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

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

How will the course be structured?

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 programmes are intensive for students, who can expect around 28 hours per week of contact time.

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 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 will incorporate case studies 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 not only in a hospital setting with the unusual or more complex cases, but also in practices where management of the everyday case is the primary focus.


How will the teaching be delivered?

Students will be equally split between host sites, with lectures simultaneously live-streamed to the other site.

Students spend full days on either campus, mostly at their 'host' site, with travel days to the other site limited to the need to access specialist facilities, typically in the region of four days a month. 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.

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.

Course structure



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



Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

45 credits

Animal Health Sciences

45 credits

Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Medicine

15 credits

Communication and Professional Skills

15 credits



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



Clinical Medicine and Surgery

90 credits

Business and Professional Skills

15 credits

Inter-professional Collaboration
Research A

15 credits



Clinical rotations with support/tutorials at both sites

105 credits

Research Project B

15 credits


Entry requirements

A wide range of qualifications are considered suitable for entry onto the course. For further information please contact the admissions team.

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 preferably at A, but no lower than B (including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Statistics)
  • A third subject of your choice, preferably at A but no lower than B (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking and a second maths subject if used as a science above)
International Baccalaureate (IB) 34
  • 6, 6, 6 at Higher Level, including Biology or Chemistry
  • A second science subject
  • A third subject of your choice
  • A minimum of 5, 5, 5 in Standard Levels
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma D*D*D*
  • Animal Management with Science with at least a Distinction in the following units:
    • Animal Biology
    • Animal Health and Diseases
    • Advanced Animal Nutrition
    • 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 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
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
SQA Higher and Advanced Higher AA
  • AA in Advanced Higher in Biology or Chemistry
  • AABBB minimum at Higher level, to include Biology and Chemistry
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 or
  • 1 x H1, 4 x H2, 1 x H3

To include Biology and Chemistry

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

Work Experience

The primary aim of gaining work 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.

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 we will consider applicants who do not manage to fully meet the suggested times spent. 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:

  • Two weeks in one or more veterinary practices, ideally covering both large and small animal work
  • Up to four weeks in 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.

For successful interviewees with relatively little work experience, we may make offers conditional on gaining further specified work experience.

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.



Further details

The school will also accept applications from students who are on the gateway preparatory year Extended Degree programme at Harper Adams University. Additional alternative pathways are currently being developed.

The progression requirements for these courses are still to be confirmed at the time of writing and will be available on the website in due course.

At this time, the school is unable to consider applications from students who require a Tier 4 visa.


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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