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Studying Veterinary Medicine is an exciting journey – but it can be competitive to get into a vet school. It’s important to be well-informed about all aspects of applying to study veterinary medicine before you make your final decision.

This guide is for students considering becoming a vet – it explains what Veterinary Medicine is and outlines the process of applying to university. 

What Is Veterinary Medicine?

Veterinary Medicine is a 5-6 year degree that you need to undertake if you want to become a veterinarian (doctor for animals). The course involves a combination of lectures and clinical skills, helping you become a qualified vet at the end. 

While you must get veterinary education to become a qualified vet, there are other related degrees you can study that will lead you into similar careers, including Animal Behaviour, Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Pathology and Veterinary Nursing.  

Why Study Veterinary Medicine?

Studying the programme equips you with a range of skills that allow you to be a competent vet after graduation. These skills include:

  • High-level communication skills
  • In-depth knowledge of animal biology
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Decision-making
  • Ability to cope with stress
  • Making diagnoses

The veterinary profession itself is very rewarding, with salaries ranging from £30,000-£50,000 (up to £70,000-£100,000 for senior roles), and there is also the possibility of using your degree to get involved in academic research.

Is It Hard To Get Into Veterinary Medicine?

Like other medical courses, the veterinary degree is competitive. Each year, approximately 2400 people apply to study veterinary medicine in the UK for just 1200 places, giving applicants a 50% chance of success in any application cycle.

Luckily, most universities typically offer students a variety of pathways to get into vet school, including gateway and foundation programmes which require lower grades, as well as graduate entry opportunities.

This means that falling short of your predicted grades doesn’t necessarily mean rejection – you just need to explore all options before applying. 

Vet schools can also make reduced contextual offers depending on personal circumstances which makes the admissions process flexible and accessible. 

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Which UK Medical Schools Offer Veterinary Courses? 

There are currently 11 universities offering Veterinary Medicine as a course in the UK:

Universities
Royal Veterinary College, University of London*University of Cambridge*University of Liverpool*The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh
University of GlasgowUniversity of Bristol*University of Nottingham*University of Surrey
Harper and Keele Veterinary School*The Aberystwyth School of Veterinary Science*University of Central Lancashire*

*Deferred entry available

Which Non-UK Medical Schools Offer Veterinary Courses?

It is also possible to study the course abroad in English. Here is a list of some of the European, American and Australian universities that offer this pathway:

Universities
University of Nicosia School of Veterinary MedicineLatvia University Of Life Sciences And TechnologiesLithuanian University Of Health SciencesUniversity of Zagreb
Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life SciencesUniversity of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine (Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj Napoca)University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy (Košice)Trakia University
Forestry University (Sofia, Bulgaria)University of BolognaCornell UniversityUniversity of Pennsylvania
Washington State UniversityThe University of MelbourneThe University of SydneyUniversity of California – Davis

What Are The Entry Requirements to study Veterinary Medicine?

Like other medical degrees, the entry requirements for Veterinary Medicine are multi-faceted, with slight variations between universities. 

Academic Requirements in the UK:

In UK universities, the A-Level requirements are typically AAA (but can range from BBC to A*AA) including Biology plus two other subjects. You will also need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above.
All UK universities have specific English language requirements for foreign students with a variety of accepted tests, such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc. 

Academic Requirements Abroad:

Standard entry requirements for students hoping to study Veterinary Medicine internationally are in many ways similar – although individual grades will differ slightly.

For example, the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course at The University of Nicosia School of Veterinary Medicine requires A-Level grades of ABB including Chemistry plus one of Biology, Chemistry or Maths and any other third subject. 

Work Experience:

Gathering relevant work experience for your Veterinary Medicine application is as important as excelling academically.

The majority of applicants to veterinary school have outstanding academic results, so your work experience portfolio is a great way to stand out.

There are several ways to obtain practical experience, whether it be through shadowing at a vet practice, getting farm experience, volunteering at animal shelters or doing zoo work.

Every university will have different expectations that they will outline on their individual admissions pages. 

Personal Statement:

While the application for veterinary school needs to be made via UCAS (which requires a personal statement), UK universities will not assess the personal statement during the application process.

This is due to the quality of personal statements varying based on how much support students receive from their schools.  

There is a whole range of university-specific veterinary entry requirements in the UK and abroad.

Do I Need To Sit The UCAT To Apply?

You do not need to sit the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) in order to study Veterinary Medicine. The UCAT is used for applications to study Medicine or Dentistry.

The programme does not require any admissions tests unless you are applying to Cambridge, in which case you will need to sit the Natural Sciences Aptitude Test, or if you are applying to study abroad – in which case universities might have their own tailored tests.

How Do I Apply?

Applications to Veterinary Medicine at UK universities should be made via UCAS. If planning to study the programme abroad, you will most likely have to apply directly through the university website.

When Do I Apply?

The application date for Veterinary Medicine is earlier than other higher education courses, but the same as medicine, dentistry and Oxbridge degrees. The deadline is usually on the 15th October (as opposed to the usual UCAS deadline of 31st January).

While this is the deadline, it is a good idea to apply in advance as the website can be very busy on the final day when students can face technical difficulties. 

Career Paths

A veterinary degree offers a pathway to a variety of careers, including:

  • Animal care worker
  • Animal nutritionist
  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Lecturer
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Research scientist (medical)
  • Veterinary physiotherapist
  • Veterinary surgeon
  • Zoologist

You can either work in private general practice or specialise in a field like marine biology, orthopaedics or ophthalmology. There are options to be employed in corporate veterinary medicine, research, food supply medicine, shelter medicine or other fields.

How Can I Get Help With My Application?

We offer application advice, as well as personal statement and interview tutoring – helping you to stand out from the crowd as a Veterinary Medicine candidate.

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