Cambridge offers a world class opportunity to study the scientific basis of veterinary medicine and clinical veterinary science. Our course provides the fundamental building blocks on which to develop and excel in any veterinary field.
Cambridge provides a unique intellectual and social environment in which to study to the highest level. The Department of Veterinary Medicine has an international reputation as a centre of excellence and is performing world-class veterinary research.
Succeeding as a veterinary surgeon requires many skills – scientific, practical, clinical, financial and social – and the Cambridge course is designed to develop these skills
A major strength of the Cambridge course is the extensive use of practical teaching and the emphasis on small-group teaching from Year 1. Our staff includes world leaders in their field and our facilities include state-of-the-art equipment, including our clinical school – which is located just based a short distance walk/cycle ride from the city centre – houses state-of-the-art equipment (see Facilities and resources, below).
Right from the start, Cambridge students receive intensive training in animal handling and practical clinical skills. Also, Cambridge was the first veterinary school in England to introduce a clinics-based lecture-free final year, in which students take full responsibility for cases under the watchful eye of senior clinicians. This allows you to develop your clinical, problem solving and client communication skills in a real clinical practice environment.
The emphasis on small-group teaching in all six years, with experienced teachers supporting and guiding your progress, is also central to our philosophy of producing the highest calibre veterinary graduates.
The modern facilities in the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital include:
We also have one of the leading cancer therapy units in Europe with a linear accelerator used for delivering radiotherapy to both small and large animals with cancer.
In addition, our Clinical Skills Centre houses interactive models and simulators for students to practise and refine essential technical skills individually and as integrated clinical scenarios – excellent preparation for the case responsibilities you have in the later years of the course. The Centre is accessible to students in all years of the course.
Small animals, farm animals and horses are housed on-site to provide continual opportunities to consolidate your animal handling skills. The nearby University Farm also allows all students to become involved in lambing and dairy management.
Year 1 and 2
Years 4 and 5
Details about additional course costs can be found on the Faculty of Biology website and in the Veterinary Students’ Handbook. Most of the equipment listed above can be purchased from the Veterinary School and if you require any further information/guidance, please contact the Department of Veterinary Medicine (see fact file, right).
Some students may be eligible for the Cambridge Bursary Scheme and some College funding may be available to support students’ studies, see individual Colleges for details.
While the University is responsible for the teaching and examination of the courses leading to the BA and VetMB degrees (awarded after three and six years, respectively), their content and standards are scrutinised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and must also conform to the Veterinary Directives of the European Union.
Achievement of the VetMB degree allows you to become a member of the RCVS – the professional qualification required to enter practice.
The Cambridge course equips you with the clinical skills and scientific understanding required to enter practice (in the UK and EU) and other areas of veterinary work.
Many of our graduates subsequently enhance their clinical skills by obtaining further professional qualifications in a wide variety of clinical disciplines.
However, the Cambridge veterinary course also gives you the scientific understanding needed to enter many other areas of veterinary work or biomedical science, and to understand and respond to the rapid progress being made in veterinary science. For example, there are opportunities to enter research in universities, Research Council institutes and private companies, and to obtain specialist postgraduate qualifications. In addition, career openings are available with government agencies, animal charities (RSPCA, PDSA etc), pharmaceutical companies, and in academic clinical posts.
At Cambridge, you study the basic veterinary sciences first before learning to apply that knowledge to veterinary practice as a clinical student.
During your pre-clinical studies (Years 1-3), you are taught through lectures and practical classes (including 120 hours of dissection across the three years) in the central science departments, and College supervisions – you can typically expect 20-25 timetabled teaching hours each week. The clinical studies teaching is a mixture of lectures (in Years 4 and 5), practicals, tutorials, supervisions and clinical rotations.
In addition, you must complete a minimum of 12 weeks’ work experience (pre-clinical extramural study) during the University vacations in Years 1 and 2 to gain knowledge of animal husbandry. During your clinical studies, you must complete at least 26 weeks of clinical extramural study, some of which may be undertaken abroad. You are supported in the activities by your Vet School Clinical Supervisor.
Your progress is continually reviewed by your supervisors and your Director of Studies. Formal assessment, which determines your progression through the course, takes a variety of forms including written essays, short answer questions and practical examinations.
In Years 1 and 2, you are taught the core scientific knowledge and skills needed as a veterinary professional.
Taught by some of the world’s top academic scientists and veterinary surgeons, we provide you with the scientific and practical basis that will allow you to develop your veterinary career to the full, whether your aim is to deliver outstanding care or to push forward the boundaries of academic veterinary medicine.
In addition to core science, you follow the Preparing for the Veterinary Profession course (an introduction to the ethical, social and professional responsibilities of the profession) and courses in animal handling and management.
The main areas of learning are covered by courses in:
Read more about Years 1 and 2 on the Faculty of Biology website.
You specialise in one of a wide range of other subjects offered by the University to qualify for the BA degree. Options include:
This is a feature distinctive to our course and one which offers significant advantages to our undergraduates. As well as considerable satisfaction and enjoyment, this ‘extra’ year has been pivotal to many graduates’ career progression and all benefit from the global recognition of the Cambridge BA. You then continue to the three years of clinical studies at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, which is just a short walk or bike ride from the city centre.
The emphasis of the clinical studies is to give you sufficient clinical knowledge and skills to begin to practise veterinary medicine (‘day one competencies’) and also to provide you with the scientific background you need to benefit from future trends and advances in veterinary medicine.
In Year 4, you study topics including:
You also learn about veterinary public health, including food hygiene, state veterinary medicine and the medicine of rabbits, rodents, reptiles and birds.
Clinical tuition begins with basic clinical methods and integrated teaching in the husbandry/management and medicine of horses and farm species. Two mornings each week are given over to practical clinical work including basic clinical examination of the main domestic species, radiography and post-mortem investigation. You also develop a range of technical and practice-related skills in the Clinical Skills Centre.
You continue the different courses in species medicine started in Year 4, and instruction is given in subjects including:
Five mornings every week are again set aside for practical clinical work. This includes visits to external establishments such as the University-affiliated RSPCA clinic, and opportunities to further hone your consultation and practical skills in the Clinical Skills Centre.
Part II of the Final Veterinary Examination tests your understanding of principles and concepts of veterinary medicine, as well as your ability to integrate information across the Part I series of subjects.
This is a 40-week lecture-free year with tuition centred on clinical teaching, in which groups of just three or four students rotate through different disciplines in the hospital with individual clinicians. The small size of these groups means each student’s caseload is higher and they are given the maximum possible responsibility for the management of clinical cases. This allows you to develop your clinical and problem-solving skills and client communication skills in a real clinical practice environment.
Subjects covered during the year include:
Finally, you have a period of eight weeks’ elective study in which to explore a special interest.
During the year, marks awarded in continuous assessment count towards Part III of the Final Veterinary Examination, which is examined in May of the final year.
Achievement of the VetMB degree allows you to become a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS), which is the professional qualification required to enter practice.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
All undergraduate admissions decisions are the responsibility of the Cambridge Colleges so check College websites for College-specific requirements. See also Entrance requirements and The Subject Matters for additional advice about general requirements for entry, qualifications and offers.
Please note that in the following ‘science/mathematics subjects’ refers to Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. It does not include Psychology.
Please note that in the past three admissions rounds, 96 per cent of applicants for Veterinary Medicine offered three or more science/mathematics A Levels and, of these, 36 per cent were successful in obtaining a place. Of the four per cent of applicants who offered only two science/mathematics A Levels, 18 per cent were successful in gaining a place.
A Level subject requirements also apply to the IB – Higher Level subjects satisfy A Level subject requirements.
We expect applicants taking other recognised examinations to demonstrate a level of understanding in science and mathematics roughly equivalent to those applying with A Levels. Refer to the Entrance requirements page for details of other qualifications and please consult any College Admissions Tutor for further advice.
Graduates wanting to study Veterinary Medicine may apply as an affiliate student to one of Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund’s or Wolfson Colleges with:
Work experience is not a requirement for applicants but some experience is useful to understand the profession and what is required of its members.
All applicants to Veterinary Medicine are required to take the Natural Sciences pre-interview written assessment at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).
You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is Sunday 15 October 2017. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment; you’re not able to register yourself. See the written assessments page for information about assessment centres and registration.
All Veterinary Medicine applicants (including those applying to a mature College) will take the Natural Sciences pre-interview written assessment on 2 November 2017. Please check the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing website for scheduled start times.
Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.
Your living expenses may be higher than for a Home student (eg if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). The minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £10,080 in 2017-18 and £10,310 in 2018-19, depending on lifestyle (you should allow for increases in future years).