The RVC Small Animal Internship is a world-renowned rotating internship programme for veterinary surgeons.

The qualification of Post Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice (PG Dip VCP) has been aligned to the RVC internship programme. All small animal interns (post graduate students) will be enrolled in the PG Dip VCP and will be expected to complete the course during their internship year. The internship programme is based at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals - the RVC's referral teaching hospital at the Hawkshead campus, Hertfordshire.

The programme is designed for highly motivated recent veterinary graduates (typically less than five years) who wish to expand their clinical knowledge, skills and experience in all aspects of small animal practice, working under supervision in a multidisciplinary referral hospital, and participating in the provision of an emergency out-of-hours service. It is a suitable foundation (and often necessary step) for you if you wish to pursue specialist post graduate clinical training in a specific discipline (Residency), and also provides excellent experience for those wishing to return to general practice.

To apply for the SA-internship programme you must meet the following requirements:

Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (or eligible) RCVS.

You must be eligible for full (and must pay and organise yourself) Membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).  Applicants must be an MRCVS by the date the internship starts, and ideally by the date of application and interview.


Meet English language requirement 

You must be able to communicate clearly in English, both verbally and in writing. If English is not your first language you must take an IELTS (Academic) test (or equivalent). We require 7.5 in IELTS (Academic) with no element below 7. A certified copy of your IELTS test result should be submitted with your application. The test result must have been obtained within 2 years of the start date of the course.  Applications that do not satisfy these criteria will not be considered for shortlisting.

Please see a list of English qualifications we will accept as alternatives to IELTS.

It is advisable that applicants arrange to take the IELTS exam as soon as possible due to limited availability. 

Foreign language applicants are encouraged to practice as a veterinary surgeon in the UK for at least one year prior to application.


Twelve months experience as a qualified veterinarian (desirable)

A minimum of twelve months experience as a qualified veterinary surgeon in small animal practice in the UK is desirable. Exceptional new graduates will be considered, though grades and references must indicate that you are likely to graduate, and you must have received confirmation of passing your finals in good time prior to start date of the programme.


EU Students

For up-to-date information on post-brexit arrangements for students please see  RVC Visa and Immigration.


International Students

Non-EU/UK citizens are welcome to apply for the internship. We are keen to find the best candidates regardless of their nationality and have had occasional non-EU/UK interns. Candidates should note that funding models for this programme are weighted towards EU and UK citizens, so when candidates are equal, internships will be offered to EU/UK citizens. Please note that possession of an EU passport does not necessarily mean you will classed as EU for your fee status, and you should contact the graduate school ( for more information. 


What essential personal attributes do you need to join the programme?        

  • Be a highly motivated recently qualified veterinary surgeon          
  • Keen to  develop your veterinary skills, experience and knowledge          
  • Willing to work hard        
  • Ability to cope under pressure        
  • Positive attitude at all times        
  • Great teamwork skills        
  • Work effectively and efficiently with a range of people from support staff, veterinary students to experienced veterinarians     
  • Patience to teach and guide veterinary undergraduate students


Admissions Policy & Procedures

Further information on the recruitment procedure can be found here.

The programme begins with an introduction and orientation week, followed by a week shadowing the previous year’s interns. There is also a week over the Christmas / New Year holiday period working solely in out-of-hours emergency care (first opinion). The remainder of the year is divided into thirteen four week-long clinical rotations, which are organised as follows: 

  • Eight rotations assigned to small animal referral services:
    • Anaesthesia and analgesia        
    • Diagnostic Imaging
    • Emergency and Critical Care
    • Internal Medicine
    • Neurology and Neurosurgery
    • Orthopaedic Surgery
    • Soft Tissue Surgery
    • A choice of Dermatology, Oncology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology & Exotic Animals
  • Four rotations on Out-Of-Hours Emergency Care 
  • Two rotations are assigned to annual leave and scholarly activities, such as completing an externship or a research project.

Visiting the RVC QMHA

We would usually recommend that applicants should visit prior to application, however in line with the College policies this wont be achievable for the 2021-22 cohort. We will run three online open days and capture a similar experience to what we have previously achieved.  The online open day will consist of information about the programme, a virtual tour of the facilities and some team-work activities. Participation in the day or these activities are not essential for a successful application. Depending on numbers there will be two groups/day 9-12am and 1-4pm.

The three dates for Internships commencing on 14th June 2021:

  • Friday 6th November 2020
  • Friday 13th November 2020
  • Wednesday 18th November 2020

If you would like to book onto an online open day please email Irene Kashioulis (  with your preferred date. There will be a limit to the number of places per day and they will be allocated on a first come basis. You can only apply for one date and it is expected that you attend on the date you have chosen.

We are very sorry but we cannot accommodate any visitors outside the dates listed above.

If you are a graduated veterinarian living outside the UK who is planning to apply for the small animal internship, and wish to visit please contact Dr Dominic Barfield ( If you are unable to visit you are still encouraged to apply to the programme. You will be able to visit the facilities if you are invited for interview.



If you would like to know more, the following links may be useful:

RVC small animal referrals         

Postgraduate study options at the RVC 

If you have any specific queries, please contact one of the directors of the Small Animal Internships, who are:

For general Internship application enquiries, please contact the Graduate School (


Annual Leave 

The total annual leave entitlement is 20 days inclusive of bank holidays. You may only take annual leave in the two elective rotation blocks. Further details can be found in the Code of Practice (see below).



The Post Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice (PG Dip VCP) has been aligned to the internship programme. There are four modules to complete in the year; anaesthesia, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine and surgery. Each module will be assessed by a case report and work placed based assessments (WPBA). The WPBA are designed to support your clinical development and provide direction to your clinical training. The WPBA will be both formative and summative and occur in the clinical environment at your discretion. In addition, feedback will be given at the end of each of your clinical rotations and will contribute to your academic portfolio which will be the basis of your academic progress review (appraisal) around 6 months into the programme. Further information can be found in Course Assessment and Award Regulations 2019/20:  PGDip in Veterinary Clinical Practice.



Information on accommodation can be found under Funding Options.


Code of Practice

All interns must adhere and abide by the Royal Veterinary College's Code of Practice for Interns & Residents and can be found under Essential Information in the Graduate School.



Information on the current stipend can be found under Funding Options.



You may find these FAQs helpful.

Thirteen Small Animal Internships are available to commence on 14th June 2021 for 54 weeks. 

Application link will be open mid October 2020

Closing Date:      Thursday, 26th November 2020
Interview Dates: Monday, 25th & Tuesday, 26th January 2021


Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend interviews during the above dates.  We endeavour to inform those who have been short listed for interview within 2 weeks before the interview date. The interview typically lasts 20-30 minutes.  It is designed to test the applicant’s understanding of the role and function of an intern, and their motivation for pursuing an internship.  

For an informal discussion about these internships, please contact:

Dr Stefano Cortellini ( or Dr Joe Fenn (  

Please see How to Apply for more details on the application process, but if you have a specific query you should contact the Graduate School.

Only online application forms submitted through our system will be considered.


Please ensure that your English qualification meets our requirements in time for applying.

Where are they now?

Between 2002 and 2018 there have been 192 interns.

  • 59% residencies (pie chart shows where previous interns have gone into residencies)            
  • 16% PhD            
  • 11% both residency


Tuition Fees

The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU Tuition Fees International Fees Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,000 £26,080 £26,080

The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2020/21 are as follows:

UK/EU Tuition Fees International Fees Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
£9,000 £26,080 £26,080

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.

Funding Options

Clinical Training Internships

All Clinical Training Internships are fully funded. 

  • As an intern your tuition fees will be paid by the department that you are working in.
  • A single occupancy room in a shared (with others interns) house on-site is available for the duration of the internship for RVC based interns. No pets are allowed in the accommodation.
  • A tax-free stipend will be paid monthly in arrears. Currently the stipend is £16,100 per annum (subject to review)

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