What is the Veterinary Gateway programme?

The Veterinary Gateway programme is a targeted Widening Participation initiative designed to increase accessibility to veterinary degree courses for those who might not meet the normal entry criteria for a five-year course due to their Widening Participation background.

This course is open to UK students only, who come from a Widening Participation background. The full criteria can be found under the Entry Requirements tab.

This is a six-year course that integrates a Gateway year designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to study veterinary medicine. 

Successful completion of the Gateway year does not give you a qualification in itself, but does lead automatically into our five-year BVetMed programme, which will qualify you to practice as a veterinarian. Alternatively, you would be able to apply through UCAS to the Universities of Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool, and be guaranteed an interview for a place on a five-year clinical veterinary programme.

We welcome applications from all individuals with great potential and the dedication to commit to the course and succeed in the veterinary profession. We demand high levels of motivation and, in return, promise a rich and rewarding experience during your time with us.

What will I learn?

During the programme you will learn, among other things:

  • To develop your analytical, problem-solving and practical skills in biology, chemistry, maths and physics
  • To improve your study, team-working and communication skills
  • The basics of handling and husbandry (control and management) of animals – most of them farm animals.

All of this is designed to prepare you for entry onto an undergraduate Veterinary Medicine programme.

Programme delivery

The Veterinary Gateway programme is predominantly taught at our London campus with some teaching also taking place at our Hertfordshire campus.

Our course offers a wide range of stimulating teaching and learning methods designed to equip you with the necessary confidence and skills to pursue further training as a veterinarian. You'll be taught by some of the UK's most prominent veterinary scientists in an environment of cutting-edge veterinary research. Sessions will include:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials (some of which involve live animals)
  • Seminars
  • Practical sessions (in the laboratory and at our working farm)

You will also work on assignments in groups and on your own with access to our extensive library and IT resources.

We want you to succeed throughout your time on the Gateway programme and we use a Personal Development Planning (PDP) system to support this. PDP encourages you to take responsibility for your own learning experience and allows potential issues to be identified and resolved at an early stage. You will also be able to monitor your progress by using the handheld voting systems in our lecture theatres, an enjoyable and effective way to test your own knowledge.

Should you encounter any problems with your learning, support is available through our Learning Support Officers as well as the tutorial system.

Course content and structure

For further details of the course content and assessment download the Course Outline (Programme Specification)

You will need to fulfil our requirements in the following three areas to be considered for interview:

In addition to your UCAS application (deadline 15 January 2018), you will also need to submit your Supplementary Gateway Form (deadline 22 January 2018) directly to admissions@rvc.ac.uk in order to be considered for interview. Interviews are normally held in January or February each year. 

Widening Participation pre-conditions (to be met by all)

The Veterinary Gateway programme is available to UK or EU students only that satisfy all of the following specific non-academic requirements:

  • You are a UK or EU national who is resident 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. 

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, charge tuition fees to any of its students, or is classified by the UK government as an independent school.

You will also need to meet three of the below criteria:

  • POLAR3 Score: You live in an area with a POLAR3 score of 1 or 2. You can check this via the HEFCE 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
  • Income: Your parental income (your household income in the case of mature students) is less than £25,000 and your parent(s) are in receipt of child tax credits or another government-assessed income award that demonstrates household income below this threshold (requires submission of the full child tax credits letter for the current year, or similar)**
  • 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 be also be indicated on your UCAS application. 

** Please note: payslips, P60s, JSA statements, bank statements, or any other item that refers only to one's personal income is not proof of household income and therefore cannot be accepted in support of this criterion. 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. 


  • 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 is classified by the UK government as an independent school.

Widening Participation eligibility will be determined based on the information provided in the Supplementary Gateway Form (available here), which applicants must submit to admissions@rvc.ac.uk by no later than 22 January 2018

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.

Academic qualifications

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.

A Levels

CCC in three A Level subjects including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry 
  • One other subject of your choice* 

Where one is taking science A Levels as part of the new English curriculum (taught from 2015 onwards), it would also be expected that candidates pass their science practical for each subject.

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

Welsh Baccalaureate

Applicants who have achieved the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate with grade C will be accepted with CC in two A Levels, including:

  • Biology 
  • Chemistry    

Please also see notes under the 'A Levels' tab above.

Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

Advanced Highers at grade C or above in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

in addition to 5 Highers at grade C or above including:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

and at least National 5 grade C in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

L3 Extended Diploma and Cambridge Pre-U

All qualifications below are considered on top of existing GCSEs or National 5s only. 


Level 3 Extended Diploma (syllabus for students starting this qualification from 2016)

Pearson 'Animal Management with Science': DDM overall with Distinctions in:

  • Animal Biology      
  • Animal Breeding and Genetics         
  • Animal Welfare and Ethics         
  • Practical Skills in Animal Science         
  • Animal Metabolism

City & Guilds 'Animal Management (Science)': D overall with Distinctions in:

  • Biological Systems of Animals         
  • Principles of Health and Safety         
  • Fundamentals of Science         
  • Chemistry for Biology Technicians

In addition, candidates must take two of the below, achieving a Distinction in at least one and no lower than a Merit in the other:    

  • Inheritance and Genetics; Cell Biology and Genetics; Biochemistry and Microbiology

Pearson 'Applied Science' or 'Biomedical Science': DDM overall with Distinctions in:

  • Principles and Applications of Science I         
  • Principles and Applications of Science II         
  • Science Investigation Skills or Contemporary Issues in Science

Candidates must also achieve at least Merits in the following units:

  • Genetics and Genetic Engineering·       
  • Physiology of Human Body Systems or Human Regulation and Reproduction         
  • Microbiology and Microbiological Techniques or Diseases and Infections        
  • Biomedical Science or Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways

In addition, candidates must take two of the below, achieving a Distinction in at least one and no lower than a Merit in the other:         

  • Applications of Organic Chemistry; Applications of Inorganic Chemistry; Practical Chemical Analysis

BTEC/Level 3 Extended Diploma (syllabus for students who started this qualification in 2015)

Animal Management (2010-2015 syllabus)

DDM (Distinction, Distinction, Merit) required overall, including the units below and with Distinctions in those units marked by an asterix(*):

  • 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 (2010-2015 syllabus)

DDM (Distinction, Distinction, Merit) overall, including the units below and with Distinctions in those units marked with an asterisk (*):

  • Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  • *Physiology of Human Body Systems AND/OR *Physiology of Human Regulation and Reproduction
  • *Biochemistry and Biochemical Techniques AND/OR *Chemistry for Biology Technicians
  • Biomedical Science Techniques AND/OR Chemical Laboratory Techniques
  • Using Statistics in Science AND/OR Informatics in Science


Cambridge Pre-U

Grade P1 (or higher) must be achieved in three Principal Subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • One other subject of your choice

There is no third subject which is preferred by selectors or gives any special advantage in the selection process. Science and non-science subject are treated equally for the third subject.

Applications are welcome from those who meet our science requirements and are taking a combination of A Levels and the Cambridge Pre-U. Offers will be made on an individual basis, depending on the combinations.

International Baccalaureate

444 at Higher Level in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • 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. Science and non-science subject are treated equally for the third subject.

See additional GCSE requirements.

GCSEs (only in addition to other qualifications)

A minimum of five GCSEs at grade C including the following subjects:

  • Either Science & Additional Science or Biology, Chemistry and Physics if taken as three separate GCSEs
  • English Language
  • Mathematics

If taking Science & Additional Science, you would also need at least one further GCSE at grade C or higher in any subject.

New GCSE curricula (teaching starting 2015-2017)


Where we ask for grade C, we will require a grade 4 under the numerical grading system. 


Please note, GCSE Mathematics-Numeracy will not be accepted instead of a C or above in GCSE Mathematics but is welcome alongside it. 

>>Work experience (optional extra)

Although we don't require applicants to have any work experience, it is desirable. If you can get 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 such 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 (available here).



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. 

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
  • Industry
  • Research
  • Government
  • Academia

Global careers

You will be entitled to practice 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. The RVC is the only English veterinary school accredited by the AVMA, and this gives you a unique advantage. 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. 

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 2018/19 are as follows:

UK Tuition Fees

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

Funding Options

Bank Of England Scholarship Programme

Bank of England Scholarship for new students starting a full-time undergraduate degree in September 2017 from a black or mixed African/Caribbean background.

Bank of England in partnership with Windsor Fellowship

If you're from a black or mixed African/Caribbean background and are looking for financial support whilst at university, our scholarship programme may be for you.

It’s a great way to experience our fascinating work as a central Bank in a collaborative and inclusive environment. The programme will provide you with:

Up to £30,000 to support living costs during your undergraduate degree.

• Paid summer internships.

Mentoring, coaching and support from a member of our team.

The programme is open to students who are eligible to work and study in the UK, with at least 260 UCAS points and a household income below £50,000. You must be planning to start a full-time undergraduate degree in Autumn 2017.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 26th February 2017

Applications for the 2017 intake are now closed.

To register your interest for the 2018 and to find out more about the full eligibility criteria, visit see link.

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.

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