Veterinary Science Semester in Thailand

OPEN Fall 2023
OPEN Spring 2024

Prepare yourself for vet school with hands-on experience in elephant sanctuaries, zoos, veterinary hospitals, and marine conservation centers around Thailand

This once-in-a-lifetime experience for pre-vet students does not waste a moment of your semester. With your cohort, you will gain over 200 hours working with veterinarians as you explore different parts of Thailand including the mountains and jungles around Chiang Mai, the metropolis of Bangkok, and the island of Koh Tao. This program is designed to provide you with technical knowledge and animal handling experience while building your cultural and communication skills as you work with amazing experts in incredible locations. The courses that are built into the program will provide you with experience in different areas of veterinary medicine and veterinarian-supervised training, including work with small animals, exotic animals, aquatic animals, wildlife, and zoological medicine.

Thinking about a career in veterinary medicine and applying to vet school? This program is ideal for gaining practical skills, building relationships with animal experts around the world, and gaining an insight into the life of a practicing veterinarian. Not to mention the hundreds of hours of unique experience that will give you a competitive edge applying to vet schools and in the field. Join us for animal experiences that you can’t get anywhere else on the planet while developing hands-on veterinary skills, building your resume, and having an amazing guided adventure in Thailand. Not planning to apply to vet school but interested in hands on-learning of animal and marine science? This is still the program for you!

Read on to learn more about what this program has to offer and how the Veterinary Science Semester can benefit you.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 20.5 academic credits + over 200 veterinary hours
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0
  • Visa Requirements: YES - Pre-departure


  • Earn 20.5 academic credits and over 200 veterinary hours in 14 weeks.
  • Gain hands-on experience with small animals, exotics, aquatic animals and wildlife, including elephants!
  • Learn veterinary medicine in elephant sanctuaries, veterinary hospitals, zoos, and marine conservation centers.
  • Receive personalized attention traveling and working in small groups with expert veterinarians.
  • Spend three weeks on Turtle Island staying a few steps from the beach! SCUBA dive over coral reefs surveying coral health, tropical fish, and more. SSI Open Water or Advanced SCUBA certification included.
  • Enjoy a comprehensive experience! All meals and in-country transportation are included.

Program Details

Loop Abroad

CIS Abroad is partnered with Loop Abroad to deliver this veterinary science semester program. Loop Abroad is dedicated to providing the best experience for students pursuing careers working with animals. In partnering with world-renowned conservationists, Loop Abroad can both support global animal welfare and protect endangered animals while offering students unprecedented opportunities for hands-on and unique observational experience.

As part of the Veterinary Science Semester in Thailand, all students will take the following classes that have been built into the program and itinerary. Students will take one course at a time and as a cohort.

Please note that though the order may differ, all of the following courses are included in your semester abroad.

Thai Life and Culture – 3 Credits

This course will prepare you for the rest of the courses and adventures to come! Gain an understanding of the culture and language that will be surrounding you as you work with animals in Thailand.

During this course, you’ll receive daily Thai language lessons. You will continue using and building on your Thai language skills as you live and work in Thailand throughout the rest of the semester. Even though your courses will all be taught in English, you’ll find basic Thai very useful. Through the readings and cultural experiences you will understand Thailand’s unique culture and history, with a special attention to how these issues relate to caring for animals. You’ll have unique experiences and opportunities to immerse yourself into Thai Culture and get to know Chiang Mai, your host city, including a Thai cooking class, overnight jungle hot springs excursions, and a conversation with a Buddhist monk.

View syllabus

Companion Animal Management – 3 Credits

This two-week course is taught by a veterinarian (DVM) at the Dog Rescue Clinic. This class focuses on canine and feline anatomy, health, and management. This is a unique opportunity for hands-on learning in a small group setting with your veterinarian instructor.

You’ll compare US and Thai medical practices, environments, and techniques for prevention and treatment of common diseases and parasites. Your classroom is a working dog shelter, different from those in the US so you will observe many conditions specific to Southeast Asia and subtropical developing countries.
You will also learn proper techniques for treating animals in a shelter setting, including diagnostics such as physical exams, cytologies, and basic treatment methods.

View syllabus

Veterinary Surgical Nursing – 2 Credits

This one-week course is an introduction to supporting veterinarians during surgical procedures, including the instruments, procedures, protocols, skills and concepts needed to be successful.

Throughout the course, you will demonstrate proficiency in identifying and preparing instruments and supplies, implementing and maintaining sterility and appropriate clinic conditions, upholding OSHA safety standards, suturing, drug dosage calculation, monitoring anesthesia, and post-operative care.

To ensure that you are prepared for a US veterinary profession, you will learn and be tested on both US and Thai surgical instruments and methods. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to assist and observe as your instructor performs surgeries.

View syllabus

Veterinary Clinical Practice and Skills – 2 Credits

During this two-week course you will apply all that you’ve learned in the preceding courses by assisting at an operational small animal clinic. You will be assigned a daily shift where you’ll support a veterinarian in examination, diagnosis, and treatment of clinic patients.

Working in a small animal clinic in the developing world provides you with great learning opportunities as you navigate unique challenges in every facet of clinical practice. From resource allocation to diagnostic test choices, from maintaining sterility to cultural sensitivity- there is truly no shortage of experience to gain while helping the local animals and community of Chiang Mai.

View syllabus

Elephant Management and Medicine – 3 credits

It is time to meet the elephants! During this course, you will work with elephants in different capacities and settings, depending on the needs of our partners. These include:

  • Elephant Nature Park: a world-renowned elephant sanctuary in the mountains of Chiang Mai
  • Elephants World: a fast-growing rescue sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province
  • Ran-tong Save and Rescue Elephant Center: a small elephant rescue center in the Mae Taeng river valley

Throughout this course, you will have the unique opportunity to observe management decisions and conditions first-hand. Taught by a veterinarian (DVM), this course focuses on shelter design, sanitation, legal issues, animal quality of life, enrichment, and euthanasia.

You will truly be surrounded by elephants, with elephants around every corner at both organizations. You’ll study elephant anatomy, behavior, care, and their position in Thai and global society. You will shadow and assist elephant veterinarians, trainers, and caretakers, and interact with the elephants in both protected and free contact. You may contribute to ongoing research led by the local vet teams.

In addition to your course-work, you and your cohort will work as volunteers, gaining first-hand experience and an understanding of how the facilities are run and how best to work with the animals housed there. This will give you exposure to other animals and valuable experience hours.

Please note: elephant riding is not included in this course or any of our programs. You will learn about why we don’t ride elephants.

View syllabus

Marine Animal Anatomy, Biology, and Conservation with Lab – 3 credits

Partnering with the reef conservation experts of New Heaven Reef Conservation Program, our marine veterinarian instructor will teach both the anatomy and ecology of marine life, from invertebrates to fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals in Koh Tao, Thailand.

During this course you will learn about dissections of marine specimens to understand their anatomy as well as show the challenges of marine medicine. We will also be contributing to conservation projects, including collecting population and health data on the reefs and diverse marine species that call them home and contributing to artificial reef structures that are accelerating the recovery of damaged reefs.

This course provides a unique comparison to the many terrestrial animals that you will have studied earlier in the semester. Not to mention, studying marine life on Koh Tao is certainly a valuable experience for those interested in working with marine life.

View syllabus

Exploring Shallow and Deep Water Marine Life- 1.5 credits

For this course, we head to Turtle Island (“Koh Tao”), an island in the Gulf of Thailand known for its beaches and coral reefs. It’s also the regional capital for SCUBA diving!

There’s no better way to explore coral reef ecosystems up close than learning to SCUBA dive. You’ll have an opportunity to earn both your Open Water and Advanced certifications, including over 9 dives. With your experienced dive instructors, and in groups no larger than 5, you’ll start on land learning how to use the equipment and how to stay safe. Then, on each dive, you’ll practice a new skill until you’re ready to explore the colorful and amazing marine life that inhabits the reefs around Koh Tao.

View syllabus

Wildlife Conservation and Care – 3 credits

In this two-week course, you will spend at least a week at a wildlife center learning about the challenges of managing a wide variety of exotic species with different needs. This course focuses on basic care, including restraint, physical exams, enrichment, and welfare as well as the big picture of conservation.

This course will help prepare you to think about, understand, and work in wildlife projects and with exotics in the US and abroad. It will also help you build you develop informed perspectives on ecotourism and animal “rescues” worldwide.

View syllabus

Why Life in Chiang Mai

While your home base will be Chiang Mai, you will have the opportunity to visit and explore the following locations around Thailand:

Live The Local Life

  • Elephant Nature Park:

    Home to over eighty elephants who are no longer able to work in elephant-based industries or have been rescued from inhumane conditions in logging, trekking, or circus operations. The Park and its founder, Lek Chailert, have been recognized time and again for tireless efforts to improve the lives of elephants in SE Asia.

  • Dog Rescue Clinic:

    The Clinic provides free care and sterilizations to village dogs and cats and overflow housing for dogs at the nearby rescue, the Animal Rescue Kingdom. All made possible by the hard work of local veterinarians and visiting veterinarians and students!

  • New Heaven Coral Reef Diving School

    Much more than just a SCUBA diving school, New Heaven has more than 20 years of experience showing and preserving the island reefs and occasionally hosting sea turtles in their small nursery. Travel from Chiang Mai to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand to visit New Heaven and learn to SCUBA dive and conserve the reefs!



Housing accommodations for this program is primarily in local hotels. Please see the COVID19 tab to review the measures we’ve put in place to mitigate risk.


Every meal for the duration of your program is included in the program price. You won’t be disappointed with Thai cuisine.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomShared
  • Bed linens
  • Cleaning Service
  • CommuteShuttle
  • LaundryService Available
  • Meal Plan
  • Pool

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • All meals while on program
  • Transportation to class each day
  • Transportation within Thailand (airfare to and from Thailand not included)
  • Books and lab fees
  • Medical and accident insurance (just in case!)
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • University of Findlay Transcript
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • LIVE! Pre-departure Orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • CIS Abroad orientation
  • On-site support
  • The Local Life cultural program
  • And on and on! (even the standard inclusions, which we know can vary!)

Site Director

Travel Tip:

Looking for a cool and exciting way to explore Bangkok? The whole city used to be based around canals, so jumping on a boat gives you a way to get out of the traffic and experience the real Bangkok.

Travel Tip:

Looking for a cool and exciting way to explore Bangkok? The whole city used to be based around canals, so jumping on a boat gives you a way to get out of the traffic and experience the real Bangkok.


David was born in the UK and moved to the US when he was 16 and completed high school and University in Colorado. As an avid traveler, his first thought on graduation was to travel to Asia. He volunteered and lived with a family in Kathmandu for 2 months before traveling to Thailand. He quickly fell in love with the country and for the last 12 years has worked as a teacher, as a development officer in NGOs, and has worked with volunteers and study abroad programs for the last seven years. He has an MA in Asia Pacific Studies and is fluent in Thai. He loves his work because it allows him to share his love of Thailand and its people with participants and at the same time support the great things that people all over Thailand are doing every day.

Your Support Staff

Amanda Murphy
Travel Tip:

Don’t overplan. Have a place to stay, pick a few major things you want to do, and then just get lost in the beauty of it all. If you plan too many activities, you miss out on stumbling into the most wonderful things that you’ll never forget.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Oct 1
  • Arrival: January 22
  • Departure: April 21
  • Price: $22,490
  • Application Deadline: May 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: August 27 (Estimated)
  • Departure: November 24 (Estimated)
  • Price: $22,490
  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 21 (Estimated)
  • Departure: April 19 (Estimated)
  • Price: $22,490 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

To confirm your spot, a non-refundable $3,000 deposit is due within two weeks of acceptance.

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.