Will my diploma indicate that I am an online student?

No, your transcripts and diploma will not have any indication that you are an online student.

Are students only accepted in the Fall semester?

Students are accepted year-round, so you can apply for the semester that is most convenient for you.

Do you need to be a veterinarian to complete the Master of Science in Veterinary Medical Sciences with a Concentration in Shelter Medicine?

No, but many of our students are veterinarians. The program is also open to anyone working in or interested in animal welfare and sheltering who meets the minimum admission requirements.

How does online learning work?

Courses will be delivered via a blended/hybrid mechanism (both synchronously and asynchronously). Content will be delivered within modules that are conceptually grouped. Some modules, due to the complexity of the content, will be longer than other modules.

Assignments will be given during each module and are due by the completion of the module on a designated date. The course will be completed within a semester time frame. Modules will include a combination of readings, recordings, webinars, group discussions, and student research projects. Experts in shelter medicine will be available as resources to students by use of asynchronous and/or live chats.

How long does it take to complete my degree?

Students average 2 – 3 years to complete the master’s degree, but have up to seven years to complete coursework. Coursework taken as a nondegree or certificate student is also part of the seven-year time-frame. If the degree is not completed within seven years the coursework taken prior will expire.

Students average 1 year to complete the certificate program but have up to seven years to complete.

Do these courses require any travel to Florida? Do I need to log in to the course at any specific times?

Courses for the graduate certificate and master’s degree do not require any travel to Florida. The shelter medicine program is fully online. For some courses, you will need to attend Adobe Connect webinar sessions where you can speak with an instructor or view a classmate’s presentation. Adobe Connect sessions are always recorded so you can listen at your convenience if a live session is scheduled at a time that is inconvenient for you.

What is the local shelter requirement?

Students should be familiar with a shelter near them. You do not need to be actively working or volunteering a shelter, but you still should establish a relationship and be able to obtain data from them. This helps provide context for the coursework and allows students to get active in their community, build their networks, and gain experience with shelters (this is especially beneficial for students preparing for veterinary school). To learn more about how local shelters fit with the online coursework, please visit the Local Shelter Requirement page.

How much time should I expect to spend on a course each week?

Students report spending between 10 to 20 hours a week on course activities. Each course has different requirements and due dates indicated in the course syllabus. You may want to note these key due dates on your calendar at the beginning of the semester and plan accordingly.

Students are considered full-time at 9-12 credits per semester.

I am not a University of Florida (UF) student. Will the credits be transferable to my home institution and count toward my degree there?

Each university has their own policies regarding credit transfer or dual enrollment. Therefore, it is your responsibility to check with your home institution to complete any paperwork that may be required to transfer the credits and ensure that they can be applied toward your degree. (Note: UF requires students to complete paperwork BEFORE they register at another university and this may be the same for your home institution.) The University of Florida is a public university in the State of Florida and credits should be accepted by other universities in the United States. If you need a letter, signature, or form completed, please contact the course coordinator.

After completion of the course, you can have an official transcript with your grade sent to your home institution. Official, sealed transcripts can be ordered and mailed to you or your home institution for a small fee (approximately $6.00) using the Student Self Service system. Non-official transcripts can be printed through Student Self Service for free.

Will these courses count toward the continuing education hours I need to renew my veterinary license?

Veterinarians licensed in the state of Florida should be able to count these graduate course credits toward veterinary continuing education contact hours. Contact the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for details. A 3-credit hour course should be the equivalent of 45 contact hours for veterinary continuing education in Florida. For license renewals in other states, contact your licensing board for guidance.

What accreditations does this program have?


The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. The University of Florida also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of the University of Florida may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

The University of Florida’s accreditation is reaffirmed by SACSCOC every 10 years. SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states.1

All programs and courses are approved by the University of Florida Graduate School and must meet the same academic standards and rigor as any other class, irrespective of whether it is taught online or on campus.

The university’s reaffirmation process includes reports demonstrating compliance with SACSCOC principles and standards and a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). In addition to the reports, the reaffirmation process includes extensive evaluation of compliance by an off-site peer review, an on-site peer review and the final review by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.


The University of Florida is an approved provider of content which enhances professional competence and aligns with the 5 domains of the CAWA Exam specifications.

To learn more about the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, and their Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) program, please visit their website.

Can I participate in UF student activities or use UF academic resources?

Participation in student activities and engagement with resources will enhance your student experience, even when you are a distance student.  From internship/job search resources to conflict mediation, UF provides online students with a variety of resources to support your academic journey.  Visit the Student Resources page to view the extensive listing of support resources available to those receiving an education at a distance.

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