BSc (Hons)

Veterinary Nursing

UCAS Code: BD71

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:


Course overview

Qualify as a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Registered Veterinary Nurse. Specialise in companion-animal nursing. Uncover new knowledge with a research-based dissertation and qualify with a full BSc (Hons) degree.

This degree provides a fantastic opportunity for you to qualify as a Veterinary Nurse, whilst advancing your own and the industry's knowledge through research and clinical coaching. You'll advance your knowledge of an industry relevant area that interests you through live research and statistical analysis. Students have the opportunity to publish research with lecturers and present at industry conferences. On successful completion of your final year, you'll be eligible to join the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Registrar and begin practicing as a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse.

Industry opportunities

In your second year, you’ll complete a work-based clinical placement (currently 1,800 hours) in an approved RCVS veterinary nursing training practice. This will allow you to develop clinical skills ready for qualifying. We have excellent partnerships with local and national practices.

This course is ideal for those who are passionate about working as a Veterinary Nurse whilst improving industry practices through evidence-based research.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons-accredited

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).

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 for this course Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

This programme contains 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. You’ll also benefit from optional modules, allowing you to suit your interests and career goals.

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.

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

This module gives student veterinary nurses an insight into the running of a veterinary business.

Students will explore how clinical rehabilitation may be used to complement other veterinary approaches.

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 coaching training after graduation.

The final year will equip you with a range of additional, relevant and valuable skills, to help prepare you for a successful and fulfilling future as a veterinary nurse.

Compulsory modules

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

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

This module explores the challenging patient behaviour that veterinary nurses face whilst working in a veterinary practice setting. Students will consider appropriate strategies to manage problem behaviours from patients, with a focus on patient welfare.

This module will encourage students to critical analyse the ethical implications associated with breeding companion animals. Students will be encouraged to discuss issues faced in practice in relation to historical and current breeding practice and be given the opportunity to evaluate future considerations and modern genetic influences.

Equips student veterinary nurses with the skills required to conduct effective veterinary nurse clinics.

Students will evaluate a period of volunteering experience within this module.

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.

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, alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. Your 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 integrated placement year (year two)0%100%0%
Level five (year three)26%0%74%
Level six (year four)17%0%83%

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written, oral and practical exams and written assignments. Some 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)75%6%19%
Level five (year two)0%0%100%
Level five (year three)50%20%30%
Level six (year four)13%19%68%

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
  • Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities
  • Work placements may entail different days and hours
  • Timetables are available during enrolment week


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 commercial canine and equine therapy centres, as well as our commercial farm, 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 guest lectures have included individuals from veterinary pharmaceutical companies and veterinary equipment providers.

Graduate careers

  • Veterinary Nurse
  • Senior Veterinary Nurse


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 equipment in our designated practical area. This facility includes small-animal-specific surgical, anaesthetic and diagnostic imaging equipment, as well as a range of other specialist equipment used in a veterinary practice, including bandaging and laboratory materials. On your return from placement, you’ll use this facility to practice techniques learnt to ensure your technical skills remain up-to-date, ready for your graduate career.


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 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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

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

  • GCSE | A minimum of 5 GCSE A* to C, (or 9 to 4 where numeric grades are being awarded) 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 at grade D or above.

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

  • IB | Typical offer is 96-112 UCAS tariff points in an IB Diploma, to include a minimum of two Highers at H3 or above, including one in Biology.
    This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Standard Level S3 if equivalent GCSEs have not been obtained.

  • 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 grade D or above.

  • Irish Leaving Certificate | Typical offer is 96 -112 UCAS tariff points in the Irish Leaving Certificate. This must include a minimum of two Highers, to include Higher Biology at H4 or above. This must also include Maths and English Language at a minimum of Ordinary Level at O4 or above.

  • OCR Cambridge Technical | Typical offer is a MMM-DMM in a Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.

  • T Level | Typical offer is Pass (C or above on the core) in you T Level overall grade in a relevant subject.

  • Successful students will need to have obtained at least 10 days of work experience in a UK small animal veterinary practice. Successfully complete our fitness to Practise Process. In the case of international applications, we will require a NARIC equivalency certificate.

  • We welcome students with equivalent qualifications. Please contact us to discuss.

  • The minimum academic entry requirement for this programme is 80 UCAS tariff or equivalent providing this is combined with relevant experience.

  • An IELTS level 7.0 English qualification with 6.5 in each element, is expected for international applicants without a GCSE Grade C or above (or 9 to 4 where numeric grades are 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.

Integrated placement year

This programme also has a required placement year with a tuition fee of £1,850. Please note that additional accommodation and/or travel costs may occur during the placement year in a veterinary practice. These are self-funded.

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. Information on fees is available below.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

You’ll need to purchase appropriate clothing and footwear, including a veterinary nursing uniform to wear for practical sessions and whilst on placement. We’ll let you know exactly what you need to purchase at enrolment – everything is available from our online shop.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

Valuing your potential

We're preparing our students to qualify as skilled 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 2021.