Veterinary science deals with the health and wellbeing of animals. Much like a medical degree, it covers everything from preventative care to psychological assessment to complex surgical procedures.
In order to become a qualified practitioner, students should anticipate a relatively long and demanding period of study (an average of five years) and once established within the field, veterinary science is competitive and demanding. That being said, veterinary physicians and scientists are always in demand, so there is a very low unemployment rate among graduates.
The course will cover many of the same topics covered on a medical degree, but focusing on animals rather than humans. Modules include anatomy, animal behaviour, animal husbandry, cell biology, nutrition, physiology, genetics, epidemiology, pharmacology, infectious diseases, pathology, parasitology and public health. Less scientific modules may be offered as part of the course, such as communication skills, law, ethics and business management – all of which are useful in preparation for a veterinary career.
A vet often takes responsibility for more roles than a doctor would, whereas some vets will specialise in a specific field of animal care, such as oncology or surgery. There is also the opportunity to specialise in certain groups of animals, such as pets, livestock or exotic animals.
Most veterinary science graduates pursue careers as veterinary physicians, with positions in surgeries, local practices or as part of an organisation like a zoo. But there are many more career paths, including animal nutritionist carers, a career in research or education or as a scientific journalist.
Why study to be a vet? Find out what you will learn on a veterinary science degree, what you should study to get a place on a university course, and what jobs you might get once you graduate