These courses take between five to six years to complete and provide the pathway to become professionally qualified as a veterinary surgeon.
Relevant to

Key stats

5,090 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 82% UK
  • 18% international
  • 98% full-time
  • 2% part-time
92.8% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top four graduate destinations:

  1. Professional, scientific, and technical
  2. Education
  3. Health and social work
  4. Arts, entertainment, and recreation

Find a course in veterinary science


There are a range of Advanced/Level 3 apprenticeships (equivalent level to A levels).

Animal welfare apprenticeships offer specialist pathways to choose from, including:

  • animal care and welfare
  • zoos and wildlife establishments
  • dog grooming
  • pet care and retail
  • animal training

Veterinary nursing apprenticeships enable you to train for job roles such as:

  • veterinary nurse – small animal
  • veterinary nurse – equine
  • head veterinary nurse
  • head equine veterinary nurse

Find out more about apprenticeships

Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to a veterinary medicine degree you will normally require A level biology and two other subjects.

‘The requirement for other subjects varies a little from university to university, but either one or two subjects from chemistry, physics, or mathematics should be offered. Some universities may accept a third A level in a non-science subject, but it must be an academically sound subject.’
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

In addition, you will also need five GCSEs (A-C) including science, English, and maths.


Entry to veterinary medicine courses is highly competitive and the selection process rigorous as a result. You can expect to be interviewed by each university and some also employ additional screening tests. The University of Surrey uses an online questionnaire, designed to test your level of knowledge about the profession and to check you have the requisite insight and motivation to take on the degree. 

Personal statement

The level of competition for places means that the personal statement forms a critical part of the selection process. It is essential that applicants can demonstrate that they have several weeks relevant work experience. Admissions tutors will be looking for the following evidence in your personal statement:

  • You are well informed and passionate about veterinary science, both as a subject and as a future career.
  • You have at least one to two weeks’ experience of working with animals (this can include for example experience of working on farms, in kennels, stables, and rescue centres).
  • You have spent at least a week working in a veterinary practice.
  • You possess the appropriate skills and qualities to become a vet.

Candidates are selected on the basis of their all-round ability including educational achievements and/or predictions together with personal attributes such as motivation to study the subject, awareness of current issues and developments in veterinary medicine and science, ability to work as part of a team, initiative, communication skills, self-confidence, compassion and empathy.

How to write your personal statement

Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in veterinary science.

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