Research overview

Develop your skills and understanding of the latest veterinary research, at a University that's ranked 2nd in the UK for research power.*

We are committed to addressing the key challenges of our age through research that has an impact. Our research spans across species, improving the health and welfare of animals. From reducing lameness in sheep using technology, understanding cancer, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, to how viruses and bacteria work, so we can better understand and treat them.

Our expertise are made up of research groups and specialist research centres, including:

*Veterinary medicine, Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014).

Course content

Our Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD will give you specialist training in a broad range of topics. You'll learn the theory and practical techniques you'll need for a successful research career in veterinary medicine and science.

You will design, plan and deliver an original and independent research project, with supervision and support from our research experts. Training in key skills is also provided. Skills you'll learn will depend on the nature of your chosen project.

During the first year you will work on a report and a confirmatory review. The review will be a written report on your thesis and progress so far, including comments from your principal supervisor.

You will be required to attend a minimum number of formal and documented supervision sessions and submit a research portfolio detailing your formal and informal training records.

The confirmatory review must be passed to progress to the remainder of the PhD programme. If you do not pass the confirmatory review, you may be awarded an MRes degree instead.

After completing your first year you will be given the status of PhD student. You will continue to focus on your chosen research topic, with support from your supervisor. The standard PhD course is 3 years, but some funded PhD courses are for 3.5 or 4 years. All PhDs must be completed within 4 years.


You will need to complete:

  • a written thesis of up to 100,000 words
  • a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.


2:1 first degree in a relevant subject, or 2.2 first degree and a masters degree, both in a relevant subject.

Specific projects may also require that you hold a veterinary qualification.


2:1 first degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or 2.2 first degree (or international equivalent) and a masters degree, both in a relevant subject.

Specific projects may also require that the applicant holds a veterinary qualification.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTSClinical projects: 7.5 (7.0 in each element). Science projects: 6.5 (6.0 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


Our Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD is flexible. You can choose to start on:

  • 1 October 2021
  • 1 December 2021
  • 1 February 2022
  • 1 April 2022
  • 1 July 2022

We encourage you to contact a member of academic staff about your research proposal before applying. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in February 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

You should factor into your budget some potential additional costs, such as living expenses in the UK.

Additional costs relating to your research project will vary depending on the type of project decide on. For example, whether there are high laboratory costs or not.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.


For Home students, tuition fees are often incorporated into a postgraduate grant. For self-funded, EU or international students, tuition fees are applicable.

You may be able to access funds to attend a UK conference each year, or an international conference at least once during your postgraduate degree.

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


You will carry out your PhD under the supervision of one primary, and one secondary supervisor from our veterinary school. Both will be academic members of staff in the school and will have university training on the responsibilities associated with being a postgraduate supervisor.

You may also have additional supervisors from specialist research facilities, other Universities, research institutes or from industry.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

Specialist veterinary research facilities

Our research facilities are modern and purpose-built. We have specialist research labs for:

  • ribonucleic acid (RNA)
  • protein
  • flow-cytometry
  • biological level 2 and 3 organisms
  • anaerobic organisms 
  • histology and pathology


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

We've developed and supported more than 150 PhD students in recent years. Many have gone on to work in academia, research, and further study.

100% of undergraduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Louise Dunford
I completed my PhD from The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2012. I have stayed in academia and am now an Associate Professor of Physiology and Nutrition at De Montfort University in Leicester. It’s essential for my role that I have a PhD and the research skills I learnt during it are used almost every day in my job.
Dr Louise Dunford BSc (Hons) PhD

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • Our School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is ranked 2nd in the UK for research power. 80% of their research is regarded to be ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ (3* or 4*).
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 26 October 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.