What is the Veterinary Gateway programme?

The Veterinary Gateway programme is a targeted Widening Participation initiative designed to increase accessibility to veterinary degree courses for those who might not meet the normal entry criteria for a five-year course due to their Widening Participation background.

This course is open to UK students only, who come from a Widening Participation background. The full criteria can be found under the Entry Requirements tab.

This is a six-year course that integrates a Gateway year designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to study veterinary medicine. 

Successful completion of the Gateway year does not give you a qualification in itself, but does lead automatically into our five-year BVetMed programme, which will qualify you to practice as a veterinarian. Alternatively, you would be able to apply through UCAS to the Universities of Cambridge, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and be guaranteed an interview for a place on a five-year clinical veterinary programme.

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:

  • To develop your analytical, problem-solving and practical skills in biology, chemistry, maths and physics
  • To improve your study, team-working and communication skills
  • The basics of handling and husbandry (control and management) of animals – most of them farm animals.

All of this is designed to prepare you for entry onto an undergraduate Veterinary Medicine programme.

Programme delivery

The Veterinary Gateway programme is predominantly taught at our London campus with some teaching also taking place at our Hertfordshire campus.

Our course offers a wide range of stimulating teaching and learning methods designed to equip you with the necessary confidence and skills to pursue further training as a veterinarian. 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:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials (some of which involve live animals)
  • Seminars
  • Practical sessions (in the laboratory and at our working farm)

You will also work on assignments in groups and on your own with access to our extensive library and IT resources.

We want you to succeed throughout your time on the Gateway programme and we use a Personal Development Planning (PDP) system to support this. PDP encourages you to take responsibility for your own learning experience and allows potential issues to be identified and resolved at an early stage. You will also be able to monitor your progress by using the handheld voting systems in our lecture theatres, an enjoyable and effective way to test your own knowledge.

Should you encounter any problems with your learning, support is available through our Learning Support Officers as well as the tutorial system.

Course content and structure

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

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

In addition to your UCAS application (deadline 15 January 2017), you will also need to submit your Supplementary Gateway Form (deadline 22 January 2017) directly to admissions@rvc.ac.uk in order to be considered for interview. Interviews are normally held in January or February each year. 

Widening Participation pre-conditions 

The Veterinary Gateway programme is available to UK students only that satisfy all of the following specific non-academic requirements:

  • You are a UK national who is resident in the UK.
  • You have completed all education since the age of 11 at a non-selective UK state school.
  • You are EITHER currently studying at a non-selective UK state school and are predicted to achieve no more than two grades below the standard Gateway entry offer for that qualification (NB: all successful applicants will receive the standard offer for the course, irrespective of their predicted grades) OR you have gained a qualification that meets the standard offer for the Gateway course in the 12 months prior to your application and you have studied, in full, for this qualification at a non-selective UK state school.
  • You have studied only one period of Level 3, unless you are resitting that same qualification the following year.

Widening Participation criteria 

In addition, as a minimum, you must meet at least 3 of the following criteria:

  • POLAR3 Score: You live in an area with a POLAR3 score of 1 or 2. You can check this via the HEFCE website.
  • Care Leaver: You are a person who has been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 (requires letter from relevant authority).
  • Level 2 School: The school at which you took your GCSEs is a school with an RVC contextual flag. You can check this here.
  • Level 3 School: The school at which you are taking your level 3 qualifications (A-levels or equivalent) is a school with an RVC contextual flag. You can check this here
  • Income: Your parental income (your household income in the case of mature students) is less than £25,000 and your parent(s) are in receipt of child tax credits or another government-assessed income award that demonstrates household income below this threshold (requires evidence of child tax credits letter for the current year, or similar)**
  • WP Summer School: You attended the RVC Sutton Trust summer school.
  • Refugee: You are a refugee (requires Home Office letter).
  • Parental Education: Your parents did not attend Higher Education.

** Please note: payslips, P60s, JSA statements, bank statements, or any other item that refers only to one's personal income is not proof of household income and therefore cannot be accepted in support of this criterion. You should be in a position to provide proof of household income if you are going to use this criterion in support of your application. 

Widening Participation eligibility will be determined based on the information provided in the Supplementary Gateway Form (available here), which applicants must submit to admissions@rvc.ac.uk by no later than 22 January 2017

Where the number of applicants meeting at least 3 of the criteria exceeds the number of students the College is able to interview, weighting will be applied to the criteria and applicants will then be selected based on their total score.

Academic qualifications

The minimum academic requirements for entry onto the Veterinary Gateway programme are outlined below. Please note that only one period of study of Level 3 qualifications will be accepted unless applicants are resitting those qualifications the following year.

A Levels

CCC in three A2 subjects including:

  • Biology (or Human Biology) 
  • Chemistry 
  • One other subject of your choice (excluding ‘General Studies’) 

Where one is taking science A Levels as part of the new English curriculum (taught from 2015 onwards), it would also be expected that candidates pass their 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 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 subjects are treated equally for the third subject.

See additional GCSE requirements.

Welsh and Scottish Applicants

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

Applicants who have achieved this qualification with grade C in the Advanced Welsh Bac Core will be accepted with CC in two A Levels including:

  • Biology/Human Biology 
  • Chemistry    

Please also see notes under the 'A Levels' tab above.

Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

Advanced Highers at grade C or above in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

in addition to 5 Highers at grade C or above including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

and at least National 5 grade C (or Intermediate 2/Standard Credit at grade 3) in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

L3 Extended Diploma and Cambridge Pre-U

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

Animal Management (2010-2015 syllabus)

DDM (Distinction, Distinction, Merit) required overall, including the units below and with Distinctions in those units marked by an asterix(*):

  • Fundamentals of Science*
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians* OR Understand the Principles of Chemistry for Biological and Medical Science *
  • Understand the Principles of Animal Biology
  • Understand Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Undertake an investigative project in the land-based sector.

Applied Science (2010-2015 syllabus)

DDM (Distinction, Distinction, Merit) overall, including the units below and with Distinctions in those units marked with an asterisk (*):

  • Genetics and Genetic 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.

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

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

  • Animal Biology      
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics         
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics         
  • Practical Skills in Animal Science         
  • Animal Metabolism

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

  • Biological Systems of Animals         
  • Principles of Health and Safety         
  • Fundamentals of Science         
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians

In addition, candidates must take two of the below achieving a Distinction in at least one and no lower than a Merit in the other:    

  • Inheritance and Genetics; Cell Biology and Genetics; Biochemistry and Microbiology

Pearson 'Applied Science' or 'Biomedical Science': DDM overall with Distinctions in:

  • Principles and Applications of Science I         
  • Principles and Applications of Science II         
  • Science Investigation Skills or Contemporary Issues in Science

Candidates must also achieve at least Merits in the following units:

  • Genetics and Genetics Engineering·       
  • Physiology of Human Body Systems or Human Regulation and Reproduction         
  • Microbiology and Microbiological Techniques or Diseases and Infections        
  • Biomedical Science or Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways

In addition, candidates must take two of the below achieving a Distinction in at least one and no lower than a Merit in the other:         

  • Applications of Organic Chemistry; Applications of Inorganic Chemistry; Practical Chemical Analysis

See additional GCSE requirements.

Cambridge Pre-U

Grade P1 (or higher) must be achieved in three Principle Subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One other subject of your choice

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.

International Baccalaureate

444 at Higher Level in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One other subject*

*The third Higher Level subject should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry. 

All third choices are equally acceptable to RVC selectors. 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.

See additional GCSE requirements.

GCSEs (only in addition to other qualifications)

A minimum of Grade C in the following subjects:

  • Either Science & Additional Science or Biology, Chemistry and Physics if taken as three separate GCSEs
  • English Language
  • Mathematics

If taking Science & Additional Science, you would also need at least one further GCSE at grade C or higher in any subject.

New GCSE curricula (teaching starting 2015-2017)


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


Please note, GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will not be accepted instead of a C or above in GCSE Mathematics but is welcome alongside it. 

>>Work experience (optional extra)

Although we don't require applicants to have any work experience, it is desirable. If you can get work experience try to get it both in veterinary practice and in other animal environments in order to develop animal handling skills and obtain an insight into the work of veterinary surgeons.

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

If you wish to inform us of work experience you have completed, there is a section to do this in the Supplementary Gateway Form (available here).

What will I be able to do with my qualification?

Upon successful completion of this six-year course, you will graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine. 

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

Global careers

You will be entitled to practice 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 practise 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 tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2017/18 are as follows:

UK Tuition Fees

  • 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. 
  • Tuition Fees for New regime2 students studying Sandwich/ Placement year will be £1,032  
  • Tuition Fees for 2016 entrants students studying Sandwich/ Placement year will be £1,800  
  • Information on Fees & Funding for existing students can be found here
  1. New regime - Students who started their current course of study at a UK institution from September 2012 to September 2015 academic year

Funding Options

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 16/17 (UK and EU students)

An indication of the support available to you in 2016/17, 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

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