Applying to university
The number of high-quality applications for entry to university veterinary schools far exceeds the number of places available. You need to be aware, therefore, that even if you meet the entry requirements, you are not necessarily guaranteed a place.
All applications from school leavers, mature students, graduates (except in the case of Cambridge) and overseas students for places on veterinary degree courses at UK universities must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). For further information, contact the Secretary of UCAS, Fulton House, Jessop Avenue, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3SH, or visit www.ucas.com.
UCAS publishes an annual guidance handbook to assist in completing the application form. Applications are made approximately one year in advance. Applicants for entry to Cambridge must also submit, at an early stage, a preliminary application form direct to the college of their choice within that university or an open application to the Cambridge InterCollegiate Applications Office. You will only be able to list four veterinary schools on your UCAS form. The remaining two choices should be for non-veterinary degrees.
University entry requirements
There are variations between the entrance requirements for different veterinary schools and therefore you must check the requirements very carefully in the individual university prospectuses. Prospectuses can be obtained free of charge direct from the universities or can be viewed on their websites.
In general terms, the entry requirements of the university veterinary schools are as follows:
Chemistry must be offered at A-level. The requirement for other subjects varies a little from university to university, but either one or two subjects from Biology, Physics or Mathematics should be offered. Those universities which accept Chemistry and either Biology, Physics or Mathematics will accept a third A-level in a non-science subject, but it must be an academically sound subject. The grades generally expected are two A's and a B (Usually requiring an A in Chemistry)
Some universities accept AS levels, but precise requirements can vary. Normally, 2 AS levels will be accepted in lieu of 1 A level, except in Chemistry where a full A level is required.
Chemistry must be offered and generally two subjects from Biology, Physics or Mathematics. The grades generally expected are AAABB.
Applicants are normally advised to proceed to the Sixth Year and include CSYS Chemistry and Biology or Physics in their subjects.
You must meet the general entrance requirements of the university. Most universities require you to have at least a grade C pass in English Language. Where A-level Biology or Physics is not offered, that subject or the equivalent (double award) should usually have been studied to GCSE level.
All of the university veterinary schools require applicants to show evidence of their interest and commitment by having gained experience of working in a veterinary practice and working with and handling animals including livestock. However, practical experience is not a substitute for academic qualifications.
There are seven universities in the UK offering veterinary degrees approved by the RCVS.
These are Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (the Royal Veterinary College) and Nottingham. The degree courses are five years in length (six years at Cambridge).
Holders of the veterinary degree awarded by these seven UK universities may register and become a member of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) which is the governing body of the profession in the United Kingdom.
Every veterinary surgeon has an obligation to deal with emergencies in any species at any time. Anyone contemplating a career in veterinary practice should remember this. It is a 24-hour service, 365 days a year.