Frequently asked questions for Bristol Veterinary School

We asked Bristol Veterinary School some questions about what it's like to study with them. Here's what they said.

We are adapting our teaching methods and spaces in accordance with the latest COVID guidelines and therefore the information below may be subject to change.

What makes this department at the University of Bristol unique?

Our dual campus teaching at the School of Anatomy within the heart of the city, and at our Langford campus, a short bus ride away in the beautiful North Somerset countryside, means our veterinary courses have something to offer everyone.

On our Langford campus, we have clinical skills laboratories where you can learn, practice and refine your practical clinical and handling techniques on models before progressing to live patients.

We are unique in having onsite at our Langford campus a commercial veterinary business, Langford Vets. Langford Vets has a large, multidisciplinary small animal referral hospital, as well as equine, farm and small animal first-opinion practices. Langford Vets also has a commercial diagnostic laboratory.

The University has its own sheep and dairy farm, Wyndhurst, which enables direct access to quality farm animal teaching. We also have a commercial abattoir which attracts students from many other universities because of the excellent reputation of its welfare standards.

How does the research at the school benefit the experience of the students at the school?

Teaching is often delivered by lecturers who are also researchers and experts in their field (including clinical research). They bring specialist and up-to-date knowledge and evidenced-based information to their teaching.

Researchers may offer summer studentships where students can get involved in research.

On some of our programmes, students will complete a dissertation where they may be supervised by academic staff who are actively carrying out research in the area of the students' dissertation. Some student projects are 'spin offs' of bigger projects being carried out by academic staff.

What does the school do to welcome students when they first start at Bristol?

Bristol Vet School has Centaur, a student-led society which welcomes student members from all our programmes.

Students will have access to the University online learning environment, Blackboard, where a wealth of materials are available including Student Handbooks which contain all the information relevant to each course of study.

New students also have Welcome Week at the start of year one and a schedule will be sent to them prior to the start of the academic year.

What is the first year timetable like for this course?

In the first year as a Veterinary Science or Veterinary Nursing student, you will study in interactive and case-based lectures and seminars, and in practical classes.

Our practical classes help you to understand normal anatomy and physiology, and you have lots of opportunities to practice your animal handling and examination skills, working with our much-loved teaching animals at our Langford campus.

You will also start practising some of the more technical clinical skills in our world-leading clinical skills lab, where you will learn on models before moving on to real patients in subsequent years.

What support does the school offer to new students?

During Welcome Week, new students are typically involved in a timetable of activities designed to effectively orientate them to both the central University campus and the Vet School at Langford.

Centaur, our vet student society, has Fresh Reps who accompany the new students during their Welcome Week activities, as well as organising an extensive programme of social events to suit all tastes.

Prior to arrival, new students are sent information by the Vet School about their courses, their timetables, University support, EMS (Vet Science) or placements (Vet Nursing), protective equipment and reading lists, to name just a few.

Each student is allocated a Personal Tutor who they meet within the first few weeks of the first term. The University also has many other support options available for new students.

How will the course set me up for my future career?

Bristol Vet School is widely accredited and our Veterinary Science programmes lead to a qualification that allows you to practice as a veterinarian around the world.

Our accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association will allow you to take the same examinations that students at American universities take to be able to practice as Veterinary Surgeons in the US.

Our Veterinary Nursing programmes will lead to a qualification that recognises you as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).

In addition, the Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Science programme prepares you for careers in research, teaching and work in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. Our Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour programme prepares you for a future in clinical companion animal behaviour, working in the charity sector and research in behaviour and welfare.

Are there any employers or other initiatives that the school works with for industry placements?

Bristol Veterinary School works closely with veterinary practices and farms, equestrian facilities, and many more animal-based enterprises to support both Vet Science and Vet Nursing students to achieve the extramural studies and placement requirements set out by the RCVS.

What do graduates go on to do after studying this course at Bristol?

The majority of our graduates will go on to spend some time in primary clinical practice as a Vet or Vet Nurse. Data suggests that 100 per cent of surveyed students from our Veterinary Nursing programmes and 97 per cent of surveyed students from the Veterinary BVSc programme were in full-time work or study 6 months after graduating.

Typically, our students will go on into research, industry, education and further training to become specialist Vets and Vet Nurses.

What opportunities are there to study abroad as part of this course?

Veterinary Science students are able to complete extramural studies placements abroad (subject to health and safety assessments). For students who choose to intercalate, some degrees may offer an opportunity to study abroad.

What are the facilities like on campus that students will use to study this course?

The School of Anatomy in Bristol offers comprehensive facilities for practical study including lecture theatres, laboratories, practical teaching spaces and clinical skills lab.

At the Bristol Vet School Langford campus we have:

  • a multidisciplinary state-of-the-art small animal referral hospital
  • a commercial laboratory
  • a commercially-run, high-welfare abattoir
  • a sheep and dairy farm
  • equine and small animal first-opinion practices
  • clinical skills laboratories, teaching spaces, computer rooms and lecture theatres.

How many hours (on average) are required outside of lectures for additional work and study?

You should expect to spend no more than 38 hours per week in total studying. This should include all your lectures, practicals and self-directed study.

It is important to us that you have a good study/life balance while at university. All teaching is carefully planned so that you should be able to succeed on your programmes by studying for 38 hours per week, leaving plenty of time for enjoying sport, music, art or whatever your interests are in your free time.

How do assessments work for the department?

The Veterinary Science and Veterinary Nursing programmes are assessed by a range of different methods including:

  • multiple choice questions
  • short answer written questions
  • written coursework
  • directed self-education (DSE)
  • practical skills examinations (both on models and live animals).

Veterinary Science students are assessed during their final year while on clinical placements for their professional skills and clinical competences.

To help you understand what you could do to improve as you learn we give you feedback throughout the programme.

What would you say are the main differences between studying at school and study at university?

At University, you are encouraged to work both independently and with groups of your peers. You are likely to be taught by many different members of staff and in larger groups than you are used to from school.

We pride ourselves on the friendly, collegiate atmosphere within the vet school and encourage you to interact with staff and your personal tutors so that you are supported in your studies.

You will need to work on finding a study strategy that suits you so that you can balance your academic work and other activities. We want to support you, as future veterinary professionals, to be "lifelong learners" and develop good habits right from the start.

What are examples of final year projects/dissertations that students have worked on when they study this course?

This year, our fourth-year Vet Nursing students completed a wide range of research projects including:

  • an in-practice study on the efficacy of hand asepsis using an impregnated brush with chlorhexidine solution compared with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • investigation into the effects of wearing sterile gloves versus non-sterile gloves during the application of 'chloraprep' as a final skin preparation for canine abdominal surgery.
  • investigating quality of life in canine cancer patients, and owner experiences with veterinary practices.

Every student can study a topic they are interested in. The final-year veterinary science students submit a case report or literature review on a topic that they have chosen for their elective clinical rotation. There are over 21 elective rotations to choose from.

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