Achieving a Fair and Equal Opportunities Admission Process
Overview of the Admissions Process
Phase 1 – Further Information Collection (via online questionnaire)
Phase 2 – Academic Review
Phase 3 – Non Academic Personal Qualities Review
Phase 4 – Interview, Practical and Team Working Assessment
Achieving a Fair and Equal Opportunities Admission Process
It is important that the process of student admission into the Veterinary School is free from unfair discrimination of any kind. We have a fair and equal opportunities admission policy. All applications are considered equally on merit; students are selected on the basis of academic excellence and personal qualities.
The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Admissions Process has been developed with consideration of attributes and qualities required of a new veterinary surgeon as articulated in the RCVS “Day One Competencies” and “Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons”.
The Admissions Process is supervised by the Admissions Sub-Dean. The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science will adhere to the service levels as agreed under the University of Nottingham Admissions Service Level Agreement.
An Admissions Committee has been established to provide an overview of the entire Admissions process. This Committee will be coordinated by the Admissions Officer, with overall Chair being the Admissions Sub-Dean. It will meet in entirety at the beginning of the admissions session for review of the statistical data of the preceding year’s Admissions and the Process for the forthcoming session will be discussed and agreed. Other meetings may be arranged as necessary. The Committee will comprise a diagonal slice of University staff, external veterinary practitioners and key stakeholders as below:
- School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Admissions Sub-Dean
- School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Admissions Officer
- Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
- School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Director of Academic Support and Administration
- 10 members of academic staff (chosen to reflect a cross-section of specialities, ethnic backgrounds and balance of genders from the Vet and Medical Schools)
- Director of Medical Education, Medical School
- Medical School Admissions Officer
- Senior Admissions Tutor, School of Biosciences
- UoN Widening Participation Manager
- UoN Undergraduate Admissions Manager
- UoN Deputy Director, International Office
- Nine lay members (four teachers from local schools and five veterinary practitioners)
These guidelines are revised annually and issued to those involved in any aspect of student selection. New assessors and interviewers will undergo training and orientation, including equality and diversity issues. Staff involved at all stages of the Admissions Process are approved by the Admissions Committee and may be either members of the University or veterinary practitioners. At each stage at least one member of staff involved will be a member of the Committee.
Applicants are considered solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, ethnic or national origin, age (subject to the University regulations on minimum age), disability, religion, sexual orientation or any other irrelevant distinction. Decisions on offers will be made by comparison with the candidate pool, rather than by individual. Records will be kept of all stages of the Assessment Process. In particular when candidates are rejected the reason will be documented. The records will be kept so that they can be scrutinised later if necessary. It is not normal practice for the details of the assessment outcomes to be communicated to the candidates, parents or teachers.
The Admissions Team will produce statistical data annually to allow the proportions of students from racial minorities to be monitored. Data on the proportion of male and female students and disadvantaged applicants will also be collected. In this way the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science will monitor the Admissions Process and ensure that there is no unfair discrimination.
All applicants are requested to not share any element of our admissions process with others (for example, the online questionnaire or interview questions/answers or activities).
Overview of the Admissions Process
The admissions policy for the veterinary courses aims to encourage a more diverse range of people to study Veterinary Medicine. The University particularly wants to encourage people with ability and commitment, but whose circumstances might make such study difficult, or who would be less likely to apply to Nottingham. Enrolling a diverse group of students enriches the learning environment for all students, and produces a veterinary profession that better reflects the communities it serves.
The Admissions process has been designed to measure a range of personal and practical skills including animal orientation, communication, enthusiasm and potential as well as academic ability for our courses. There are four phases to the Admissions Process:
Phase 1 – Further Information Collection (via online questionnaire) and Situational Judgement Test
Following receipt of the UCAS form, applicants are requested to complete an on-line questionnaire in order to supply Further Information. In addition candidates are required to disclose any interim marks such as AS grades or degree module marks.
Applicants for the 6-Year course (D104) will also be requested to provide a separate veterinary-specific Personal Statement (in less than 4,000 characters, including spaces), to be sent directly to the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.
An applicant has 1 week to complete the questionnaire; one prompt is made at the end of that week and a further 1 week given; after this time if the questionnaire has not been completed the applicant is rejected. A hard copy of the questionnaire will be provided if the applicant is not able to access the internet.
The applicant will be asked to provide Further Information by accessing an on-line questionnaire from our website to give examples or evidence which illustrate or support the possession of the following attributes:
Communication and motor skills
- Good communication skills (listening, writing and speaking)
- Good hand-eye co-ordination, dexterity and precision of motor skills
- Animal handling skills
Personal attitudes and attributes
- The necessary self-motivation to pursue a veterinary career
- A caring ethos (compassion, tolerance, patience, empathy)
- A sense of social responsibility
- The ability to cope with change and uncertainty and to overcome challenges whilst understanding own limitations
- Self-confidence and self-reliance
- Good personal organisational skills and time management
- The ability to work independently and as part of a team, integrate, co-operate and be flexible
An insight into veterinary career (an appropriate and realistic view of the role of a veterinary surgeon)
- Having seen veterinary professionals in their working environment
- An awareness of the positive and negative aspects of a veterinary career
- An awareness of current important issues and developments in veterinary medicine and science
Sound reasons for wanting to study Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
- Reasons for wanting to come to the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
- Most important reason for studying Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
The online questionnaire identifies whether there are any factors that might potentially affect the applicant’s fitness to practise as a veterinary surgeon including:
- A disability (mental or physical)
- Behavioural difficulties
- Addiction to drugs, including alcohol
Information is requested to provide identification of any potential disadvantaging circumstances that may make progression to the veterinary medicine and surgery course difficult. This is also reviewed in the light of data provided by UCAS.
Finally, the questionnaire acts to provide a summary of information provided in the UCAS form by requesting that the applicant identify statements associated with ‘communication and motor skills’, ‘personal attitudes and attributes’, ‘insights into veterinary career’ and ‘reasons for wanting to study Veterinary Medicine and Surgery’ that have been mentioned in the Personal Statement.
Situational Judgement Test
The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is designed to assess individuals’ judgement regarding situations encountered in a target role. It assesses key attributes that have been identified as important for veterinary students; they are concerned with testing interpersonal oriented skills and ethical values rather than knowledge or clinical skills.
The SJT is only accessible through the online questionnaire for which applicants are sent specific log in details. Applicants have a maximum of 30 minutes to complete the SJT and it can only be completed in one sitting.
Applicants are presented with a set of hypothetical but relevant scenarios associated with the veterinary profession and asked to make judgements about possible responses. Applicants’ responses are evaluated to provide a picture of their situational judgement in that context.
The competency framework consists of four attributes:
• Empathy and Building Client Relationships
• Professional Integrity and Trust
• Team Work
A rating response format is used on a scale of 1 to 4 where applicants will be asked to either rate the appropriateness of a series of options in response to the scenario or rate the importance of a series of options. The responses are evaluated against a pre-determined automated scoring key.
The SJT score generated per applicant is then used as part of the admissions process to screen applicants for further review and shortlisting for interview.
Phase 2 – Academic Review
The aim is to look for and score academic attributes we consider to be necessary for a veterinary career:
- Knowledge and scholastic ability
- Intellectual ability and style
- Basic numeracy
- Literacy, verbal skills and good knowledge of the English language
We will normally only recognise the marks achieved at the first complete sitting of the A Level (A2). However, we will consider applicants who have re-sat A Levels, although these will be viewed against the pool of applicants. We will require applicants to attain AAA on their second attempt, rather than our standard offer of AAB (grade A in chemistry and biology). We do not consider any further resits after the second attempt.
The School assumes, unless evidence is provided to the contrary, that any compensation for adverse factors including ill-health, dyslexia or bereavement has already been applied for by the applicant's School and is reflected in the exam results.
At this stage, in addition to academic attainment the application is reviewed to ensure that the applicant has gained at least six weeks' experience of working with animals.
Applicants whose first language is not English are expected to have or be taking suitable English Language qualifications. The following qualifications will meet our minimum requirements:
- IELTS - 7.5 with no less than 7.0 in each element
The typical academic requirements are:
Entry Requirements for the BVM BVS with integrated BVMedSci (D100 5-Year programme):
- Minimum of 5 grade As to include Chemistry, Biology and Physics (or science double award).
- Minimum of grade B in Maths and English Language.
- Grade A at AS Level Physics/biology/chemistry can compensate for achieving grade B at GCSE.
- Minimum of grades AAB, in Chemistry, Biology (or Human Biology) and a third subject (excluding only General Studies and Critical Thinking) at A Level (A2).
- Chemistry and Biology must be passed at grade A.
- Taking a fourth A level will not increase your chances of being offered a place at this school.
- Minimum of 5 Grade 1s at Standard level to include Chemistry, Biology and Physics. Grade 2 Maths and English. Grade A Higher level Physics/biology/chemistry can compensate for achieving Grade 2 at Standard level.
- Minimum of Grades AABBB at Higher level, to include Biology and Chemistry.
- Minimum of Grades AA in Advanced Higher in Biology and Chemistry.
- Minimum total score of 34 overall with grade 6 in Higher Level Chemistry and Biology and grade 5 in a third subject at Higher Level, with supporting level 2 qualifications.
- Minimum of 5 Grade As in Junior Certificate to include all sciences. Grade B in Maths and English.
- Minimum of Grades AAABB at Higher level in Irish Leaving Certificate, to include grade As in Biology and Chemistry.
- At least 2:1 in a science-related subject together with A level (A2) Chemistry and Biology (or Human Biology) at a minimum of Grade B in each subject.
- The School will consider on an individual basis qualifications taken by international students. These qualifications will need to be equivalent to our A level and GCSE requirements.
Entry Requirements for the BVM BVS with integrated BVMedSci including a Preliminary Year (D104 6-Year programme):
- Minimum of five grade As.
- Chemistry, (or the science double award or applied science), Maths and English Language must be passed at Grade B.
- Minimum of Grades AAB at A level (A2) in any subjects (to include at most one of Biology and Chemistry). Only one of Maths and Further Maths considered. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.
- Taking a fourth A level will not increase your chances of being offered a place at this School.
- Biology and Chemistry cannot both be taken at AS Level.
- Minimum of 5 Grade 1s at Standard level. Grade 2 in Chemistry, Maths and English.
- Minimum of Grades AABBB at Higher level. Biology and Chemistry cannot both be taken at Higher level.
- Minimum of Grades AA in Advanced Highers, to include at most one of Chemistry and Biology.
- Minimum total score of 34 overall with grades 6, 6, 5 in three subjects at Higher Level (to include at most one of Biology and Chemistry) with supporting level 2 qualifications.
- Minimum of 5 Grade As in Junior Certificate. Grade B in Chemistry, Maths and English.
- Minimum of Grades AAABB at Higher level in Irish Leaving Certificate, to include grade As in at most one of Biology and Chemistry.
- Degree: At least 2:1 in a non Animal-, Biology- or Chemistry-related subject with supporting Level 2 and 3 Qualifications (as detailed above and/or below).
- DDD at BTEC National Diploma (subjects considered on an individual basis), with supporting GCSE qualifications as detailed above.
- Distinction at HND/HNC (subjects considered on an individual basis), with supporting Level 2 and 3 qualifications as detailed above.
- We will consider applicants who have undertaken access courses on an individual basis. 60 credits overall with 45 at level 3, of which 30 credits must be distinction. Minimum of grades B maths and English Language GCSE.
- The school will consider on an individual basis qualifications taken by international students. These qualifications will need to be equivalent to our A level and GCSE requirements.
Other qualifications and experience:
- The University will consider on an individual basis applicants who have undertaken other qualifications or have relevant experience.
Entry requirements for the BVM BVS with integrated BVMedSci including a Gateway Year (D190 6-Year Programme):
- Minimum of Grades BBC at A Level (A2), Grade B in Chemistry and Biology, Grade C in a third subject (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking).
- Minimum of 5 Grade 2s at Standard Level. Grade 2 in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths and English.
- Minimum of Grades BBBCC at Higher level, to include Biology and Chemistry.
- Minimum of Grades BB in Advanced Highers, to include Biology and Chemistry.
- Minimum total score of 28 overall with grade 5 in Chemistry and Biology and grade 4 in a further subject, all at Higher Level.
- We will consider applicants who have undertaken access courses on an individual basis. 60 credits overall with 45 at level 3, of which 15 credits must be distinction. The diploma must include Biology and Chemistry to level 3. Minimum of grades B maths and English Language GCSE.
Students must fulfil at least 3 of the following criteria:
- Being a first generation entrant to Higher Education
- Family, cultural or financial reasons for needing to study in the East Midlands
- Attending a school or college without a strong tradition of progression to Higher Education
- Attending a school or college with a low average A level score
- Living in a deprived home location
- Being (or having been) a refugee
- Being (or having been) in local authority care (looked after)
- Other disadvantaging circumstances (reviewed on an individual basis)
Phase 3 – Non Academic Personal Qualities Review
Personal and Referees Statements on the UCAS form (and the supplementary Personal Statement for D104 applicants) and the Phase I further information provided by applicants on-line are assessed to determine personal attitudes and attributes, personality and communication skills that we consider to be important in a veterinary career:
- Communication and motor skills
- Personal attitudes and attributes
A shortlist of candidates for interview is drawn up.
Phase 4 – Interview, Practical And Team Working Assessment
Selection for interview will be on the basis of those candidates with the overall best profile of attributes from:
- Academic ability
- UCAS statements
- Further Information
At this stage all applications in which potential disadvantaging circumstances have been identified and have not resulted in an interview will be subject to an additional review.
The aim of the interview/assessment is to identify the applicants who are suitable for admission to The University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. No student is admitted without interview/assessment. The aim of this final phase of the selection process is to select candidates who are academically able enough to cope with the course, who are motivated towards a career in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, who have insight into the implications of this career choice and who have or appear to have the potential to acquire the personal skills expected of veterinary practitioners.
The interview will normally be conducted by two staff, one of whom will be a member of the Admissions Committee who will act as lead interviewer. This Admissions Committee member will introduce the interviewers to the candidate and try to put the candidate at ease. The interview which will last approximately twenty minutes, may involve live animals and will involve:
- Questions about the depth of: motivation, insight into a veterinary career and interest in veterinary topics
- Focus on areas highlighted in the assessment process: academic ability, communication skills, animal orientation personal attitudes and attributes, fitness to practice as a veterinary surgeon
The Practical Aptitude assessment will also last twenty minutes and is undertaken by all applicants. During the assessment, applicants should expect to deal with animal material and clinical information. It is not designed to test knowledge; rather we look for enthusiasm and aptitude including observational and analytical skills and animal-orientation.
The Team Working assessment is conducted in a group situation and will assess the individuals' ability to work with a peer group.
After the candidate has left the room the interviewers/assessors will score the applicant and complete the report form. The interviewers/assessors may decide on the basis of information gained by asking questions as above to exceptionally recommend that the candidate is worthy of an offer or should be rejected.
All relevant comments should be recorded on the form. Where there is an exceptional recommendation for an offer or rejection then the reasons should be fully documented. No weighting will be given by the interviewers in an attempt to maintain or achieve a particular balance between the sexes, or ethnic minority groups, or any religious or social grouping.
The School does not wish to receive portfolios associated with work experience, however will consider references from work experience placements if provided and referenced with the applicants UCAS number before 1 December.
On the basis of the scores, recommendations and comments and in comparison to the entire pool of candidates, the Admissions Sub-Dean together with a sub-group of assessors and interviewers will decide whether a decision to ‘offer’ or ‘reject’ should be made. The standard offer is AAB; other offers may be made to applicants with strong potential, ability and motivation or who may have had or are experiencing disadvantaging circumstances.
Applicants will be advised of our decision via UCAS up to 12 weeks after the final interview has taken place. All decisions will be made by the end of April. Offers are made subject to a satisfactory enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. The courses are extremely popular and competition for places is high; as such we will not be able to interview or make offers to many strong candidates.
A veterinary student is studying not only for a university degree but also for a professional qualification. Upon successful completion of the training he/she will not only have the degree but also be able to practise as a veterinary surgeon. The training, therefore, is conducted in an environment that requires students to behave in ways that are consistent with the principles of veterinary professional practice. Some relate to behaviour and conduct expected from students from the outset whilst others will be acquired during the course. All students offered a place on the course will be required to accept the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science code of practice by signing a Student Entry Agreement, and will be required to undertake a Health Assessment.