What is veterinary nursing?

Veterinary nurses work alongside veterinary surgeons in order to provide a high standard of care for animals. They normally work within a veterinary surgery or veterinary hospital and are involved in a wide range of care and treatment, including:

  • Providing skilled supportive care for sick animals
  • Undertaking minor surgery
  • Monitoring during anaesthesia
  • Medical treatments and diagnostic tests under veterinary supervision
  • Educating owners on good standards of animal care.

Many qualified veterinary nurses working in a veterinary practice continue to take on greater responsibilities as time goes by, such as supervision of staff and hospital wards, practice management and teaching/training other nurses or supporting staff.

Positions outside veterinary practice include work in research establishments, laboratories, universities, colleges, zoological/wildlife parks, charities, pharmaceutical companies and breeding/boarding kennels.

So if you’re looking for a career taking care of animals within the veterinary sector or related professions, whether as a Head Nurse, a Practice Manager or within Animal Welfare, the BSc Veterinary Nursing is the programme for you. Here at the RVC we are uniquely dedicated to veterinary science and education and share your passion for animal welfare.  

What is the BSc Veterinary Nursing?

The BSc Veterinary Nursing programme is a full-time four-year course incorporating the FdSc in Veterinary NursingThe FdScVN is fully accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) leading to registration with the RCVS after the first three years of study.  BScVN students in their fourth and final year are thus fully qualified veterinary nurses and many of them work part time in practice during their final year.  

The programme is taught at the Hertfordshire campus of the RVC, University of London, with external placements at veterinary practices. You will complete 2100 hours of practical training within the first three foundation years of the programme, at the end of which (providing you have met the assessment requirements), you will achieve your professional veterinary nursing qualification.

During your final year you will hone your research techniques and choose from a range of cutting-edge modules taught by RVC nurse educators and world-renowned clinicians from the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. You will also have the option of completing your practical experience at a wider range of facilities including: wild animal environments, behavioural centres, equine practices, exotic practices and other referral centres. In addition, you will undertake a research project on an area of clinical interest of your choice.  

The programme is run in partnership with the College of Animal Welfare - a leading provider of vet nursing courses – and leads to a BSc degree of the University of London. You will therefore enjoy the best of both worlds: a strong practical training in essential vet nursing skills underpinned by the academic excellence of the RVC.

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 desire to improve animal health and welfare.

We welcome applications from individuals with great potential and those with 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:

  • To understand the healthy and sick animal, and the role that nursing plays
  • To function as an equal intellectual partner in a veterinary team
  • To be adaptable and thus able to perform a variety of roles in practice and beyond
  • To be a lifelong learner – an essential attribute in a rapidly changing world. 

All of this is designed to produce veterinary nurses who have the knowledge and skills to make a significant contribution to animal health and welfare.

Programme delivery

The BSc in Veterinary Nursing is taught by world-renowned clinicians and registered veterinary nurses, and you will benefit from studying in an environment of cutting-edge veterinary research.

Over the course of the programme you will be taught in a variety of formats. Sessions will include:

  • Lectures
  • Directed study sessions and group work
  • Clinical skills development during practical sessions
  • Computer-Aided Learning packages

Course content and structure

See the Course Outline (Programme Specification) for further details of the course content and assessment methods.

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

Academic qualifications

The minimum academic requirements for entry onto the BSc in Veterinary Nursing are outlined below. 

A Levels

BCC in three A Level subjects including:

  • Biology at grade B

Two AS Levels at grade C would be accepted in place of one of the further A Level subjects. 

Where one is taking science A Levels as part of the new English curriculum (taught from 2015 onwards), we also require a 'pass' in the science practical for each subject.

For further information on our policy on reformed UK qualifications, please click here.

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

The non-prescribed A Level subjects should not overlap with Biology and cannot be General Studies.  

See additional GCSE requirements below.

Welsh, Scottish and Irish Applicants

Welsh Baccalaureate

Applicants who have achieved the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate with grade C will be accepted with two A Levels, including:

  • Biology at grade B
  • Another subject of your choice (excl. General Studies) at grade C

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

See additional GCSE requirements.

-

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

Two Advanced Highers at grades BC including:

  • Biology at grade B

In addition to:

3 Highers at grade C or above

and at least five National 5 A-C grades including:

  • Mathematics

and at least grade B in:

  • English
  • Biology, Chemistry or Physics

-

Irish Leaving Certificate

H3 in Biology, plus H4 H4 H4 H5. 

If not achieved at H4 as part of the above, O3 required in:

  • English

If not achieved as part of the above, O4 required in:

  • Mathematics

Pre-2017 scheme:

  • Higher level Biology at grade B1

plus Higher level grades of CCCCC

At Ordinary level (or Higher level), at least grade B3 in:

  • English
  • Mathematics 

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

Diplomas and Further Certificates (Including Access and L3 Extended Diploma)

All qualifications below are considered on top of existing Level 2 requirements (e.g. GCSEs, National 5s, O Levels, etc). If you are not sure you have equivalent qualifications, please contact us at admissions@rvc.ac.uk 

-

Access to HE Diploma (England and Wales)

Pass a Science-based Diploma with a minimum of:  

  • 15 Level 3 credits in Biology at Merit or higher, and
  • 9 further Level 3 credits at Merit or higher. 

See the Access to Higher Education website to search for possible courses in your area. We do not accept on-line versions of the course.

-

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

Pass all modules within this qualification with:

  • Merits in all Biology modules, and
  • One other module at Merit or higher.  

See the Birkbeck website for further details. This course is based in London. 

-

Level 3 Extended Diploma (syllabus for students starting this qualification from 2016)     

Pearson 'Applied Science' or 'Biomedical Science': DDM overall (no specific unit requirements).

Pearson 'Animal Management with Science': DDM overall with Distinctions in:

  • Animal Biology        
  • Animal Health and Diseases        
  • Practical Animal Husbandry

Candidates also need to achieve at least Merits in elective modules:         

  • Principles of Animal Nursing        
  • Exotic Animal Husbandry

City & Guilds 'Animal Management (Science)': D overall with Distinctions in:         

  • Biological Systems of Animals        
  • Principles of Health and Safety        
  • Animal Health and Husbandry

Candidates also need to achieve at least a Merit in elective module:         

  • Exotic Animal Health and Husbandry  

-

BTEC/Level 3 Extended Diploma (syllabus for students who started this qualification in 2010-2015)

Animal Management (2010-2015 syllabus)  

DDM (or 'D' if taking City & Guilds' Extended Diploma) overall required, including Distinctions in all the following units:  

  • Understand and Promote Animal Health
  • Understand Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Undertake Animal Handling and Safe Working

The following units are also preferred:  

  • Understand the Principles and Undertake the Practice of Animal Nursing
  • Understand the Principles and Carry Out the Practice of Biochemistry and Microbiology
  • Understand the Principles and Carry Out the Practice of Exotic Animal Health and Husbandry
  • Fundamentals of Science

If you are not predicted to achieve Distinctions in the required modules, you may want to see the entry requirements for our Foundation Degree in Veterinary Nursing.  

Applied Science (2010-2015 syllabus)  

DDM overall required.   

The following units are preferred in conjunction with the core units and may enhance your application:  

  • Physiology of Human Body Systems
  • Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproduction
  • Medical Physics Techniques
  • Microbiological Techniques
  • Physiological Investigations
  • Diseases and Infections

-

Cambridge Pre-U

M2, M3, P1 in three Principal Subjects including:  

  • Biology at grade M2

Applications are welcome from those who meet our science requirements and are taking a combination of A Levels and the Cambridge Pre-U. Offers will be made on an individual basis, depending on the combinations.  

International Baccalaureate

Pass the IB Diploma with 544 in the Higher Level subjects, including:

  • HL Biology at grade 5

Our standard offer is based on specific subject-grade requirements, rather than a total points score.

See additional GCSE requirements above.

Where candidates have not taken GCSEs or an equivalent qualification prior to the IB, they will need:

  • SL Mathematics at grade 4
  • SL English A Lang-Lit at grade 5

International, or internationally-based, candidates may sit one of the English language qualifications listed further down the page in place of the English A subjects above.

Mathematical Studies and English A Literature or English B cannot be accepted in lieu of our English Language and Mathematics requirements, but can be taken on top of existing qualifications that meet our requirements. 

GCSEs (only in addition to other qualifications)

At least five GCSEs required at Grade C or above including:

  • Mathematics 

and at least grade B in:

  • English Language 
  • Science or Additional Science or a single science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics)

New GCSE curricula (teaching starting 2015-2017)

England

Where we currently ask for grade B, we will require a grade 6 under the numerical grading system. Where we ask for a grade C, we will require a grade 4. 

Wales

Please note, GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will not be accepted instead of an A or B in GCSE Mathematics but is welcomed alongside it.

International and EU Applicants

We welcome applications from international students. Candidates must meet the entry requirements by means of the prescribed qualifications listed or acceptable alternative qualifications. Alternative qualifications will need to satisfy the requirements of the RCVS as well as the RVC.

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

If you do not meet the required grades/points in these qualifications why not check the requirements for our FdSc in Veterinary Nursing?

Work experience

To apply for the BSc in Veterinary Nursing 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 nurses. You will need to have completed the minimum requirements to enter onto the course:

  • A total of two weeks of work experience (paid or voluntary) in one or more small animal or mixed veterinary practices
  • A total of two weeks in different animal environments (excluding your home environment/family business/pet ownership).

To be considered for interview, you must have completed at least two weeks of work experience, with at least one of these being in a small animal or mixed veterinary practice, by 15 January 2018.

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, animal research laboratory, pharmacy, wildlife park, zoo, etc. You do not have to have gained experience in all these areas.

Applicants who satisfy our preliminary requirements will be sent a Work Experience Form to complete in order for us to gain more information about their work experience placements. Applicants successful in getting to interview will be required to provide references to support the information given on this form.

-

English language requirements

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

All applicants must have an acceptable English Language qualification, many of which are listed under 'Academic qualifications' above. Please see our English Language Requirements page for a list of qualifications we accept as alternatives.

-

FAQs

Does it count against me if I do re-sits?

The RVC admissions policy is to accept re-taken grades or modules at GCSE, A Level or equivalent without penalty. We would expect applicants to achieve the required grades on the second sitting.

If you are regularly finding it hard to pass exams, or indeed if you struggle to motivate yourself to do school/college work, then you should consider whether studying veterinary nursing at university degree level is the right training route for you. See the RCVS website for details of the work-based training route.

Can I re-apply if I've been unsuccessful previously?

We accept repeat applications for this course and new applications will be treated separately from any previous one. 

What will I be able to do with my degree?

Our BSc in Veterinary Nursing has a very high employment rate post qualification.

You will be entitled to practise as a veterinary nurse as soon as you have passed the requirements of the first three years of your degree and registered as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). 

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

  • Small animal practices
  • Mixed practices
  • Equine practices
  • Farm / livestock environments
  • Wild animal environments
  • Wildlife conservation

The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2017/18 are as follows:

UK/EU Tuition FeesInternational Fees

Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)

£9,250A £12,990 £10,820

  • Tuition fee amounts are subject to increase each academic year, please be aware of this when making your calculations and planning how much money you will require.
  • 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).
  • Information on Fees & Funding for existing students can be found here


A.
 Provisional Fees- not yet confirmed, to be confirmed soon. 

Funding Options

Bank Of England Scholarship Programme

Bank of England Scholarship for new students starting a full-time undergraduate degree in September 2017 from a black or mixed African/Caribbean background.

Bank of England in partnership with Windsor Fellowship

If you're from a black or mixed African/Caribbean background and are looking for financial support whilst at university, our scholarship programme may be for you.

It’s a great way to experience our fascinating work as a central Bank in a collaborative and inclusive environment. The programme will provide you with:

Up to £30,000 to support living costs during your undergraduate degree.

• Paid summer internships.

Mentoring, coaching and support from a member of our team.

The programme is open to students who are eligible to work and study in the UK, with at least 260 UCAS points and a household income below £50,000. You must be planning to start a full-time undergraduate degree in Autumn 2017.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 26th February 2017

To find out more, and to see the full eligibility criteria, visit:
bankofenglandearlycareers.co.uk/our-programmes

Loans and Grants - Government Financial Support (UK and 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 link 
  • A variable means tested living cost grant This is only applicable to full-time UK undergraduates who are continuing or start their course in 2015. If your household income is between £25,000 and £42,620 you would be entitled to a grant of between £50 and £3,387 which you won’t have to pay back, please see link 

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

  • BVetMed Graduate Accelerated UK and EU students are only entitled to a variable means tested living cost loan, please see link 
  • please note  BVetMed Graduate Accelerated students are not eligible for tuition fee loans, grants and RVC bursaries.

Maintenance support for Prospective 17/18 (UK and EU students)

An indication of the support available to you in 2017/18, including RVC Bursaries.

All undergraduate students are eligible for a full tuition fees loan and this means that you will not have to pay undergraduate tuition fees before you start or during your time at RVC.

  • Please note  BVetMed Graduate Accelerated students are not eligible for tuition fee loans, grants and RVC bursaries, they are only entitled to a variable means tested living cost loan.

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.

For further details on what funding could be available to you, try the Student Finance calculator

Top of page