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Veterinary medicine courses

This very popular five-year course, only offered by a few universities, qualifies you to practice as a veterinary surgeon. You'll first learn about the structure and functions of healthy animals before tackling the diseases that affect them, how to manage these and the surgical know-how needed to treat domestic, farm or zoo animals. You need a passion for animal welfare, an aptitude for science and great communication skills. Vets work in private surgeries, for animal charities, for government departments and in biomedical research.

Studying veterinary medicine at university

Example course modules

  • Animal health science
  • Animal disease
  • Animal husbandry, welfare and health
  • Veterinary musculoskeletal systems
  • Clinical management
  • Animal health and handling
  • Neurobiology and animal behaviour
  • Public health, epidemiology and welfare
  • Veterinary practical techniques
  • Lymphoreticular cell biology

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 82%
    Male : 18%
  • Mature : 29%
    School leaver : 71%
  • Full-time : 100%
    Part-time : 0%

What students say about veterinary medicine

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Useful to have

  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Some encouraging stats for would-be vets! Most graduates get jobs – as vets – on graduation and starting salaries are much higher than average. From time to time, there are concerns that there are shortages of vets in some parts of the country, or in certain areas - not many graduates go on to academic research, for example - but the UK is currently producing a few hundred graduate vets every year. Not surprisingly, they work in mainly rural areas, and are much less likely than most other graduates to work in London.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Health professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Veterinary surgeon
  • Veterinary investigation officer
  • Research veterinarian

What employers like about this subject

Students taking a veterinary science or medicine degree can expect to learn skills in animal health and nutrition; the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of animal conditions; understanding of animal behaviour and the principles of animal welfare. You will also gain useful transferable skills such as good communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Most veterinary science graduates work in general practice, but they can also get jobs with a range of government directorates and inspectorates, with the Armed Forces and in natural sciences research for private companies or at universities.