Postgraduate Certificate

Advanced Equine Veterinary Nursing (Critical Care)

Typical offer: Level 3 Diploma/FdSc/BSc in Equine Veterinary Nursing

Duration: 1-3 years part-time

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Delivery: Online

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Course overview

RCVS accredited

Develop your specialism as an advanced nursing practitioner in your chosen field while enhancing your skills and knowledge. Our Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Equine Veterinary Nursing (Critical Care) focuses on areas of clinical interest and mapping out individual pathways for career progression.

Flexible learning

This course is ideal for those wanting to combine working in practice with studying for an advanced qualification. All compulsory delivery is flexible and online, with optional study days at weekends providing opportunities to access our world-class facilities and meet with fellow students and staff face-to-face. The course can be tailored to fit around your existing commitments, with options to complete in one year or spread out over two/three years.

Enhance your expertise

The course has been designed for veterinary nurses in equine practice with a special interest in anaesthesia and analgesia, and in intensive care of equine patients. In addition to advancing your equine critical care nursing knowledge and skills, the course will encourage you to suggest creative solutions to applied problems in equine anaesthesia and intensive care practice, even in cases of incomplete evidence or uncertainty, while acknowledging professional responsibility.

You'll be supported to set aspirational individual and team goals, and to supervise others to achieve these. This course will develop your approach to providing, monitoring and appraising safe and effective nursing care to equine patients undergoing surgical procedures. You'll be supported to develop skills in identifying and evaluating appropriate anaesthetic and analgesic protocols for these patients, and sharing clinical information with the wider team responsible for patient care.

Professional learning environment

You’ll benefit from the expertise of our professional veterinary nursing team, whose research interests include veterinary professional ethics and law, equine intensive care, behaviour and rehabilitation, and end-of-life care for animal patients. At Hartpury, you’ll join an inclusive, supportive and welcoming learning community that will help you to develop as an advanced practitioner.

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What you'll study

What you'll study

This programme will develop your skills as an advanced nursing practitioner in your chosen area of specialisation. You’ll learn how to utilise the latest research and cutting-edge industry knowledge to evaluate your current practice, introduce new protocols and work with your team and your clients to maximise the welfare of patients in your care.

An important part of these qualifications is working with your fellow learners to share experiences, problems and solutions. Your learning community, although principally online, will use peer discussions to maximise collaborative learning. Assessment strategies will relate strongly to the practice context, enabling you to use your prior knowledge and experience, together with new learning, to produce work that is applied and relevant to your situation.

You'll be invited to join our veterinary professional specific ‘community of practice’ which aims to share knowledge with and between practices and consult professional practitioners regarding areas for future research.


Below you’ll find the modules for this course. Successful completion of your modules (4 x 15 credit modules = 60 credits in total) will enable you to gain your final Certificate award (pass, merit or distinction).

Core modules

This module will develop your professional and ethical knowledge as well as your ability to reflect and evaluate your own practice to support your role as a clinic-based, community or referral advanced nurse practitioner in either equine or small animal practice.

This module will develop your ability to evaluate current research in the veterinary context, to construct and answer appropriate research questions and to communicate research findings. You will explore the use of evidence-based practice in advanced veterinary nursing and will develop the skills required to conduct knowledge summaries in small animal or equine practice.

As well as evaluating current techniques for anaesthesia in a variety of equine patients, and the role of the advanced veterinary nursing practitioner in preparing for and monitoring these patients, you will consider the latest developments in pain management for equine patients.

This module will provide the opportunity to review and evaluate equine intensive care techniques in the clinic, including care for emergencies; it will also prepare you to offer intensive care to patients in the community, through effective liaison with clients.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.

Your support networks

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers and your personal tutor to our specialist academic support (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

  • This pathway has been designed to take one year to complete
  • However, options can be tailored to suit your needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your certificate.

The programme is designed to be delivered entirely online, except for the optional study days.

Modules contain a mixture of flexible learning resources including online lectures.

Workshops and discussion sessions are designed to be delivered live.

The course is taught in English.

Contact learningIndependent learning
Postgraduate Certificate Advanced Equine Veterinary Nursing (Critical Care)16%84%

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module you’re studying. You’ll be expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per week.

You’ll be assessed through a combination of written exams, coursework, oral assessments and written assignments. All modules will include a mixture of assessment types. Feedback will be provided in written form, with the option for follow-up discussions with academic staff.

Written examPractical examCoursework
Postgraduate Certificate Advanced Equine Veterinary Nursing (Critical Care)15%33%52%

This course is made up of two semesters. Semesters normally consist of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled live teaching workshops generally take place in the evenings (after 6pm), for some modules this may be every week
  • Delivery on the optional weekend study days is normally scheduled between 9am – 5pm
  • Teaching and assessment dates and timetables will be made available before enrolment.

View terms dates


A supportive community

Hartpury offers students opportunities to join a flourishing postgraduate research community, attend regular research meetings held both on-site and online and present  research at events.

Guest lecturers

Industry professionals form an important part of your learning, enabling you to gain insights into current approaches to practice. You'll hear from guest lecturers on this programme, from a range of veterinary practice types and with a wealth of specialist knowledge.

Additionally, an important aspect of our Postgraduate Certificates is the inter-disciplinary nature of the subjects being studied. Thanks to our close links with the University of the West of England, parallels and differences with the care of human patients can be explored through the expertise of guest lecturers from the field of human nursing.


World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities on the optional study days, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:


  • Equine Therapy Centre including Sato high-speed and Aquafit water treadmills
  • Equine veterinary facilities including an examination room where procedures such as nerve blocking, joint medication and radiography are carried out
  • International competition arenas and over 230 horses
  • Dedicated teaching rooms for practical sessions
  • Rider Performance Centre including advanced riding simulators, 3D motion capture and electromyography technology, weight-lifting platforms and a dedicated sports therapy area
  • Sports facilities and Medical Centre, home to performance and development athletes


  • Over 70 animal species – domestics, exotics, invertebrates and amphibians
  • Canine Hydrotherapy Centre and dog agility activities
  • Laboratories for dissection and use of modules to support your anatomy learning


Our laboratories are modern and well equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, while others are used for biochemistry and physiology.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

All applicants will be interviewed to reassure both parties that this course is the most appropriate choice and to discuss the most appropriate learning pathway for each individual student. Individual programme planning will be discussed with each applicant at interview to suggest the most appropriate schedule.


  • A typical offer for the Postgraduate Certificate is a Level 3 Diploma, FdSc or BSc (Hons) in Equine Veterinary Nursing
  • Applicants must be a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Registered Equine Veterinary Nurse or, if an international applicant, must hold equivalent qualifications

International students

  • We welcome applications from international students and accept international qualifications at equivalent levels to the above
  • You may also need to evidence proficiency in English language

Only applicants who are RCVS Registered Veterinary Nurses, or who are on a statutory register in their home country, are eligible to gain the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

Please contact us for further information.

International students

Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

The fee for the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing is £4250 (UK applicants)

Please visit our finance pages for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Explore student finance

RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing

There will be an additional fee if you wish to enrol for the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

RCVS Fees - Professionals

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

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Performance Sports Academy membership

Find out costs and details for joining one of our performance Sports Academy teams.

Sports Academy Membership

Hartpury gym

Find out about costs and details for joining the Hartpury gym.

Explore Hartpury gym

Equine Academy

If you have the talent and drive to develop your skills as an equestrian athlete alongside your studies, you may be eligible to join our Equine Academy. For further details including costs, please visit our Equine Academy page.

Equine Academy


We have stabling for 230 horses on campus. If you're interested in having your horse at Hartpury on DIY livery while you study, please visit our livery page for details and costs.


Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those full-time, two years students who graduated in 2020.