Hartpury veterinary nursing student treating horse on work placement
BSc (Hons)

Equine Veterinary Nursing

UCAS Code: D313

Typical offer: 96-112 UCAS tariff points or equivalent

Duration: 4 years full-time

Placement year: Compulsory

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Accreditation: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)

Apply for this course here: https://www.hartpury.ac.uk/university/courses/undergraduate/bsc-hons-equine-veterinary-nursing/bsc-hons-equine-veterinary-nursing-2021/


Course overview

Gain entry to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Veterinary Nurse Register on graduation. Benefit from outstanding facilities and strong industry partnerships. Uncover new knowledge with a research-based dissertation and graduate with a full BSc (Hons) degree. 

We value the potential of each and every student – we’ll support you to qualify as a skilled equine veterinary nurse able to help drive forward a vibrant, rewarding and sustainable profession.

You’ll benefit from a qualified and experienced teaching team of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Registered Veterinary Nurses or Equine Veterinary Nurses and Veterinary Nurse Training Practices.

Our dedicated Veterinary Nursing Clinical Skills Centre will enable you to apply theory to practice in a supported setting. Alongside this, we boast a livery yard with over 230 horses, an international equestrian events centre and a research-active Equine Therapy Centre. Students often gain voluntary roles here to enhance their learning.

This honours degree will enable you to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse, as well as develop additional skills and experience in your third and fourth years, by selecting optional modules based on your interests and future career aspirations.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons accreditation

This course is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). This means that, on graduation, you’ll be eligible to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses and practise as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Anyone considering a career as a veterinary nurse is recommended to read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Fitness to Practise guidance which provides useful information about specific characteristics required to be accepted on an accredited course.

How to apply Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

This degree includes a combination of compulsory and optional modules. Compulsory modules are designed to develop the skills and competences required for access to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Register of Veterinary Nurses.

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands - you'll find recent topics studied below. You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study.

Level four (year one)

Your first year will focus on developing underpinning, fundamental knowledge and skills to support you in progressing to your clinical placement year. You’ll receive a minimum of 15 hours scheduled contact per week in lectures, seminars and practical sessions in your first year.

Compulsory modules

Focus on the structure and functions of the major body systems for a range of species.

Undertake discussion of legislation, housing, nutrition, handling, and health of animals.

Develop knowledge of the role of a veterinary nurse and consider the job application process.

Acquire expertise on the management of animals within a clinical environment, including infection control and client support.

Consider the professional veterinary nursing environment including your responsibilities whilst on placement.

Develop knowledge about different types of medications and their administration.

Level five integrated placement year (year two)

This is your opportunity to put your skills and knowledge gained at level four to good use, as an RCVS-enrolled Student Veterinary Nurse. You'll spend a minimum of 1,800 hours (at least 37 hours a week) in an Approved Training Practice in the UK. All placements are approved by Hartpury.

You’ll complete a Nursing Progress Log (NPL), supported by a clinical coach and clinical tutor, developing your clinical practical skills whilst gaining first-hand knowledge of the veterinary industry.

Compulsory modules

Undertake 1,800 hours, during full-time working hours (minimum of 37 hours per week) in an RCVS-approved veterinary nursing training practice.

Level five (year three)

You’ll build on existing clinical skills and knowledge, exploring topics such as theatre practice, anaesthesia and diagnostics, as well as expanding your awareness of research and the impact it has on the veterinary industry. You’ll be able to select from optional modules during this year to tailor your studies to meet your interests and career aspirations.

Compulsory modules

Learn how to prepare and undertake diagnostic testing.

Understand the principles of operating theatres, instrument care, and anaesthesia.

Prepare patients for medical treatment and caring for patients with a variety of disorders.

This module will introduce you to the methods of research and analysis, helping to prepare you for the research project (dissertation) in your fourth year.

Optional modules

You’ll be able to select from optional modules during this year to tailor your studies to meet your interests and career aspirations. Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Recent subjects have included clinical rehabilitation and business management.

You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study. 

Level six (year four)

Your final year allows you to focus on areas that interest you and that will support your future career. You’ll select from optional modules to gain additional skills to progress your career, as well as undertake your dissertation, a substantial research project that enables you to experience responsibility for planning, implementing and reporting on a veterinary-related research enquiry.

You’ll be given the opportunity to develop clinical coaching skills whilst working with first-year students, a valuable skill that will allow you to progress to clinical coach training after graduation.

This final year equips our graduates with a range of additional, relevant and valuable skills, preparing for a successful and fulfilling future as a veterinary nurse.

Compulsory modules

Learn how to apply your knowledge of the veterinary industry and legislation.

Partake in independent research and analysis in a related area of your choice.

You must study either these two modules or the Undergraduate Dissertation module.

Plan, design and implement an independent research enquiry in an area of interest.

You must study either this module or the Applied Research Project and Investigative Skills for the Successful Undergraduate modules.

Optional modules

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Recent subjects have included clinical animal behaviour, ethical breeding, veterinary nursing clinics and volunteering for veterinary nurses.

You can attend introductory sessions for optional modules before deciding which ones to study.

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, which is why you'll receive a minimum of 15 hours of scheduled teaching time per week in your first year - this is 25% above the UK average.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one to be the best you can be. This will range from your personal tutor and specialist academic support team (our Achievement and Success Centre) to dedicated wellbeing and employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) centres.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your digestion of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions, as well as supported work placement learning as part of many courses.

Your career

Each year of your course will be made up of two semesters, within which you’ll study compulsory and optional modules on different industry-focused topics, enabling you to develop your own unique portfolio of knowledge, skills and experience, ready for your career.

Further details

You’ll have your own personal tutor while you’re here who will support you to succeed in your studies. You’ll also have access to our academic and wellbeing support teams who run regular workshops and one-to-one sessions on campus and online.

Alongside this, we have a comprehensive bank of online study skills resources to help you make the most of your qualification.

On successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain at levels five and six will contribute towards your final degree classification.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, seminars and practical sessions, face-to-face and online, alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. The course also includes work placement learning as part of a module.

The course is taught in English.

YearContact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
Level four (year one)28%0%72%
Level five placement year (year two)0%100%0%
Level five (year three)26%0%74%
Level six (year four)17%0%83%

You’ll receive a minimum of 15 hours scheduled contact time per week in your first year. In subsequent years, scheduled contact will vary depending on the modules you select but is typically around 12 hours per week.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written, oral and practical exams, as well as written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Written feedback will be provided for all assignments, specific exam feedback is available via the module team.

YearWritten examPractical examCoursework
Level four (year one)74%13%13%
Level five placement year (year two)0%0%100%
Level five (year three)50%20%30%
Level six (year four)13%31%56%

Each year of this course is taught over two semesters, normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • Scheduled teaching takes place between 8:30 to 20:30 Monday to Friday
  • You will always have one day without timetabled sessions
  • Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities
  • Work placements may entail different days and hours
  • Timetables are available during enrolment week


Your career

Industry opportunities on this course will support you to develop the skills, experience and connections needed for your graduate career. Many of our students secure graduate roles with their work placement employers.

Work placements and experience

You’ll undertake an integrated placement year, made up of 1,800 hours, during full time working hours (minimum of 37 hours per week), working in a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons-approved veterinary nursing training practice. This is an exciting opportunity to develop your veterinary nursing clinical skills, gain valuable experience and build connections within the veterinary industry, ready for your graduate career. Many of our veterinary nursing students are offered graduate roles with their placement providers when they graduate.

We’ll support you to secure your placement within a UK-based veterinary nursing training practice – there’s no need to have this in place before starting the course. You’ll also be supported during your placement by a designated clinical coach within the veterinary practice and a Hartpury clinical tutor.

Our international equestrian events centre and Equine Therapy Centre also offer opportunities for students to gain voluntary industry experience ready for their careers.


Our research activities and businesses on campus create opportunities for students to gain valuable experience outside their studies. Students have recently volunteered with our 70-species animal collection (domestic and non-domestic species), in our equine and canine therapy centres, as well as our livestock farm.

Guest lecturers

Recent guests in ectures have included individuals from veterinary pharmaceutical companies and veterinary equipment providers.

Graduate careers

  • Equine Veterinary Nurse
  • Senior Equine Veterinary Nurse


Student and staff member in Hartpury Veterinary Nursing Clinical Skills Centre

Specialist facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of specialist facilities while you’re here. Alongside lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Veterinary Nursing Clinical Skills Centre

You'll spend time preparing for your placement by familiarising yourself with common veterinary practice equipment in our designated practical area. This facility includes equine-specific surgical and anaesthetic and radiography equipment, as well as the equipment that all veterinary nurses need to be familiar with, such as bandaging and laboratory materials. On return from your placement, you'll use this facility to keep practising the techniques that you learnt during your year in industry, to keep your practical skills fresh in your mind and up to date.


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, others for biochemistry and physiology.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has journals, e-books, computers and break-out study spaces, as well as our Study Lounge – an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • UCAS | A typical offer for this course is 96-112 UCAS tariff points or equivalent.

  • GCSE | A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 9 to 4, (or A* to C grades if relevant) or equivalent, to include English Language, Mathematics and a Science.

  • A-Level | Typical offer is CCC-BBC or equivalent. This must include a minimum of two A-levels including A-level Biology.

  • Vocational Award | Typical offer is MMM-DMM in an Extended Diploma or equivalent in a relevant subject.

  • Access | Typical offer is 96-112 UCAS tariff points in an Access to Higher Education Diploma in a relevant subject to include a minimum of a pass in Level 3 biology.

  • Scottish Highers | Typical offer is 96-112 UCAS tariff points in Scottish Highers. This must include a minimum of two Highers to include Higher Biology.

  • Work experience | Complete 10 days work experience in a UK-based equine veterinary practice.

  • Student selection process | We have a two phase assessment process for students wanting to start their course in September 2021:

Phase one

Applicants who are predicted to, as well as those who do, meet the specified entry criteria may be selected to move forward to phase 1 of the selection process, as follows:

  • Compulsory attendance at the virtual Veterinary Nursing applicant day on Monday 15 February 2021
  • A one-to-one virtual discussion with a member of the veterinary nursing team to be scheduled between 16-19 February 2021

Phase two

Following this, applicants may be selected to progress to phase two of the assessment process. This will consist of:

  • A series of group assessment activities
  • A campus tour at Hartpury University
  • These sessions will take approximately two hours and start at either 10am, 12.30pm or 3pm. You’ll be notified about your session date and time after successful completion of phase one. The dates are: Friday 12 March 2021, Friday 19 March 2021 and Friday 26 March 2021
  • The onsite assessment activities will be undertaken following the current Government guidance in relation to COVID-19.

  • Offers | Offers will be made based on successful completion of both phases of the assessment process.

  • Additional information and criteria |

  • We encourage all applicants to apply by the UCAS January 15 deadline, to guarantee equal consideration of your application.
  • We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Please contact us to discuss.

  • Applicants who are successful after submitting a UCAS application will be invited to attend an assessment day as part of the selection process.

  • An IELTS level 7.0 English qualification is required for international applicants whose first language is not English and who have not achieved a GCSE Grade 4 or above (or C or above where numeric grades are not being awarded) in English Language.

  • Previous learning towards a university-level qualification or relevant work experience may count as credit for this course.

  • Please contact us for further information:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our student finance page 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.

Below, you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons accreditation

This course is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). This means that, on graduation, you’ll be eligible to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses and practise as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. On joining the course, you’ll need to enrol as a Student Veterinary Nurse with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The one-off fee for this is currently £196, which lasts for the duration of your qualification, but may be subject to change.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

You’ll need to purchase appropriate clothing and footwear for this course. We’ll let you know exactly what you need to purchase in your enrolment guide. Everything is available from our supplier’s online shop for approximately £100.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Valuing your potential

We're preparing our students to qualify as skilled equine veterinary nurses, and to help drive forward a vibrant, rewarding and sustainable profession, now and for the future.

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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 who graduated in 2018.