Studying Veterinary Programmes in the UK
The veterinary profession in the UK has a long history which began with the establishment of the first veterinary school in London in 1791. The profession has come a long way since those early days, when interests were largely centred on horses because of the needs of the Army. The UK now has a thriving and diverse veterinary community which has varied and important duties to safeguard the health and welfare of animals and public health. This presents a huge range of career opportunities to qualified vets and makes this country a great place to study.
There are currently seven universities in the UK offering veterinary degrees that are accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (the governing body of the veterinary profession in the UK, with which all vets that wish to practise in the UK must be registered). These are Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (the Royal Veterinary College) and Nottingham. The University of Surrey also offers a veterinary degree and took its first cohort of veterinary students in 2014. This new course is undergoing an approval process in time for its first graduates in 2019.
Degree courses are five years in length (six years at some schools) and entry requirements, both in terms of subjects and grades required, vary from school to school. However, all applicants are expected to show their commitment to the profession by having gained relevant work experience, for example in a practice, on a farm, in kennels or at an animal rescue centre. Fees will also vary from school to school, but international students from outside the European Union need to expect to pay up to around £38,000 per year for tuition and will need to budget for living costs, which can cost a further £7-10, 000 per year.
A veterinary degree not only gives you the opportunity to work in clinical practice, but can be a passport to a range of other careers, at home and abroad. For example, you could end up in scientific research, the pharmaceutical or animal nutrition industries, travelling abroad on wildlife projects, working in government to maintain biosecurity and public health, in referral practice dealing with specialist cases in high-tech environments or as a lecturer or researcher in a university.
A UK veterinary degree will enable you to practise as a vet in the UK and in places further afield such as Australia and New Zealand. Some vet schools are also accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, putting graduates on the same footing as students studying in the USA and Canada.
Veterinary students are taught by leading academics who share their research through their teaching and schools invest heavily in the latest equipment and facilities for their students. There is a strong emphasis on clinical and practical teaching, and all students have to complete a period of Extra-Mural Studies as part of their degree. These work placements are undertaken in a range of veterinary contexts and their aim is to allow students to gain first-hand experience of the breadth of the veterinary role and how vets operate in ‘real-life’.
Studying in the UK will give you the opportunity to experience its culture. The veterinary schools are located in or near some of its most vibrant cities and you will have access to beautiful and varied countryside. The UK has something for everyone and whether your interest is music, history, sport, art, theatre or cinema, you will find it here!
If you would like to find out more, visit the veterinary school websites or http://www.educationuk.org/global/.
Head of Veterinary Education
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons