Accreditations to look for when applying for Veterinary Medicine

To be able to practice as a veterinary professional in the UK you’ll need to register with Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and pay the required registration fees.

This means that if you’re studying in the UK you’ll need to gain your Veterinary Medicine degree at an RCVS accredited university in order to be eligible for registration.

There are only seven universities in the UK that have RCVS accreditation.

They are:

  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Nottingham
  • Royal Veterinary College London

The University of Surrey has also recently opened a veterinary school and is working with the RCVS to gain accreditation but this won’t be happening until 2019 at the earliest.

Can I study for my Veterinary Medicine degree anywhere else?

In the UK you only have the option of studying at the seven universities listed above. However, don’t let that put you off. All of the universities are internationally recognised for their teaching standards, academic excellence, and learning facilities.

In fact, the University of Glasgow is one of only four UK universities that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association making it widely recognised as one of the best veterinary schools in the world.

Can I study abroad and still gain an accredited degree in Veterinary Medicine?

If you’re interested in gaining your degree abroad there are a number of options available depending on how far you want to travel.

There are RCVS approved universities in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa where you can gain an accredited degree in Veterinary Medicine.

If you choose to study in North America at a veterinary school accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association you are also eligible for registration with the RCVS after graduation.

The RCVS also holds a list of European degrees that entitle graduates to be eligible to register with the RCVS after graduation if they are also EU citizens.

Things to consider when looking to study Veterinary Medicine abroad:

  • Bear in mind that the entry requirements and application process will be different and you’ll still need to register with the RCVS if you want to return and practice in the UK.
  • Double check the fees and finance options involved. Studying abroad isn’t always a cheaper option and you may find yourself not eligible for as much financial help as you’d get at a UK university.
  • The best advice is to check the institution with the RCVS before you apply to any university outside of the UK ensure that you’ll be able to register in the UK once you’ve graduated.

What does accreditation mean?

Accreditation is defined as: the act of granting credit or recognition, especially to an educational institution that maintains suitable standards. Accreditationis necessary to any person or institution in education that needs to prove that they meet a general standard of quality.

Studying at a RCVS accredited veterinary school means that you’ll be taught to internationally recognised standards and gain a qualification that is accepted by employers both in the UK and the rest of the world.

You won’t be able to practice as a vet until you are registered as a RCVS member and throughout your career you’ll need to complete career development training to ensure your skills and knowledge are kept up to date.

Who can award accreditation for Veterinary Medicine courses?

Only the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons can award accreditation to universities for their Veterinary Medicine courses.

Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 the RCVS is required to keep a register of all practicing veterinary surgeons in the UK.

They also set the standards of education for all veterinary medicine and nursing students and regulate the professional codes of conduct.

Under the Royal Charter they can award Fellowships, Diplomas, and Certificates to veterinary surgeons, nurses, and other veterinary professionals.

What about Veterinary Medicine degrees gained outside of the UK?

Any vet wanting to practice in the UK must be registered on the RCVS register, regardless of which country they gained their qualification in.

However, there are different procedures depending on which country the degree was gained in.

The best option for vets wishing to register is to go to the RCVS website for further information.