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Veterinary Medicine at Sidney

Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge

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.

A major feature of the Cambridge course is its practical emphasis – progressively guiding you towards your clinical goals. Our students learn handling and management skills in all the major domestic species, and subsequently they become familiar with amphibians, reptiles, birds and ‘exotic’ mammals.  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.

The key to being a skilled vet is combining practical skills with excellent grounding in the science underlying practice. Cambridge gives you the unique opportunity to study to become a vet at the world’s premier science university – also consistently ranked as one of the best-funded and most productive UK universities. 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.

A unique feature of the Cambridge course 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 students 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.

Ours is the smallest UK vet school, training around 70 students 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’, or tutorial 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 becomes even more valuable. Our clinical rotation groups are tiny, which ensures a high case exposure, and thus more practical experience and confidence by the time you qualify.

Importantly, Cambridge Vet School is only a ten-minute cycle ride from the very centre of the city – far closer than the clinical schools of the other UK vet schools. This means you can easily access the Vet School in your ‘pre-clinical’ years, whilst not being isolated from all the city has to offer in your ‘clinical’ years.

Veterinary Medicine at Sidney

Sidney seeks to support the academic training and personal growth of students with the potential to become excellent clinicians and scientists. We provide close, personal support for rigorous academic study through supervisions given by academics expert in teaching, as well as biomedical research and clinical practice. The Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Society provides a supportive social environment and opportunities for networking and academic enrichment.

Preclinical Studies

Lectures and practicals for the preclinical subjects studied in the first two years take place in the University departments, but they are supported by supervisions (tutorials) in College. In Sidney, College Fellows provide a large proportion of these supervisions, with Dr Colin Roberts, Sidney's Director of Studies for Veterinary Medicine, supervising the first year course in Homeostasis for both veterinary and medical students. He also supervises the physiological aspects of Veterinary Reproductive Biology in the second year.

In the first year, Molecules in Medical Science (biochemistry) is supervised by Dr Tony Jackson. In the second year, Biology of Disease (pathology) is supervised by Dr Frances Hall, while Dr Paul Flynn supervises Mechanisms of Drug Action (pharmacology). Dr Tony Jackson, Dr Frances Hall, and Dr Paul Flynn are all Directors of Studies in Medicine at Sidney.

In the third preclinical year (which is called Part II), many students pursue a biological subject to complete their preclinical degree course. However, a significant number look outside the sciences for a year, where a number of alternative subjects are available to them without prejudice to their future success in the clinical course. 

Clinical Studies

The three clinical years of the course are primarily taught at the Veterinary School on the West Cambridge site, but Sidney vets remain just as much members of the College as ever. Their Director of Studies is there to provide them with advice and support, and they have the opportunity to become involved a little with the preclinical teaching of second year students in the Preparing for the Veterinary Profession course. 


Director of Studies (DoS) and Fellow

Dr Colin A Roberts

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

2 - 3

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level

41-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications. 

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

All Colleges require A Levels/IB Higher Level in Chemistry and one of Biology/Human Biology, Physics and Mathematics. At Sidney, applicants not taking Biology at A Level/IB Higher Level may be asked to undertake additional reading prior to commencing their studies. Please note that most applicants to Cambridge are taking three science / mathematics A Levels.

Work experience

While we greatly support the notion of work experience with animals in general and in the veterinary world in particular, both in order for candidates to be sure of their desire to work in this challenging field and to demonstrate their motivation, we do appreciate the difficulties of obtaining such placements. We are aware that it is possible to demonstrate awareness of the challenges of veterinary work and the motivation required for it in other ways.

If you can arrange work experience, we suggest that a total two weeks of experience shadowing a vet or vets in any clinical setting is sufficient. You will probably be asked about your work experience at interview, and the focus will be on how observant, questioning, interactive and thoughtful you have been about the veterinary practice you have seen.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessments

Pre-interview assessment. Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.


Two interviews; both will have a focus on Veterinary Medicine and involve working through some practical problems.

Find out more

Department of Veterinary Medicine

University website Veterinary Medicine course page

Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Medicine Society


Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (