Veterinary Medicine

  • UCAS Code: D100 MB/VetMB
  • Campus Code: 4
  • Duration: 6 years
  • Places per year: 2-3

Studying to become a vet is challenging wherever you choose to do it, but the Cambridge course offers the most diverse and rewarding veterinary education experience possible. Cambridge provides a uniquely supportive environment in which to learn, succeed and enjoy your university years. Our veterinary school has a long tradition of producing the finest veterinary graduates – based on a combination of teaching from some of the world’s top scientists and veterinary surgeons, alongside a focus on practical skills.

Course Overview

Location

Cambridge is a beautiful, exciting place to spend your university years. Importantly, Cambridge Vet School is only a ten-minute cycle ride from the centre of the city (and Trinity Hall) – far closer than the other UK vet schools. This means you can easily access the Vet School in your ‘pre-clinical’ years, yet not be isolated from all the city has to offer in your ‘clinical’ years.

Accommodation

All vet students at Cambridge are members of one of the University’s colleges – and most students say that, apart from the vet course itself, college life is the main reason they are glad they trained here. For at least the first four years you would live in college accommodation alongside 100-150 other students studying the whole range of subjects offered by the University. Colleges are much more than halls of residence, though. They are often students’ main social hub, as well as providing many of the facilities they use – for study, sport, music, and fun.

Finance

Being a vet student at Cambridge is probably less expensive than you think. A recent survey by the Association of Veterinary Students and the British Veterinary Association showed that, per term, Cambridge is the least expensive UK vet school to attend. Our students live in competitively-priced college accommodation for at least the first four years of their course, and the University is inexpensive in other ways, too. There is an array of financial support available. The generous Cambridge Bursary supports students from low-income households, and there are also many sources of funding to prevent financial hardship, and also to support student study, travel and recreation. Cambridge is also the only vet school which provides funding to support its students during their Clinical Extramural Studies.

 

Careers

Almost all Cambridge vet graduates go into veterinary practice when they graduate, and many stay for the rest of their careers – in farm, equine, small animal and exotics practice, in the UK and across the world. Those who decide to do further training, or study for qualification as a veterinary specialist, find that the unparalleled scientific and clinical training they received at Cambridge puts them in an excellent position to further their career. Cambridge vets are also well placed to exploit all the opportunities their science BA and veterinary VetMB degrees offer them, be they in scientific and clinical research or teaching, industrial research, government and management.

A day in the life of a farm animal vet – read this piece by a former student at Trinity Hall!

How You Learn

A major feature of the Cambridge course is its practical emphasis – progressively guiding you towards your clinical goals. From their first week, our students learn handling and management skills in all the major domestic species, and subsequently with amphibians, reptiles, birds and ‘exotic’ mammals. In the early years this is supplemented by integrated sessions in clinical examination, thoracic auscultation, abdominal palpation, orthopaedic evaluation, echocardiography and neurological examination. Our students have the use of superb facilities – bespoke consultation and examination facilities, imaging and surgical suites, a linear accelerator for radiotherapy, clinical pathology and post mortem labs, and our Clinical Skills Lab is available 24 hours a day for students in all years.

The key to being a skilled vet is combining practical skills with excellent grounding in the science underlying practice. Cambridge gives you the unique opportunity to study to become a vet at the world’s premier science university – also consistently ranked as one of the best-funded and most productive UK universities. You will be fully immersed in our environment of cutting-edge biomedicine, and experience shows that this makes our graduates better equipped to deal with the high pace of change in veterinary medicine, and poised for a wide variety of flexible and challenging careers.

Most important is the additional third year – when those of our vet students who do not already have a degree study a single subject to a high level to gain a full Cambridge BA science degree. Most select a biological discipline, but other options are available, such as Management Studies – ideal for a role in leading a veterinary practice. The unique opportunities provided by a Cambridge veterinary education are invaluable in our graduates’ future career progression and flexibility. Indeed, external feedback confirms that our graduates are better equipped to deal with unexpected clinical situations and the high pace of change in veterinary medicine.

Ours is the smallest UK vet school, training around 70 each year, and this is central to our students’ experience. Right from the start, you will be in very small dissection, animal handling, and lab practical groups. You will also benefit from Cambridge’s unique ‘supervision’ small group teaching system – which gives you regular opportunities to consolidate your learning and follow up on your interests. Later in the course, the small class sizes become even more valuable. Our clinical rotation groups are tiny, which ensures a high caseload, and thus more experience and confidence by the time you qualify.

Typical Offer Conditions

A-Level:

A*AA

IB

41-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Other:

See the University’s Entrance Requirements page

Subject Requirements 

Essential:

A-Level/IB Higher Level Chemistry, plus one of Biology, Physics, Mathematics

Desirable:
We recommend that applicants should take three of the above subjects, or two of them plus Further Mathematics

 

Written Work

None.

Admissions Assessment

All applicants for Veterinary Medicine are required to take a written assessment, the NSAA, at an authorised assessment centre (usually their school or college), for which they must be registered in advance. The registration deadline is 29 September 2023. Please note that open centres may set an earlier deadline for accepting entries, and it is your responsibility to check if this applies at your centre. The NSAA will take place on 18 October 2023.

Please see the Cambridge Admissions Testing website for information about dates and registration deadlines, and check admission assessments for further details.

General Comments

We seek applicants with strong scientific and clinical potential, as evidenced by performance in science/maths subjects at school, and in the University’s admissions assessments, as well as an ability to discuss any veterinary work experience they have seen.

Work experience is not a requirement for applicants but some experience is useful to understand the profession and what is required of its members. We recommend applicants acquire two weeks of work experience, if possible.

Applicants whose on-paper information suggests that they might be successful will be called for interview, usually in early December. Applicants will have two interviews on the same day. These will focus on candidates’ aptitude in science/maths subjects, as well as discussion of any work experience. While we will ask about clinical cases you have seen, or any additional reading in science, maths or Veterinary Medicine, we will not expect you to know any detailed information normally taught as part of a university veterinary course.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has certain expectations regarding the attitudes, behaviour and performance of veterinary students. For information about the (1) RCVS fitness to practise requirements, (2) Disclosure and Barring Service checks, and (3) Cambridge’s confidential occupational health assessment, see this link.