Course overview

Our preliminary year is for able students who do not have the required science qualifications for our five-year course but have high academic achievement in non-science and vocational subjects, or extensive experience.

You'll study integrated modules that show how basic science subjects interlink, including:

  • animal biology
  • animal care and behaviour
  • chemistry

After successfully completing the preliminary year you'll automatically progress to our five-year Veterinary Medicine and Surgery course.


Why choose this course?


for student satisfaction since 2010. 

National Student Survey 2010-2021.

Modern facilities

Our purpose-built vet school lets you get hands-on with animals from day one.

Hands on from day one

Experience animal handling and RCVS day one competencies from the moment you start the course.


Placements in veterinary surgeries, farms, zoos and specialist animal centres, give you a broad experience of animals and veterinary medicine.


Dual intake

Choose when you start - September or April.

Three qualifications

Graduate with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) and Bachelor of Veterinary Surgery (BVS) degree. Plus gain an additional award of BVMedSci, after completing an integrated research project in your third year.


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.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A levels
Any subjects at A level to include, at most, only one of biology or chemistry at AS level or A level*

A pass in science practical tests will be required, where these are assessed separately.

Five GCSEs at grade 7 (A). Minimum of grade 6 (B) in chemistry** and maths. Minimum of grade 4 (C) in English language.

IB score 34 overall with grades 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level, including only one of chemistry and biology.

Alternative qualifications

Access courses

We will consider applicants who have undertaken access courses on an individual basis.

  • 60 credits overall with 45 credits at level 3 and 30 credits at distinction
  • Minimum GCSE grade of 6 (B) in maths and 4 (C) in English Language


  • DDD in BTEC National Extended Diploma. Subjects considered on an individual basis
  • Five GCSEs at grade 7 (A). Minimum of grade 6 (B) in chemistry** and maths. Minimum grade of 4 (C) in English language

Scottish Advanced Highers

  • Minimum grades of AA in Advanced Higher level, including one of biology or chemistry
  • Minimum grades of AABBB in Higher level, including one of biology or chemistry
  • Minimum of five grade As in National level 5, including grade B in chemistry and maths. Minimum of grade C in English language


  • First undergraduate degree, or a postgraduate degree such as a Masters or PhD in a non-animal, non-biology or non-chemistry-related subject
  • GCSE Grade B (6) in maths and grade 4 (C) in English language


  • 2:1 undergraduate degree, in a non-animal, non-biology or non-chemistry-related subject
  • A level grades BB, including only one of biology or chemistry*
  • GCSE Grade B (6) in maths and grade 4 (C) in English language


  • 2:2 undergraduate degree, in a non-animal, non-biology or non-chemistry-related subject
  • A level grades AAB, including only one of biology or chemistry*
  • GCSE Grade B (6) in maths and grade 4 (C) in English language

Registered Veterinary Nurses

Registered Veterinary Nurses can apply with RVN qualification, with supporting GCSE grades of 6 (B) in maths and 4(C) in English language.


*excluding citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and global perspectives.

**or double science or core science, additional science, further additional science.


Work experience

You will need a minimum of 4 weeks animal handling work experience, covering a broad range of animals is required. You should try to include some time spent on equine, lambing, dairy and small animal husbandry work. This could include days at:

  • veterinary practices
  • catteries
  • farms
  • kennels
  • laboratories
  • rescue centres
  • riding schools
  • zoos

Work experience can be done over varying hours and days. Any experience with your own pets and on family farms will not be taken into consideration. All experience needs to be completed within three years prior to application and by the 15 October application deadline. Work experience booked after this date will not be taken into consideration.

Important information about work experience and the Coronavirus pandemic

We are not expecting any work experience to have taken place or be ongoing after March 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Your application for 2022 entry will not be negatively affected if you’ve been unable to complete the work experience you had planned.

Our Virtual Work Experience and Exploring the Veterinary Profession course is a useful resource for any veterinary applicants. It is not compulsory to complete the course, although it is encouraged.

View the admissions process for our veterinary medicine courses.


You will need to attend an interview, lasting approximately 30 minutes. This will assess your:

  • motivation, insight into a veterinary career and interest in veterinary topics
  • academic ability, communication skills, animal orientation, personal attitudes and fitness to practice as a veterinary surgeon

Students with disabilities

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 requires that veterinary surgeons are able to give at least basic and emergency treatment to all common domestic species. Students with any disability should contact the school for advice before applying. Please read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Fitness to Practice Guidelines.

Students with criminal convictions

All students are required during the admissions process to disclose any criminal convictions. We do not discriminate against conviction or other information revealed. Please read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Fitness to Practice Guidelines.


Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

We use a variety of teaching methods to help consolidate the theory and practical elements of the course. Teaching is delivered using four main methods:

  • Lectures on key topics which will be further developed in self-study or practical sessions
  • Practical classes, with clinical skills, live animal experience and lab work
  • Structured self-study time, which includes specific learning objectives, learning resources and time limits. These are reviewed in clinical relevance or plenary sessions
  • Clinical relevance sessions which are problem-oriented, use clinical material or scenarios, and involve small-group, facilitator-led discussion. These sessions are timetabled at key points throughout the week. They will develop your understanding of significance, check knowledge learnt during self-study time and identify and resolve learning problems

Teaching methods

  • Anatomy sessions
  • Case-based learning
  • Clinical relevance sessions
  • Clinical skills sessions
  • eLearning
  • Field courses
  • Full-body dissection
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Placements
  • Practical classes
  • Problem-based learning
  • Prosection
  • Self-study
  • Seminars
  • Small group learning
  • Group study
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

You will need to achieve a variety of skill and knowledge-based learning outcomes, through different types of assessment.

Your knowledge is mainly assessed in June examinations, which are online. In addition, informal assessment opportunities allow you to evaluate and reflect on the development of your skills and knowledge as you progress through the course.

Feedback is provided for all assessments and you can discuss your progress with your personal tutor. Find out more about preparing for assessment on the University's webpage.

Assessment methods

  • Clinical exams
  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Examinations
  • Formative assessments
  • Literature review
  • Objective structured clinical exams
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Practical exams
  • Verbal exam
  • Workplace-based assessment

Contact time and study hours

The majority of our teaching staff hold veterinary qualifications suitable for clinical practice in the UK.

During your time on the course you will experience:

  • Lectures: 823 hours
  • Lab and supervised practicals: 316 hours
  • Clinical experience: 1151 hours
  • Tutorials, seminars, problem-based learning and self-directed study: 646 hours
  • Online and other work: 422 hours
  • Extra-Mural Studies (EMS): 1330 hours

View an example first-year timetable

You'll also spend some time with our support teams, including:

  • Personal tutor during your entire studies
  • Dedicated student welfare team
  • Academic support from tutors
  • EMS co-ordinator

These teams monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing, help you reflect on feedback and act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters you may have.


During the placement year, you will experience first and second opinion cases. We work with associates rather than have our own referral hospital. This makes sure you gain exposure to a varied caseload, in real environments.

You will experience:

  • all domestic species
  • exotic animal medicine
  • livestock production systems
  • wildlife conservation

The Clinical Associates we currently work with are:

Additionally, you will undertake 38 weeks of extra-mural studies at farms and veterinary practices, as required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). We have a dedicated EMS team in the school who can support you to find suitable placements. Some of the extra mural studies and the research programme will offer opportunities for you to work abroad.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Sutton Bonington Campus

As a veterinary student you will study at our purpose-built veterinary school on Sutton Bonington Campus. The school and campus offer a student experience that's as unique as you are. From sports to events and societies, and even a farmers market.


In the preliminary year, you'll learn basic science subjects that'll prepare you for the five-year course.

Chemistry: Compounds and Reactions

You will be given an introduction to various topics including: chemical energetics; redox reactions; acids, bases and buffers; and organic compounds. Lectures, practicals and self-study sessions will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of 14 hours per week over eight weeks.

Introductory Maths (for preliminary veterinary students)

You will be given a brief introduction to a variety of mathematical topics including: decimal places; rounding and significant figures; fractions and ratios; powers, indices and scientific notation; logarithms; and graphing. This module will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of four hours per week over seven weeks.

Veterinary Animal Care and Behaviour

This module considers:

  • Animal health and husbandry
  • Animal handling Housing and animal environments
  • Animal industries and / or the role of the different species in the society
  • Legislation and regulatory bodies
Biology: Cell Structure and Biochemistry

You will be given a general introduction to a variety of topics including: cell structure; biological molecules; enzymes; cellular respiration; cell membranes and transport; and genetic control of protein structure. Lectures, practicals and self-study sessions will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of 14 hours per week for 16 weeks

Biology: An Introduction to Body Systems

You will be introduced to some of the main topics for future study, such as the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, the nervous system, the musculoskeletal system and the reproductive system. Lectures, practicals and self-study sessions will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of 14 hours per week for eight weeks.

Biology: Health and Disease

During this eight week module, you will examine and consider the causes of diseases, inherited disease and genetics, immunity and the respiratory system. Lectures, practicals and self-study sessions will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of 14 hours per week.

Chemistry: Atomic Structure and Bonding

This eight week module introduces you to atoms, moles and equations, and aims to provide you with a basic understanding of the periodic table, chemical bonding and structure. Lectures, practicals and self-study sessions will be delivered flexibly within an overall duration of 14 hours per week.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

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) .

Additional costs

You should factor in additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. A complete list will be provided following your successful application. The additional costs cover essential items you will need for the course such as:

Health and safety equipment

Compulsory branded and named protective clothing and equipment including:

  • boilersuit
  • digital thermometer
  • waterproof jacket and trousers
  • parlour top
  • small animal handling tunic
  • stethoscope
  • clogs and scrubs (required in your final year)

Total costs for these items are £297.50. Our vet school shop sells all items at low cost.

Extra mural studies (EMS)

Undertaking EMS also incurs extra costs, but these are dependent on the location of your chosen placements in terms of travel and accommodation.

Students choose the location of EMS, so you might be able to undertake most of your EMS from your home - helping reduce these additional costs.

Final year placements

In addition, extra costs will be incurred in your final year placements. Accommodation is provided at some rotations but there will be extra travel costs. The school currently provides a travel allowance to help towards these costs which is paid directly into your bank account, to assist with these costs.

Other items

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.

Please note that figures are approximate and subject to change.

International fees

^ International fee is for year one of the six-year BVMBVS with Preliminary Year course. Subsequent years two to six will be set at the rate applicable for the five-year D100 course.


Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships


Studying our veterinary course gives you all the knowledge and practical skills you'll need to become a registered veterinary professional. You will be prepared in all aspects of basic, applied and clinical veterinary science, with an ability for deductive thought, problem-solving and research.

Some of our graduates have gone to work for:

  • PDSA
  • Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at University of Nottingham
  • Oakham Veterinary Hospital Equine
  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
  • Paragon Veterinary Group
  • Rainbow Equine Hospital
  • Highcroft Vet Referrals
  • Rood & Riddle
  • Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic
  • Pawsquad
  • Anvivets
  • Vets4Pets
  • YourVets

Average starting salary and career progression

97.1% of undergraduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £31,251.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2021. 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.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

This course is Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) accredited, giving you the ability to practice as a vet in the UK and other countries when you graduate.

European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE)

We are fully accredited by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE).

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.