Last Updated on December 28, 2022
The process of getting into vet school in the UK involves multiple application rounds and can be frustrating to those unfamiliar with the process. This is the first in a series of articles that will provide an overview for each of the steps involved: GCSEs, A levels, Vet Schools and University Applications
This article below provides detailed information on masters in veterinary pharmacy, masters in veterinary nursing and veterinary graduate programs.
You’ll also find many helpful information on easiest vet school to get into uk, how to become a vet and best vet schools uk on Collegelearners.
How To Get Into Vet School UK
Veterinary students are pretty unique – the vet course is a demanding one academically, physically and emotionally, but there are some great rewards as well!
Once at vet school you will step into a wonderful world and profession filled with opportunities you never knew existed.
You will be surrounded by a community of crazily passionate people that will help and support you through your time at vet school and long into your professional career.
In this section of our website we have gathered together some useful resources for any budding veterinary students and have tried to provide a student perspective on the process of admissions and life at vet school.
There is vast amounts of information out there on ‘how to get into vet school’, but it is vital remember that there is no perfect formula or one type of candidate that the admissions boards are looking for. Vet students are a diverse bunch of people from all over the place, each with their own story as to why and how they ended up studying at veterinary school.
The 2 main components that everyone’s applications will include are:
- A good academic record
- Academic requirements change regularly so make sure you check the university websites for their own academic entry requirements. Links to each of the individual school websites can be found on our committee page.
- Work experience
- It is important to have a good variety of work experience in order to show your dedication and enthusiasm for the career. Try seeing practice at your local veterinary surgery or working at stables, farms, kennels/catteries, zoos or abattoirs.
- Not only does work experience look impressive on you application, it will stand you in good stead for the practical components of the course.
- REMEMBER! It’s not always about the volume! What you learnt from a placement is far more important than how much you did. There is no point in spending 4 weeks at a vet surgery if you didn’t gain anything from the experience.
- For more information on how to find placements and how to get the most out of them, have a peek at the following site.
Best Veterinary Schools in the UK
You may think of Veterinary as an unpopular profession, but the benefits of being a veterinarian are actually limitless. You’ll face less tough competition in the job market, there will be numerous settings where you can work and your earnings will surely be satisfying. Besides this, you will get an emotional fulfillment when you’re able to care for animal welfare.
The UK has some of the best veterinary schools in the world and if you have been looking which of them are at the top then look no more. Below are the nine best UK veterinary schools:
- Royal Veterinary College, University of London
- University of Cambridge
- University of Liverpool
- The University of Edinburgh
- University of Glasgow
- University of Bristol
- University of Nottingham
- University of Surrey
- University of Central Lancashire
Royal Veterinary College, University of London
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Founded in 1791, the Royal Veterinary College part of the University of London is the largest, longest established and one of the best veterinary schools in the whole UK. It offers a set of undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD study programs in veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing. These programs are offered at its four departments:
- Comparative Biomedical Studies
- Clinical Science and Services
- Pathobiology and Population Sciences
- Professional Services
As a specialized research institution, it gives its students the opportunity to seek a real-life experience of a veterinary professional in a number of hospitals including here the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. The veterinary degree at this university leads students to become a veterinary medical, a veterinary scientist, research scientist and veterinary nurse.
University of Cambridge
Being one of the oldest and most renowned universities in the UK, the school of Veterinary at the University of Cambridge has established itself to become a reputed veterinary school. At this place, you’re about to learn from the best professionals who know precisely how to address every challenge you’ll have through your studies. Students can attend a five-year Veterinary Medicine course, a Postgraduate Research course or a Clinical Training Scholarships. With a degree in Veterinary Medicine course you’ll become a veterinary, but if you want to take your academic qualifications a step further you can take a postgraduate research course leading you to some higher qualifications. You can seek an MPhil, a PhD or Doctor of Veterinary Science (VetMD). Its study programs are organized so as to gradually prepare you as a future veterinary practitioner by conducting practical courses in a real hospital setting. The University puts a greater emphasis on research activity for those students who want to get deeper into their studies. Veterinary Research activity at this School covers three main themes: Infection & immunity, Disease Dynamics, and Systems Pathology.
University of Liverpool
The Institute of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool is a leading veterinary school boasting attractive study programs and brilliant facilities. This school claims to be the first Vet school in the UK to have joined a University and to award a degree in veterinary science. At the undergraduate level, these courses are available for students:
- Foundation to Health and Veterinary Studies (Year “0”)
- Veterinary Conservation Medicine Intercalated Honours BSc
- Veterinary Science BVSc
At the postgraduate level, you’ll have a lot more options
- Surgical Veterinary
- Veterinary Physiotherapy
- Veterinary Business Management
- Veterinary Science
- Veterinary Nurse CPD
The Research sector at the Insitute of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liverpool is internationally known for its scientific contribution. Counting 70 researchers at its staff divided into seven flexible groups, the research activity is an integral part of this university excellence. Their ties with specialized research centers from all around the world, like Infection and Global Health, Ageing and Chronic Disease, Integrative Biology and Translational Medicine will reward you with the opportunity to take part in big collaborative projects.
The University of Edinburgh
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary at the University of Edinburgh is one of the most appealing veterinary schools in the UK and beyond. In the last Guardian University Guide 2019 this school took the top spot as the best veterinary school in the country. Their promise is to provide students with an outstanding education in compliance with the cutting-edge scientific achievements.
The main route of becoming a veterinary surgeon at this university is by taking a five-year Bachelor course. If you have previously attained a degree in a related field, in biology or animal sciences than you’re allowed to enroll in a fast-track Bachelor program which lasts only 4 years.
At the postgraduate level the university offers the following programs:
- MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare
- MSc in Animal Bioscience
- International MSc Infectious Diseases and One Health (Erasmus Mundus Collaborative Programme)
An important note: The university offers a wide range of online and part-time postgraduate courses.
- Clinical Veterinary Sciences
- Developmental Biology
- Genetics and Genomic
- Infection and Immunity
University of Glasgow
School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow is one of the leading veterinary schools in UK, highly valued for its teaching and research, and sought after by many international scholars and academics. The School claims only one of the four vet schools in Europe to have received an accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association for its undergraduate study programs. At the undergraduate level, you can seek a degree in Veterinary Biosciences or Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. Meanwhile, at the postgraduate level you got a lot more options to select among:
PhD Research Programmes:
- Veterinary epidemiology
- Advanced veterinary diagnostic imaging
- Equine infectious disease
- Equine, ruminant and poultry nutrition
- Veterinary Microbiology
- Small animal endocrinology, nutrition and obesity
- Veterinary reproduction
- Veterinary Neurology
- Veterinary oncology
- Veterinary pathology
- Veterinary public health
- Small animal cardiology
Currently, the Master taught program is not running.
University of Bristol
The Veterinary School at the University of Bristol is committed to offering a first-rate teaching and an enjoyable studying experience. Its campus is located 14 miles south Bristol in the village of Langford and it comprises an area of 225 hectares. This has made it possible for the university to establish a lot of modern facilities around the campus for educational purposes and to make students feel home during their studies. As it stands, the Vet School of the University of Bristol offers three undergraduate courses and one Taught Master program.
- Veterinary Science
- Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Science
- Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour
- MSc Global Wildlife Health and Conservation
Also, there is a bunch of postgraduate research and clinical training programs available at this school.
University of Nottingham
Dedicated to providing an excellent education, both theoretically and practically, the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham is a remarkable vet school. It offers three-degree courses with award-winning curriculum and teaching methods. These three courses have an approval by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and include the followings:
- Veterinary Medicine and Surgery including a Preliminary Year – BVM BVS with BVMed Sci
- Veterinary Medicine and Surgery – BVM BVS with BVMed Sci
- Veterinary Medicine and Surgery including Gateway Year – BVM BVS with BVMed Sci
University of Surrey
The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey is the newest vet school in the UK. However, with its high quality of education, the institution has set itself as one of the best veterinary schools in the whole country. Their aim is to inspire and prepare future veterinarians who will be able to respond with dignity and professionalism to their duties. The university has widened and strengthened its network of cooperation with many clinical, industrial and research settings have opened unique opportunities for its students for their students. The Surrey’s vet school is divided into two departments: Department of Veterinary Epidemiology & Public Health and Department of Veterinary Preclinical Sciences. You can seek one of the following degrees at this school:
- Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons)
- Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons)
- Veterinary Microbiology MSc
- Postgraduate research:
- Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD
University of Central Lancashire
The University of Central Lancashire, established in 1828 and nowadays is one of the most populated universities in the UK approaching 38,000 students. In its portfolio of more than 400 undergraduate and 200 postgraduate programs, the university offers some attractive veterinary degree courses. At this university you can seek one of the following vet degrees:
- Clinical Veterinary Nursing, BSc (Hons)
- Clinical Veterinary Nursing, DIPHE
- Veterinary Nursing, BSc (Hons)
- Veterinary Nursing, FDSC
how to become a vet
OUTLINING 8 STEPS TO BECOME A VETERINARIAN
Everyone has a different journey, but we have identified the common steps you will need. You can use the list of eight steps below as your guide to help you plan your path to becoming a veterinarian.
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE
Most veterinary schools expect students to complete a bachelor’s degree, which needs to include specific courses. You can research prerequisite requirements using the Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR) and ask a counselor for guidance.
2. GAIN AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS POSSIBLE
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) 2019–2020 data report shows most applicants have spent hundreds of hours working with animals, and many schools emphasize work performed under the supervision of a veterinarian. Internships and job shadowing are a few good options. According to Dr. Lori Pasternak, a veterinarian and cofounder of Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care, the more variety the better.
Gathering a diverse range of experiences is also a good way to find out if veterinary medicine is the right path for you. “You must love animals, of course, but a love of science, service, teamwork, and compassionate care are equally required,” Dr. Pasternak says.
“A love of science, service, teamwork, and compassionate care are equally required.”
Also consider getting involved in extracurricular activities. “Students should also look into joining a pre-vet club or organization at their undergraduate university,” says Dr. Danel Grimmett, a veterinarian at Sunset Veterinary Clinic. “These types of clubs offer support and education regarding preparing for veterinary school.” Some colleges even offer internships based at animal hospitals and zoos.
3. APPLY TO VETERINARY PROGRAMS
It’s critical to focus on performing well in your course prerequisites in addition to gaining plenty of animal and veterinary experience before applying to DVM programs. “Another benefit to getting hands-on experience is working with veterinarians who can write you a glowing recommendation for veterinary school,” Dr. Pasternak says.
Additionally, set aside plenty of time to work on writing your vet school essay, obtaining letters of recommendation, and completing program-specific requirements before submitting applications through the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). This service allows you to easily distribute your application to multiple schools at the same time.
If you’re lucky enough to gain acceptance to more than one program, you’ll need to think carefully about which one best fits your needs. Dr. Pasternak notes that you should pay particular attention to schools that focus on clinical and communication skills. You may want to get in touch with current students at schools you’re considering to gather some of this information.
4. OBTAIN YOUR DVM
A typical doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) program curriculum spans four years. You’ll likely spend your first two years completing coursework in classes and labs. Programs usually start with basic science classes, then move toward focusing more on biological systems like neurology.
School curriculums vary, but it’s common to start gaining practical experience outside of labs and lecture halls during your third year. This was the case for Dr. Grimmett. “The third year was more clinically focused, still with significant classroom time,” she explains. You’ll spend your final year of veterinary medical school completing clinical rotations to gain practical, hands-on experience working with patients.
5. STUDY FOR AND PASS THE NAVLE
The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) is the most important test you’ll take on the road to becoming a veterinarian, because you must earn a passing score in order to practice. You’ll want to devise a study strategy to ensure you’re prepared because cramming won’t cut it.
“Use the four years to actually learn and understand,” Dr. Grimmett advises. “Don’t just study for the test.”
“Use the four years to actually learn and understand. Don’t just study for the test.”
You might also consider bolstering your regular study habits with programs designed for NAVLE preparation. There are resources that include practice questions, mock tests, and more.
You can sit the exam in the fall or spring of your senior year. Though some students like to wait until the spring to allow more time for preparation, many prefer to take the NAVLE during the fall so they have the option to retake it if necessary. That said, students who have spent their time absorbing material and building their skills stand a good chance of performing well.
6. COMPLETE ANY ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
You may need to complete additional steps depending on where you want to practice. Make sure to contact the correct provincial regulatory body in Canada or state regulatory board in the US to find out which specific requirements you need to meet. For instance, US students who attended an international school may need to obtain certification through the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG).
7. PURSUE FURTHER TRAINING IF DESIRED
Veterinary school graduates are able to begin practicing immediately after graduating and obtaining their licenses. Some prefer to pursue internships or complete a residency that will provide additional mentorship, training, and enable them to receive board certification in a specialty field. Other graduates may find they gain more confidence by starting to practice right away.
“I believe there is more value to learning by simply jumping in and doing,” Dr. Pasternak says. “It takes guts and a certain amount of confidence, but it advances learning.”
8. BEGIN YOUR VETERINARY CAREER
You’re free to begin practicing at this point, but make sure you’ve planned to start your career search well in advance. “Don’t wait until the last month of your senior year to begin your job hunt,” Dr. Grimmett warns.
You can start your search by utilizing veterinary specific job boards, reaching out to the veterinarians you know personally, or even seeking help from a recruiter. It’s also a good idea to keep an open mind.
“One of the great things about being a veterinarian is the ability to be able to practice in such a wide-ranging field,” Dr. Grimmett notes.