What is the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine?

The Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) is a full-time five-year undergraduate degree programme that will qualify you to practice as a veterinarian.

The RVC, University of London, is the first veterinary school in the UK, and the only one world-wide, to achieve full accreditation by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and full recognition by the UK's Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), as well as a reciprocal arrangement between the RCVS and the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc (AVBC). This status is recognised throughout the world and qualifies our graduates to practice in Europe, North America and other countries such as Australia and New Zealand - a real advantage for those looking to develop an international career.

The course is split between the RVC's London and Hertfordshire campuses. As well as studying the latest theory and practice, you can expect plenty of practical ‘hands on’ experience, taught by leading experts in their field. The result is a unique degree course that will equip you for life for a range of careers in veterinary medicine and beyond.

Our students come from many different schools, backgrounds and countries, all sharing common goals – a strong ambition to succeed in the veterinary field and a passion for animal welfare. We welcome applications from all individuals with great potential and the dedication to commit to the course and succeed in the veterinary profession. We demand high levels of motivation and, in return, promise a rich and rewarding experience during your time with us.

What will I learn?

During the programme you will learn, among other things:

  • An understanding of the basic biological principles of normal body function and disease
  • The ability to distinguish the pathological from the normal
  • The ability to prevent disease and safely manage the processes of animal production
  • The expertise to diagnose and treat disease and alleviate suffering
  • The professional skills you need to work and communicate effectively with your colleagues and the public
  • Critical business and communication skills
  • To be a lifelong learner - an essential attribute in a rapidly changing world.

Programme delivery

Veterinary medicine is first and foremost a scientific discipline, but wherever possible the science will be presented in the context of its clinical relevance, so you have a clear understanding of where it all leads.

Our course offers a wide range of stimulating teaching and learning methods designed to equip you with the confidence and skills for a fulfilling career in veterinary medicine. You'll be taught by some of the UK's most prominent veterinary scientists in an environment of cutting-edge veterinary research. Sessions will include:

  • Clinical skills development
  • Directed learning sessions
  • Dissections
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials (some of which involve live animals)
  • Computer-based MCQs
  • Practical classes (in the laboratory and at our working farm)
  • Research projects (as coursework)
  • Work experience placements

Course content and structure

We teach the curriculum from a comparative perspective. We use only one or two species – primarily the dog – to illustrate many aspects of the basic and clinical sciences, but we teach so that you will learn principles that can be applied to other common species.

In the more clinical parts of the course, much of the teaching will focus on common cases that you will encounter in veterinary practice, and on cases that will help you to understand the most important clinical principles. Teaching of Special Species (exotics, wildlife, birds, fish, etc.) is integrated into the mainstream teaching of body systems.

For further details of the course content and assessment download the Course Outline (Programme Specification).

You will need to fulfill our requirements in each of the following areas to be considered for interview:

Academic qualifications

The minimum academic requirements for entry to the BVetMed programme are outlined below. 

A-Levels

Three A2 subjects:

  • Biology/Human Biology at grade A 
  • Chemistry at grade A 
  • One other subject of your choice (excluding General Studies) preferably at grade A (no lower than grade B).

We support the opportunity to take additional subjects at AS-level, but do not prescribe or prefer any particular subject choices or combinations.

  • Our standard offer for A-Level students is AAA. For 2015 entry the RVC will not be requiring A* grades and predictions for A* will not give advantage at selection or offer stage over applicants predicted A.
  • The third A2 subject should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry, and cannot be General Studies.
  • There is no third subject which is preferred by selectors or gives any special advantage in the selection process. Science and non-science subject are treated equally for the third subject.
  • Restrictions apply to re-sits to all qualifications - see 'Does it count against me….’ below.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Diplomas and Further Certificates (including BTECs and Access)

14-19 Diplomas

Advanced Diplomas will be considered in addition to A-levels in Biology (or Human Biology) and Chemistry at AA grade.

Access to HE Diploma

Diplomas must be Science based and include a minimum of 15 Level 3 credits in Biology and 15 Level 3 credits in Chemistry. You must have Distinctions in all Biology and Chemistry modules taken.

See the Access to Higher Education website to search for possible courses in your area.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Birkbeck College's CertHE in Life Sciences for Subjects Allied to Medicine

Distinctions must be achieved in the Chemistry and Biology modules.

See the Birkbeck website for further details.

Students must demonstrate numeracy and literacy through the following:

  • GCSEs grade C or higher in Maths and English Language
  • OR achieving Key Skills Level 2 in Application of Number and Communication or Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English 
  • OR by otherwise demonstrating that these subjects have been studied at a higher academic level (at Level 3 or in Higher Education, or for English with a high score in section 3 of BMAT).

BTEC National Diploma in Animal Management (old BTEC syllabus for students who started this qualification before 2010)

DDD (Distinctions) overall required including Distinctions in all of the following units:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • Biochemistry and Microbiology in Animal Management
  • Scientific Investigation in Animal Management
  • Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians OR Fundamentals of Science.

See additional GCSE requirements.

BTEC or City & Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management (NEW syllabus: for students who started this qualification in 2010 onwards)

DDD (Distinctions) overall required, including Distinctions in all the following units:

  • Understand the Principles of Animal Nutrition
  • Understand the Principles and Carry Out the Practice of Biochemistry and Microbiology 
  • Understand the Principles of Inheritance and Genetic Manipulation 
  • Fundamentals of Science 
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians OR Understand the Principles of Chemistry for Biological and Medical Science

See additional GCSE requirements.

Alternative requirements for Extended Diploma students not satisfying normal GCSE requirements:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade B including the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Science double awards), Mathematics and English Language (or the Functional Skills Level 2 equivalents for Maths and English) plus AS Level Chemistry at grade A.

BTEC National Diploma/Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science

DDD (Distinctions) overall required, including Distinctions in all the following units:

  • Genetics and Genetics Engineering
  • Physiology of Human Body Systems AND/OR Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproduction
  • Biochemistry and Biochemical Techniques AND/OR Chemistry for Biology Technicians
  • Biomedical Science Techniques AND/OR Chemical Laboratory Techniques
  •  Using Statistics in Science AND/OR Informatics in Science

See additional GCSE requirements.

Alternative requirements for Extended Diploma students not satisfying normal GCSE requirements:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade B including the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Science double awards), Mathematics and English Language (or the Functional Skills Level 2 equivalents for Maths and English) plus AS Level Chemistry at grade A.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Applied Chemistry

D (Distinction) overall required as an alternative to A Level Chemistry at grade A.

You will also require A Levels in Biology and one other subject both at grade A.

See additional GCSE requirements <link to below>.

Cambridge Pre-U

Distinctions (D3 or higher) must be achieved in three Principal Subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One other subject

The third subject should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry, and cannot be General Studies.

There is no third subject which is preferred by selectors or gives any special advantage in the selection process. Science and non-science subject are treated equally for the third subject.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Welsh, Scottish and Irish Applicants

Welsh Baccalaureate

Where applicants have achieved the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma we will accept two A-levels:

  • Biology (or Human Biology) at A grade
  • Chemistry at A grade

in addition to a pass in the Welsh Bac Core.

We support the opportunity to take additional subjects at AS-level, but do not prescribe or prefer any particular subject choices or combinations.

For 2015 entry the RVC will not be requiring A* grades at A-level, and predictions for A* will not give advantage at selection or offer stage over applicants predicted A grade.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

Advanced Highers at grades AA or AB in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

In addition to 5 Highers at AAAAB grades including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

and at least intermediate 2 or Standard Credit Grade 1 or 2 in:

  • Physics
  • English
  • Mathematics

Irish Leaving Certificate

At Higher level Grades of AAAABB including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

both at Grade A

At Ordinary level (or Higher Level) grade B:

  • Physics
  • English Language
  • Mathematics

It should be clearly stated on the UCAS form which subjects are being studied at Higher level and which at Ordinary level.

GCSE (only in addition to other qualifications)

At least five A grades including:

  • Double Science* award or Science & Additional Science at AA grades OR
  • an A in Biology and A in chemistry if taken as separate GCSEs

 AND grade A or B in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics (if taken as a separate GCSE)

*Double science refers to the Double Award GCSE in Science, which covers Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

International and EU Applicants

International and EU Applicants (excluding North America)

We welcome applications from applicants with European or International qualifications.

Candidates must meet the entry requirements by means of the prescribed qualifications listed or other acceptable alternative qualifications.

For advice on the acceptability of your qualifications please send details, referring to each of the required subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, and English) to admissions@rvc.ac.uk.

Prospective students must have achieved a sufficient level of knowledge in the prescribed subjects before entry to the course. No foundation module in basic science is given within the BVetMed.

The course demands an excellent understanding of both written and spoken English language, as demonstrated preferably by an IELTS qualification with an overall level of 7.0 or higher and no less than 6.5 in each component (for full information see IELTS from the British Council). Other English tests are recognised including PTE Academic (minimum score of 65 required). Contact the Admissions Office if you are taking a different test from the above to see if it is acceptable.

All students (except North American college students) apply through UCAS. Non-EU International applicants do not have to sit the BMAT.

For more information about international applications please go to the International students section.

UCL University Preparatory certificate for Science & Engineering (UPCSE) for International Students

You must take Biology and Chemistry as Core Units and achieve 70% in both subjects, and 70% overall for the Certificate.

These requirements assume that you have met the standard entry requirements for UPCSE: if you have entered that course with special circumstances or through a different route, please see advice for International and EU applicants, above.

Students from North America

North American college students must apply through the VMCAS application system and will be considered for both the four year Graduate Accelerated BVetMed and the five year BVetMed programme. For more information see here.

North American high school students may only apply to the five-year BVetMed programme through UCAS.

For more information see our international students section and please note that different deadlines apply to the VMCAS system.

USA

At least four full-year Advanced Placement examinations at grade 5/4 including Biology and Chemistry both at grade 5.

Alternatively, either of the following combinations will also be accepted in place of the AP requirements:

  • SAT score of 1800 (600 minimum in Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing) plus AP Biology and Chemistry at Grade 5;
  • SAT score of 1800 (600 minimum in Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing) plus IB Higher level certificates in Biology and Chemistry at Grade 6.

Canada

High School Diploma students will be considered provided they pass their Secondary School Diploma with 90% overall and 90% in Biology and Chemistry grade 12 courses. Specific requirements may vary depending upon the province, but we would typically look for 'U' courses in grade 12 Biology and Chemistry. Please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@rvc.ac.uk for further information.

International Baccalaureate Certificate/Diploma

IB Diploma including at Higher level:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One other subject

In addition to an acceptable (equivalent to grade B or higher at GCSE) qualification in:

  • Physics
  • English
  • Mathematics

Our standard offer for IB students is 766 in the Higher-Level subjects.

The third Higher Level subject should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry and cannot be General Studies. 

There is no third subject which is preferred or gives any special advantage in the selection process. Science and non-science subject are treated equally for the third subject.

If you took the IB outside of the UK please also note our English language requirements in our International/EU advice.

Other

For advice on the eligibility of other qualifications, please contact Admissions at admissions@rvc.ac.uk.

Email: admissions@rvc.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7468 5147/5149

For international enquiries contact:

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7468 5146
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7468 5311

Graduate Applicants

If you have a first degree in a biological sciences discipline you should apply directly to our D102 Graduate Accelerated BVetMed degree.

North American college graduates must apply through the VMCAS application system and not through UCAS, see above.

Applicants with a degree from a non-biological sciences discipline should apply to the D100 BVetMed as normal, and will need to meet the standard academic entry requirements stated above (in addition to BMAT and work experience).

Graduate applicants should be aware that financial support is different for applicants taking BVetMed as a second UK honours degree: see Fees and Financial support.

Note: It is not possible to transfer to the BVetMed course from a degree programme partly completed at another university. Applications will not be considered from students currently on a degree programme unless they are in their final year and applying for graduate entry.

International applicants already holding a Veterinary Medicine degree who are seeking to practise in the UK are not eligible to apply for this course and should refer to the registration department of the RCVS.

Work experience

To apply for the BVetMed you will need to have prior work experience in order to have developed animal handling skills and obtained an insight into the work of veterinary surgeons. Before you apply, you must have completed the minimum requirements:

  • A total of two weeks of work experience (paid or voluntary) in one or more veterinary practices
  • A total of two weeks in a variety of different animal environments (outside of your home environment).

This experience must be gained in the 18 months prior to the application deadline. We encourage you to think creatively about these environments and are interested to hear about any experiences that have helped to give you a sense of the veterinary role in the wider world. Examples of such environments might include, but are not limited to: kennels, cattery, animal shelter, rural or city farm, stables, pet shop, lambing, intensive livestock, abattoir, research laboratory, pharmacy, wildlife park, zoo, etc. You do not have to have gained experience in all these areas.

All applicants (except North American students applying through VMCAS) must complete the online work experience questionnaire by 15th October 2014.

The Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

The BMAT is a supplementary science aptitude test to help inform the selection process. It is designed to test problem-solving, reasoning and data handling skills and is compulsory for all Home/EU students applying for the course. International students from outside the EU do not need to sit the BMAT. To find out more visit the RVC BMAT information page.

The RVC is concerned that the entry fee should not be viewed as a barrier to access and widening participation. Applicants may apply to the BMAT Support Team for a reimbursement of fees if they meet the criteria outlined in the BMAT FAQs.

English language requirements

A good working knowledge of scientific English is essential in order to follow the course, which includes a significant proportion of oral instruction and written assessments. Applicants whose first language is not English must have an acceptable English Language qualification:

  • IELTS score of 7.0 or above with minimum 6.5 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English overall score of at least 65

What if I don't achieve the entry requirements?

Normally applicants need to have achieved our minimum entry requirements at both GCSE and A-Level in order to progress any further in the application process. It does not matter if you achieve these minimum grades by re-sitting modules within the qualification.

If you do narrowly miss the GCSE requirements, you will not be automatically rejected; a good score in the BMAT could compensate for this.

Does it count against me if I re-sit a GCSE or A-level? 

The RVC admissions policy is to accept re-taken grades or modules at GCSE, A-Level or equivalent without penalty. However, if you do re-sit any qualifications you will be expected to achieve the highest grades on your second sitting (for example, AAA at A-level), and we also specify that you must have achieved minimum grades on your first sitting (for example, BBC at A-level, with B in Biology).

Please note: in view of the large number and high quality of new candidates coming forward each year, the RVC is normally unable to consider more than one repeat application. Applicants re-sitting other qualifications should contact the Admissions Office at admissions@rvc.ac.uk for information about minimum grades required at first sitting.

How are applications assessed?

Advice on our process of selecting Veterinary Medicine students from initial screening through to making offer post-interview can be found here.

What will I be able to do with my degree?

Our BVetMed degree has a very high employment rate post qualification.

You will be entitled to practise as a veterinarian as soon as you have earned your BVetMed degree and registered as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The RVC's accreditation status with the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) and the reciprocal arrangement between the RCVS and the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc (AVBC) allows BVetMed graduates to register to practice in Europe, Australia and New Zealand without requiring any further qualifications.

In addition, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will recognise your degree as equivalent to those awarded by veterinary colleges in the United States. The RVC is the only English veterinary school accredited by the AVMA, and this gives you a unique advantage. Some of the USA’s major veterinary employers recruit actively among our final year students. Please note, however, that you will be required to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) if you intend to work in North America after qualifying. The RVC provides revision courses for NAVLE applicants and, in 2012/2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, 40 students out of a final year class of 213 took the exam, and of these, 36 passed.

Our graduates go on to enjoy a wide range of careers in veterinary medicine, including positions in:

  • Small animal practices
  • Mixed practices
  • Equine practices
  • Farm/livestock environments
  • Wild animal environments
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Military support
  • Industry
  • Research
  • Government
  • Academia

The tuition fees for 2015/16 are as follows:

UK/EU Tuition FeesInternational Fees

Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)

£9,000 £25,750 £20,830


Students taking a sandwich year as part their course will be charged £1,000 for the sandwich year.

Students from countries outside the European Union (EU) who wish to undertake full-time study at the RVC are required to pay the international fee for their programme of study (please see Fee status section).

International fees will be subject to annual inflationary rises of approximately 5%. Please be aware of this when making your calculations and planning how much money you will require.

Funding Options

Funding for Canadian Students

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.

Funding for International Students

All international students need to ensure that they have secured sufficient funding for their fees and living costs before starting their programme.

There are a range of funding options available to international students studying in the UK. Depending on the country you are applying from, you could be eligible for loans, scholarships or bursaries from a variety of sources.

Funding for USA Students

The RVC participates in the Direct Loan Program in which federal financial assistance is made available from the US Department of Education to US students studying at the RVC. The purpose of this page is to inform you about the process of applying for financial assistance.

The RVC College will originate Direct Stafford loans and Direct Graduate and Parent PLUS loans and full-time students from the USA who are attending at the RVC are normally eligible for funding. The RVC also participates in the VA Educational Benefits programme.

Government Financial Support for UK/EU Students

Home UK students are entitled to;

  • A non-means tested tuition fee loan to the value of fees charged, for more details please see Tuition Fees Loan
  • A variable means tested living cost loan, please see Maintenance Loan
  • A variable means tested living cost grant If your household income is between £25,000 and £42,600 you would be entitled to a grant of between £50 and £3,387 which you won’t have to pay back. Please see our Maintenance Grant page.

EU students are eligible to apply for student support for tuition fees in the same way as home/UK students.

Living Expenses (All Students)

In addition to your fees, you will need to ensure you have sufficient funds for accommodation, food, travel, books and other living expenses.

UK and EU students should click here for further information and guidelines on living costs:
/Money/ProspectiveStudents/LivingExpenses.cfm

International students should click here for further information and guidelines on living costs:
/Money/InternationalStudents/LivingExpenses.cfm

The RVC Money Matters page </Money/MoneyMatters/BudgetingTool/Index.cfm?display=income> will help you manage your finances and plan a budget that will last for a year.

Maintenance Grant (UK and EU students)

Full-time UK undergraduates who start their course in 2014 will be eligible to apply for a maintenance grant of up to £3,387 in addition to a variable means-tested living cost loan.

(Note: Graduate Accelerated BVetMed students are not eligible for maintenance grants.)

Maintenance Loan (UK and EU Students)

Student loans for living costs are part of the financial student support package available to assist most new and existing full-time Home undergraduate students with their living expenses.

Merit Scholarships for BVetMed & BSc - Start Date Pre 2012

Please Note: this Scholarship is not available for Sep 2012, 2013 & 2014 entrants.

In 2010/11 RVC granted Merit scholarships to the value of £3000 for every year of a course.

National Scholarship Programme (UK and EU Students)

How does the RVC National Scholarship Programme work?

All Home/EU undergraduate students, including Veterinary Gateway students, with a household income of below £25,000 will be offered the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) of £2,000 cash to help you with your living costs.

How do I apply for a National Scholarship?

You must apply for financial support from the relevant UK funding body/ Student Finance England. In your application you must give consent for details of your household income to be passed on to the RVC. We will use these details to assess your eligibility for the NSP and contact you if you are eligible. If you qualify for the full £2,000 award, you will be contacted after you have registered for your course.

How will I receive the £2,000 NSP?

Payments of NSPs are usually in two equal instalments, one in December and one in March via BACS transfer into your own bank account; please note that your bank account details are collected and maintained as part of the student support Student Finance application process.

RVC Bursary (UK and EU Students)

RVC Bursaries are customary to assist students from lower income households with the cost of undergraduate study. Please note bursaries are not available to graduate entrants.

You could be eligible for RVC bursary (which you will not have to pay back) if you receive the Maintenance Grant. Only applicants receiving a Maintenance grant/special support grant will be considered for an RVC bursary. Bursaries are available depending upon the level of maintenance grant you are awarded. 

RVC International Scholarship - BVetMed - Start Date 2012, 13, 14

RVC offers three scholarships for international students entering our BVetMed programme.

RVC International Scholarships - BVetMed - Start Date Pre 2012

RVC offers three scholarships for international students entering the BVetMed programme each year. Each scholarship is to the value of one year's tuition (£19,800) and is based on performance during the admissions process (taking into account interview scores, test scores and overall application).

Please Note: this Scholarship is not available for Sep 2012, 2013 & 2014 entrants.

Tuition Fees Loan (UK and EU Students)

UK/ EU full-time undergraduate students will not have to pay tuition fees upfront unless you wish to. Instead, you will be able to apply for a student loan for the full tuition fees.

Please note this doesn’t include Graduate Accelerated BVetMed students who are not eligible to apply for a tuition fees loan.

Click here for further information: /Money/ProspectiveStudents/GovernmentSupport/TuitionFeesLoan.cfm.

For further details on what funding could be available to you, try the Student Finance calculator: <http://www.studentfinance.direct.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=153,4680089&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL>.