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Veterinary Nursing BSc Honours

Our course offers excellent career prospects within veterinary practice and the wider industry too.
D313 (London)
D316 (Leeds)
D315 (Huntingdon)
Oct 2024
3 years full-time
£9,250 (UK) *
£15,100 (EU / INT) *
Course leader
Claire Defries

Why study veterinary nursing with us

Our veterinary nursing degree was the first of its kind in Europe. It’s also one of the leading veterinary nursing courses in the UK – with a reputation that attracts students from the UK and overseas.

Registered veterinary nurses are in high demand – with excellent employment opportunities both in veterinary practice and in the wider field of academia, research and the pharmaceuticals, too. In fact, 100% of graduates from our BSc Veterinary Nursing are now in graduate jobs or further study (Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education survey, 2017).

Our hands-on approach means you’ll learn through a mix of theoretical study and professional experience. Guided by veterinary professionals, you’ll develop your clinical skills as you learn how to undertake a range of diagnostic tests, medical treatments and minor surgical procedures.

Enhance your veterinary nursing experience with us

You’ll have the flexibility to study this course at our London, Leeds, and Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) campuses.

Our course is run in collaboration with the College of Animal Welfare, which means you’ll be taught by one of the UK's largest veterinary nurse training providers.

You’ll spend 50% of your study time gaining valuable professional experience and putting theory into practice at a veterinary practice.

Once you’ve finished your course, you’ll be able to apply to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse with full accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. This will not only open up employment opportunities in general veterinary practices but also in places such as research laboratories, zoos, wildlife parks, universities, charities and pharmaceutical companies.

Get the support you need to succeed

During your course, you’ll get personalised support from your Personal Tutor, Student Learning Assistant, and Graduate Academic Assistant. Their first-hand experience in your subject area means they understand how to best support you.

Want to know more about how you'll study with the College of Animal Welfare and Middlesex University? Check out this video with your Programme Leader, Claire Defries.

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What will you study on the BSc Veterinary Nursing?

The three-year course blends 50% on placement in veterinary practices with 50% theory. You will study the concepts that underpin professional veterinary nursing practice and gain essential nursing knowledge. The anatomical, biomedical and physiological principles related to animal health and caring are also studied, and you will explore and debate current issues affecting veterinary practice, and the role of the professional nurse within this.

What will you gain?

You will develop the skills to be an independent professional who is able to make decisions, show leadership and work effectively in teams within a veterinary environment. Upon graduation you will be able to demonstrate a range of practical skills and techniques to implement successful veterinary nursing care.


  • Year 1 - Compulsory

    • Introduction to Professional Issues (30 credits)

      This module aims to provide you with theoretical underpinning knowledge of the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. In order to prepare for professional practice; accountability, communication skills, study skills and team working are the basis for the module. Through the use of case studies and scenarios, there will be exploration of the issues surrounding ethical and legal aspects of veterinary nursing practice. An insight into professional regulation, duty of care and negligence will also be gained.

    • Applied Functional Anatomy (30 credits)

      This module will provide you with theoretical knowledge of the normal structure and function of major body systems in a range of animals. This will provide a framework for clinical assessment of patients and ensure good nursing practice. You will be able to utilise and build upon this knowledge in placement and subsequent modules.

    • Working in a Veterinary Environment (30 credits)

      This module is a practice-based module, which is delivered via e-learning and application in practice. It will introduce the principles of veterinary practice and support you in developing competence and confidence in practice. You must participate in all activities and you need to employ time management skills during the practice day and in your own time, to complete this work effectively.

    • Introduction to Nursing Care (30 credits)

      This module provides you with the theoretical underpinning knowledge related to the care of patients in the veterinary environment. The role of the veterinary nurse in practice will be discussed, incorporating patient assessment, the provision of accommodation, nutrition and the administration of medication. You will gain practical skills that will be required for practical placements in veterinary practice.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory

    • Clinical Nursing (30 credits)

      This module aims to build upon the Basic Nursing Care module taught in the first year. You will learn more specialised techniques in nursing and will also develop skills in helping to support clients in caring for their unwell pets.

    • Appraising and Using Evidence for Practice (30 credits)

      The focus of this module is to facilitate the development of skills in research critically and appraisal of evidence using a team based learning approach. The module aims to enable you to: use the knowledge and skills acquired to effectively engage with evidential literature; evaluate the quality of its evidence; apply concepts to theoretical contexts - particularly to the year three dissertation and to practice contexts and facilitate the use of evidence to support problem solving and decision making through effective team working.

    • Theatre Practice (30 credits)

      The aim of this module is to teach the principles of theatre practice in a practical context, using the NPL as a tool for recording competence. A range of resources will be provided online to assist with your knowledge. Participation in all activities is compulsory and time should be allocated during the day and in your own time, to complete this work. You will undertake two blocks of practice experience, one 10 weeks long and the other 14 weeks, totalling 24 weeks in practice.

    • Pathology for Veterinary Nurses (30 credits)

      This module provides you with an understanding of pathological processes which occur within the body following injury or illness and to inform planning and assessment of patient care. You will be able to build on knowledge gained in the first year and in placement to evaluate the nursing needs of individual patients.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory

    • Pharmacology for Veterinary Nurses (30 credits)

      The aim of this module is to build on knowledge gained throughout the programme in order to develop an understanding of some basic pharmacological principles and their application to patient care. In addition, to facilitate the acquisition of relevant practical skills in order to produce practitioners who are safe and competent in the administration of drugs.

    • Dissertation and Professional Practice (30 credits)

      This module aims to synthesise your learning, providing an opportunity for you to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity, an inquiry based approach, and the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. You will select a topic of personal interest you wish to study further and will manage your own learning during this module, with the support of an allocated supervisor for this period of independent study.

    • Principles of Imaging and Anaesthesia (30 credits)

      This module enables you to build on current knowledge, skills and experience within the surgical area. The module will cover surgical nursing, anaesthesia, radiography and triage. The module will incorporate the relevant sections of the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Day-One Skills. You will undertake one block of 14 weeks practice experience.

  • Year 3 - Optional (take one of the following)

    • Veterinary Education and Professional Development (30 credits)

      This elective module equips you with the tools to coach, mentor and teach others within a veterinary context. You'll explore learning theory and teaching methods alongside learning the skills needed in order to plan and deliver a teaching session and act as coach in a veterinary practice setting.

    • Equine Nursing (30 credits)

      This elective module provides the necessary understanding and experience required for nursing in equine practice or other areas of equine work. Horses are uniquely susceptible to a variety of illnesses and injuries that require skilled nursing management. Working with horses requires specific skills in restraint, handling and management. An insight into the equine industry and people involved at various levels will also be approached.

    • Companion Animal Behaviour and Training (30 credits)

      The aim of this elective module is to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills required for the understanding of behavioural problems presented to the typical small animal veterinary practice.

    • Nursing Exotics and Wildlife (30 credits)

      This elective module analyses the concepts of housing, handling, husbandry and environment of exotics and wildlife to include 10 of each species such as birds, reptiles and mammals. It will equip you with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience required for nursing wildlife and exotics. Working with wildlife requires specific skills in restraint, handling and management whilst working within the constraints of legal requirements.

    • Management and Business (30 credits)

      The aims of this elective module are to enable you to play a key role through a process of critical reflection and planned action in developing managerial competence within the veterinary practice. These aims will be achieved through the establishment, maintenance and improvement of the quality of veterinary nursing you provide, the use of a problem-solving approach for effective nursing management and leadership, and through the awareness, control and monitoring of the use of appropriate veterinary care resources for quality and effective nursing management.

    • International Veterinary Nursing (30 credits)

      The module promotes a greater awareness of the influence and impact of culture and global issues on veterinary health and veterinary nursing. You'll gain experiential learning through an international placement and be able to consolidate, and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge gained throughout the programme. Areas of focus will be personal relationships, adaptability, ability to take responsibility, interest, knowledge/cognitive ability, skill and efficiency.

    • Applied Emergency and Critical Care (30 credits)

      This module will give you the knowledge and skills you need to work effectively with a range of emergency and critical care veterinary patients. In addition to this, you'll also be able to develop evidence-based nursing care strategies, using nursing models and frameworks to recognise, assess and successfully manage emergency and critically ill patients.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Campuses
  4. Assessment and feedback
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU / International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BSc Veterinary Nursing support your career?

There is a current shortage of registered veterinary nurses meaning the profession offers excellent career prospects within veterinary practice and the wider industry. Veterinary nurses are respected throughout the animal welfare sector offering wider opportunities for registered veterinary nurses. Many veterinary nurses are employed in general veterinary practices, but you could also find work in research establishments, laboratories, universities, colleges, zoological/wildlife parks, charities, pharmaceutical companies and breeding/boarding kennels.

Claire Defries
Programme Leader

Claire Defries qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2001 and developed interests in endoscopy, laparoscopic procedures and anaesthesia. She gained a Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Medical) whilst working in a university referral hospital where she coordinated all of the diagnostic areas of the hospital. Claire also worked as a head nurse in a North London hospital before moving into teaching. When Claire is not teaching she is also working as a locum registered veterinary nurse, which helps her keep up to date with current advances in clinical practice.  She has lectured at BSAVA, BVNA and AVSPNI conferences on various clinical and educational topics within the profession.

  • Margaret Fry

    Veterinary Nursing BSc student

    One of the things that really appeals about this course is the facilities, which are great, and the staff who represent the course. It was also handy being able to get to both the campus and the College of Animal Welfare from my home. I've loved working with animals in a clinical environment and the theory has been really challenging. I'm particularly proud of a piece of work where I investigated hyperthyroidism in cats.

    As a mature student who has previously worked in (human) nursing, I've done my fair bit of full-time employment. I'm hoping this qualification will enable me to work part-time in a veterinary hospital. I would also recommend Middlesex University to other mature students. I have never felt different or treated differently, only occasionally mistaken for a tutor or member of staff!

  • Lesley Moore

    Veterinary Nursing BSc student

    The course content is excellent, with an extensive mix of topics covering all aspects of surgical and medical nursing. Modules such as ethics and professional practice allow the opportunity to discuss the role of the veterinary nurse and prepare you for your career.

    Many of the lecturers are veterinary surgeons and long registered veterinary nurses, so you are learning from experienced and knowledgeable veterinary professionals who have all worked in the industry. The University assisted me in finding a placement at a large veterinary hospital where I stayed for the whole of my degree. This enabled me to learn practically from some excellent vets and nurses whilst I completed the whole of my Nursing Progress Log.

  • Karen Birch

    Veterinary Nursing BSc graduate

    Karen now works as a veterinary nurse for a company called 'vets4pets'

    I chose to go to Middlesex; the clincher was that they were the first VN degree in the country. They wrote the course and set the bar for other universities in the country. I wanted to be taught by the path finders in my field. My lectures were always engaging and made you feel they genuinely cared. They felt more like friends and colleagues than they did lecturers. I loved the fact I got to spend so much time in placement and really get into the swing of things, knowing that help was only ever an email away if you needed it.

    I always knew I wanted to work with animals and up until recently I wanted to be a vet. I wanted to enjoy my job, but not live to work. Being a nurse, I feel respected for my knowledge; I enjoy my job, I work hard and I'm always busy, but it doesn't take over my life. I work to live.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year BSc

Start: Oct 2024

Duration: 4 years full-time

Code: D107

Veterinary Nursing (Top-up) BSc Honours


Duration: 2 year full-time, 3-4 years part-time

Code: D103 (London), D105 (Leeds), D106 (Huntingdon)

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