US$14,895 for a veterinary science degree: The cheapest countries for you to pursue animal healthcare

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

Pet ownership has seen a rise in numbers over the years, surging exponentially during COVID-19. In the US, 66% of households (about 86.9 million homes) reported owning a pet, so it’s no surprise that a rise in demand for veterinary science experts is taking place.

A 2023 survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) revealed that 88% of pet owners prefer veterinarian-led care for their pets and that 80% agree it would be dangerous for anyone other than a licensed veterinarian to make recommendations about life-or-death decisions for their pet.

But the healthcare sector isn’t the only one currently facing a global shortage, its animal counterpart is too.

Still, there’s hope to be had.

A 2019 report showed that there were over 13,323 veterinary science students across the US. The number had increased by 2.3% compared to 2018, reflecting a positive outlook for future pet owners. 

Unfortunately, the cost of a veterinary science programme has increased in recent years.

According to the 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 for international students

Yes, these are big figures but there’s no need to go into deep debt to realise your dream of becoming an animal whisperer. 

Below are countries where you can earn your veterinary science degree at an affordable fee. 

6 of the cheapest countries to study veterinary science

1. Austria

The University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni) is the only specialised university in its field in Austria and the only Austrian educational institution offering instruction in veterinary medicine.

Here, 61% of students pursuing their degrees come from a rural background. The tuition fee is low, with many students (citizens of Austria, the European Union, the European Economic Area, and those of the Swiss Confederation) being exempted from paying the fees throughout their studies.

International students who have a “Permanent Residence – EC” or “Permanent Residence – EU” issued by relevant authorities are exempted as well. Those who aren’t on the list pay up to US$77,782 per semester.


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

2. Germany 

With over 458,210 international students, Germany is considered one of the most popular study abroad destinations. The country is home to 49 universities ranked as the best in the world and 19 veterinary science programmes.

The University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover (TiHo) is one of the top universities in the country for the field of veterinary medicine. Education here costs US$1,000 per year for international students looking to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s programme in veterinary medicine. 

3. Switzerland 

Aside from its high standards and picturesque location, Switzerland is renowned as one of the best countries to study medicine, including veterinary medicine. 

The country’s top university, the University of Zurich, offers a veterinary medicine programme and is even ranked as one of the leading veterinary medical universities in Europe, ranked #4 in the QS World University Ranking by subject 2023

The cost of pursuing a five-year bachelor’s in veterinary medicine programme here starts as low as US$1,404 per year.

4. The Netherlands 

In the 2022/23 academic year, the Netherlands welcomed a total of 122,287 international students in its higher education institutions. Only 13 medical universities are available, and among them, only one institution offers a veterinary programme.  

Utrecht University is ranked #5 in the QS World University Ranking by subject 2023. 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$14,895. 


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

5. Norway

Since 2023, international students are now required to pay tuition fees at public universities in Norway. Still, the cost of higher education remains relatively low as compared to the popular picks of the UK, US, Canada, and Australia. 

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Norwegian Univerity of Life Sciences (NMBU) is the only institution in the country that has a veterinary science programme, and at a PhD level, no less. 

The tuition fee here is upwards of US$11,461.

6. Spain

The Autonomous University of Barcelona‘s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is the only academic institution in Catalonia to have been awarded a quality assurance certificate from the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) in recognition of its quality training of professional veterinarians.

Its bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine is taught primarily in Catalan and Spanish (30%), with a little English thrown in the mix.

With each credit costing up to 18.46 Euros (approximately US$19.74 at the time of writing), the total tuition fee of the 300-credit programme comes up to US$5.923.

Disclaimer: This article was last updated on April 24, 2024.