Externships / Preceptorships

The University of Missouri Comparative Medicine Program (CMP) offers externships ranging from two to twelve weeks. Activities vary with the goals of the extern, and combine clinical laboratory medicine activities and research. Activities include the following (click on each for more details) and additional information can be found on the ASLAP web page.

Providing clinical veterinary care to research animals

Externs assist and participate in routine health care, diagnosis and designing treatment plans for a diverse group of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, swine, rats, mice and genetically-engineered animals. Externs gain experience in laboratory animal practice/facility management by observing interactions and problem solving between laboratory animal veterinarians, research staff and animal care staff. Externs may also participate in experimental surgeries and facility inspections if the latter are ongoing during the externs visit.

Participating in Animal Care and Quality Assurance (ACQA) Activities

(Through the ACQA externs participate in facility inspections, protocol review, attend Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) meetings and learn about federal regulation compliance.)

Gaining experience at The National Mouse and Rat Resource Centers

Through these centers and laboratories, externs gain experience in comparative and research pathology, cryobiology (e.g. embryo transfer surgeries, ICSI, plug checks), colony management, and genetic testing service activities (genotyping and karyotyping).

Engaging in comaparative and research pathology

Externs participate in aspects of diagnosis of research animal disease including necropsy, microbiology, serology, parasitology, clinical pathology, molecular diagnostics, histopathologic evaluation of tissues, and case management. A number of microscopic slide sets of laboratory animal diseases as well as other training materials are available for self-study. Externs may also participate in projects involving research pathology and phenotypic characterization of mutant rodents if the latter are ongoing during the externs visit.

Conducting comparative medicine research

Externs are assigned a research project, depending on project availability. The extern conducts a literature review, implements the project, analyzes data generated and gives a short presentation at the completion of the externship. Externs can also rotate with post-DVM trainees of the CMP who are actively engaged in research projects. During these rotations, externs discuss projects and participate in laboratory procedures.

Externs may also participate in a variety of ongoing activities such as seminars, lab meetings, animal handling laboratories and rounds.  Externs are under the direct supervision of clinical veterinarians, research scientists, comparative pathologists and post-DVM trainees throughout the externship.

Application Procedure

To Apply for Externships:

Please contact Dr. Craig Franklin or submit a CV (with current veterinary school GPA), letter of interest, and one letter of reference from a CVM faculty member at your institution to:

Craig Franklin, DVM, PhD, dACLAM Professor
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
University of Missouri 4011 Discovery Drive, Rm N128
Columbia, MO  65201
Voice (573) 882-6623
FAX [573] 882-9857
E-mail FranklinC@missouri.edu

There are several other exciting laboratory animal medicine and research opportunities for veterinary students at the University of Missouri.  These include:

The American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) Foundation Summer Fellowship in Laboratory Animal Medicine

Through sponsorship from the ASLAP Foundation, the University of Missouri Comparative Medicine Program offers one to three positions for 3-12 week long summer fellowships. Activities include practice of clinical medicine in a research environment (link to description above for clinical veterinary care), pathology of laboratory animals (link to description above for pathology), surgery, animal colony management (link to description above for rodent resource center), working closely with laboratory animal veterinarians and residents, participation in seminars, regulatory oversight of animals used in research (link to description above for ACQA), and laboratory animal medicine research (link to description above for research).
See the ASLAP web page for application deadline and requirements.

The University of Missouri Veterinary Research Scholars Program (MU VRSP)

The MU VRSP offers a minimum 10 week experience which exposes veterinary students to research career opportunities through a mentored research experience. Scholars engage in an intensive research experience including state-of-the-art experimental methodology, a weekly topics course that gives a broad exposure to biomedical sciences, an opportunity to attend and present at the National Merial Symposium at Michigan State University and field trips to local and regional research institutions.

See http://www.cvm.missouri.edu/vrs/index.htm for application deadline and requirements.


It is highly advantageous to have your own vehicle for transportation during your externship at MU. Public transportation in Columbia can be difficult due to limited and inflexible transportation routes and schedules (many routes are not running during the summer months). If you do not have your own transportation, please try to make other arrangements or schedule your visit when another extern will be here so that you can coordinate rides. You may also rent a vehicle from Enterprise or National. More information can be found here Columbia, MO Transportation & MU Campus Map.