What is the MSc in Veterinary Education?

The MSc in Veterinary Education is a unique part-time programme designed to promote educational excellence in the field of veterinary education. Developed by experts at the RVC's prestigious LIVE Centre, the programme can be studied as a distance learner, face-to-face at the Hawkshead campus, Hertfordshire, or using a combination of the two delivery modes. It is a flexible programme of study aimed at:

  •  Professionals who are involved in the delivery of education and training in the veterinary or para-veterinary sectors at either further education, undergraduate and/or postgraduate levels
  •  Practising veterinary surgeons and other para-veterinary professionals involved in workplace training.

The programme comprises five separate, progressive courses.Students can begin and end their studies at a point that suits their previous experience, qualifications and career aspirations.

Vet Ed Programme Structure

All courses will equip you with the skills to develop your own performance as a reflective practitioner, and to provide an enhanced learning experience to anyone you teach or train. The programme is accredited by the Higher Education Academy and on successful completion of the course students become AFHEA (Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy) or FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy), depending on their level of study.

For further information please email: mscvetedu@rvc.ac.uk or phone 01707 666438.

Principles and Practice in Veterinary Education I (PPVE I)

The Principles and Practice in Veterinary Education I course is designed to facilitate the development of staff who undertake a relatively small range of teaching and learning support activity. This course is ideal for early career researchers with some teaching responsibilities, PhD students, staff new to teaching with part-time academic responsibilities, staff who support academic provision such as learning technologists, learning developers, library staff and staff who have a demonstrator or laboratory technician role. On successful completion of this part of the programme, graduates automatically become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). The course comprises 20 credits and consists of five units of study:

  • Student learning
  • Teaching methods
  • Developing learning materials
  • Developing skills
  • Assessing student learning

Principles and Practice in Veterinary Education II (PPVE II)

The aim of Principles and Practice in Veterinary Education II is to enhance the professional development of educators in veterinary and para-veterinary sectors. This course is ideal for staff new to higher level education teaching who want to achieve FHEA status (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy), the entry level now required by many UK universities and higher level education institutions. On successful completion of this part of the programme, graduates automatically become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). The course comprises 40 credits and consists of seven units of study:

  • Student learning
  • Teaching methods
  • Developing learning materials
  • Developing skills
  • Assessing student learning
  • Integrated curriculum
  • Evaluating and improving practice

Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education 

The Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education aims to facilitate skills and knowledge in all areas of teaching and assessment, to maintain evidence based professional practice, and to develop competent and reflective practitioners. Students wishing to progress to the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc must first complete the Postgraduate Certificate (or HEA/APEL equivalent). On successful completion of this part of the programme, graduates automatically become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). The Postgraduate Certificate comprises 60 credits and consists of ten units of study, structured within two modules:

Module 1 - Principles and Practice in Veterinary Education.

This module provides a broad overview of the key principles which underpin professional education and the units of study are:

  • Student learning
  • Teaching methods
  • Integrated curriculum
  • Evaluating and improving practice
  • Assessing student learning

Module 2 - Current Perspectives in Veterinary Education

This module provides a broad overview of five topical issues in education at HE level and how these are relevant to practice in veterinary and para-veterinary education. The units of study are:

  • Developing educational strategies
  • Self-regulated learners
  • Developing skills
  • Developing learning materials
  • Evaluating educational literature

Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Education

The Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Education comprises four optional modules of 15 credits each, chosen from:

  • Enhancing teaching and learning with technology
  • Teaching the basic sciences in a clinical context
  • Assessment, feedback and learning
  • Clinical reasoning and patient-based teaching
  • Small group teaching
  • Lecturing and large group teaching
  • Evidence-based veterinary education
  • Educational research methods – qualitative and quantitative

MSc in Veterinary Education

The MSc in Veterinary Education comprises two compulsory modules:

  • Research project (45 credits)
  • AND Educational Research methods – Qualitative and Quantitative (15 credits)

(Students who have already taken Educational Research methods – Qualitative and Quantitative as part of the PG Diploma must choose another 15 credit module from the above list that has not been taken as part of the PG Diploma).

What will I learn?

On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate educational theories, methods and practice which can be applied to Veterinary Education
  • Develop, design and deliver courses and programmes using a wide range of appropriate course development and delivery tools
  • Appraise curriculum design and models to ensure that teaching methods comply with standards and quality appropriate to the level of skill development
  • Select and use appropriate assessment and evaluation strategies to ensure that learning outcomes are met
  • Identify, critically assess and address the emerging needs of the training requirements to match the demands of the local provision
  • Adopt new teaching technologies to maximize skill development
  • Be a reflective and self-evaluative practitioner
  • Critically appraise research in veterinary and related educational fields, and develop skills to undertake qualitative and quantitative research using appropriate methodologies
  • Continue to develop independent and lifelong learning skills to promote your own personal and professional development as a veterinary educator, researcher and leader.

Programme delivery

Beginning in September, the programme is delivered part time, over a period of 4 months to six calendar years (depending on your level of study), and has a flexible structure, designed to give you multiple entry and exit points.

We have devised two modes of delivery:

  • Mixed mode - a mixture of face-to-face study days with online discussions and support plus some compulsory workshops
  • Distance learning - you will study in your own time online, using the RVC VLE and other virtual learning tools, and are not required to attend any workshops.

Academic qualifications

Course Prior Qualification Needed
PPVE I No prior qualification is needed 
PPVE II No prior qualification is needed
PG Certificate University degree OR
Equivalent educational experience acceptable to the University of London
PG Diploma PG Certificate in Higher Education OR
HEA/APEL accreditation (check your eligibility for FHEA status on the HE Academy site)
MSc PG Diploma in Veterinary Education

English language requirements

A good working knowledge of scientific English is essential in order to follow the course. All applicants must have an acceptable English Language qualification:

  • IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 or above with minimum 6.5 in each component

For those without IELTS, please see our English Language Requirements page for a full list of qualifications we will accept as alternatives.

PLEASE NOTE: All teaching observation sessions MUST be presented in English.

What will I be able to do with my qualification?

The MSc programme appeals to a broad range of individuals from a wide variety of veterinary professions. For example, as well as those aiming to build a career in higher level education or academia, course participants have included animal welfare education officers, veterinary pharmaceutical company representatives, veterinary librarians, practising veterinarians, veterinary nurses and many more. Approximately half of our students are UK based with the remainder studying as distance learners from USA, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Hong Kong, Sri-Lanka and Kenya, amongst others.

What our students say:

  "I speak on behalf of all students that we are so appreciative of how receptive you are to our comments and recommendations. It's a wonderful feeling to collaboratively push this program to higher levels of excellence."

Karen Kolber 2015 PG Certificate participant

  "Since starting the postgraduate course in veterinary education I feel I am more engaged in the learning experience of my students. I feel I am helping change students into life-long learners and as I reflect on the changes I experience, I feel I am able to accompany them in their journey, which parallels mine".

Rick Sanchez 2013 PG Certificate graduate

  "I think the teaching observation process works very well. The Skype discussion was very useful and helped me identify those areas that went well and those that could be improved. I thought the teaching observation process was one of the most influential parts of the course.  It was the most practical aspect and advice given could be directly applied afterwards.  It was very useful’. 

Kerry Henry, 2011 PG Certificate graduate 

  “This distance learning course fits my lifestyle very well. I can study from work, home, or at a coffee shop. The course moves fast enough to keep me on track, but allows me to take my time doing the readings and interpreting them. I also appreciate the forward-thinking-ness of the forum postings. I have taken distance learning courses before and many times they just say "post your thoughts" where here often there are reflective questions to answer.”“The RVC’s Vet Ed Certificate programme supported my continuing development as an educator on many levels. In the short term it provided a number of new approaches which could be deployed quickly to improve my current teaching. On a deeper level it challenged my thinking around what effective higher education is and how I can respond to the evolving needs of students”. 

David Liss, 2012 PG Certificate course participant

  “The RVC's Vet Ed Certificate programme supported my continuing development as an educator on many levels. In the short term it provided a number of new approaches which could be deployed quickly to improve my current teaching. On a deeper level it challenged my thinking around what effective higher education is and how I can respond to the evolving needs of students".

James Gazzard, 2011 PG Certificate graduate

  "...reflective activity has allowed me to learn how to improve my teaching more than a simple teaching-craft course would have taught me.”

Angel Sebio 2011 PG Certificate graduate

Key academic staff

The programme utilises the expertise of, not only RVC staff and lecturers, but also lecturers and consultants from outside the college, bringing a wealth of experience and perspective from other institutions.

Dr Ayona Silva-Fletcher: Co-Course Director, Associate Professor of Veterinary Education

Department of Clinical Sciences and Services

Mr Kim Whittlestone: Co- Course Director, Senior Lecturer in Independent Learning

Department of Clinical Sciences and Services

Professor Stephen May: Deputy Principal, Academic Director LIVE Centre, Professor of Equine Medicine and Surgery

Department of Clinical Sciences and Services

Dr Matthew Pead: Module Leader

Department of Clinical Sciences and Services

Dr Nigel Goode: Module Leader

Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Mr Christopher Butcher: Module Leader

Kirsty Magnier: Senior Distance Learning Programme Developer

Lucy Jackson: Course Administrator


How much time do I need to spend studying?

This is a part-time programme. Notional study time for each part of the programme is shown in the table below. Notional study time includes time spent on preparation for workshop days, time spent at workshop days, reading online materials and undertaking online activities, online discussions, wider reading, developing teaching-based activities associated with your own work, reflections and completing written assignments.

Course Notional study time Credits
PPVE I 200 hours 20
PPVE II 400 hours 40
PG Certificate 600 hours 60
PG Diploma 600 hours 60
MSc 600 hours 60

Is there tutorial support?

Yes. You will be assigned to a tutor who is available by email and telephone/video conference to help you with any problems you may have.

How much feedback will I get?

Students will receive regular feedback, both formal and informal, throughout the programme. Feedback may be written, in person or via online conference or video links. The aim of the programme is to enable students to develop as reflective practitioners primarily through the use of formative assessment.

Is there a practical element to the course?

Yes. The programme is a combination of theoretical study and practical assignments. For example, as part of the PG Certificate you will do a Teaching Observation i.e. you will be expected to teach a lesson in English to English-speaking students; successful completion of this task is mandatory in order to pass the PG Certificate. So, you will need to consider if you will be able to teach in English at your current place of work. If this is problematic, we can sometimes offer Distance Learners the opportunity to teach here at the RVC in England but travel to and from the RVC will be at your own expense.  

How are teaching observations conducted?

The objective of teaching observations is to assess how you plan, execute and self-critique a typical teaching session, whether that is a large group lecture, a small group discussion or a practical demonstration. You will be asked to film yourself whilst teaching and then write an analysis of how the session went. The video and the analysis will then be marked by your tutor who will provide feedback, either face to face or via Skype.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment for each part of the course involves a combination of formative and summative written assignments, as well as practical assignments. In all cases, assessments have been designed to incorporate the learner’s own work requirements and facilitate reflective practice.

I am not a native English speaker. Can I still take this course?  

Yes, but you will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English, including scientific usage and comprehension. You will be required to achieve an overall score of 7.0 in IELTS (Academic) with a minimum of 6.5 in each sub-test; or a TOEFL score of at least 93 (internet-based test with no element below 23), or 580 (paper-based test plus 4.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE)/Essay rating).   PLEASE NOTE: All teaching observation sessions MUST be presented in English (also see FAQ “Is there a practical element to the course?”).  

What sort of research projects do students undertake?

A research project is compulsory as part of the MSc phase of the programme. The project must have an educational significance and be feasible to conduct within a 9-month period. An RVC supervisor will be allocated and students will be given guidance on developing the project and planning the research.

I have not studied for some years; will I be supported in returning to study?

Students receive support from their tutor and other teaching colleagues throughout the programme and full consideration will be given to those returning to study after a prolonged period. Access to RVC study skills guidance will also be available for students wishing to brush up on their approach to study.

What happens if I want to take a study break?

The RVC team, administrators as well as teaching staff, are available at all times to help you with any problems that you may have. However, if for any reason, you need to take a break from your studies, you will need to formally request a deferral. Deferral will be subject to compliance with the RVC College Regulations and Procedures (copies available on request).

Is this a Masters qualification that is recognised internationally?

The RVC is part of the University of London and therefore the Masters qualification will be from the University of London with the Lead College being named as the RVC. The RVC is the only school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, RCVS, EAEVE and AVBC. Further details regarding the international status of this qualification in the USA can be found here: http://www.mastersdegreeonline.org/masters-degree-online-accredited/

What does AFHEA and FHEA mean; are these only relevant to the UK?

AFHEA (Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy) and FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy) are both part of the UK Higher Education Academy professional recognition scheme. This scheme provides national recognition of your commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education and demonstrates that your practice is aligned with the UK PSF (UK Professional Standards Framework). It provides an indicator of professional identity for higher education practitioners, including the entitlement to use post-nominal letters; as such it is a portable asset, that has UK-wide relevance and which is increasingly recognised by higher and further education institutions.

Do you have a range of professions and nationalities represented in the student body?

Students come from a variety of backgrounds, both in terms of profession and nationality. Professions include academics from further and higher education, veterinary nursing and veterinary pharmaceuticals. Approximately half of the current PG Certificate cohort is Distance Learners, who come from a number of overseas locations including Hong Kong, Australia, USA and Europe.

Can credits from sections of the degree be transferred to other qualifications?

Not at the moment.  

Are the modules ECTS rated?

No, the modules are not ECTS rated. However the typical conversion from UK CATS credits to ECTS is 2 -2.5:1, so the 60 credits of the PG Certificate will be equivalent to 20 -30 ECTS, but this has not been established.

What Level of qualification is this?

This is a Level 7 qualification, as described in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, see Table 1 on page 10 of the following link   http://www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Documents/FHEQ08.pdf.        

Tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2016/17 and Existing 2015/16 are as follows:

Course Prior qualification needed Minimum study period Maximum study period Course structure Notional study time Credits 2015/16 Fees 2016/17 Fees
Principles and Practice I No prior qualification needed 4 months 2 years 5 compulsory themes 200 hours 20 £1,045 £1,090
Principles and Practice II No prior qualification needed 1 year 2 years 7 compulsory themes 400 hours 40

£1,990

(Full module)

£890

(without Principles & Practice I)

£2,090

(Full module)

£1,045

(without Principles & Practice I)

PG Certificate University degree OR equivalent educational experience acceptable to the University of London 1 year 2 years 2 compulsory modules* 600 hours 60

£2,830

(Full module)

£1,730

(without Principles & Practice I)

£2,980

(Full module)

£1,935 

(without Principles & Practice I

PG Diploma PG Certificate in Higher Education or HEA/APEL accreditation 1 year 3 years 4 optional modules** 600 hours 60 £2,830 £2,980
MSc PG Diploma in Veterinary Education 1 year 2 years Research project plus 1 optional module 600 hours 60 £2,830 £2,980
MSc Total   3 years 6 years       £8,500*** £8,925***

*each module consists of five themes

** choose from eight modules

***a 10% discount is applied if fees for the full programme are paid in advance. 

Funding Options

Canadian Student Loans

The Royal Veterinary College is not involved in processing your application for a loan, however we can confirm your student status; please direct your queries to the Financialaidoffice@rvc.ac.uk

For an overview of the financial aid process for Canadian students, please visit the Campus Access website

Students should apply through their provincial student assistance office or website. When you apply for a loan, you are considered for funding by both the Provincial and Federal Government, meaning you only have to apply once for funding for the year. Federal loans are processed via the National Student Loans Service Centre and provincial loans through the provincial governments and student aid branches.

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