Where to Study in the UK to Become a Vet

veterinary degree

So, you want to be a vet? Not sure where to start, how to become a vet, what qualifications you need, and where you should study to become a vet?

If you’re starting your journey, you might not know where to look for help. Hopefully, our guide below will help you discover where you can study to become a vet in the UK.

How to get into vet school in the UK

In order to become a vet, you need to qualify from a university ‘vet school’. The different vet schools have different entry requirements, and these may change over time- so we haven’t listed the requirements in detail.

In general, the vet schools all require a combination of a good academic background (usually AAB or above at A-level) and lots of work experience with animals.

However, there are also access courses for those who haven’t recently undertaken A-levels, or who took other A-levels, so this shouldn’t put you off applying.

You will then need to apply to your chosen universities, usually through UCAS. If shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview.

The interview process varies, but you can usually expect a combination of discussion with professors, practical tasks, and questions to test your knowledge.

If your interview goes well, you will be offered a place by letter, but this is usually on some conditions, such as achieving your predicted grades.

Which vet schools are available in the UK?

In the UK, there are currently 9 vet schools that you can attend in the UK: Glasgow (Scotland), Edinburgh (Scotland), Royal Veterinary College (London), Nottingham (Midlands), Harper Keele (Midlands), Bristol (South West), Liverpool (North), Cambridge (East) and Surrey (South).

In other words- there are veterinary schools all over the UK, and more are setting up every few years. Below, we have given an overview of the current vet schools in the UK:

University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine

One of the best things about the Glasgow school is that graduating from here allows you to work in many countries in the world. Glasgow will help you sit any extra exams allowing you to work in these areas before graduation.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 135

Course Length: 5 years

Degree Attained: BVMS

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Edinburgh 

One of the oldest veterinary schools in the UK, Edinburgh has been training vets since 1823. They offer a 5 year course and also a 4 year course for those who have a degree in a related field. Like Glasgow, they’ll help you sit further exams if you want to work elsewhere in the world after graduation. 

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 125

Course Length: 5 years

Degree Attained: BVM&S

The Royal Veterinary College, University of London

The RVC is the oldest veterinary university, first opening its doors in 1791- so if you like to be steeped in history, this is somewhere to consider. The course is based across two campuses- you’ll spend the first two years in Camden, before moving out to the Hawkshead campus for the clinical years. Like Edinburgh and Glasgow, graduating from this university can open up an international career. RVC offer a 6 year ‘gateway’ course for students with different A-levels and a 4 year ‘accelerated’ course for those with a qualifying degree.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 160 (5 year course)

Course Length: 5 years, 6 years, or 4 years

Degree Attained: BVetMed

The University of Nottingham, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

The University of Nottingham first opened its doors to veterinary students in 2005. The purpose-built building and modern equipment is attractive to many. They’ve recently increased their intake to 300 students, now offering intake in September and April to keep class sizes small. The April intake works on a different schedule to all the other universities, meaning it may be easier to get placements. They also offer two gateway courses for those with incorrect A-levels or mature students. All Nottingham students complete a dissertation in third year to get their BVMedSci.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 300

Course length: 5 years or 6 years

Degree Attained: BVMedSci (after 3 years) BVM BVS (5 years)

Harper and Keele Veterinary School

The UK’s newest vet school, the Harper and Keele Veterinary School accepted its first students in 2020. Classes are shared between Harper Adams and Keele University, but students stay at their ‘host’ site with a livestream for many of the classes, only travelling between the two around four days a month.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 110

Course Length: 5 years

Degree Attained: BVetMS

Bristol Veterinary School, The University of Bristol

Like several other vet schools, Bristol offers an ‘accelerated’ 4-year course and a ‘gateway’ 6-year course in order to attract more students. Bristol has a dedicated campus that includes student accommodation and the large teaching hospitals that the students spend time at in their later years.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 150 (5 year)

Course Length: 5 years, 6 years and 4 years

Degree Attained: BVSc

School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool

Like several other schools, Liverpool offers a ‘year zero’ additional year to widen access to those not taking a more traditional route. It also has two farms on site and both referral and first-opinion hospitals, enabling students to see a range of cases in their final years.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 165 (5 year)

Course Length: 5 years or 6 years

Degree Attained: BVSc

Cambridge Veterinary School, University of Cambridge

Students at Cambridge Veterinary School spend the first three years studying alongside other science students in the college system. The clinical years are spent together at the West Cambridge campus, a 10-minute cycle from the city.

Cambridge is the only course in the UK to offer a six-year course as standard, and students are awarded a BA in their third year. A five-year course is available to those who already have a degree in science.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 65

Course Length: 6 years or 5 years

Degree Attained: BA (three years) VetMB (six years)

School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey

Surrey’s vet school is one of the most recent schools to open, with its first graduates entering the profession in 2019. They’re passionate about the impact of animal health on human health, and have a purpose-built pathology lab, making them an excellent choice for students interested in careers in Public Health.

Quick Facts:

Student intake per year: 150

Course Length: 5 years

Degree Attained: BVMSci

How should I choose which vet school to go to?

Each vet school has a different character, and it’s important you find a school you are happy with. If you’re thinking of becoming a vet, you should visit the veterinary schools in the UK and see what you think.

Some vet schools will offer summer courses to introduce some concepts and allow you to spend some time on campus. You can also arrange tours, and most universities will have a student group they can put you in touch with to ask further questions.

You should also think about what you want to achieve. Will you work in the UK, or abroad? Some universities have arrangements that mean their degrees are accepted by other countries, whilst others don’t.

Do you think you’ll want to work in a particular area, such as exotics or public health? Have a look at the course and check it covers this area sufficiently. Do you want to live in a city, or in the countryside? Some courses start in the city and then move, whilst others are based on the same campus throughout.

What Options are there for you after you have Graduated?

UK vet schools are known as some of the best in the world and you will be in a great position to find employment straight away.

Whether you prefer to work in a small or large animal setting, in-practice or locum, UK or abroad, you will be a great candiadate for a range of vet jobs.

Which vet school is the best?

Despite a lot of rivalry between the schools, there is no vet school that is automatically ‘the best’- they all excel in different areas.

At the end of the day, all of them allow you to become a vet – and that’s what counts. It’s a lot more important to find a university that suits you that does a course you’re happy with.