The Royal Veterinary College offers several residencies that are world-renowned training programmes for veterinary specialisation.

These residencies are open to qualified veterinary graduates with appropriate experience (typically a one year rotating internship and/or a period of time in first opinion equine practice) who wish to specialise in specific disciplines related to equine practice.  Residencies in equine medicine, equine surgery and large animal diagnostic imaging are three-year programmes approved by the relevant specialist college from the European or American Board of Veterinary Specialisation, during which you will also be registered for the degree of Master in Veterinary Medicine (MVetMed), which you will complete during the residency. You will progress through a structured training programme consisting of specialist clinical training based at the RVC’s Equine Referral Hospital, and academic, scholarly and applied clinical research training structured through the MVetMed degree based at the RVC’s Hawkshead Campus.

Two surgery, two medicine and one or two large animal diagnostic imaging residents are completing their training in the hospital at any given time so positions are not available every year. Available positions start during the first week of July each year and can be found under residencies available.

All programmes are three-year training programmes that are approved by the European and American Colleges of Veterinary Surgery, the European College of Equine Internal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Large Animals) and, for diagnostic imaging, the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. The programmes are designed to enable residents to fulfil the credential requirements of the respective specialist college so that the resident is eligible to sit that colleges' diploma examination at the end of the training period and be recognised as a veterinary specialist.

Residents are supported by a team of ten European/American and RCVS recognised specialists in the Equine Referral Hospital (five surgery specialists, four medicine specialists and two large animal diagnostic imaging specialist). There is also extensive specialist support in related disciplines at the RVC including anaesthesia, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology and gross and clinical pathology. Residents rotate through clinical services relevant to their chosen area of study, training rotations in related subjects and through research training blocks. Residents work under supervision throughout and are given increasing responsibility as they gain experience during the programme.

Residents work as an integral part of RVC Equine's clinical teams and are intimately involved with the Hospital’s clinical, teaching and research activities. Career routes of equine residents after completion of the programmes include specialist clinical work in private practice, specialist clinical work in university teaching hospitals and further research training (PhD) to become a clinical scientist.   

What Qualifications Do I need?

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

You will also need to:

  • Hold a veterinary degree which is registrable by the RCVS and provide certificate and transcripts
  • Confirm you have the right to study in the UK. 
    • Non-EU citizens are welcome to apply for any Residency.  We are keen to find the best candidates regardless of their nationality and currently have several non-EU Residents.  Funding models for these posts are weighted towards EU/UK citizens, so when candidates are equal, Residencies will be offered to EU/UK citizens.
  • Confirm how you meet the English language requirements, and if applicable submit your English language test results (see below)
  • Provide evidence of:
    • Work you have undertaken in a veterinary practice
    • Any postgraduate qualifications, with certificates
    • Your experience of research
    • Published any papers or conference presentations
    • Previous visits to the RVC
    • Completion of an internship programme (minimum duration 12 months) or similar experience in practice

Some of the Residency disciplines require additional qualifications and experience which you will find in the web pages relevant to that residency.


If English is not your first language, you must be able to communicate clearly in English, both verbally and in writing. You must take an IELTS (Academic) test (or equivalent). For the Residency programme you must attain 7 in IELTS (Academic) with no element below 6.5. A certified copy of your test result must be submitted with your application. 

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

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

Applications that do not satisfy our criteria cannot be considered.


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


EU Students

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


What individual attributes do I need?

The programme is designed for highly motivated veterinary professionals who wish to specialise in a specific clinical field whose goals include:

  • To achieve advanced development of their veterinary skills
  • To gain experience and knowledge by working under supervision in a multi-disciplinary referral hospital.

What attributes do you need to demonstrate to join the programme?

  • Willingness to work hard
  • Highly developed organisational and time management skills
  • Ability to cope under pressure
  • A positive attitude at all times
  • Desire to take part in advancing veterinary science
  • Ability to work with a range of people including veterinary students, senior clinicians and nursing and support staff
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to communicate well with other team members, clients, and referring veterinary surgeons
  • Have the patience to teach and guide veterinary undergraduate students


How to Apply

For details see How to Apply.


Admissions Policy & Procedures

Further information on the recruitment procedure can be found here.

The programmes in medicine, surgery and diagnostic imaging run for three years and are designed to meet the requirements of the relevant European and American Specialist Colleges.

Please see the respective websites for further information on specific requirements:

Visiting the RVC ERH

We strongly recommend that applicants visit prior to application and spend a day with the clinical services. Informal meetings with available members of the clinical teams will be arranged during the visit.

To arrange a visit, please contact Bettina Dunkel ( with your preferred date.

If you are a graduated veterinarian living outside the UK who is planning to apply for a Clinical Training Residency and wish to visit please contact  Bettina Dunkel ( 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 Equine        

Postgraduate study options at the RVC 

If you have any specific queries, please contact one of the directors of the Equine Residency, who are:

For General Residency application enquiries, please contact the Graduate School at 


Annual Leave

The annual leave entitlement is 25 days inclusive of bank holidays; however, timing needs to be coordinated with the hospital’s needs and fellow residents. Further details can be found in the Code of Practice (see below).



Constructive feedback will be provided both informally and formally throughout the programme. Your clinical and academic progress will be assessed on an individual basis. Each resident has a formal appraisal after the first and second year to track progress, and to ensure that all learning objectives are completed and requirements for board certification are met.  Please click here for Assessment and Award Regulations.


Code of Practice

All residents must adhere and abide by the Royal Veterinary College. The Code of Practice can be found under Essential Information in the Graduate School.



Current information on stipend can be found under Funding Options.



You may also find these FAQs helpful

2021 Residencies

Residencies are open to veterinary graduates holding a degree registrable with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. These are three-year post-graduate programmes involving supervised clinical work and applied clinical research. Residents/students will receive specialised training in the relevant discipline while working within the College’s Equine Referral Hospital and will be expected to prepare to sit the examination for membership of the relevant European or American speciality boards after completion of the residency programme. Residents will also be enrolled onto the RVC’s Masters of Veterinary Medicine (MVetMed) programme. 

For an informal discussion about these residencies,  please contact Dr Bettina Dunkel (; General queries: 


How to Apply

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

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



Closing Date:                                       Thursday, 19th November 2020

Interview Dates:

Equine Surgery:                                  Not recruiting for 2021

Equine Medicine:                                Wednesday, 27th January 2021

Large Animal Diagnostic Imaging:  Not recruiting for 2021

Start Date:                                             Monday, 5th July 2021

Interviews and any requests to visit beforehand will be held in a virtual format

We endeavour to inform those who have been short listed for interview, in writing, at least 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 a resident, and their motivation for pursuing a residency.

The residencies are highly competitive and, regrettably, this inevitably means that many good applicants are not successful. If you are unsuccessful you may re-apply the following year but you should contact the appropriate programme director before doing so.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees are as follows:

Year commencing course UK Fees EU Fees International Fees Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
2020/21 £9,000 £9,000 £26,080 £26,080
2021/22 £9,000 £27,380 £27,380 £27,380


Tuition fee amounts are subject to increase each academic year.

For more information and the latest news affecting fees see Tuition Fees.

Funding Options

Clinical Training Residencies

All Clinical Training Residencies are fully funded. 

  • As a Resident your tuition fees will be paid by the department that you are working in.
  • Residents are required to cover the cost of their own accommodation.
  • A tax-free stipend will be paid monthly in arrears. Currently the stipend is £19,100 per annum (subject to review).

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