To become a vet in the UK you have to do a veterinary degree. In Great Britain we currently have 8 universities that do either veterinary science or veterinary medicine. Despite the different names, you will graduate from Bristol, Cambridge, London (The Royal Veterinary College), Liverpool, Nottingham, Edinburgh or Glasgow with a bachelor degree accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The University of Surrey is not currently approved by the RCVS, but will be once the first cohort of students graduates in 2019.
This degree (MRCVS) enables you to practice as a vet in the UK and become a member of the RCVS. Some of the British universities also have accreditation to practice as a vet in other countries such as America when you graduate. Some overseas degrees are also accredited by the RCVS, such as those in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. However, students who study veterinary medicine or science at a non-accredited university, for example at St George's in Granada, must take an exam to become accredited by the RCVS.
The vet degree is usually a 5 year course but may be 6 years depending on the vet school you go to. Following this you will graduate as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS). This means that you can practice immediately as a vet, there are no foundation years like in medicine. You will also be qualified to work in every area of the veterinary profession (you do not have to specialise) so you can go into any area that interests you or pursue further education! Click on the ‘Veterinary Careers’ option to find out more.
It is essential that you are well prepared and know the key dates in the application process, because the timeline for applying to veterinary is different to other courses. Veterinary course applications (along with Medicine, dentistry etc) normally have to be completed by mid October (exact dates can be found on the UCAS website link provided below).
The process is quite a long and complicated one, and it is therefore essential you have up-to-date information and guidance so that you are as well prepared as possible. Some advice is given below ...
Click on the logo to go to the UCAS website
Applying to Vet School
Written by a current vet student
So you’ve decided you want to be a vet! Next step is to apply. In the UK we use a system called UCAS to apply for university. This allows you to select which course and universities you want to apply for. UCAS allows you to choose 5 options for courses and universities but only allows 4 of these to be a Veterinary Science or Veterinary Medicine course (this includes the undergraduate entry courses, graduate entry, foundation courses etc). The undergraduate vet course code is D100 but if you are applying for a foundation year the course is D101. This means that you are able to select another choice as an insurance. It is an alternative option if you want to go to university and apply for veterinary as a postgraduate or even during your course. Alternatively it’s an option if you decide you don’t want to be a vet! Therefore it is important that you think carefully about your choice.
The majority of people choose veterinary related subjects, most commonly Bioveterinary Science, but also Zoology, Biology, Animal sciences etc. there are hundreds of courses out there that are interesting and it’s worth taking some time to look. I personally applied for a masters in Marine Biology in my first time applying, it ended up being my only offer and I didn’t take it but it was nice to have the choice. You could also apply later (the deadline for most subjects is in January) if you originally only apply for veterinary courses.
After picking your courses you have to do the rest of your application. This includes inputting all your personal information about your subjects and grades. It’s important to make sure that you fit the criteria for the different vet schools. You can check this on the individual websites. Then you have to write your personal statement (check out the personal statement section of the website!). Just make sure you check, double check and triple check the spelling and grammar. Nothing’s worse than mistakes in your first communication with vet school! Get other people to read it, anyone you can, every little helps!
Finally remember your school will write you an academic reference to go with your application. Speak to them about it! Find out who’s writing it or ask one of your teachers to write it and make sure they know what you are applying for and if there’s anything specific you want them to mention! This is a way for the vet school to find out more about you so make sure the person writing it knows you else it won’t be personal!
Most of all just remember to be yourself and try to enjoy the application process. At the end of the day it’s the only way to get into vet school so you have to do it whether you enjoy it or not. Good luck!
Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow