Veterinary Medicine


Cambridge provides a unique intellectual and social environment in which to study to the highest level. The Department of Veterinary Medicine has an international reputation as a centre of excellence and is performing world-class veterinary research.

Succeeding as a veterinary surgeon requires many skills – scientific, practical, clinical, financial and social – and the Cambridge course is designed to develop these skills

A major strength of the Cambridge course is the extensive use of practical teaching and the emphasis on small-group teaching from Year 1. Our staff includes world leaders in their field and our clinical school – which is located just a short walk/cycle ride from the city centre – houses state-of-the-art equipment.

Right from the start, Cambridge students receive intensive training in animal handling and practical clinical skills. Also, Cambridge was the first veterinary school in England to introduce a clinics-based lecture-free final year, in which students take full responsibility for cases under the watchful eye of senior clinicians. This allows you to develop your clinical, problem solving and client communication skills in a real clinical practice environment.

The emphasis on small-group teaching in all six years, with experienced teachers supporting and guiding your progress, is also central to our philosophy of producing the highest calibre

Pre-clinical and Clinical Courses

It is important to appreciate that there is a sharp distinction between Pre-clinical and Clinical Studies. In the first three years the medical sciences are treated in a fundamental way with the objective of instilling a thorough understanding of the scientific principles which underlie the practice of Veterinary Medicine. The clinical courses are practically and vocationally orientated and recent re-organisation has enabled the final year to be freed of lectures, allowing students to devote all their time to the clinical care of animals under their responsibility.

Having said that, one of the advantages we have at Homerton College is that our pre-clinical and clinical Directors of Studies are the same person, Dr David Williams, so there is ample opportunity to work with him in the clinical arena from the very beginning of the course, to understand the clinical relevance of the sciences being taught in the first three years

The Pre-clinical Course

All undergraduates read for the BA degree in three years, although they complete their essential pre-clinical training (i.e. obtain the Second Vet MB qualification) at the end of the second year. A special feature of the Cambridge course is that in the third year undergraduates are free to pursue a course of study of their own choice. Broadly, three options are available:

  • specialize in a single scientific subject from Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos (e.g. Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology or Zoology). These courses constitute an in-depth analysis of a subject and often provide participants with valuable research experience through project work alongside members of a Department in a research team.
  • offer two Special Subjects and an Elective Subject. Special Subjects are roughly equivalent to half a single subject as described above, so this option allows candidates to choose a combination of topics of particular interest to themselves. The subjects are various e.g. Developmental Biology, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Animal Biology, Microbial and Parasitic Disease.
  • branch out further and take a non-medical course (e.g. Law, History and Philosophy of Science and Management Studies). 

2nd Vet MB Subjects in the Tripos

The ‘compulsory’ parts of the course relevant to Second Vet MB qualifications can be summarised briefly as follows:

All veterinary students take Part IA of the Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos in their first year and study Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. They also take the Second Vet MB examination in Animal Behaviour and Animal Husbandry (since this is not examined in the Tripos). In their second year, students take papers in General Veterinary Physiology, Veterinary Anatomy, Special Veterinary Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology in Part 1B of the Veterinary Sciences tripos.

At Homerton we offer 2-4 places per year to study Veterinary Medicine. We offer our students accommodation on the college site for all 6 years of their studies in Cambridge, something not all colleges can offer.

Lectures and practical classes for pre-clinical students are provided by the appropriate University Departments (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology), but Homerton will ensure that all of our students will be supervised by experts in their field.

Homerton is increasingly a centre for bio-medical study, with our proximity to the Bio-Medical campus at Addenbrooks, and though we are not the nearest college to the Vet School (so bikes are recommended), we expect our vets will form part of a strong and enthusiastic group of Fellows, key researchers, postgrads and undergraduate students committed to the rigorous application of science to human and animal care.

Director Of Studies:

Entry Requirements

Grade A*AA in three scientific subjects at A-level, one of which must be Chemistry.

Pre-clinical Requirements

If you are to be offered a place to read Veterinary Medicine you must satisfy the University’s Pre-medical Requirements. Put in their simplest form these require that you have obtained:

  • passes at GCSE level in Biology, Physics and Mathematics (or in Double-award Science and Mathematics).
  • passes at AS or A-level in three of the following: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics.
  • one of the subjects must be Chemistry and at least one pass must be at Advanced GCE.
  • registration for the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) in October which replaces the previously used Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

For these purposes a pass in the Scottish Advanced Highers, or at Grade 5 or above in the Higher level of the International Baccalaureate, is considered equivalent to a pass at A-level. Candidates who are taking other subjects or examinations should write for advice before applying.

Please note that these are merely the University’s minimum requirements and that the College makes conditional offers of  A*AA in Vet Medicine at A-level as an entry requirement, and IB with 40-42pts with 776 in HL science and maths subjects.

Almost all of the applicants to Homerton will obtain at least A*AA grades at A-level or the equivalent. Whilst the College is prepared to consider applications from candidates offering a third A-level in a subject other than those listed above, it should be stressed that this will be exceptional.

Homerton will interview applicants whom we think, on the basis of their application and performance in the pre-interview assessment, are capable of doing well on our courses. The two interviews will explore all aspects of the application from scientific ability to work experience and commitment to animal welfare