Veterinary medicine

17th August 2016 Update: if you are likely to be looking for veterinary medicine studies abroad after results day, you might like to see the advice we have posted on our blog. This is specifically designed to address many of the questions students have when they first start looking abroad.

Will my foreign veterinary medicine degree be recognised?

This is a highly important consideration when choosing to study veterinary medicine abroad. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information that we give you in this respect and so would advise you to check with Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons about the suitability of any particular university's veterinary medicine qualifications. You might also wish to check the EAEVE list of accredited and approved schools although please bear in mind that many of the visit reports are quite out of date and may not reflect the current reality.

There a number of universities around the world that specialise in teaching international students. Many of these universities' graduates are working as vets in the United Kingdom although often they may have amassed considerable experience abroad in addition to their studies.

We certainly know universities whose qualifications are recognised by the RCVS, and whose quality of teaching is recognised worldwide. These universities are not soft options; going abroad is not recommended under any circumstances to students who would be incapable of following a UK veterinary medicine degree.

Does it make sense to study veterinary medicine abroad?

There are only eight universities in the United Kingdom that offer courses in veterinary medicine. These are heavily oversubscribed, meaning that going abroad could be the only way you can train as a vet. Many British students also apply to University College Dublin in Ireland, but this is also oversubscribed and in fact many Irish veterinary medicine students are already going abroad to qualify.

Currently there are eight universities in central Europe offering degrees taught entirely in English and you can search for them on the "What to Study" page of our site. Additionally there are some options in Romania and Bulgaria. The only option in western Europe is CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia, Spain, and this is only partly taught in English and will require you to learn Spanish.

If you are passionate about becoming a vet, these can help you. You need to be careful in your choice of university but there are some highly reputable veterinary medical schools that can help you achieve your dream and your objectives.

What grades do I need to get in to vet school abroad?

Good ones. And often these will not be enough. The main reason why we say this is because it is tough to follow a veterinary medicine degree abroad and you must be academically capable. Otherwise you will be wasting your time. Some universities will accept you with less than perfect grades if they perceive that you have a passion for the subject and you can demonstrate your ability in other ways.

The actual entrance requirements vary quite dramatically. Universities in Central Europe often have their own entrance exams. These are typically a multiple choice exam on chemistry and biology. If you can get a good grade at A' level in these subjects you shouldn't have any trouble passing the exam. Some universities also include a maths or physics exam in their entry requirements.

It is possible to take entrance exams for some universities in the United Kingdom on various occasions throughout the year although if you are applying at the last minute, you will probably have to visit the university itself to take the exam.

What else should I bear in mind?

Cost can be a major issue when thinking about studying veterinary medicine abroad although some Central European universities are now cheaper than studying in the United Kingdom.

You may wish to take a general science undergraduate qualification and then look to study veterinary medicine at postgraduate level.

There are a number of education agents operating in the UK who offer to find students places at international veterinary schools. In our experience it is often unnecessary to use a UK-based agent. However, the customer support of some Central European universities leaves a lot to be desired and you might find it easier to apply through an intermediary. It is worth checking in advance exactly which fees would be payable by you as the student and exactly which services the agent is authorised to offer.

Where should I look for veterinary medicine degrees abroad?

There are two main areas where you can look for universities that welcome applications from British veterinary medicine students: the Caribbean and Central Europe.

Vet schools in the Caribbean follow the American education system and many students there go on work in the USA. These universities are considerably more expensive than studying in the United Kingdom. The overall cost of a year in the Caribbean is likely to be around US$35,000.

Vet schools in Central Europe have developed an excellent reputation over the last 20 years of offering education in English. Some of these locations may seem a little run down but the teaching methods are often world class. Typically tuition fees for Central European veterinary medicine courses range from around €6,500 to €12,500 per annum. Living costs are still relatively cheap. All qualifications taught within the European Union should be judged as equal but it is worth checking with the RCVS as they will know more about the relative quality of medical qualifications than we or any education agent can.

There is one option currently available in Spain for students who are prepared to study their 3rd to 5th years in Spanish. Universidad Cardenal Herrera has been offering veterinary medicine partly in English since 2014. Students must learn Spanish alongside their first two years' study but it is an excellent opportunity and currently the only one in western Europe that is even partly in English.

Studying veterinary medicine in Australia or New Zealand is possible but it will be expensive and your chances of getting in are very low. Most countries in the Anglophone world have a shortage of places in their veterinary medicine schools. In the USA most students complete a general science or pre-med undergraduate degree and then go on to veterinary medicine studies at postgraduate level. This is an incredibly expensive route to follow and it is unlikely you would receive a scholarship for the full duration of your studies.

How can I find out more?

If you have any questions about courses in Veterinary Medicine you are welcome to contact us directly. We may be able to help you apply to some of the universities in Europe. You can also email us at info@astarfuture.co.uk