• Veterinary Medicine

TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a Subject > University Courses > Veterinary Medicine


Welcome to the Veterinary Medicine Wiki!

With only eight universities in the UK offering this course (see below for names), and only an estimated 1000 places up for grabs each year, Veterinary Medicine is a highly competitive course.

Here is the information that could mean the difference between a rejection and a place!

Your Application for D100

Approximate No. of Places at Each Vet School (as of 2015):

  • Cambridge - 80 (2019)
  • Bristol - 130
  • Edinburgh - 145 (2019)
  • Glasgow - 120
  • Liverpool - 160
  • Nottingham - 150 with each intake (2019)
  • RVC - 250
  • Surrey - 120
  • Keele/Harper - 70-80 for first intake in 2020

Academic requirements : For 2019 the A level grade requirements were AAA including at least Chemistry and Biology and preferably a third science or maths subject, plus at least 6 GCSE A grades, with Maths at A grade. Cambridge asks for A*AA and as from 2016 Glasgow are also asking for A*AA. Surrey, Nottingham, and Keele/HA ask for AAB with the B in the third subject.

Universities will make 'contextual offers', typically one grade lower in one subject only, to those who fulfil their 'widening participation' criteria. Each Uni will define this differently but it usually includes those from low performing schools, anyone in local authority care or who have attended specific summer schools/events at that Uni. See each course website for details for that University.

Your application will be 'scored' - firstly for exam grades and predictions. If you don't get through this stage, it doesn't matter how much work-experience you have done, your application will go straight on the No pile.

So, read the admissions requirements for each Uni carefully. If you do not have the grades or predictions they want, then don't apply. They can fill Vet courses 10 times over - they do not need to be kind to someone who doesn't have GCSE Maths.

If you have unusual qualifications or have issues like retakes etc, contact the uni before you apply so you do not waste a choice.

Foundation and Gateway courses

Many Vet schools have some sort of Foundation course or Gateway course for Veterinary Medicine.

  • Foundation courses are usually designed for those without high enough grades and/or the 'wrong subjects' at A level or equivalent.
  • Gateway courses are usually targeted 'widening participation' courses for those from low performing schools or specific local schools etc.

For both types of 'Year 0' courses, successful completion will allow you entry to the full 5 year degree. Check carefully to see what the entry criteria are for these courses as they will all be different. Numbers on these courses are normally very small - therefore the application process is often even more competitive than the full D100 courses.

Graduate applications

Academic requirements for graduates : It is possible to apply for Vet Medicine if you already have an undergraduate degree. But, you need to be VERY aware that just because you have a First in Zoology doesn't mean you will make a better vet or the universities will think you are preferable to an 18 school leaver. In particular if your degree does not have enough Chemistry content and/or you do not have A level Chemistry with a sensible grade, or you do not have enough relevant work experience, you are just as likely to get a rejection as anyone else. The usual academic requirement for graduates is a 2.i or First (preferably in a science subject) AND 3 A levels including high grades in Chemistry, Biology, and good GCSE grades. So, having a degree does not make up for having poor school-leaver qualifications.

Funding a 2nd degree - English students : There is no automatic funding for Vet as a 2nd degree (see below). This means you could end having to fund or part-fund 5 years of study yourself. Many people borrow from friends, family, or savings. Sponsorship is one option but beware; it is extremely hard to come by and shouldn’t be relied upon as the main source of funding. Advice on funding from Uni of Bristol on Vet funding here : http://www.bristol.ac.uk/fees-funding/undergraduate/vet-funding/

Scottish & Welsh students : Scottish Vet students will have the whole of their course fees covered by the Scottish Government if they study at either Edinburgh or Glasgow, while Welsh Vet students will have to pay only up to £3,495 p.a. for their course - the Welsh Government will cover the rest, whichever vet school you choose to study at.

Note that Keele/HA will interview 'high achieving students' in the first year of related courses. These students would start in year 1 of the veterinary course.

FOUR choices only

Remember, you are only allowed to make four of your five UCAS choices a Veterinary Science or Veterinary Medicine course. This includes both D100 (5 year degree) courses, graduate entry and any other 1 year Foundation or Gateway courses. You cannot 'get round' this - the UCAS system will simply not allow you to enter 5 Vet choices. You do not have to make a 5th non-Vet choice if you don't want to, but most people do. This means that if you get no Vet offers at all (not unusual) you will still have one other possible route to University. It also means that if you get only one Vet offer, you have an obvious Insurance.

Most people will choose Bioveterinary Science as their 5th choice, but others go for Biochemistry, Animal Conservation, Medical Science, Animal Behaviour, Veterinary Nursing or Zoology etc. Whatever you choose, think carefully about it. Remember this could be the only offer you get. Equally, if you don't actually want to do any other subject but Vet, then don't waste everyone's time applying for anything else. Remember, you can also apply initially for the 4 Vet choices and, if you need to, add another non-Vet choice later (ie. if you get no Vet offers and/or change your mind about Vet). Although your entire PS will be about Vet, don't panic. All Unis know that your 5th choice (like for Medics and Dentists) has to be for another subject. They are used to this and will not automatically reject you just because your statement is exclusively focussed on Vet.


A level grades

The standard offer is AAA at A level - for Cambridge and Glasgow it is A*AA; for Nottingham, Surrey, and Keele/HA it is AAB. Most Unis will accept a combination of 1 BTEC and 2 A levels but they will all want 2 'hard science' at A level, typically Chemistry and Biology.

All Universities will have 'widening participation' offers. These are lower grade requirements for those at low performing schools. Where you see a 'grade range' (ie. AAA/AAB) this usually what it means - that the lower grade set is reserved only for those applicants.

Most Unis leave the subject choice for the 3rd A level open. There are a few, though, that also demand Maths or Physics in addition to Chemistry and Biology. If the 3rd subject is not specified then there will be no advantage in taking Physics, Maths, Psychology or whatever - you wont get extra score for taking what you perceive as a useful or relevant subject. In fact you will be better taking a 3rd subject where you feel most confident of getting an A grade - it doesnt matter if its in Dance Studies or Art History.


It's important that you check what is required at GCSE not just A level. Many Unis will ask for Maths and English and/or sciences at A grade and may want anything up to 8 A grades. It won't matter how good you A level predictions are - if you are below the GCSE requirement your application will be rejected immediately. If your GCSEs are too low, remember you can retake a couple alongside A levels - talk to you school - and you should include both your old and your new predicted GCSEs grades on your application. With the new format GCSEs coming in for 2016/2017, Unis will want you to have taken the 'practical element' in sciences.

Taking a 4th A2

Taking a 4th A2 subject does not increase your chances of a successful application. While it might show academic ability it is important to remember that the universities only require three A Levels - and will only take 3 into account, the 4th one will just get ignored. Having a fourth A Level therefore will not be a deciding factor in any application. It is also worthwhile thinking about the effect the extra pressure would have on your other subjects. Why risk AABB when you could have got AAA?

Access to HE

Most Vet Schools will accept Access to HE from Mature Applicants (21+) but they will want you to be doing a course that has very high Chemistry and Biology content, and where the Maths content is equivalent to at least GCSE. Check with each Uni BEFORE you enrol on the Access course if they will accept what you are taking.

Admissions tests

None of the universities require BMAT or UKCAT. Cambridge requires the NSAA.

A level retakes

Some Vet Schools will not accept A levels taken outside a standard 2 year course. If you retake even 1 subject in an extra year, they will not look at your application. This is because Vet is a highly demanding academic course, and their reasoning is that if you need a 2nd run-up, you don't have the outstanding ability they require. Others Vet Schools will consider retakes but set strict conditions - ie. a 1 year retake if you are raising your results by 1 grade in 1 subject - ie. you must have already have achieved AAB. Others will be more lenient. If you are doing retakes, you must check carefully what, if any, retakes are acceptable - never just assume it'll be okay.

If you have serious extenuating circumstances (serious personal illness, family bereavement etc) that happened in your A2 year and messed up your performance, most Unis will consider this - check with each Uni before you apply what their process for notification of this is - its usually not enough to just include it in your reference.

Note: Keele/HA allow resits but at a minimum of one resit.

Universities Offering Veterinary Medicine in the UK

Bristol Vet School: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/vetscience/

Cambridge Vet School: http://www.vet.cam.ac.uk/

Edinburgh Vet School: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/vet/services

Glasgow Vet School: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/vet/

Liverpool Vet School: http://www.liv.ac.uk/veterinary-science/

Nottingham Vet School: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/index.aspx

Royal Veterinary College - London: http://www.rvc.ac.uk/

Surrey Vet School: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/vet/index.htm

Keele/HA Vet School: https://www.harperkeelevetschool.ac.uk/study/432/veterinary-medicine-and-surgery/

[Dublin Vet School: http://www.ucd.ie/vetmed/]

Entrance Requirements 2018

For 2018 entry, the academic criteria for the Universities are as follows. For up to date information, and requirements for qualifications other than A Levels, always check the individual University websites carefully. If in any doubt about whether your qualifications are acceptable, always email the University and check before you apply.

Remember, where a grade range is given for a course (ie. AAA/AAB), the lower grade set only will be for 'contextual offers' to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Never assume you will get the lower offer - the vast majority of applicants will get the higher 'standard offer'. IB qualifications are readily accepted and will be the equivalent to the A level grades.

BTEC Extended Diplomas are often accepted in combination with a high grade Chemistry A level, and Access to HE qualifications are widely accepted for mature applicants (over 21).

Bristol AAA in Biology, Chemistry and a third academic subject. At GCSE level, six A grades would normally be expected including Mathematics if Mathematics or Physics not offered at A or AS-level. Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma may be accepted alongside AA in A2 Biology and Chemistry. Bristol have changed their policy on resits this year - you can retake all three subjects as long as you do your A levels over a maximum of 3 years. Bristol doesn't ask for BMAT. Bristol did not interview for 2018 entry so bear this in mind when writing personal statements etc.

Cambridge A*AA in three science or maths subjects. A or AS Level passes in three of Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Physics, with one required to be Chemistry. GCSE A/B/C in Double Science (or Biology and Physics) and Maths. Candidates are required to take the NatSci admissions assessment (NSAA)- there are past papers on the website. Welsh Baccalaureate is recognised, but three A2 subjects are still required alongside this.

Edinburgh AAA in Chemistry, Biology and a third approved subject (see website for list of approved subjects). A "good pass" at GCSE Physics is required if not offered at A Level. Resitters and deferred entry not considered. Welsh Baccalaureate is not considered. Candidates are expected to complete a Work Experience Summary form.

Glasgow A*AA including Chemistry and Biology and a third subject which is preferably a science subject. Art, Drama, General Studies, Home Economics, Music or PE are not accepted as third subjects. English GCSE at Grade A or B is required. Welsh Baccalaureate is not considered.

Liverpool AAA in Biology, a science related subject and third academic subject. Chemistry must be offered to at least B at AS Level. GCSE B grades required in Maths, English and Physics or double science. Resitters must have AAA. Candidates are required to complete an online Work Experience Questionnaire.

Nottingham AAB with Grade A in Biology and Chemistry. 5As at GCSE including 3 Sciences or Double Science. Grade B in Maths and English Language. Grade A at AS Physics can compensate for a B at GCSE Physics. Candidates are required to take an online questionnaire and Situational Judgement Test. Welsh Baccalaureate is not considered.

RVC AAA preferred, Grade A in Biology and Chemistry required. Third academic subject, preferably at grade A. Resitters must have AAA. At GCSE, 5 As including AA in Double Science or Biology and Chemistry. English Language, Maths and Physics at Grade A or B. All applicants must take the BMAT. Welsh Baccalaureate Core may be accepted alongside AA in A2 Biology and Chemistry. Online work experience form for completion BEFORE the UCAS deadline on Oct 15th.

Surrey AAB including Chemistry and Biology at grade A. 5 As at GCSE including Chemistry, Biology and Physics (or Double Science). Mathematics and English Language are also required at a minimum of grade B. Candidates are required to take an online questionnaire.

[b]Keele/HA[/b] AAB including one of Chemistry or Biology at grade A, the other of Chemistry or Biology at B or preferably A, and a third subject, preferably science, at B or preferably A. 5 A/7s at GCSE. Online work experience form will be available.

Links to the Vet Faculty websites of all the universities are available at the bottom of the page.

Work Experience

Main Work Experience Wiki Page

Why do we have to do work experience?

Essentially, it gives you a better insight into what the career entails, so that when you make an application you are sure the career is one for you. It also means that admissions tutors know you have an actual idea of the profession and you have not simply been deluded by television shows and/or literature.

Without relevant work experience - and lots of it - you will simply not be considered for interview, no matter how good your exam grades and predictions are.

What it involves

It can be a lot of work - often involves a shifting whole piles of poo, getting up before the sun has even thought about it, "putting the kettle on" and other general labour without getting a penny in return...

But while you're stood there with your mop, cleaning up after Snuggles the dog who has lost control of his bladder again, there is a lot you can learn just by watching - and that is one of the most beautiful things about work exp. You can watch how the vet copes with aggressive dogs; watch how animals are restrained; look out for routines they repeat and then ask if you can help the next time.

Ask endless questions- you’ll be sick of the sound of your own voice and may think that the question sounds dumb, but it never is, and if you don’t know the answer now you’ll feel even more stupid if you don’t know it when asked later on by an interviewer/ lecturer or, many years down the line, by a client! Do some research each night into something interesting you came across while on placement, and ask the vet/farmer/owner the next day about what you discovered while trawling through books or the internet.

Ask the vets and farmers what the current 'big issues' are for them. Milk prices? TB in cattle? Antibiotic resistance? What role do vets play in these issues? What role do they play in public health and food production? These are all issues that you can develop in your PS.

University Requirements

Again every university has its own requirements regarding work experience, and its worth checking out each individual website to ensure you tick all their boxes (see the links at the bottom of the page).

When people ask how much work experience should be given out, the general amount we all advise to be done is the minimum required by Liverpool University – simply because if you meet Liverpool’s work exp standards, you’ll meet the standards of all the other universities too.

For ease I’ll spoon-feed you Liverpool’s requirements:

  • Ten weeks total work experience (a “week” is defined by the uni as one working week, so for the Liverpool WEQ, 1 day=0.2 of a week, 5 days = 1 week)

Of these ten weeks you must have:

  • Four weeks Veterinary Work Experience – two weeks large animal and two weeks small animal (preferably made up of at least two different practices)
  • Six weeks Animal Husbandry Work Experience (placements that are advised include: Farms, particularly dairy farms; Kennels/Catteries; and Riding Schools/Livery Yards. It is often suggested that candidates should also try and undertake some lambing work.)
  • Other placements such as zoo placements or a day in an abattoir/laboratory (this is pretty much just the cherry on the work experience cake - get all the other vital placements done before you even consider these)

Edit 2018: Please note these requirements are out of date and no university requires as much experience as 10 weeks. However, it is still a great reference as most applicants will have at least 10 weeks, if not closer to 20.

I must stress here though, that while the above suggestions make up the minimum amount of work experience you should have done for your application to be considered, many candidates will have done a whole lot more - especially considering a lot of your fellow applicants will be reapps, and will have had at least one year on you for collecting work experience. Always remember universities want quality over quantity. It's better to have a few meaningful and diverse placements where you learned a lot and reflected, than 40 weeks which you didn't learn anything from.

It is not unusual for candidates to have one or even two placements, in either category stated above, which they have been attending on a regular basis for a year or more. Bear this in mind. Universities will certainly not reject you if you haven’t had placements of this sort of duration, but attending an establishment for that length of time does show dedication to the career and will leave you with far more of an insight than a placement that lasts only a week, while you'd be surprised how quickly the hours add up.

The most important thing to consider when arranging work experience placements though, is that you have a good range. Variety is key. Make sure you keep notes on placements so you remember everything to discuss in personal statements/interviews.

What to get from it

Make sure you actually learn from your placements. It is not enough to simply attend them. Are you acquiring practical skills that will be useful as a vet? Are you learning more about profession itself? These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself.

It's often advisable to keep a work experience diary while you're on placement; this can be useful to look over while writing your personal statement and pre-interview, so you can remind yourself of what you did and what you learnt - a lot of interview questions are likely to revolve around your work experience history.

Do Planned Work Experience Placements Count?

We often get asked whether universities will include work experience that is only in the pipeline at the time of application. The answer we generally give is that they only really take into account work experience that has already been done when considering whether or not you meet their minimum requirements. The main reason for this is that you have not yet learnt anything from the placement, so it doesn’t really strengthen your application – and you can’t really talk about it at interview.

Since applications are scored on what you have already done (and how much you've done), anything you do after you've submitted your application will carry far less weight, and if its going to happen at any point after Christmas then it's pretty much a waste of time.

For this reason you MUST pack in your essential work experience weeks BEFORE you submit your application in Sept/Oct, and anything you do after that must be 'extra' (ie. a day at an abattoir - not the 2 weeks lambing which is pretty much essential) and you should plan to complete any extras by autumn half-term be on the safe side.

Finding Placements

START EARLY. You have to pack in months of work-experience and get it all arranged AND DONE before you apply to UCAS in October. You cannot leave it to the Summer holiday before Year 13. That is FAR too late!

If you are currently contemplating crying in the corner of your bedroom for a few days because the placement is 40 miles away, you don’t drive and thee is no bus on a Sunday, or perhaps because you have just received back the umpteenth letter detailing how there are ‘no placements available’, ‘no insurance for volunteers’ or simply ‘no animals’ at the place you wish to do work experience, then don’t worry - everyone goes through this. But also remember, if you aren't prepared to do all this to get work-experience then start asking yourself - How badly do you want to be a Vet?

  • First of all, work out exactly what you want and when you want it. You need to sound business-like and efficient, not 'another silly kid'.
  • Be flexible. If they offer you one day and you'd like a week, take the day that is offered. It could lead to other offers.
  • But, remember, vets and farmers are busy people, and you are not exactly a money-making opportunity. If anything you will take up their time and simply get in the way. They are doing you an enormous favour if they offer you anything. Be grateful.

Finding working experience

  • Your eyes (obvious but you often miss farms/ practices if you are not looking for them) - go and knock on the door and ask.
  • The internet (search using relevant search terms and dates/year)
  • Word of mouth (you’ll be amazed at how many people your local farmer knows - one placement will soon lead to another)
  • Yellow pages/farming magazines/veterinary journals
  • County agricultural shows/marts
  • Be brazen - ask anyone you know who might have any connection with a vet, stables, cattery, pig farm, abattoir, pet shop etc.
  • Be willing to spend time away from home in a different part of the country - this will give you variety and help you learn some independance.
  • Go to Cattle Markets, Agricultural Shows and chat up farmers and vets etc. You could even try targeting the pub nearest the Cattle Market!
  • One useful place for lambing experience is via the National Sheep Association : http://www.nationalsheep.org.uk/nextgeneration/lambing-work-experience.php but be prepared to travel away from home and stay on a remote farm for a couple of weeks - and obviously this has to be planned for the winter/spring of your AS year at the latest so you can include in your PS in Sept/Oct. This is a particularly good bit of experience to go for if you are going to apply during a Gap Year because you wont be tied by school-holidays.

Contacting them:

  • Write - some people swear by this, it's formal and will create a good impression.
  • Ring them up - it's often better to take a more up-front approach than writing.
  • Even if they sound vague on the phone, follow this up with another phone call or a letter.
  • Email - if you don’t like using the phone, emailing is much quicker than writing
  • Drop in - go in and speak to them in person; they get to meet you, see that you are serious and will work hard and it's often harder to say no in person.
  • Get introduced - if the placement is a friend of a friend, ask them to introduce you; people are more likely to help out if they feel there is a 'personal' connection.
  • If you have animals, go along on your own vet and ask them to talk to their vet friends and appropriate clients. If you have a farm placement ask the farmer if they can introduce you to their vet… you get the idea.

Keep on persisting (unless its due to insurance reasons - then they really can’t take you and you’re likely to just piss them off). One vet once said to me that they just bin letters because its usually some lazy toad from high school who doesn’t know what else to do with their work experience week- prove that you aren’t that toad!

Getting there: Sometimes these places won’t be easy to reach- a lot of people don’t live near to farms etc but you have to put yourself out- its unfortunate but the uni's wouldn't accept ‘I couldn't get there’ as an excuse for your pitiful amount of work experience. Remember again, this is competitive and its hard work, put in the effort and you’ll get there!

  • Public transport - it might mean stupidly early mornings but it has to be done - other people will do it.
  • Parents - some parents will be willing to give you a lift if you’re lucky.
  • Drive - if you get the chance, learn to drive and get a car, it will make life MILES easier!
  • Live in - if you have to travel a considerable distance ask if they would be able to put you up- people can be very accommodating when they hear your predicament and you may be lucky enough to get a room for free onsite.
  • Cycle - if there’s no public transport then it may mean some early mornings and a long hike- if you want it badly enough you’ll do it, plus you’ll have bulging calves when your done!!

Overseas experience:

  • You might think that paying some commercial travel company to do a so-called 'volunteer' placement monitoring turtles in Belize or wherever, will really impress an Admissions Tutor. It won't. They'd be far more impressed if you'd spent 2 weeks freezing your arse off working nights in a lambing shed. Don't waste your money.

What to wear:

Use your common sense - don’t wear your best mini skirt and Gucci hat!

  • For a farm you’ll need wellies (steel toe caps are useful and save a great deal of pain), and some old clothes. If you have a boilersuit/overalls or waterproof trousers/coat it may be an idea to drag those along too.
  • Vets usually like you to dress smart/casual but again don’t wear your best suit or anything, you will get blood/poo/moggy fur on you so be warned.
  • Stables - if you're horsey throw on your jodhpurs, stable boots etc, if not wellies/walking boots/possibly trainers and old clothes will do! Wet weather gear is again recommended.
  • Kennels - walking boots/trainers and old clothes

Ring up and ask if you’re not sure - they’ll be glad your showing enthusiasm!

Edit 2019: Keele/HA will be asking for six weeks. Two weeks clinical, four weeks husbandry. This is the most a vet school requires currently! (Although to score top marks Bristol ask for 8 weeks)

Academic Reference

This is also important. Your referee should talk about you in terms of

  • Confidence/ ability with people
  • Determination to find and undertake work-experience etc.
  • Commitment to your studies and/or school life
  • Use of initiative
  • Leadership skills
  • Subject of your EPQ (if appropriate)
  • Any difficulties/personal issues that may have affected your exam grades, or show you can face a challenge or overcome difficulties.

They should not just cut and paste what your A level teachers said in your last subject review etc. Universities aren't interested in individual subject reports. They want to hear someone else's opinion of you, your personal qualities, confirmation of what you achieved and your potential to study at a far higher level than school.


The universities like applicants to show evidence of extra-curricular activities in their applications. It is widely accepted that there should even be a paragraph in your personal statement devoted to them (for more on the Personal Statement scroll to the Application Process section below or check out the wiki).

The reason behind this love for extra-curriculars is threefold:

  • It indicates you are a well-rounded applicant, with interests beyond studying.
  • Many extra-curricular activities demonstrate that you have skills/qualities that the universities are looking for in potential vets.
  • The Veterinary profession is a stressful one, and one of the best ways to deal with stress is to escape into another pass-time. The universities like to see that you have already developed hobbies of your own to do this with.

There is no particular extra-curricular activity that is particularly desired by the universities, nor is there one that will put you at any disadvantage. It is usually best, however, to have a mix of team-playing and solitary activities so that the universities know you are not some self-absorbed loner or, equally, someone who cannot function independently.

Examples of activities that have been included in Personal Statements and the sorts of desirable qualities they demonstrate are:

  • Involvement in school life (prefect, helping at Open Days, working with younger pupils etc) - leadership; altruism; public spirited.
  • Sports Team; Able to work as part of a team; desire to win.
  • Grade… at whichever instrument; Dedication and self-motivation.
  • Regular voluntary work. Sense of community responsibility; ability to get on with people from other backgrounds.

You get the gist.

The Extras

So what else is there that you could throw into your application mix to improve it? Not much really!

Some people ask whether attending courses/conferences will boost the chances of their application. In a word, no. Some people can afford to attend these courses and some can’t; it’d be unfair, therefore, if the universities were biased towards those that did attend.

The only purpose of these courses is to offer a little more information about the career itself, a little more about the application process – and in the case of university-specific programmes like VetCam – and a little more about the universities. Your attending the courses might increase your knowledge and be useful in that respect, but simply stating that you’ve attended such a conference will not improve your application in the slightest.

If you do mention any such course on your personal statement, it would be good to do so in the context of talking about some lecture topic/activity that really sparked your interest within the field of veterinary medicine e.g. doing a simulated laparoscopy at VetSim.

(For more Information on the various courses available, see the links at the bottom of the page, or check out the wiki)


Personal Statement

THIS IS A CRITICAL PART OF YOUR APPLICATION. Your grades are important but this bit can make or break your application.

What to put in your personal statement

1) Don't waffle. Don't use fancy words and phrases that you wouldn't use in everyday speech. Avoid stuff like 'my interest was piqued', 'passionate', 'fascinated', 'zeal', 'enthralling' etc.

2) Don't start your PS with anything about how much you admire the vet that saved your hamster's life when you were 6. Actually, don't put anything like this anywhere in your PS. You aren't 6 any more.

3) Explain clearly why you want to be a Vet. Avoid any references to childhood pets, early encounters with Vets, that you live on a farm or want to combine your love for animals with a talent for Science. You need to think bigger than this. What role to Vets play in society, in food production, in public health etc? Make it clear that you are thinking beyond your immediate experience, and (importantly) like an adult.

4) Make information in your PS as easy to find, and as easy to read as possible. Admissions Tutors are busy people. If you make it difficult for them to work out exactly how many days or weeks of work experience you've done, they are hardly likely to be on your side. (If you are applying to universities with online WEX forms then do not waste space listing every single placement- go in depth into one or two meaningful placements and what you learned from them)

4) Don't just list what you saw at a clinic, or the individual consults. It's boring. What the Admissions Tutor really wants to read is how what you saw changed your view of what a Vet does, what the job is about. Its not about what you saw - the important bit is what it made you think.

5) There is no need to waste characters on naming Vets, clinics, stables etc. Make it clear what sort of clinic it was ('rural large animal', 'inner-city specialising in exotics' etc) and exactly how long you had there ('1 week', '2 days' 'a morning' etc). Be precise and factual.

6) Vague language like 'I regularly volunteer for the RSPCA' is useless. Better is 'I have been a volunteer dog walker at the RSPCA in Birmingham 3 hours a week since Jan 2012'. Explain what you get out of this. Not 'I enjoy ..' or 'I find this interesting'. Think bigger. Think like a Vet. (Again, if you are applying to universities with online WEX forms then this does not apply)

7) Universities like students who have enthusiasm and drive. What do you do outside your studies that reveals this? What have you won, achieved, led etc? Not ' I recently did a Race for Life'. Instead try 'I entered a 5km Race for Life, embarked on a 2 month training plan, raised £200 in sponsorship, and ran a personal best on the day'. Make your achievements shine out and your personal determination to succeed obvious!

8) DoE and World Challenge are both deathly boring and highly predictable. They are organised by your school and handed to you on a plate. They say nothing about you beyond your ability to follow the crowd. Volunteer for something that *you've* organised, means you step outside of your comfort zone, and that doesn't involve anyone from your school - it will say a great deal more about you.

9) Anything like 'I am a PADI qualified diver' or 'I spent 2 weeks in the Maldives observing turtles' tells the Uni 'My parents are very wealthy and I go on exotic holidays that I've dressed up to sound like work-experience'. Two weeks of doing all night lambing in a freezing cold shed will be far more impressive. If you're running low on material discuss something sciencey which interests you, and if you must include your trip to the Maldives make it relevant to skills and things you learnt- just mentioning it is worth nothing.

10) This is a PS, not an entertaining short story. Forget about jokes or clever endings. Trying to 'grab' the reader at the start will not work and may go horribly wrong- the admissions tutors read thousands of these and have probably read your 'unique' ending/start a hundred times.


UK Universities interview for Vet courses. Most offer skype or telephone interviews if it is impossible for you intend in person (ie. applicants from overseas) but remember that this may be the only opportunity for you to see the Vet school in person so its worth the airfare if you can manage it.

Usually the interview will last 20/30 mins. It will cover the usual stuff like 'Why do you want to be a vet?'. and 'Give us an example of when you overcame a difficult situation' and ask you to to describe one case you saw during work experience and why you found it interesting/challenging etc. They may also give applicants a series of scenarios to respond to 'What would you do if .....' etc.

Be keen, be enthusiastic and 'bright'. Remember to look people in the eye and speak clearly. If you don't understand the question, say so.

Ladies - don't be 'cute' or flirt. Gentlemen - don't slouch in the chair with your legs wide apart. Behave like an adult, and look professional. Get your hair cut, clean your nails and polish your shoes. Remember to say thank you as you leave the interview room. It all matters.

Course Structure


Although you spend some time at the main Bristol campus, the Clinical Veterinary School is at Langford, 15 miles south of Bristol.

An important feature of Bristol's teaching is that you will learn alongside medical, dental, and science students as well as with other veterinary students in order to expose you to current ideas and research in other scientific fields, giving you a broad-based education and providing you the opportunity to use a wide range of sophisticated facilities.

Pre-clinical teaching therefore takes place in the School of Veterinary Science, the School of Medical Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences at the main campus. The aim of pre-clinical study is to provide a firm basic knowledge of the normal structure and function of the animal body. Following from this you will undertake studies of disease and its treatment. Throughout this period you will also study animal management, production and husbandry, with the emphasis being placed on how these contribute to the health and welfare of animals.

Animal contact occurs from the start of year 1 with animal management courses and continues throughout the course becoming progressively more clinical. These placements are carried out on farms and other units such as stables during the vacations of the first two years of study. A further 26 weeks of clinical extramural study is undertaken during the vacations of the last three years of the programme For the most part, the clinical study comprises placements in veterinary practice, but includes diagnostic laboratory work with the Veterinary Laboratory Agency and attendance at a meat hygiene course. The final year is a lecture-free, clinical year.

FAQs from the Uni of Bristol website here


Preclinical course

The first three years - the scientific basis of Veterinary Medicine. Subjects in the first two years concentrate on the biological sciences that underlie the practice of veterinary medicine.

Year 1
Homeostasis - the study of physiological systems
Molecules in Medical Science - biochemistry and molecular biology
Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology - functional anatomy of organs and tissues of domestic animals
Principles of Animal Management
Preparing for the Veterinary Profession A

Year 2
Biology of Disease - the nature and mechanisms of disease processes
Veterinary Reproductive Biology
Neurobiology with Animal Behaviour
Mechanisms of Drug Action - pharmacology; describing the specific effects of drugs
Special Option; Comparative Vertebrate Biology plus a choice from several specialised courses offered in Pathology, Psychology, Physiology, and other disciplines
Preparing for the Veterinary Profession B

Year 3
All Cambridge veterinary students (apart from the affiliate students) receive an intercalated degree and can select from a very wide variety of choices ranging from a single science subject (e.g Pathology, Zoology, Molecular Pharmacology) or group of subjects from the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos or Natural Sciences Tripos or other Tripos. The Cambridge system means that the BA is converted to a masters degree (MA) about three years after it is awarded.

For Further information regarding the Pre-Clinical Course visit the Faculty of Biology pages

Clinical course

Years 4 to 6 - science into practice. In the autumn after the Part II examinations and graduation with the BA degree, all veterinary students commence their clinical studies at the Veterinary School, Madingley Road. The three-year clinical course is made up of lectures and extensive small group, hands-on, teaching (typically in groups of 8) termed 'rotations'. The Veterinary School is generously equipped with computer-aided learning and research facilities to support these activities.

Years 4 and 5
During the fourth and fifth years your studies include Microbiology, Pathology, Medicine and Surgery. These courses are arranged into 18 units and these make up the final VetMB (Part I). Students are then tested on their ability to integrate the concepts and information across the 18 units in the Final VetMB (Part II) exam which is taken in the Easter Term of the fifth year.

Year 6
The sixth year is practically orientated, and continuously assessed. The focus is on rotation group teaching in Medicine, Reproduction and Surgery of farm and small animals and horses. During the final year, students are exposed to a wide variety of clinical cases so that you will be taught the practical skills which will enable you to become an effective veterinarian. Clinical cases coming into the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital provide many opportunities for you to develop those skills under expert supervision.

Students graduate with the VetMB at the end of the Summer Term when you will be invited to attend a ceremony held at the Veterinary School, and you will be admitted to membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a fully qualified member of the veterinary profession.


Programme details

Year 1
First year courses are Cells, Tissues and Development, Body Systems 1 (Integrated Anatomy and Physiology), and Animal Husbandry, gaining an understanding of the structure and function of the animal body, animal management and husbandry practices.

Year 2
Second year courses are Body Systems 2 (Integrated Physiology, Anatomy and Metabolism) and Animal Husbandry (including Nutrition). You will also study Infection and Immunity, providing the basics for the study of disease in the following years.

Year 3
Third year courses are Veterinary Pathology, Clinical Foundation Course and The Dog and Cat Integrated Clinical Course. General principles of disease, pharmacology and clinical techniques are followed by the first species based clinical module on the dog and cat.

Year 4
Fourth year courses are Integrated Clinical Courses in Farm Animal, Exotics and Equine. A vertical thread of teaching in Population Medicine and Veterinary Public Health runs across the first four years. This course comprises a group of related subjects which have, as a common theme, the study and control of disease in populations, in contrast to the individual. The populations are both animal and human; the course therefore includes control of zoonotic infections and food hygiene.

Year 5
Under the supervision of international experts in their respective fields, you will undertake clinical rotations which fully integrate you into the health care team for maximum practical experience. The course includes a three-week elective period in the final year, where a range of options is available. During this time, you will have the opportunity to work with international experts, and gain in-depth experience in an area of your choice.


The overall objectives of the five year curriculum are to provide an evolving quality educational programme in a research rich environment that will prepare students for future careers as veterinarians. The programme is designed to imbue the knowledge, philosophy, professional and technical skills such that the graduate feels confident to practice the art and science of veterinary medicine and surgery, and which prepares students for the profession that anticipates life-long learning and continuing professional development.

Curriculum Digest

1st Year
Animal Husbandry & Management
Biomolecular Science

2nd Year
Animal Husbandry & Management
Biomolecular Science

3rd Year

4th Year
Companion Animal Sciences
Combined Integrated Course Part I

5th Year
Small Animal Clinical Studies
Large Animal Clinical Studies

Extramural Study ( EMS)


The BVSc provides a groundwork of preclinical subjects during the first two years of the programme, including anatomy, whole animal design and function, and genetics. You will gain valuable experience in animal maintenance, production and welfare both here and on your Extra Mural Study (EMS) placements.

The 3rd year is paraclinical. Here you will build on your knowledge and apply it to disease states. Pathological processes, infectious diseases and the fundamentals of parasitology are introduced along with the practical implications of public health. This provides you with the background to some of the clinical situations you will meet as you start your EMS in external veterinary practices. Here you will begin to use your knowledge and apply practically.

In your fourth and final years, you will be based at Leahurst for your clinical studies, returning to Liverpool to spend time in our small animal first opinion clinic. During these two years, you will play an important and integral role in our hospitals and first opinion practices, gaining invaluable hands-on experience. Our fifth year is completely lecture free, enabling you to concentrate on getting the most out of your clinical rotations and placements. You can choose a specialist elective to study in a subject area that interest you most.

Our students acquire the relevant knowledge, skills and experience through a blend of lectures seminars, problem-based learning in groups, individual project work, clinical rotations and EMS placements. This enables them to graduate with a set of core competencies in preparation for Day One of their professional lives.

Our students receive a thorough grounding in the understanding of research and this is rewarded by the award of BSc after 3 years. After 5 years, graduates are awarded the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) and are eligible for membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


Our veterinary undergraduate curriculum is taught using a modular system over the first four years with a lecture free clinical year:

Years 1 and 2 develop learning primarily about the "normal" animal using clinical case examples and scenarios. You will also develop animal handling skills, and understanding of animal husbandry, relevant industries and the role of animals in society. Personal and Professional skills focus on learning, communication and the professional role of the Veterinary Surgeon.

Year 3 provides you with an opportunity to focus on a research project of your choice. You will also develop further understanding of principles underpinning clinical veterinary sciences. At the end of Year 3 you will graduate with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Sciences (BVMedSci) degree.

Years 3 and 4 develop learning about animal production, trauma management, disease processes, diagnosis, management and prevention. This part of the course also integrates learning of pathological processes with the food industry, zoonotic disease and public health. Personal and Professional skills are expanded to incorporate business skills and entrepreneurship.

Year 5 consists of a series of Clinical Practice Modules that comprise small-group clinical teaching in a hospital/practical/laboratory situation at our Clinical Associates. Teaching and learning is based upon observation, discussion and practical experience; at each institution students are under the supervision of university academic staff placed at, and working within, the institution.

A total of 12 weeks Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Studies (EMS) and 26 weeks Clinical EMS is also undertaken. Animal Husbandry and Clinical EMS is organised in accordance with recommendations as defined by the RCVS. Extra Mural Studies expose students to the practical, ethical, financial, managerial and inter-personal aspects of professional practice. EMS placements are appropriately supervised and assessed and take place during vacations and during Year 5.

At the end of Year 5 successful students graduate with the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) and Bachelor of Veterinary Surgery (BVS) degrees.


Two years getting fully grounded in basic science based at the London campus, followed by three years developing your clinical skills at the field station in Hertfordshire.

We feel that this is the most effective way of preparing you for Intra and Extra Mural Studies. During the programme you will learn, among other things, to diagnose and treat sick animals, understand the importance of preventative medicine and develop critical business and communication skills to help you while in practice. A lecture-free final year is devoted to developing practical skills and problem based learning in the RVC’s Hospitals and private veterinary practices.

Your learning experience will comprise directed learning, laboratory work, practical experience and clinical skills development. You will learn how to solve complex problems, either working individually or in groups. During the 5 year degree you will need to submit several research projects as coursework. These bring together many skills that will have been taught and allow you to investigate areas of veterinary medicine that interest you.

We want you to succeed throughout your time on the BVetMed. Our personal development planning system encourages you to take responsibility for your own learning and share concerns and advice with your peers. This support network means that any issues are identified at an early stage. Importantly, it ensures that you get the most out of the learning experience.

Useful websites

The Royal Veterinary College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) publishes 'I want to be a Vet' which outlines the fundementals of the process of application, academic requirements, career prospects etc.'

  • The RV validates all UK Vet degrees, and publishes a booklet called 'Day 1 Skills' which outlines what you need to learn during a Vet degree to qualify. If you don't, or can't, do what is prescribed, then you cannot qualify. This is especially important if you have any form of disability that may prevent you fulfilling the 'Day 1 Skills' - Unis may refuse to train you because you cannot actually qualify/practice.
  • Prospects, the careers website, has useful information on Vet Science as a career.
  • British Veterinary Association website.
  • Information about The Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) here.
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