This Veterinary Gateway course is aimed at students who want to study veterinary medicine but who might not otherwise meet our entry requirements. The programme integrates an additional preparatory year designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to study veterinary medicine.
This course is open to UK students only, who come from a 'widening participation' background.
The programme focuses on developing your analytical, problem solving and practical skills in the biological sciences; improving your study, team working and communication skills; and introducing you to the handling and husbandry (control and management) of animals, most of them farm animals. If you successfully complete the year, you will automatically progress onto our Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree programme. You will also be eligible to apply to continue at other UK vet schools for their D100 programmes. The following universities currently guarantee interview to those on the RVC's Gateway year: Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool.
“I have always wanted to be a vet so, naturally, I looked at the RVC. The RVC offer the Veterinary Gateway programme to people from different backgrounds. The requirements took the pressure off my A-Levels, and I ended up with better grades than I expected anyway!
“I chose to study the Veterinary Gateway programme, so that I could acclimatise to life at university and study anatomy and biology. It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made, it has set me up so well for the rest of the course and I will probably will do better in the future because of it.
“Now that I am in BVetMed Year 2, you cannot tell the difference between Gateway and non-Gateway students.”
Rhian Jeffries, Veterinary Gateway and Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine
We were the first veterinary school in the world to achieve full accreditation by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and full recognition by the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), as well as a reciprocal arrangement between the RCVS and the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council Inc (AVBC). Currently we hold full recognition or accreditation from RCVS, AVBC and AVMA and conditional from EAEVE.
What does this mean for you? It means that when you graduate in veterinary medicine at the RVC, you will be qualified to practise in Europe, North America and many Asian and African countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand – a real advantage for those looking to develop an international career.
The Veterinary Gateway course is a one-year programme with the aim of preparing you for the five-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine undergraduate degree on completion.
For an outline of what you will study on the five-year course, please see our BVetMed course page.
- Biology of the cell - Inheritance, genes and evolution - Development - The moving animal - Integrated physiology - Animal handling and husbandry - Problem, definition and investigation - Library research project AHEMS is undertaken during the pre-clinical years of the programme. AHEMS is designed to develop your knowledge, critical thinking, understanding and practical skills. A minimum of six weeks AHEMS is to be completed by the end of BVetMed Year 1 (which includes the summer vacation period), including a minimum of two weeks lambing experience to be undertaken at the Easter vacation block in your Gateway Year. The remaining weeks are to be completed by the end of the summer vacation in BVetMed Year 2. In total, you must complete: AHEMS placements involve spending a number of weeks based at employers where you can focus on developing work place skills and industry expertise that will sit alongside the knowledge you gain throughout your course.
Animal Husbandry Extra-Mural Studies (AHEMS)
- Biology of the cell
- Inheritance, genes and evolution
- The moving animal
- Integrated physiology
- Animal handling and husbandry
- Problem, definition and investigation
- Library research project
AHEMS is undertaken during the pre-clinical years of the programme. AHEMS is designed to develop your knowledge, critical thinking, understanding and practical skills.
A minimum of six weeks AHEMS is to be completed by the end of BVetMed Year 1 (which includes the summer vacation period), including a minimum of two weeks lambing experience to be undertaken at the Easter vacation block in your Gateway Year.
The remaining weeks are to be completed by the end of the summer vacation in BVetMed Year 2. In total, you must complete:
AHEMS placements involve spending a number of weeks based at employers where you can focus on developing work place skills and industry expertise that will sit alongside the knowledge you gain throughout your course.
You will need to fulfil our WP pre-conditions, WP criteria and academic requirements to be considered for interview:
In addition to your UCAS application (deadline 15 January 2020), you will also need to submit your Supplementary Gateway Form (deadline 22 January 2020) directly to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to be considered for interview. Interviews are normally held between January and March (sometimes including December) depending on the year.
Widening Participation pre-conditions (to be met by all)
The Veterinary Gateway programme is available to Home students only that satisfy all of the following specific non-academic requirements:
- You are a UK/Irish national resident in the UK or have settled status (including permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.*
- You are EITHER currently 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.
- You have studied only one period of Level 3, unless you are resitting that same qualification the following year.
- You have never attended university or a higher education institution.
*non-UK nationals unsure of their status should contact Admissions - terms may change depending on Brexit developments.
Widening Participation criteria (route-dependent)
To be eligible for the course, you must meet all of our Route A or Route B requirements. You will be able to indicate how you meet these on the Supplementary Gateway Form.
- You have completed all education since the age of 11 at a UK state school that does not select based on academic performance or charge tuition fees to any of its students, and is not classified by the UK government as an independent school.
You will also need to meet three of the below criteria:
- POLAR4 Score: You live in an area with a POLAR4 score of 1 or 2. You can check this via the Office for Students 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.
- Low Household Income: You have a low household income and you/your parent(s) are in receipt of an eligible means-tested benefit. This could be child tax credits, free school meals, 16-19 bursary, or a government-assessed income award that demonstrates low household income.**
- Refugee: You are a refugee (requires Home Office letter).
- Parental Education: Your biological parents and/or step-parents and/or guardians have no higher education qualifications, such as a degree, diploma or certificate of higher education (attendance as a mature student is exempt). This must also be indicated on your UCAS application.
** Please note: 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. Eligible benefits can be found here.
- You have completed all education since the age of 11 at a UK state school that does not charge tuition fees to any of its students or that is classified by the UK government as an independent school.
- You attended the RVC Sutton Trust summer school within the 18 months prior to application.
Widening Participation eligibility will be determined based on the information provided in the Supplementary Gateway Form, which applicants must submit to email@example.com by no later than 22 January 2020.
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.
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.
CCC in three A Level subjects including:
- One other subject of your choice*
It would also be expected that candidates pass their science practical for each relevant subject, where taking the English curriculum.
For further information on our policy on reformed UK qualifications, please click here.
*The third A Level subject should not overlap with Biology or Chemistry, and cannot be General Studies.
- We support the opportunity to take additional subjects at AS Level, but do not prescribe or prefer any particular subject choices or combinations.
- 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
Applicants who have achieved the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate with grade C will be accepted with two A Levels:
- Biology at grade C
- Chemistry at grade C
Please also see notes under the 'A Levels' tab above.
Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers
Advanced Highers at grade C or above in:
in addition to 5 Highers at grade C or above including:
and at least National 5 grade C in:
* If you have bypassed one or more of these subjects at National 5, you will need this subject/grade at Higher level.
Level 3 Extended Diploma
Qualifications below are considered on top of existing GCSEs.
Level 3 Extended Diploma (reformed syllabus)
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Applied Science / Applied Science (Biomedical Science): DDM overall with Distinctions in:
- Principles and Applications of Science I (90)
- Principles and Applications of Science II (120)
- Science Investigation Skills or Contemporary Issues in Science (120)
Candidates must also achieve at least Merits in two of the following units:
- Applications of Organic Chemistry; Applications of Inorganic Chemistry; Practical Chemical Analysis (120)
- Applied Science: at least three units from Group A must be taken
- Applied Science (Biomedical Science): at least four units from Group A must be taken
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Animal Management**: DDM overall with Distinctions in:
- Animal Biology (120)
- Practical Skills in Animal Science (60)
- Animal Metabolism (60)
- Animal Breeding and Genetics (120) or Animal Welfare and Ethics (120) with Merit in the other
**Previously, only the Science pathway was accepted. In light of this no longer being available, please note the unit requirements carefully as not all colleges deliver what were previously mandatory units.
City & Guilds 'Animal Management (Science)': D / DDM overall with Distinctions in:
- Biological Systems of Animals
- Theory Exam (2)
- Synoptic Assessment (1) or (2) with Merit in the other
Level 3 Extended Diploma (unreformed syllabus)
Animal Management (2010 syllabus) QCF
DDM overall, with Distinctions in:
- 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 syllabus) QCF
DDM overall, with Distinctions in:
- Genetics and Genetic Engineering
- Physiology of Human Body Systems or Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproductions
- Using Statistics in Science or Informatics in Science
- Two of: Biomedical Science Techniques; Chemical Laboratory Techniques; Chemistry for Biology Technicians
444 at Higher Level in:
- One other subject
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.
See additional GCSE requirements.
Where candidates have not taken GCSEs prior to the IB Diploma, they will need a minimum of grade 4 in:
- SL Mathematics
- SL English A
Mathematical Studies cannot be accepted in lieu of Mathematics.
For those starting in 2019 and completing the IB Diploma in 2021 we require SL Mathematics: Analysis and approaches to be taken in place of SL Mathematics. We will not accept SL Mathematics: Applications and interpretation.
GCSEs (only in addition to other qualifications)
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4/C including the following subjects:
- 4-4 in Combined Science or CC in Science (Double Award) or C in both Science & Additional Science or 4/C in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
- English Language
For further information on our policy on reformed UK qualifications, please click here.
Please note, GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will not be accepted instead of GCSE Mathematics but is welcomed alongside it, and as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate.
>>Work experience (optional extra)
Although we don't require applicants to have any work experience, it is desirable. If you can gain 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 suitable other animal environments might include, but are not limited to: kennels, cattery, animal shelter, rural or city farm, stables, pet shop, lambing, intensive livestock, abattoir, animal 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.
I started doing a Level 3 qualification but then switched colleges/qualifications. Does this count as two periods of Level 3?
Where you have only studied for one year (e.g. completed AS Levels) and then gone on to a new college or qualification, you should still be eligible under this pre-condition. However, if you have attended more than one college, both will need to be contextually-flagged for you to meet this WP criterion. Otherwise, it is at the discretion of the RVC as per our Admissions Policy.
I only meet two of the WP criteria. Do I still have a chance of getting an interview?
Unfortunately not. Many of the applicants who apply to our standard BVetMed (D100) will meet at least one of the criteria; to be considered eligible for the Veterinary Gateway programme, you must meet at least three. Care-leavers meeting two criteria are advised to contact Admissions with their circumstances.
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
You will be entitled to practise 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. 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, just as those studying at US universities do.
RVC Gateway students testimonials
Rhian Jefferies and and Abbie Ward both came to the RVC on the Gateway programme and are now studying BVet Med. Listen them talk about how they came take the Gateway path into study and how they feel it has benefitted them as they progress through their studies.
The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2019/20 are as follows:
|UK Tuition Fees|
The UK Government has now confirmed that EU students who begin their degrees in or before the academic year 2019-20 will still be eligible for home student fees and financial support throughout their full degree. In Scotland and England, this will continue for students starting degrees in 2020/21. This will apply regardless of the outcome of Brexit, which is currently expected to happen by 31st October 2019. Announced May 2019. For in depth information please read latest guidance for students on post-Brexit rules and entitlements and FAQs for EU students and EEA/ Swiss students.
In future, the Government will provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2021/2022 academic year and subsequent years. These fees are not decided as yet.
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
The following course-related costs are included in the fees:
- Student membership of the British Veterinary Association for course duration
- Access to books and journals essential to your course (print and digital)
- Open access and bookable IT equipment such as PCs and laptops
- Largely paperless curriculum plus £10 p.a. printing allowance
Annual membership of College gym (both campuses)
The following course-related costs are not included in the fees:
- Specialist clothing and equipment c£600
- Travel to AHEMS and EMS placements
- Some AHEMS and EMS placements will also require students to pay for board and lodging
- Travel to tracking rotations
Accommodation and living costs are not included in the fees. Our Housing Advice pages provide further information on College and private housing.
Loans and Grants - Government Financial Support for Undergraduate UK and EU Students
Alongside the bursaries and scholarships offered by the RVC, there is financial support available from the Government to help cover the costs of living and studying. Financial support is available for students from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other EU countries.
Financial support is made up of four main elements
- Fee Loan
- Maintenance Loan
- Maintenance Grant - this is only available to full-time UK undergraduate students who commenced their studies on or before 2015/16 academic year.
For further details visit;
NB: 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 and grants. They are only entitled to a variable means tested living cost loan and RVC bursaries.
RVC Bursary for Undergraduate UK and EU Students
RVC Bursaries are customary to assist students from lower income households with the cost of undergraduate study.