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. 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 with 2 years of the start date of the course.  Applications that do not satisfy these criteria will not be considered for shortlisting.

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

Further information on English language requirements 

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.

Ability to study in the UK

The UK government have confirmed that EU students starting in 2019 will be allowed to remain in the UK to complete their course and continue on the same terms as home students. Therefore there should be no  change to our June 2019 EU intake.  Further information can be found here.

Non-EU 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 interns. Candidates should note that funding models for this programme are weighted towards EU citizens, so when candidates are equal, internships will be offered to EU 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  


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 recommend that applicants should visit prior to application. Visitors who are currently based in the UK should attend one of the designated visiting days between November and January. The day will consist of information about the programme, a tour of the facilities and some team-work activities. Participation in the day or these activities are not essential for a successful application. The day will run 9am-5pm and will be at the Hawkshead campus. 

The three dates for Internships commencing in June 2020:

  • Friday 22nd November 2019
  • Friday 13th December 2019
  • Friday 8th January 2020

If you would like to visit on one of those dates please email Sharan Kane( 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 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.


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.


Applications are now closed for and will re-open at the end of November 2019

Small Animal Surgery Specialised Internships (Soft tissue and Orthopaedics)  

We have an exciting opportunity for two specialised internships within our surgery service, based at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.  

These will be one year positions starting from 17th June 2019.  

The soft tissue internship offers a rare opportunity to work as an integral member of our heart surgery team. You would be assisting with a range of surgeries performed under cardiopulmonary bypass, which are performed on a weekly to twice weekly basis. You would be helping team members with patient care, research and facilitating the running of the programme. You will also spend a proportion of time in the general soft tissue surgery service, which sees a large and varied range of both secondary and tertiary referral cases, with a high emergency case load.

The orthopaedic internship will provide specialist internship training within the orthopaedic team. You will be involved in clinical case management through to assisting in theatre. We perform all routine and tertiary level orthopaedics, and have a particularly high fracture caseload being part of the UK’s only certified trauma centre. The programme will also provide support for developing a research project through to publication as well as engaging you with ongoing clinical research projects.

We are looking for people who are enthusiastic, motivated and above all, team players. Applicants must have completed a one year rotating internship programme by the start date and be registered as MRCVS.  

The deadline for applications is Sunday, 10th March 2019 with interviews being held on Friday, 5th April 2019.  

For more information please contact Zoë Halfacree ( or Poppy Bristow ( for soft tissue/heart surgery enquiries and Richard Meeson for orthopaedic enquiries (     

Please see How to Apply for more details on the application process.  Only online application forms submitted through our system will be considered.

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 2018/19 are as follows:

UK/EU Tuition FeesInternational Fees

Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)

£9,000 £25,320 £25,320

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

UK/EU Tuition FeesInternational 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 Internship tuition fees are fully funded. 

  • As an intern your academic 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 £15,100 per annum (subject to review)

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