Veterinary Medicine and Surgery including a Preliminary Year - BVM BVS with BVMed Sci


Fact file - 2019 entry

BVMBVS Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Surgery (including Preliminary year)
UCAS code
6 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
A levels
Grades AAB in any subjects at A level (to include, at most, 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.

Work Experience
We require a minimum of four weeks animal-related work experience before you apply.
IB score
34 (6, 6, 5, to include, at most, one of biology or chemistry at Higher Level) including a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 7 (A), minimum of grade 5 (B) in chemistry (or double science), English language and maths.
Course location
Sutton Bonington 
Course places
25 across D104 and D190


During the preliminary year, you will build on your scientific knowledge as well as develop animal-handling skills to prepare you for direct entry into year one of the five-year course.
Read full overview
  • Develop your animal handling and husbandry skills through placements
  • Be part of a UK veterinary school with 99% student satisfaction, based on the National Student Survey 2018
  • Study in a purpose-built veterinary school on a beautiful campus
  • Join the only veterinary school in the world to win an ASPIRE award in recognition of our student engagement
  • Progress automatically to the five-year BVM BVS with integrated BVMedSci course on successful completion of the preliminary year

Open to UK, EU and international students who do not have the required science qualifications (but have high academic achievement in non-science or vocational subjects or extensive experience) for direct entry into year one of the five-year veterinary programme.   

Year zero

Alongside gateway year students, you will study the basic science subjects of:

  • animal biology
  • animal care and behaviour
  • chemistry

These are taught in integrated modules that illustrate how these key areas interlink. You will learn key chemical concepts, and the knowledge required of animal biology.

In addition, you will:

  • broaden your understanding of relevant industries
  • develop an appreciation of the role of animals in society
  • expand your animal handling skills

On successful completion of the year, you will join year one of the five-year BVM BVS with integrated BVMedSci course.

Visit the five-year course page for more details

Teaching and learning methods

We use four main teaching methods:

  • Signposting lectures cover key topics, with further development in self-study or practical sessions.
  • Practical classes incorporating clinical skills. For example, live animal examination techniques and palpation, dissection, histology, diagnostic techniques, lab analysis.
  • Structured self-study times to develop concepts further. These will include specific learning objectives, learning resources and time limits and are reviewed in clinical relevance or plenary sessions.
  • Clinical relevance sessions are problem oriented, use clinical material or scenarios and involve small group, facilitator-led discussion. Sessions are timetabled at key points throughout the week. They develop your understanding, check knowledge learnt during self-study times and identify and resolve learning problems.


You will need to achieve a wide variety of skill and knowledge-based learning outcomes through different types of assessment. Skills and behaviours are assessed using in-course module examinations, including: 

  • exam condition essays
  • Objective Structured Practical Examinations (OSPEs)
  • practical tests
  • short projects
  • vivas (oral exam)

Your knowledge is principally 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. 

Visit our teaching webpage for more information on how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable


Location and facilities

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is based at our Sutton Bonington Campus. The campus is 10 miles south of University Park. There are regular daily and evening bus services to University Park Campus and Nottingham city centre, allowing you to take full advantage of the social and sporting activities available. On average, the journey takes 35-45 minutes.  

Sutton Bonington Campus is equipped with: 

  • James Cameron-Gifford Library
  • modern sports centre
  • retail and catering outlets
  • student residences ─ over 700 on-campus student bedrooms

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science building has modern teaching and research facilities. These include:

  • clinical skills laboratory
  • dissection and teaching laboratories
  • large lecture theatre
  • seminar rooms
  • small-group teaching rooms
  • surgery suite

The school also provides:

  • apiary
  • aviary
  • exotic and pet unit
  • large indoor arena
  • large animal small holding
  • stables for students’ horses (limited number available) 

There are also teaching and research facilities for cattle, pigs, poultry and sheep associated with the University’s commercial farm, which includes a dairy centre.

During term time there is a student-run Sutton Bonington Farmers’ Market. This runs on the first Wednesday of the month. Watch Paul’s vlog to see what it offers. 


Professional recognition and awards


RCVS accreditation logo


This course is recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE). We are one of only two UK veterinary schools fully accredited by the EAEVE.


In 2016 we were awarded an ASPIRE award. We are the only veterinary school to hold this award worldwide. The award recognises excellence in student engagement. In particular, the way we work with students, engaging them fully in the academic community, extracurricular activities and community work. 

National Teaching Fellowship

In 2016, Associate Professor of Veterinary Education Liz Mossop was awarded a highly coveted National Teaching Fellowship. The award celebrates excellent practice and outstanding achievement in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning. 


Student support

You’ll be allocated a personal tutor. These are members of academic staff in the school and they will:

  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters
  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback

You will also have an extensive support network, including: 

  • Big Vet Little Vet peer mentoring scheme
  • Disability Liaison Officer
  • student progress committee
  • tutors/supervisors
  • year administrators

Additionally, you'll have access to University-wide services such as free counselling and the Students’ Union.


Campus community

VetSoc is a student-run society for veterinary students, providing community spirit among its members. The society puts student welfare at the heart of its ethos by running the popular Big Vet Little Vet peer-mentoring scheme. New students are matched with a senior student who offer help and advice. 

Various events are organised through the year, catering to all tastes. Talks are organised from specialists in different areas of the veterinary professions. There are also sub-committees for people who have a specific interest in a type of veterinary practice. For example, small animal, farm animal, equine. 

In summer, there is SB Fest. Attractions usually include live music, art, fairground rides, a farmers’ market and a beer festival.


Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our mature students website.


International students

We welcome students from all over the world, providing dedicated guidance and advice for EU and international applicants.


Watch our videos to find out more about our campus, student life and what to expect at an open day


Entry requirements


A levels
Any subjects at A and AS level (to include, at most, 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.


English language requirements

IELTS 7.5 (no less than 7.0 in any element)

GCSE/O level English language – minimum grade 6 (B)

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English – minimum grade B

Fluency and competence in English are essential for these courses and will also be assessed first-hand at interview.

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.



Alternative qualifications

Access course

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 grade 6 (B)  in maths and English language GCSE.


At least 2:1 in a non animal-, biology- or chemistry-related subject with supporting A level qualifications of BB (to include, at most, only 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.

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 of grades AABBB at Higher level (biology and chemistry cannot both be taken at Higher level); minimum of five grade As at National 5s, minimum of grade B in chemistry, maths and English language.

Vocational qualifications

DDD at BTEC National Extended Diploma (subjects considered on an individual basis), 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), with supporting GCSE qualifications as above.

Other qualifications

For advice on academic profiles not covered, please contact us directly. International qualifications will be considered on an individual basis but will need to be equivalent to our A2 level and GCSE requirements.

Registered Veterinary Nurses can apply with RVN qualification and a minimum of grade 6 (B) in English and maths GCSE.

For a full list of entry requirements terms and conditions please visit the school website.

Work experience

Four weeks animal handling work experience from the broadest range possible is required, before you apply. We expect you to have some experience in one or more veterinary practices with small and large animals. Work experience can be done over varying hours/days. Five days of work experience equals one week. 

Work experience is aimed at increasing your awareness of the role of the veterinary professional, rather than gaining specific skills or knowledge. Although many of our applicants have significantly more than four weeks experience, the important thing is the quality of your reflection and understanding, rather than just the amount covered. 

We do not take applicants on for work experience on site. You should try to include some time spent on equine, lambing, dairy and small animal work. A range of settings, as well as types of animals is also useful. 

It could include days at:

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

A wide range of other opportunities may also count, please contact us if you have any queries.  All work experience should be completed by the 15 October application deadline. Work experience booked after this date will not be taken into consideration.


Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

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 this school for advice before applying.



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical preliminary year modules

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.

On successful completion of the Preliminary Year you will join the first year of the five-year BVMBVS with integrated BMedSci course.



You will be provided with the knowledge, and the intellectual, practical and professional skills to fulfil the demands required of you to succeed and develop as an accomplished veterinary professional. You will be equipped with a thorough preparation in all aspects of basic, applied and clinical veterinary science, together with an ability for deductive thought, problem solving and research. 

At the end of year three you will graduate with the Bachelor of Veterinary Medical Sciences (BVMedSci), and at the end of year five you will graduate with both the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) and Bachelor of Veterinary Surgery (BVS) degrees.

Alumni success

Graduate destinations include:

  • Mark Westwood – Veterinary Surgeon and Director, Pawsquad Stamford and Oakham
  • Will Garton – Managing Director, Anvivets
  • Rachel Whalley – Veterinary Surgeon, Northampton Vets4Pets
  • Mark Plested – Diagnostic Imagine Resident, RVC

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 100% of undergraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £27,620 with the highest being £36,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. A total of 12 weeks Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Studies (EMS) and 26 weeks Clinical EMS is also undertaken. Animal Husbandry and Clinical EMS is organised in accordance with recommendations as defined by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and completion of these placements is a mandatory requirement.

Extra Mural Studies expose students to the practical, ethical, financial, managerial and inter-personal aspects of professional practice. EMS placements are appropriately supervised and assessed and take place during vacations and during year five.  

How to use the data

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.


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