Intercalated BSc Bioveterinary Sciences
An intercalated year allows veterinary students to gain an additional degree, focusing in a specific area relevant to their veterinary studies. Most students intercalate after their second or third year, and study a BSc course either at the RVC or at another university.
The additional year of study means that you will gain a more rounded education, additional scientific context, and gain valuable experience in carrying out in-depth, original, research. After the intercalated year you will rejoin your original course, and continue from the point you left it.
The Intercalated BSc Bioveterinary Sciences programme is aimed at students with a strong interest in research. The programme allows you to develop your interests in scientific research and aims to equip you with a passion for biomedical research within the context of a diverse range of species, an appreciation of the fundamental principles of bioveterinary or biomedical disciplines, and an understanding of the complexity of comparative biology.
Our biosciences courses follow a ‘pathway’ approach. This means that in your first year, you study a broad range of modules providing you with a fundamental understanding of biosciences.
As you progress through your course, additional study options become available to you, culminating in a final year research project that provides you with the opportunity to choose, with a supervisor, the subject of your choice for further study.
In addition to your classroom modules you will undertake a novel research project during which you will work full time within a research laboratory. You will have a choice of different projects from a broad range of specialisations related to bioveterinary sciences.
You will be guided to produce a research report which will contribute half of your overall mark for the intercalated degree. In previous years several of these research projects have formed the basis of publications either as conference abstracts or as full articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Please note that these are indicative modules and may be subject to change.
Research project / 30 or 60 credits Optional modules (to add up to 60 or 90 credits): - Advanced concepts in bio-business / 15 credits - Advanced concepts in reproduction / 15 credits - Applied molecular microbiology / 15 credits - Advanced skeletal pathobiology / 15 credits - Animal behaviour and cognition / 15 credits - Applied animal welfare / 15 credits - Comparative animal locomotion / 30 credits Animal locomotion is an integrative, dynamic field of study and it is currently at an extraordinary juncture. You will need a willingness to think conceptually about how animals move, and examples will be drawn across the animal kingdom so you can appreciate the breath-taking diversity of movement strategies. - Comparative models of disease / 15 credits - Development and disease / 15 credits - Endocrine and metabolic syndromes / 15 credits - Epidemiology: the bigger picture / 15 credits - Infection and immunity / 30 credits - Parasitology of human and veterinary tropical diseases / 15 credits - Practical investigative biology / 15 credits - Science of animal welfare / 15 credits
Undertake an investigative research project of your own interest, and at the end of the year present the results in the form of a dissertation and as an oral presentation. These projects involve analytical, laboratory or field-based research on a topic selected by the supervisor in light of the areas of expertise and ongoing research found within the RVC. However, you are welcome to propose a specific project to a supervisor in that area of expertise.
Develop a work-relevant theoretical and practical understanding of commercial innovation, within the context of human and veterinary bio-medical sciences. You will learn and experiment with the knowledge, skills and attitudes scientists need in order to play a more effective and integrated role during the development of innovative life-saving and life-enhancing products and services including new medicines, diagnostics and healthcare provision. You will be required to solve commercial problems in small groups and further develop your understanding of bioscience business, management and enterprise.
Build upon the knowledge you have gained in the first year in Reproduction. You will concentrate on the veterinary applications of research and highlight how it makes a real impact on animal health and welfare. You will learn cellular and molecular aspects of reproductive biology from gonadal development and function to ovulation, fertilization and embryo and germ cells development, and establishment and maintenance of pregnancy and placental immunology in animals.
In addition to their importance as pathogens, microbes have many beneficial uses. This module will give students the opportunity to explore the beneficial biotechnological use of microbes in the food industry, and in human and animal health. The module will explore the use of microbes as factories, microbes and food, microbes in research and microbes and health. The module will highlight the historical and state of the art applications of microbes as useful organisms, and you will have hands-on opportunities to explore how microbes can be used for the production of biopharmaceuticals.
Failures in the skeletal system, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, provide one of the major challenges to human and animal welfare. Research activities in skeletal pathobiology are commonly directed at understanding the development, growth, ageing and functional maintenance of the skeletal system as well as the evolution of bone and joint pathologies. This module will introduce you to a broad range of skeletal tissues, and explore the anatomy, physiology and functional failure and on occasion include comparative aspects of the skeletal system across species.
Conduct theoretical and applied training in animal behaviour science and animal cognition. You will focus on wild animals, but relevance to domesticated animals will be made clear and examples will be given. You will cover mammals and birds in depth, but will also build your understanding of reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. This module includes a dog training demonstration and a visit to a professional animal behaviour conference.
Examine important animal welfare issues from a national and global perspective. Investigate and critically evaluate the demands of current and future practices on the welfare of animals under the domain of humans. This module will include visits to an abattoir, livestock market, London Zoo and to a farm.
An exciting, hands-on introduction to the field of comparative animal locomotion at all levels. If we can understand how brains, muscles, and skeletons work together to produce locomotion, in the full context of other animals and the natural environment, then we will not only have solved one of the great mysteries of the natural world, but we stand to improve the lives of all animals, including humans, through treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal disease.
The role of animal models in the understanding of human and animal physiology and in the treatment of infectious diseases is controversial. Modern society is increasingly re-evaluating the value of animal life and, consequently, questioning the use of animal disease models. In this module, you will be introduced into the rationale behind the use of animal models and the increasing number of alternatives, including cells, isolated tissues, zebra fish and drosophila. You will examine the key aspects that need to be considered when developing and analysing models of disease and its uses and limitations.
The nervous system is by far the most complex tissue in any animal. By understanding the molecular and cellular basis of nervous system development, we aim to understand how changes in these processes result in developmental defects – both morphological and function. For example, significant change in the morphology of the brain can be seen in conditions such as holoprosencephaly whereas functional changes are seen in autism and schizophrenia. This module will give insight into the latest research in nervous system development, and will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of how researchers employ animal models in this research and inform you of the latest applications of developmental biology research, including the use of stem cells and molecular editing techniques.
The increasing problem of obesity in the human and pet population has resulted in a dramatic increase in research efforts to understand and influence metabolism, and treat associated side effects. We will seek to integrate the basic science of endocrinology into more translational topics relating to the diseases and syndromes associated with disorders of endocrinology and metabolism. The module will focus specifically on clinical abnormalities affecting blood glucose regulation and feeding, growth and metabolism, endocrine-related cancers, and reproductive disorders including those affecting sex differentiation and intersex.
Discover more about how diseases affect animal and human populations, and how to select the best ways to try to control diseases. You will explore what One Health is, how to investigate a disease outbreak, pandemic prevention, and what the challenges are of working with wildlife. You to discover the patterns, causes, and effects of diseases in animal populations. The key concepts of epidemiology are taught in a structured way, and case studies of pets, livestock, horses and wildlife will show you how to apply what you learn in the real world.
Infectious diseases continue to be one of the major challenges to animal and human health worldwide, and new pathogens are emerging and spreading to new geographical ranges. An understanding of the biology of pathogens, how they behave in the host animal and animal populations, and an understanding of how the host combats infection are all requirements of modern and successful control strategies. This module will introduce you to key aspects that need to be considered when defining and controlling infectious diseases in individual animals and populations, using examples from virology, bacteriology and parasitology.
Study major human and veterinary parasitic tropical diseases from the viewpoints of immunology, epidemiology, pathology, treatment and control. This module will cover major human tropical diseases caused by protozoan and helminth parasites. Major veterinary tropical parasitic diseases that cause significant production losses and/or are significant zoonoses will be covered. For each disease, interesting aspects of research conducted on these organisms will be highlighted.
An intense training course in cell and molecular biology, with a view to equipping you with the practical and design skills required to undertake research in areas of molecular biology. You will complete a ‘mini-project’, where you will generate a plasmid DNA construct, amplify this in bacteria, purify and analyse the resulting DNA, then transiently express this gene in a eukaryotic cell line before analysing the effects of its expression by cell imaging techniques (confocal microscopy and flow cytometry).
Undertake theoretical and methodological training in animal welfare science, which is broadly equivalent to the biology of sensations, motivation and emotions. This module will cover a range of behavioural, physiological and other indicators of diverse welfare states, illustrated with examples including wild, farm, companion, and laboratory animals. As part of this module, you will take small group tours of appropriate animals in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals to observe behavioural indicators of pain and sickness and the efforts made to alleviate suffering.
Research project / 30 or 60 credits
Optional modules (to add up to 60 or 90 credits):
- Advanced concepts in bio-business / 15 credits
- Advanced concepts in reproduction / 15 credits
- Applied molecular microbiology / 15 credits
- Advanced skeletal pathobiology / 15 credits
- Animal behaviour and cognition / 15 credits
- Applied animal welfare / 15 credits
- Comparative animal locomotion / 30 credits
Animal locomotion is an integrative, dynamic field of study and it is currently at an extraordinary juncture. You will need a willingness to think conceptually about how animals move, and examples will be drawn across the animal kingdom so you can appreciate the breath-taking diversity of movement strategies.
- Comparative models of disease / 15 credits
- Development and disease / 15 credits
- Endocrine and metabolic syndromes / 15 credits
- Epidemiology: the bigger picture / 15 credits
- Infection and immunity / 30 credits
- Parasitology of human and veterinary tropical diseases / 15 credits
- Practical investigative biology / 15 credits
- Science of animal welfare / 15 credits
Teaching methods usually consist of a mix of seminar presentations, small group learning (including directed learning), practical sessions and tutorials.
In a typical week, you will have up to 20 contact hours of teaching. These contact hours will be made up from:
- Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 5-10 hours per week
- Medium-group teaching: 5-10 hours per week
- Self-direct learning: up to 10 hours per week
Outside of your timetabled lectures and practical sessions, you are expected to undertake self-directed learning. Typically, this involves working on your own research project, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations.
Assessment and feedback
You will be continuously assessed throughout your course, followed by final examinations. You will also be assessed on in-course work, such as completing tests, analysing data and samples, delivering presentations, and writing essays. A major part of your comparative pathology course is the completion of a research project.
The estimated breakdown of assessment for your intercalated year grade is:
- Written (coursework, essays) - 15%
- Examination (practical, written) - 35%
- Project - 45%
- Presentations - 5%
You will be taught by an extensive range of scientists and clinicians who are knowledgeable from their own experience of animal disease and research. This means we will cover virtually every aspect of animal biology, management and disease that is likely to interest you.
Veterinary undergraduates from all UK and EU veterinary schools are eligible, as well as Medicine undergraduates from UK/EU medical schools.
Intercalation is normally considered between second- and third-year, or third- or fourth-year.
Academically-speaking, applicants will need to pass the year they are currently undertaking, and historical performance will be considered as part of the assessment.
Applications for the 2017/8 course are now being accepted. Please download and complete the form from the How to Apply section on the left.
The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2018/19 are as follows:
|UK/EU Tuition Fees||International Fees||
Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
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.
- For Sandwich/ Placement year fees for UK, EU and international students see link
- 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
USA Student Loans
The RVC participates in the Direct Loan Program in which federal financial assistance is made available from the US Department of Education to US students studying at the RVC. The purpose of this page is to inform you about the process of applying for financial assistance.
The RVC College will originate Direct Stafford loans and Direct Graduate and Parent PLUS loans and full-time students from the USA who are attending at the RVC are normally eligible for funding. The RVC also participates in the VA Educational Benefits programme.