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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?

  • Be part of an award-winning UK veterinary school with 97% student satisfaction, based on the National Student Survey 2019
  • Animal handling experience from day one
  • Learn in purpose-built facilities, with access to a range of animals
  • Placements in veterinary surgeries, farms, zoos and specialist animal centres, give you a broad experience of animals and veterinary medicine
  • Graduate with 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 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAB
Required subjects

A levels
Any subjects at A level, including only one of biology and chemistry and excluding citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and global perspectives.

Minimum of five GCSEs at grade 7 (A), minimum of grade 6 (B) in chemistry (or double science, or core science, additional science and further additional science), English language and maths.

IB score Minimum total score of 34 overall with grades 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level to include, at most, 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, of which 30 credits must be distinction. The diploma must include biology and chemistry to level 3. Minimum GCSE grades of 6 (B) in maths and English language.

BTEC Diploma

  • DDD at BTEC National Extended Diploma (subjects considered on an individual basis, these may include animal management, animal science or animal care), with supporting GCSE qualifications as above.
  • Distinction at Higher National Diploma/ Higher National Certificate (subjects considered on an individual basis) with supporting level two and three qualifications as above.
  • City and Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma (1080) D grade required (subjects considered on an individual basis, these may include animal management, animal science or animal care), with supporting GCSE qualifications as above.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Minimum grades of AAABB at Higher level to include, at most, grade As in only one of biology and chemistry (for pre-2017 grading) or H1 in biology and chemistry and H3 in the third subject (for post-2017 grading); minimum of five grade As at Irish Junior Certificate to include all sciences, minimum of grade B in chemistry, maths and English language.

Scottish Advanced Highers

  • Minimum grades of AA (to include, at most, only one of biology and chemistry)
  • Minimum grades of AABBB at Higher level (biology and chemistry cannot both be taken at Higher level)
  • Minimum of five grade As at National 5 level, minimum of grade B in chemistry, maths and English language


At least 2:1 in a non-animal, biology or chemistry-related subject, and A level qualifications of BB, to include, at most, one of biology and chemistry and excluding citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and global perspectives) and GCSE Grade B (6) in English language and maths.

Registered Veterinary Nurses

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

Work experience

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. It 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 by the 15 October application deadline. Work experience booked after this date will not be taken into consideration.


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.

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. You will also benefit from dedicated support, including:

  • Personal tutor for the duration of your course
  • Dedicated student welfare team
  • Academic support from tutors
  • EMS co-ordinator

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.

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 have veterinary qualifications suitable for clinical practice in the UK. Other staff you may have contact with will have a teaching qualification or relevant higher education experience in veterinary medicine or core science subjects.

Each year we welcome 300 undergraduate students to the school - 150 in September and 150 in April.

During your time on the preliminary year you'll experience:

  • Lectures: 230 hours
  • Lab and supervised practicals: 100 hours
  • Tutorials, seminars, problem-based learning and self-directed study: 32 hours
  • Online and other work: 32 hours
  • Extra-Mural Studies (EMS): 35 hours

After successfully completing the preliminary year you will join the five-year course, where you'll 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


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 case-load, 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.


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

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.

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.

Biology: Cell Structure

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: 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.

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.

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.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication 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. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Confirmed July 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*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.

EU tuition fees and funding options for courses starting in 2021/22 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

You should factor in additional costs of around £300 into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. The additional costs cover essential items you will need for the course such as:

  • waterproof clothing
  • wellington boots
  • a boiler suit
  • tunic and parlour top
  • surgical scrubs and clogs
  • surgical kit and stethoscope
  • cost of a tetanus vaccination

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.

Extra Mural Studies (EMS) are self-funded. Travel and accommodation costs will vary depending on location.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Scholarships and bursaries

Laptop bursary from the school

You will receive a £400 voucher towards the cost of a laptop of your choice when you start the course.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 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/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.


Studying our veterinary course gives you all the knowledge and practical skills you need to become a registered veterinary professional. You will be prepared in all aspects of basic, applied and clinical veterinary science, together 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

98.1% of undergraduates from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £30,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment 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 also fully accredited by the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE).

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18


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.