Penn logo and your name embroidered on them. You’ll find size information here: women’s sizes (Style 7202); men’s sizes (Style 7201). Along with your size information, please state exactly how you would like your name to appear. You will also need scrubs – solid color, not patterned fabric (most people wear blue or green); you can buy the scrubs once you are here (from FIGS). The Penn Vet Handbook & Curricular Guide has further detail on clothing policy for Ryan Hospital and for New Bolton Center.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. What kind of insurance will I need?

You will need travel and health insurance, and you must obtain personal liability insurance. The Penn Student Insurance Plan is available to you; and here are some further suggestions:

  • (good for longer visits, includes travel/medical coverage)
  • is a good resource for liability insurance
  • – personal liability insurance

  • If you choose 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 is not be available until May, but it will be backdated to the start of the semester, and will give you cover for the entire summer semester. Before end July, a new window will open, so that you will be able to enroll for the remainder of your time at Penn Vet. For PSIP, you will need your Pennkey and password to enter the website. The premium is invoiced to the Bursar/Pennpay account. Contact the Insurance Compliance Office 215-746-4200 ( with any questions.

    21. How do I obtain a Penn Vet email address?

    You can set up your Penn email address here (link available from approximately June 1).

    22. What is the PennKey?

    You’ll find information about the PennKey here. Once you have your PennKey, you will have access to the resources at Campus Express.

    23. What is the PennCard?

    The PennCard is your identity badge. Pick up your PennCard from upstairs at the Penn Bookstore (3601 Walnut Street). You will need to have your passport as proof of identification. There’s more information in this leaflet.

    24. Should I get a local cellular phone?

    This could help you keep costs down. The main carriers are listed here. Internet access is widespread, so WhatsApp, Messenger, or similar would also be useful.

    25. How do I get onto the internet at Penn Vet?

    You can connect to the internet via the AirPennNet Guest wireless network. You will need to register your email address on a web form. Follow these steps:
    i. Select AirPennNet-Guest from the list of wireless networks that appear on your device.
    ii. Open a web browser.
    iii. Review and accept the Acceptable Use Policy terms and conditions.
    iv. Enter a valid email address.
    v. Click Submit. During your induction, our IT Department will help you get your laptops set up for full access.

    26. Is there guidance on banking and financial matters?

    Yes. You’ll find some useful information here.

    27. Am I required to provide my own medical instruments?

    No. Everything is supplied. However, many students do have their own stethoscopes.

    28. I am planning to travel out of the US while I am here on my F-1 visa. Is this possible?

    Yes, you will need to complete an online registration to complete, so that our ISSS team can activate your SEVIS record and sign your I-20 for travel. Log in to, click on ‘YES-INTERNATIONAL STUDENT/SCHOLAR/EMPLOYEE LOGIN’ then in the left side menu choose ‘arrival information’ and follow the steps. Penn’s ISSS team will then activate your SEVIS record and sign your I-20 for travel.

    29. Is there a gym?

    Yes. Full-time students have access to the gym. Subscription rates: Show your PennCard.