Research overview

Develop your skills and understanding of the latest veterinary research.

We're 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:

The School of Veterinary Medicine part of Unit of Assessment (UoA6 Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science) has improved their position in the upper half of the UoA and seen a significant increase in the proportion of outputs assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ from those submitted to REF2014. The Unit’s research environment is also recognised as being 75% ‘world-leading’ and 25% ‘internationally excellent’. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

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


You'll 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 2024 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.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

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 2023
  • 1 December 2023
  • 1 February 2024
  • 1 April 2024
  • 1 July 2024

We encourage you to contact a member of the 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


Home / UK£5,100
International£26,2500 for low-cost, £30,200 for lab-based, £35,750 for high-cost lab-based or £41,000 for exceptional technically intensive or specialised projects with high consumable costs. For details, contact

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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'll carry out your PhD under the supervision of one primary, and one secondary supervisor from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. 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.

90% of postgraduates from the School of Medicine secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £39,564.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are 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

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • The School of Veterinary Medicine part of Unit of Assessment (UoA6 Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science) has improved their position in the upper half of the UoA and seen a significant increase in the proportion of outputs assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ from those submitted to REF2014. The Unit’s research environment is also recognised as being 75% ‘world-leading’ and 25% ‘internationally excellent’. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 22 August 2023. 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.