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This BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing degree programme- jointly developed, delivered and assessed by Middlesex University and The College of Animal Welfare – is the first of its kind in Europe, and offers a unique opportunity to study a degree in veterinary nursing.
This degree programme is now available in the following locations:
- Middlesex University, Hendon (North West London)
- The College of Animal Welfare, Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire)
- The College of Animal Welfare, Leeds (West Yorkshire)
The degree is a single award from Middlesex University and was the first programme in the UK to be given direct accredited status by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). This means that unlike those training on non-directly accredited programmes, graduates will not need to undertake further assessment in order to be eligible to apply to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses in accordance with the requirements of the Veterinary Surgeons Act (1966) and the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Registration Rules. It is by means of RCVS registration that veterinary nurses achieve their highly valued professional status.
As well as modules covering relevant theoretical knowledge, there will be an emphasis on gaining direct experience throughout this vet nursing degree programme. As such you will be encouraged to experience not only first opinion practice, but also veterinary referral centres and leading animal welfare clinics and hospitals. The practical veterinary nurse training offers valuable opportunities to gain hands on practical experience in veterinary practices that have been carefully selected and arranged for you. This will give you a professional advantage on completion of the qualification, and prepare you for the responsibilities and challenges that come with your chosen career.
Please note that – regardless of whether you choose to study in London, Huntingdon or Leeds – the programme delivery, structure and assessment will remain the same for all students.
- Attendance: Full time
- Duration: Three years
- Start Date: October
Location: This programme is available at the following locations:
With the exception of the electives in the third year, all modules are compulsory and are not shared with non-veterinary nurse students. Modules are taught in semesters, with two semesters per year. Over the course of the degree programme you will undertake the following modules:
- Introduction to Professional Issues
- Essentials of Nursing Care
- Veterinary Nursing Practice
- Animal Science
- Clinical Nursing
- Pathology for Veterinary Nurses
- Theatre Practice
- Approaches to Health and Social Care Research
- Principles of Imaging and Anaesthesia
- Elective Module (choose one of the following: Equine Nursing, Management and Business, Nursing Exotics and Wildlife, Professional Development, Animal Behaviour and Training)
This three year course blends 50% on placement in veterinary practices with 50% theory. This meets and exceeds important requirements of the profession, including the RCVS Veterinary Nursing by-laws.
You are offered an opportunity to choose between placements near to your home where possible (potentially a considerable cost saving) or closer to the campus you are studying at. All placements are arranged by the University and in accordance with the RCVS Veterinary Nursing by-laws may only be undertaken at RCVS approved Training Practices.
In order to successfully complete the degree, you will be required to pass all of the University’s practical and written assessments and examinations.
The demand for places on this programme is extremely high and, as a consequence, the selection process is competitive. Offers of places are given through a process of initial application and academic assessment, interview, group discussion and written assessment. Admission tutors are most likely to be interested in applicants that show a commitment to pursuing a career in veterinary nursing, and can demonstrate a caring and professional approach towards their work.
The academic requirements consist of a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (9-4) in English Language, Mathematics, one Science plus two other subjects.
Prospective students would also be expected to hold a minimum of one of the following or equivalent:
- Three A Levels at CCC, or two A Levels at A*B or AA to include a grade C or above in science (preferably Biology); or;
- Three Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma subjects at DMM (distinction, Merit, Merit) or two subjects at DD (distinction, distinction); or
- 30 points overall from the International Baccalaureate; or
- A Recognised Access to Higher Education qualification in a science or health related subject with an overall pass: must include 45 credits at level 3, of which 15 must be at Merit or higher’
Prospective applicants who are over 21 years of age and meet the minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above in Mathematics, English Language, a Science plus two others but do not hold further qualifications, and are able to show high levels of ability and experience within the veterinary care sector (evidenced by a supportive reference by a Veterinary Practice Principal), are also invited to apply.
We welcome applications from International students looking to undertake veterinary nurse training here in the UK. Applicants holding international qualifications are required to have all international qualifications officially translated into English with a notarised stamp. Furthermore, they must have proof of competence in the English Language by holding either the ESOL qualification or IELTS at a minimum score of 7.0 where the qualifications were not taught and assessed in English, plus equivalent qualifications in the Sciences.
Prior to applying for this programme, please ensure you read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disability Guidance on the Recruitment of VN Students which can be downloaded here.
To apply for the BSc in Veterinary Nursing you will need to have a minimum of four weeks (each week 35 hours) work experience within a veterinary practice in order to have developed animal handling skills and obtained an insight into the work of veterinary nurses. You will need to have completed the minimum requirements to enter onto the course. The experience does not need to be in an RCVS approved training practice, although this would be beneficial.
For offer making purposes, the University will only consider work experience that has taken place in the period two years immediately before the course start date to ensure that you have recent experience on the most up to date approaches and procedures carried out in veterinary practice .
Applicants are encouraged to have at least two weeks recent experience in a veterinary practice before they can be considered for interview. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence of the experience when requested. This evidence must include a reference from each practice attended. A total of at least 4 weeks is required overall to meet the work experience element of the entry requirements.
The RCVS has a website facility called Find a Vet which can be helpful when locating a veterinary practice based on a postcode search. It is important when contacting veterinary practices for relevant work experience you explain that you are applying to study Veterinary Nursing at degree level at University and that it is an entry requirement for the course.
More information regarding fees can be found on the Middlesex University website.
Registering as a newly qualified veterinary nurse (RVN)
On completion of the Middlesex University BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree, students are eligible to apply to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. Following the submission of the registration form and fee, successful applicants will then become entitled to call themselves a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) and use the post nominal term, RVN, after their name. They will also receive a Registered Veterinary Nurse badge from the RCVS that, when attached to their uniform, identifies them to members of the public and their colleagues as being of professional status. The registration also demonstrates to employers and the general public that the RVN is accountable to the RCVS for their professional conduct and are committed to keeping their knowledge and skills up-to-date by means of CPD.
Progression and employment prospects in veterinary nursing
As a result of a high demand for registered veterinary nurses across the country, job prospects are excellent both within veterinary practice and in other related areas. Salary prospects have also improved significantly in recent years, meaning that you can now expect a veterinary nurse salary to be in excess of £20,000 per year on average. We advertise current veterinary nurse jobs on our job board, if you’re looking for a place to begin your job search.
Many opportunities are afforded to graduate veterinary nurses in relation to working in first opinion veterinary practice, or moving into more specialist areas – such as surgical nursing – in a referral practice or large veterinary hospital. On completion of degree level training and study, your career prospects could also expand into team leadership, research, teaching, sales or rehabilitation.
Remember that, on achieving professional status, it is the responsibility of veterinary nurses working in practice to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) on a regular basis. Our CPD and short courses are designed for both registered and student veterinary nurses, allowing delegates to refresh their veterinary knowledge and understand the latest developments in the profession.
After you complete your studies with The College of Animal Welfare, you will be invited to join our alumni association, CAW Connect. CAW Connect is a social networking website and education hub which gives you the opportunity to connect with other alumni, enjoy industry discounts, make use of exclusive careers advice and resources, find new job opportunities and keep up-to-date with the latest industry news. Find out more about CAW Connect
“The veterinary nursing practice module is by far the best part of the course! When you finally get to try out everything you have learned in lectures in practice and get an idea of what it is going to be like when you have graduated. This programme requires hard work, a lot of time, less holidays and a focused mind. In return you get an experience of a lifetime, dedicated teachers and loads of practical experience like no other, all smack in the middle of one of the most amazing cities in the world!” Read the case study
Linn Olsen, BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Student