Veterinary Medicine

What makes the Cambridge Veterinary course so special?

Cambridge is a popular choice for a wide variety of students, providing an intellectually satisfying preparation for clinical studies. The MVST is intended as the pre-clinical study for students reading for Veterinary and Medical degrees. The subjects within the Tripos are treated very much as scientific disciplines; there is no integration with clinical studies, although a few relevant clinical demonstrations may be arranged. That being said, all pre-clinical Vets have extensive periods of farm practice during their first three years, and the very long Cambridge vacations give ample time for this.

Cambridge has long prided itself on the breadth and depth of the scientific training that it can offer to its Veterinary and Medical students. All students now complete all of their pre-clinical exemptions (see below) by the end of their second year.

In your third year you may choose from a variety of subjects to study. The option of a single scientific subject within Part II of the Natural Sciences Tripos is a popular choice for many students, as it allows for a year of specialized study, involving a research project or dissertation. It provides a useful foretaste of what research might be like, as well as introducing students to exciting scientific work at the forefront of our knowledge in a particular discipline. For those preferring a broader course, Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences has a wide range of biomedical courses, with many attractive and varied options available. A dissertation often forms an integral part of the Part II MVST examination, enabling students to research a particular topic of interest in depth.

All Veterinary students continue their clinical studies in Cambridge on a further three-year course. Applicants take Parts I, II and III of the Final Veterinary Examination, leading to the VetMB degree; this entitles the holder to Membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and thus to practice.

Why choose Newnham for Veterinary Medicine?

Newnham is a great place to study veterinary medicine. Most teaching within the college is in small groups (supervisions), which allow plenty of opportunity for each student to contribute to the discussion and ask questions.

‘Newnham is a fantastic place, making it a definite first choice I think! The great atmosphere and beauty of the college make it a wonderful place to live and study. Also, the smaller numbers of students studying medicine and veterinary medicine means there is small group teaching with students.’ 3rd year Vet student

‘I have found the staff at Newnham to be very supportive and approachable during my clinical years and have really enjoyed being part of the Newnham graduate community. It is also a bonus that the College is so close to the Clinical Vet School!’ Previous final year Clinical Vet student

How many students take Veterinary Medicine at Newnham?

Although the Cambridge Veterinary School is small, the number of students whom we are allowed to admit has increased significantly over the last few years. At Newnham we offer to three or four applicants each year.

It must be said that the competition for places in Veterinary Medicine is very strong, however we very much welcome applications. The standard A level conditional offer made by the Cambridge colleges for entry is A*AA.

How will I be taught at Newnham?

College-based teaching at Newnham is provided both by research scientists and by qualified veterinary surgeons. This ensures sound coverage of the essential basic sciences with added clinical interest and relevance. As well as the Veterinary Medicine Fellows, we are fortunate to have a number of Special Supervisors. These are vets or academics who have a close connection with Newnham College.

The full list of the Veterinary Medicine Fellows and Special Supervisors can be found here.

What jobs do Newnham Veterinary Medicine students go on to do?

Newnham vet students go on to a wide range of jobs when they qualify. After postgraduate training, most will go on into veterinary practice. With the scientific grounding of the Cambridge course, some may choose to study for a PhD and pursue a clinical academic career.

Are there any A-Level subjects that are particularly useful?

We require A2 Chemistry and one out of Biology/Human Biology, Mathematics and Physics.  However, most applicants have at least three science/mathematics A Levels

Can I take a gap year?

We are open-minded about applicants having a gap year. We are equally happy to accept applications from students applying pre-A level and wishing to come straight from school and those who have chosen to have a gap year and are applying post A level (or equivalent).

Applicants wishing to apply pre-A level (or equivalent) for deferred entry will also be considered, but borderline applicants would be less likely to be successful, as we would usually only defer a place for a particularly strong applicant, or if there are extenuating circumstances.

How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?

All applicants for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine are required to take the Natural Sciences pre-interview assessment at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

You should read widely and be able to demonstrate a real interest and enthusiasm for studying veterinary medicine. It is especially important that you have read the websites and understand what the course entails (see also the information given below about the Cambridge Veterinary course).

You will usually have three interviews, each lasting approximately 20-30 minutes. During your interview we will ask you questions about what you have done so far, including any work-placements or work-shadowing and we will also ask you to tackle some problem-solving questions. We will talk you through these activities e.g. interpreting a graph, so that we can get a chance to assess how you approach and think about problems and how you respond to guidance and advice. You will have an opportunity to ask questions. You may find it helpful to visit the section on interviews on the main Cambridge University website.

Where can I find out more?

Veterinary Medicine course information on the University website and on the Department website, including a section on frequently asked questions.

Back to course list