Veterinary science degrees are becoming a popular choice of study among international students. Source: Brandon Bell / AFP

If you are an animal lover who is interested in making a difference in the lives of animals then a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programme is exactly what you are looking for. The study of veterinary science involves being equipped with scientific knowledge for the care and well-being of animals.

In the US alone there are 85 universities with over 13,323 veterinary students studying veterinary science. As compared to last year, the number of students has increased by 2.3%. 

As millions of pet owners around the world opt to take their pets to private practices for care, the demand for veterinarians is expected to become one of the fastest-growing jobs in most countries. 

Unfortunately, the cost of studying for a degree in veterinary medicine has increased in recent years. According to VIN Foundation, the average cost for four years of veterinary school coupled with living expenses is at an all-time high. It is estimated to cost more than US$200,000 for residents and US$275,000 USD for international students

Fortunately, there are a number of countries that offer veterinary science programmes that are affordable. 

Here is a list of five of the cheapest countries to study veterinary science: 

1. Austria

Though lesser known, Austria is home to the cheapest veterinary science programme in the world. The University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni) and the only one that offers the study of veterinary science. It ranks 26th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022. 

However, that’s not all that makes this public university unique. The tuition cost to study veterinary medicine at Vetmeduni is completely free. This is applicable throughout the whole six years of the course. 

Free doesn’t mean low quality at all here. Vetmeduni ranks 26th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022.


Veterinarians protect the health and well-being of pets and other animals. Source: Mauro Pimentel / AFP

2. Germany 

With over 416,437 international students, Germany is considered one of the most popular study abroad destinations. Home to over 50 universities ranked as the best in the world, there are 19 veterinary science programmes available in Germany

The University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover (TiHo) is one of the top universities in the country for the field of veterinary medicine. 

Established in 1778, the university has kept its independent status till today. Aside from its status, TiHo offers affordable education — US$1,000 per year for international students looking to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s programme in veterinary medicine. 

3. Switzerland 

Renowned as one of the best countries to study medicine, Switzerland is home to some of the best medical colleges in the world. Aside from its high standards and picturesque location, Switzerland is a dream for many international students due to its low tuition fees. 

Among its top universities is the University of Zurich which offers a veterinary medicine programme. It is ranked as one of the leading veterinary medical universities in Europe and seventh in the QS World University Ranking by subject

The five-year programme here focuses on equipping future veterinarians with the skills and knowledge to treat animal diseases. The cost of pursuing a bachelor programme at the University of Zurich starts as low as US$1,338 per year.

4. Netherlands 

The Netherlands is among the most popular countries for international students. Currently, there are over 115,068 international students in the country — a 12% increase from 2021. However, despite the large number of international students, the Netherlands only has 13 medical universities in the country, and among the 13 only one institution offers a veterinary course.  

Utrecht University is ranked among the top three medical schools in Netherlands and 44th in Best Global Universities according to US News. It offers a bachelor’s and master’s programme in veterinary medicine — note, however, that these are conducted in Dutch.

The annual cost of study for non-European veterinary students at Utrecht University is US$10,295


As more people get pets, vets are more in-demand than ever. Source: Karim Sahib / AFP

5. Norway

Most Norwegian public universities do not charge any tuition fees to both domestic or international students regardless of the country that they come from. 

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Norwegian Univerity of Life Sciences (NMBU) is the only institution in the country that has a programme in the field of veterinary sciences. Spanning 5.5 years, if prepares students for various jobs within the veterinary profession, and other work requiring competence in medical science and biology.

This includes private practice with production animals, companion animals and horses, and food safety/public health work, fish health, animal welfare, slaughter house management, pharmaceutical industry, teaching, research etc.