Veterinary Medicine Entry Requirements

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Team College Learners

Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge

The Department of Veterinary Medicine has an international reputation as a centre of excellence, and is performing world class veterinary research.

A major strength of the Cambridge course is the extensive use of practical teaching and the emphasis on small-group teaching from Year 1. Our staff includes world leaders in their field and our facilities include state-of-the-art equipment.

Facilities and resources

The modern facilities in the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital include:

  • a five-theatre small animal surgical suite
  • active ambulatory farm animal and equine units
  • a fully-equipped intensive care unit
  • an equine surgical suite and diagnostic unit, with an MRI machine capable of imaging standing horses
  • a state-of-the-art post-mortem suite

We also have one of the leading cancer therapy units in Europe with a linear accelerator used for delivering radiotherapy to both small and large animals with cancer.

In addition, our Clinical Skills Centre houses interactive models and simulators for students to practise and refine essential technical skills individually and as integrated clinical scenarios – excellent preparation for the case responsibilities you have in the later years of the course. The Centre is accessible to students in all years of the course.

Small animals, farm animals and horses are housed on-site to provide continual opportunities to consolidate your animal handling skills. The nearby University Farm also allows all students to become involved in lambing and dairy management.


We are looking for committed students who are interested in the scientific principles that underlie both the health and disease of animals. In addition:

  • trainee veterinary surgeons must satisfy the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ fitness to practise requirements, both when applying and throughout the course
  • offer holders are required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or equivalent overseas check
  • successful applicants are required to complete a confidential occupational health questionnaire

If you are an applicant with a disability, including specific learning difficulties or a long-term health condition, you should contact a College Admissions Tutor or the Director of Teaching at the Department of Veterinary Medicine as early as possible to discuss your particular situation and the course requirements. Such disclosures are considered independently of your academic qualifications and the interview process.

Course costs

Tuition fees

Information on tuition fee rates for Veterinary Medicine is available on the tuition fees page.

Additional course costs

Years 1 and 2

  • Lab coat, overalls, waterproof trousers, wellington boots (with toe protector) – Estimated cost £41.42
  • Dissection kit, gloves, safety glasses, loan of locker key, loan of dog skeleton – £42
  • University approved calculator (optional) – Estimated cost £14
  • Prospective applicants should be aware that lecture material is provided on an online platform and they should therefore have a suitable device, for example a laptop – Cost will depend on the type of device you choose to purchase.

Year 3

  • Costs dependent on the subject taken during Year.

Pre-clinical extramural studies (EMS)

  • All students are required by the RVCS to complete 12 weeks during the vacations (at Cambridge, this is years 1-3). Costs vary depending on placements chosen – students should approach their College for travel grant support.
  • The Department of Veterinary Medicine covers the cost of British Veterinary Association insurance cover for pre-clinical EMS placements at £42 per year.

Years 4, 5 and 6

  • Essential items, including basic stethoscope, clinical and digital thermometers and forceps (full details listed on Department website) – Estimated cost £40
  • Yard boots (steel toe-capped leather boots) – Estimated cost £30-40
  • Many students choose to buy a higher quality stethoscope in later years, plus a fob watch for use in theatre (optional).
  • White theatre shoes (for Year 6) – Estimated cost £22.68
  • Protective clothing for theatre (for Year 6) – Estimated cost £6.18

Clinical extramural studies (EMS)

  • All students are required by the RVCS to complete 26 weeks during the vacations (of years 4-6 at Cambridge). Costs vary depending on placements chosen.  The Department of Veterinary Medicine provides a daily subsistence rate and travel allowance to assist with costs.
  • The Department covers the cost of British Veterinary Association insurance cover for clinical EMS placements at £42 per year.

Further details about additional course costs can be found on the Department website. Most of the equipment listed above can be purchased from the Veterinary School and if you require any further information/guidance, please contact the Department of Veterinary Medicine (see fact file, right).

Some students may be eligible for the Cambridge Bursary Scheme and some College funding may be available to support students’ studies, see individual Colleges for details.

Changing course

To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.

If numbers permit and they satisfy the entry requirements for Veterinary Medicine, students studying another science course at Cambridge may be able to change to Veterinary Medicine. This would usually happen at the end of the first year, though students would have to take up Veterinary Medicine from the start of the first year. Students interested in changing to Veterinary Medicine should seek advice from the Director of Teaching at the Vet School in addition to their Director of Studies.

Occasionally, having studied the first year of Veterinary Medicine, students have left the course and changed to Natural Sciences, starting in the second year.

Professional qualification

While the University is responsible for the teaching and examination of the courses leading to the BA and VetMB degrees (awarded after three and six years, respectively), their content and standards are scrutinised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and must also conform to the Veterinary Directives of the European Union.

Achievement of the VetMB degree allows you to become a member of the RCVS – the professional qualification required to enter practice.


The Cambridge course equips you with the clinical skills and scientific understanding required to enter practice and other areas of veterinary work.

Many of our graduates subsequently enhance their clinical skills by obtaining further professional qualifications in a wide variety of clinical disciplines.

However, the Cambridge veterinary course also gives you the scientific understanding needed to enter many other areas of veterinary work or biomedical science, and to understand and respond to the rapid progress being made in veterinary science. For example, there are opportunities to enter research in universities, Research Council institutes and private companies, and to obtain specialist postgraduate qualifications. In addition, career openings are available with government agencies, animal charities (RSPCA, PDSA etc), pharmaceutical companies, and in academic clinical posts.

Typical offers and requirements

A Levels

  • A Levels in Chemistry and one of Biology, Physics, Mathematics.
  • Most applicants have at least three science/mathematics A Levels and some Colleges require this and/or particular subjects. See individual College websites for details.

International Baccalaureate

  • A Level subject requirements (see above) also apply to the IB – Higher Level subjects satisfy A Level subject requirements.
  • IB applicants are expected to take IB Higher Level ‘Analysis and Approaches’ for any course where Mathematics is a requirement. If this option is not available at your school, please contact the College that you wish to apply to directly for further advice and guidance.

Other examination systems

We expect applicants taking other recognised examinations to demonstrate a level of understanding in science and mathematics roughly equivalent to those applying with A Levels. Refer to the Entrance requirements page for details of other qualifications and please consult any College Admissions Tutor for further advice.

Graduate entry

Graduates wanting to study Veterinary Medicine may apply as an affiliate student to one of Lucy CavendishSt Edmund’s or Wolfson Colleges with:

  • a good Honours degree (2.1 or above, science subjects are desirable)
  • passes at A Levels (or equivalent), as above

Work experience

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.

For students applying for 2022 Entry, we’re mindful that the COVID-19 crisis may prevent prospective applicants from completing work experience. Not having completed work experience will not disadvantage your application to Cambridge. Further advice and guidance can be found on the Veterinary School’s website.

Admission assessment

For 2022 entry, all applicants for Veterinary Medicine (including applicants to mature Colleges) are required to take a pre-interview written assessment in early November 2021, at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

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

Assessment format

See Natural Sciences pre-interview written assessment for more information about the assessment format, and to download past papers.

Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

Submitted work

Applicants are not typically asked to submit examples of written work. Some may be asked by their College to do some reading in advance of their interview, but if this is required the College will provide full details in the letter inviting the student to interview.

Selection requirements

We are looking for students who are committed to the veterinary profession, and who are really interested in the scientific principles that underlie both the health and disease of animals. 

Applications from students who have failed at or been excluded from other veterinary schools will not be accepted at Cambridge

Professional expectations

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has certain expectations regarding the attitudes, behaviour and performance of veterinary students. Trainee veterinary surgeons at Cambridge must satisfy the RCVS fitness to practise requirements, both when applying and throughout the course. These requirements are in place to ensure the safety of patients and patients’ owners.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *