Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVetMS) | Harper & Keele Veterinary School
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Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVetMS)

The undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVetMS) is a contemporary and exciting curriculum, meeting the RCVS Day One Competences and also developing a wider range of professional attributes.

We have chosen to invest in technology to ensure that all of our students have equal access to the highest quality learning resources underpinning this curriculum irrespective of their personal circumstances. Every student is provided with an iPad, Apple Pencil and protective case for the duration of their studies and at no cost*. This enables our teaching team and learning technologist colleagues to develop teaching materials that are highly interactive and support the best possible learning experience for all our students. The iPads also foster creativity and connectivity for students developing portfolios of work throughout their many placements during the course.

The Vet School teaching team has a wealth of experience, with staff attracted to the opportunities that a new school affords for innovation to enhance your education. Dynamic learning and resilience are promoted and our student-centred curriculum is a clear focus – your education is our main concern. This creates opportunities to tailor your learning from the outset - it is ‘built in, not bolt-on’. Students are treated like professionals from day one with the development of lifelong learning from the outset. Our partnership model ensures that there are diverse career role models embedded throughout the curriculum helping your preparation for work in a changing veterinary employment landscape. The whole approach to teaching and learning fosters support for a strong diversity of entrants to our school.

Our Veterinary Clinical Teaching Fellows represent a key early investment to support these ambitions. Our first year students are supported in their learning by a team of eight vets who lead the clinical tutorials that are designed to help them understand the clinical relevance of their early studies. The CTF team are all current or recent veterinary practitioners bringing contemporary and ‘real world’ insights and perspectives.

The curriculum has been designed to create a blend of types of teaching, a balance of keynote lectures, practicals sessions and clinical tutorials integrated around each topic.

*A charge will be made in the event of loss or damage to the iPad, Apple Pencil or protective case.

How will the course be structured?

To allow students of all learning styles the best opportunity to gain the most from the curriculum, a highly flexible self-directed element has been incorporated. This includes guided online active learning and flexible study days and weeks to allow each student to consolidate, catch-up or balance their work and life more effectively.

The course structure is detailed in the table below. It is a highly practical and clinically-focused programme from year one. A contemporary ‘spiral’ curriculum design enables students to study the key concepts in relevant clinical context from the outset. These are revisited in subsequent years with increasing complexity drawing on input from researchers, clinical specialists and industry colleagues from our extensive network.

The clinical rotations will follow a distributed model of delivery through authentic workplace-based placements hosted by our veterinary practice partners. This affords a highly student-centred and individualised final year in a range of relevant settings that will prepare new graduates for a smooth transition to professional life.

Veterinary Medicine is an intensive programme. You can expect around 18–35 hours per week of contact time, depending on the year of study. The highest contact hours will occur during clinical rotations in years 4 and 5. In the early years of the programme contact hours will be supplemented with mandatory structured online learning which allows you to tackle some topics at your own pace.

Our curriculum will always be subject to ongoing review and refinement, in partnership with our students, industry partners and the RCVS, in order to give you the best possible learning experience and equip you for a variety of future careers in the veterinary industry. From time to time, some changes may be made for example, in response to student feedback, to reflect changes in knowledge or practice or because they are prescribed by our accreditation body (the RCVS) i.e. we are currently reviewing and updating our curriculum in light of the new RCVS Day One Competencies, and the soon to be published new accreditation standards for Vet Schools. This means that some of the information on this page may change. We will advise our applicants and current students of any changes as soon as we are able.

Students also need to complete extra mural studies, an RCVS requirement that augments their practical experience, and so the total study year ranges from 35-45 weeks a year across the five year programme.

Due to the vocational nature and focus of the programme, all modules have been created exclusively for it:

  • Extensive use is made of the over 3000 farm and companion animals on site at Harper Adams as well as state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and clinical skills resources at both Harper and Keele
  • Small group teaching facilitates the development of confidence in practical skills
  • The curriculum incorporates case studies and clinical skills sessions from early in the first year
  • Teaching is led and coordinated by experienced educators including scientists, veterinary surgeons and other professionals. Throughout the programme keynote lectures, tutorials and practical classes are also delivered through contributions from many subject matter experts, practising vets and clinical specialists.
  • Clinical teaching takes place in a variety of settings, ranging from those which deal with unusual and complex cases to those where the primary focus is on the management of the everyday case.


How will the teaching be delivered?

Students are equally split between host sites, with the ability to live-stream lectures to the other campus.

Students are based at their 'host' site with travel days to the other site focused on the need to access specialist facilities. This averages a day a week and travel to a second site is a very common feature for all vet students so you will not be disadvantaged by this arrangement. The final year will be mostly spent on clinical rotations, with individual days or weeks back at the host site for tutorials.

Extra-mural studies (EMS) are taken throughout the veterinary degree and help to prepare students for life in the clinical and related environments. They are an essential part of veterinary education and are student led.

EMS can take place anywhere in the country, whereas final year Veterinary School managed clinical rotations will predominantly take place within easy travelling distance from either host site.

Find out more about EMS

Harper Adams University and Keele University are 23 miles and 50 minutes apart by road. A shuttle bus service is provided for Vet School students allowing them to travel free of charge and safely between the two institutions in order to access timetabled classes. This service is scheduled only at the times when students need to travel to access timetabled classes. It is not a frequent or daily service.

Course structure

The course structure and module details given below are indicative, they are intended to provide you with an idea of the range of subjects that are taught to our current students. The modules that will be available for you to study in future years are prone to change as we regularly review our teaching to ensure that it is up-to-date and informed by the RCVS accreditation standards, research and teaching methods, as well as student voice. The information presented is therefore not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules available in any given year.

  Taught modules Assessment only modules


Animal Management for Health and Production

45 credits

Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology

45 credits

Animal Behaviour and Welfare

15 credits

Professional Skills and Academic Practice

15 credits

Competency Development and Attainment - Phase 1



Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

45 credits

Animal Health Sciences

45 credits

Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Medicine

15 credits

Communication and Professional Skills

15 credits

Competency Development and Attainment - Phase 2



Veterinary Pathology

45 credits

Preparation for Clinical Practice

45 credits

Veterinary Public Health and State Veterinary Medicine

20 credits

Law, Ethics and Professional Practice

10 credits

Competency Development and Attainment - Phase 3



Clinical Medicine and Surgery

105 credits


Business and Professional Skills

15 credits

Competency Development and Attainment - Phase 4



Clinical rotations with support/tutorials at both sites

120 credits


Competency Development and Attainment - Phase 5


Further module information

Detailed information about the modules relating to this course can be found on the Keele University website.

Entry requirements - 2024

A wide range of qualifications are considered suitable for entry onto the course. For further information please contact the admissions team. Find out more about our alternative routes to study Veterinary Medicine.

Typical conditional offers

All applicants must have a minimum of five GCSEs at grades at A/7 or above including:

  • Science and Additional Science (or Biology and Chemistry)

With at least a grade B/6 in:

  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Physics (if taken as a separate GCSE)
Qualification type Grades Offer
A levels AAB
  • Grade A in Biology or Chemistry
  • A second science subject at grade A (from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths or Further Maths and Statistics)
  • A third subject of your choice at grade B (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking)
International Baccalaureate (IB) 6,6,5
  • 6, 6, 5 in three Higher Levels including 6 in Biology or Chemistry and 6 in one other of Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths or Physics.
  • 34 points including 6 in Higher Level Biology or Chemistry and 6 in one other of Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, or Physics
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma 1080 glh D*D*D*
  • Animal Management with at least a Distinction in the following units:
    • Animal Biology
    • Animal Health and Diseases
    • Animal Breeding and Genetics
  • Applied Science (all routes) with at least four from the following optional units:
    • Physiology of Human Body Systems
    • Human Regulation and Reproduction
    • Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways
    • Genetics and Genetic Engineering
    • Diseases and Infections
    • Applications of Inorganic Chemistry
    • Applications of Organic Chemistry
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma D*

   If taken in lieu of a 3rd A level, you will still require:

  • Two A levels at Grade A, including Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science (which may include either of the above)
City and Guilds Level 3 National Extended Diploma 1080 glh D*
  • Animal Management with a Distinction in the following units:
    • Understand and Promote Animal Health
    • Understand the Principles of Animal Biology
    • Understand the Principles of Animal Nursing
    • Understand Anatomy and Physiology
    • Understand the Principles of Animal Nutrition
City and Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma 1080 glh D*D*D*
  • Animal Management (Science) with all mandatory units and any combination of option units is acceptable
Access to HE Diploma 45

Pass with 45 level 3 credits at Distinction. Diplomas must be science based and include:

  • A minimum of 15 level 3 credits in Biology or Chemistry
  • An additional 15 level 3 credits in a second science subject

And, if the gap between commencement of the Diploma and prior formal study is at least three years, the minimum GCSE requirement is each of Maths, English Language and Science GCSE grades B/6.

SQA Higher and Advanced Higher AA
  • AA in Advanced Higher. To include Biology or Chemistry and a Second Science.
  • AABBB minimum at Higher level, to include Biology and Chemistry
  • Minimum of AAAAA in National level 5, including biology and chemistry (or double science), Maths, English Language.
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate A

If taken in lieu of a 3rd A level, you will still require:

  • Two A levels at Grade A, including Biology or Chemistry
  • Another science (which may include either of the above)
Irish Leaving Certificate  
  • 6 x H2

To include Biology and Chemistry at H2 or higher

Minimum of AAAAA or five Higher Merit grades in the Junior Cycle including Science, Maths and English.

Graduates   Normally minimum 2i in any honours degree plus minimum of BBB at A-level, or accepted equivalent, including biology or chemistry. Students with good degrees (1st or 2i) in an animal-related or bioscience discipline who do not meet but are just under the A-level requirements of BBB (or accepted equivalent), are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis alongside all other applicants.

Vocational experience

The primary aim of gaining vocational experience prior to a vet school application is to ensure that candidates understand the varied and sometimes challenging nature of veterinary work and the commitment required to be a successful student and have a long and fulfilling career. This is best achieved by spending time with vets in practice and alongside others working with animals in a variety of settings.

We no longer stipulate a minimum number of weeks of work experience that have to be gained. What we are most interested in are the insights you gained from the vocational experience you have completed and the answers to the reflective questions.

Not all candidates will have equal opportunities for access to work experience. We appreciate it may be difficult for every student to amass a large number of weeks of varied placements especially since this may also affect your academic studies.

The guidelines below are not, therefore, prescriptive and no weight will be afforded to those with greater time spent on placements.

Far more importantly, we will expect you to be able to discuss in detail the insights you have gained during your work experience. This should be derived from time spent ‘seeing practice’ with vets in a clinical setting and from animal work experience.

Suggested experience to aim for:

  • Time spent in one or more veterinary practices, ideally covering both large and small animal work
  • A mixture of non-clinical placements which could include any of:
    • farms: cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry; dairy and lambing experiences are very useful
    • stables, kennels, catteries etc
    • veterinary or medical laboratories and pathology services
    • a day at an abattoir

If you are unable to secure large animal clinical experience with a vet it would be sensible to ensure you spend time on livestock farms to understand the nature of this work where you can also gain insights about the interaction with visiting vets

We appreciate it may be easier to gain smaller chunks of experience such as a day a week at a local vet practice and therefore do not expect your experience to be made up of week-long blocks at each placement.

Please note: the above are suggestions and ideas for work experience. This is not a checklist and achieving all these placements is not a requirement.

Vocational Experience Submission

In addition to your UCAS application you must also submit a Vocational Experience form. The deadline to submit the form for September 2024 entry is 22nd October 2023.

Part of the form includes reflective questions, your answers to these will be scored and form part of the review for the Selection Event.

Your application will not be progressed without the submission of your Vocational Experience form.

Further details

The school will also accept applications from students who are on the gateway preparatory year Extended Degree programme at Harper Adams University and the Foundation year Biology at Keele University. Find out more about the gateway courses.

At this time, the school is unable to consider applications from students who require a Student visa.

The Vet School considers applicants who are resitting whole or parts of their qualifications.
However, a maximum of one resit is allowed in any one subject.

Applicants not offering GCSE English Language at the required grade must have one of the following:

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS, academic) with a minimum score of 7.0 in each component taken at the same sitting
  • Grade C1 (Advanced) or C2 (Proficiency) in the Cambridge English Assessments system
  • ToEFL internet-based test (iBT) with a minimum overall score of 100 with minimum subtest scores of reading 25, writing 27, speaking 23 and listening 25
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) minimum overall score of 65 with a minimum of 65 in each communicative skill
  • Grade B in International GCSE (IGCSE) First Language English, with a minimum of grade 2 in Paper 5 (optional speaking & listening component)
  • Grade 5 English language at standard level (SL) in the International Baccalaureate (IB) paper A1 or A2, or grade 6 in paper B


The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) quality assures veterinary degrees at UK vet schools by means of specific accreditation standards. Graduates from accredited schools join the RCVS Register as members allowing them to practise veterinary surgery in the UK.

Keele University, Harper Adams University and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons are working together to ensure that the new degree meets these standards and that graduates will be eligible for registration. Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, veterinary degrees must have a “recognition order” from the Privy Council before graduates can automatically be eligible for registration with the RCVS.

The Privy Council will take advice from the RCVS on this. The process takes a number of years as full approval cannot be considered until after the RCVS undertakes a formal inspection of the full course and its standards in 2025 when the first cohort of students will have completed their degrees.

Until that time, the School is liaising regularly with the RCVS to ensure that progress towards accreditation is maintained.

Should any unforeseen issues arise, the Veterinary Surgeons Act includes a provision to help ensure that those completing their final exams in an as-yet-unapproved degree may still be allowed to register, in that the Privy Council may invite the RCVS to set examinations for any students attending a non-approved UK veterinary degree course, or alternatively appoint RCVS External Examiners to oversee the standard of the final year examinations. Students who pass the RCVS-controlled examinations would then be able to register with the RCVS and practise as veterinary surgeons in the UK, regardless of the outcome of the degree’s accreditation process. This is in line with the arrangements for any new veterinary degree programmes.


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