There are several UK vet schools for you to choose from, and it is important to pick the right one. Here are seven distinctive features of our course which we believe make Cambridge the best place to study Veterinary Medicine.
Studying to become a vet is challenging wherever you choose to do it, but the Cambridge course offers the most diverse and rewarding veterinary education experience possible. Cambridge provides a uniquely supportive environment in which to learn, succeed and enjoy your university years. Our veterinary school has a long tradition of producing the finest veterinary graduates – based on a combination of world-beating science, and a focus on practical skills.
And remember – if you are doing well in school science/maths subjects, you may find the Cambridge veterinary course is the easiest to secure a place on – we do not require extensive work experience, and over 80% of applicants are interviewed.
1. An intensely practical course
A major focus of the Cambridge course is its practical emphasis – progressively guiding you towards your clinical goals.
From their first week, our students learn handling and management skills in all the major domestic species, and subsequently with amphibians, reptiles, birds and ‘exotic’ mammals. In the early years this is supplemented by integrated sessions in clinical examination, thoracic auscultation, abdominal palpation, orthopaedic evaluation, echocardiography and neurological examination.
As the years progress these skills become central to your mastery of confident clinical examination in preparation for the entirely clinics-based final year. Indeed, Cambridge was the UK vet school which pioneered this all-practical final year in which students rotate in small groups throughout our hospital clinics.
Our students have the use of superb facilities – bespoke consultation and examination facilities, imaging and surgical suites, a linear accelerator for radiotherapy, clinical pathology and post mortem labs, and our Clinical Skills Lab is available 24 hours a day for students in all years.
"It’s only the end of my first term but I am very happy I chose to come to Cambridge to do Vet Med. I have already had real live practical sessions with cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, cats, dogs, budgies and horses – all of which helps you understand where everything you learn in lectures actually fits in." - Becky
2. A wonderful scientific environment
The key to being a great vet is combining practical skills with excellent grounding in the science underlying practice – and the Cambridge course provides just that.
Cambridge gives you the unique opportunity to study to become a vet at the world’s premier science university – also consistently ranked as the best-funded and most productive UK university.
You will be fully immersed in our environment of cutting-edge biomedicine, and experience shows that this makes our graduates better equipped to deal with the high pace of change in veterinary medicine, and poised for a wide variety of flexible and challenging careers.
In the early years you will also sometimes be taught alongside Natural Science and Medicine students – an expression of the importance of the ‘One Health’ concept, a modern approach in which the wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment are considered to be inextricably linked.
Most important is the additional third year – when those of our vet students who do not already have a degree, study a single subject to a high level to gain a full Cambridge BA science degree. Most select a biological discipline, but other options are available, such as Management Studies – ideal for a role leading a veterinary practice.
The unique opportunities provided by a Cambridge veterinary education are invaluable in our graduates’ future career progression and flexibility. Indeed external feedback confirms that our graduates are better equipped to deal with unexpected clinical situations and the high pace of change in veterinary medicine.
3. Treating you as an individual
Ours is the smallest UK vet school, training 70-or-so vets each year, and this is central to our students’ experience.
Right from the start, you will be in very small dissection, animal handling, and lab practical groups. You will also benefit from Cambridge’s unique ‘supervision’ small group teaching system – which gives you regular opportunities to consolidate your learning and follow up on your interests.
Later in the course, the small class size become even more valuable. Our clinical rotation groups are tiny, which ensures a high caseload, and thus more experience and confidence by the time you qualify.
Certainly, there is a friendly, informal atmosphere at the Vet School where staff are always available to offer individual support. This probably explains why Cambridge has one of the lowest ‘drop-out rates’ of any UK university.
“At Cambridge you're not just another face in a crowded room – tiny groups for dissection, animal handling and clinical rotations, as well as the small-group teaching system, ensure you get much more experience than at other vet schools.” - Max
4. The full ‘Cambridge experience’
All vet students at Cambridge are members of one of the University’s colleges – and most students say that, apart from the vet course itself, college life is the main reason they are glad they trained here.
For at least the first three years, and often more, you would live in college accommodation alongside 100-150 other students studying the whole range of subjects offered by the university.
Colleges are much more than halls of residence, though. They are often students’ main social hub, as well as providing many of the facilities they use – for study, sport, music, and fun.
We strongly recommend you look into what the colleges can offer. Although each college is a little different, every one of them offers a great experience.
5. Helping with your finances
Affordability is becoming an increasingly important factor in choosing a veterinary course, and Cambridge has a lot to offer.
Being a vet student here is probably less expensive than you think. A recent survey showed that, per-term, Cambridge is the least expensive UK vet school to attend (see the 'Help with your finances' menu tab).
Our students live in competitively-priced college accommodation for three, four, five or six years of their course, and the University is inexpensive in other ways, too.
There is an array of financial support available. The generous (up to £3500 a year) Cambridge Bursary supports students from low-income households, and there are also many sources a funding to prevent financial hardship, and also support student study, travel and recreation for all.
Ours is also the only vet school which provides funding to support its students during their Clinical Extramural Studies.
6. A springboard to a great career
Vet school is just the start of your career journey, and Cambridge gives you the best start of all. Almost all our graduates go into veterinary practice when they graduate, and many stay for the rest of their careers - in farm, equine, small animal and exotics practice, in the UK and across the world.
This graph shows that employment rates after graduating from UK vet schools are extremely high, and Cambridge graduates usually find their first job quickly.
Those who decide to do further training, or study for qualification as a veterinary specialist find that the unparalleled scientific and clinical training they received at Cambridge puts them in an excellent position to further their career.
Cambridge vets are also well placed to exploit all the opportunities their science BA and veterinary VetMB degrees offer them, be they in scientific and clinical research or teaching, industrial research, government and management.
For some examples of the varied things our graduates have gone on to do after graduating from Cambridge, click the 'Vet life after Cambridge' menu tab.
7. …all in a great location
Cambridge is a beautiful, exciting place to spend your university years.
Whether you’re shopping in the city’s medieval streets, spilling out of a steamy club late at night, or dodging cattle on the idyllic riverside walk along Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge has something for everyone. And once you have a bike, travel costs are zero.
Cambridge Vet School is only a ten-minute cycle ride from the very centre of the city – far closer than the other UK vet schools. This means you can easily access the Vet School in your ‘pre-clinical’ years, yet not be isolated from all the city has to offer in your ‘clinical’ years.
“Cambridge is a fantastic place to study veterinary medicine - aside from providing a world class education, Cambridge offers opportunities and experiences like nowhere else. I have loved my time here and will treasure those memories forever.” - Joanne