Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




Students will attend rounds and participate in the diagnosis and treatment of species in a zoological setting. A mentored project (research, teaching module, case presentation, etc) is to be completed during the externship. Research opportunities exist and may be available pending student interests, time constraints, and funding availability. Students will participate in all facets of the medical program at the National Zoo’s facility. Students are expected to review medical records in preparation for procedures, complete reading as assigned by clinicians, perform physical examinations on a variety of zoological species, and participate in procedures on a supervised basis dependent on the medical situation as well as preceptor knowledge and competency. Students will be involved in developing anesthetic protocols as well as monitoring and recording anesthetic procedures. Students will also gain exposure to the Daniject remote delivery system. Attendance is expected 5 days per week (7a-6p M-F) and some weekends/holidays.


This preceptorship is available to veterinary students in their 4th year (or equivalent) of the curriculum. International students are welcome to apply. All applicants are expected to have a serious interest in zoological/wildlife/conservation medicine. Also required is a negative tuberculin skin test within 6mo of rotation and up to date rabies prophylaxis. Influenza vaccine strongly encouraged.


This is a 6-8 week appointment, though 8 weeks is preferred. Positions are available from September to April; limited variations on this time period may be considered based on applicant’s need, availability and qualifications. This is an unpaid preceptorship - housing, transportation, and personal insurance is the responsibility of the student. This preceptorship is located at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. (3001 Connecticut Ave, Washington DC USA 20008).


To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html
Then select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here"
When you complete the information to create an account, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select "Internship". Then you will select the unit you are interested in, "National Zoological Park." Then you will select the Program you are interested in, "National Zoological Park Internship Program." Finally, once you begin completing the application, you will indicate the Project (= to department) you are interested in, “Veterinary Zoological Preceptorship.”

Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit” and when your references have been received by the deadline as noted above). Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic information
  • Cover letter explaining your interest in zoological/wildlife/conservation medicine
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference
  • Available dates (if known)
  • Veterinary college official transcript



October 15 of 3rd year (or equivalent). Students will be notified of acceptance by November 15 of application year