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Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year BSc

Delivered in partnership with The College of Animal Welfare, this course will bridge the gap to degree-level study for those wishing to pursue a career in veterinary nursing
October 2024
4 years full-time
£9,250 (UK)*
£16,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Claire Defries

Why choose Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year BSc at Middlesex?

Registered veterinary nurses are in high demand – with excellent employment opportunities. In 2021/22, 90% of our graduates gained employment with the remaining completing further study.


The course is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Once you’ve finished your course, you’ll be able to apply to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the RCVS. This will open up employment opportunities within veterinary nursing.

You will also be able to register as a Companion Animal Suitably Qualified Person (C-SQP) with VetSkill.

What you will gain?

You will gain a range of practical skills and techniques to launch a successful career in veterinary nursing. You can apply to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse with accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. This will open up employment opportunities in veterinary practices, research, zoos, universities, charities and pharmaceutical companies.

3 great reasons to pick this course

  • Become a registered veterinary nurse
    This course will give you the skills and knowledge to apply for entry on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Register of Veterinary Nurses.
  • Excellent career prospects
    There is currently a nationwide shortage of qualified veterinary nurses, which means your chances of finding work after graduating are very high.
  • Links with training providers
    The programme is run in collaboration with The College of Animal Welfare (CAW) at its education and training centre near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

What you will learn

This course offers an alternative entry pathway onto our BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing if you don't meet the current entry requirements or are not quite ready to undertake degree-level study.

The foundation year introduces you to key veterinary nursing topics and prepares you to study at the degree level. Those who successfully pass the foundation year will continue on to the BSc Veterinary Nursing programme.

Our hands-on approach means you’ll learn through a mix of theoretical study and professional experience in small animal veterinary practice. 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 as well as the required underpinning theoretical knowledge.

You'll study the concepts that underpin professional veterinary nursing practice and gain essential veterinary nursing knowledge of the anatomical, biomedical and physiological principles related to animal health and veterinary nursing care. You will also explore and debate the current issues affecting veterinary practice and the role of the professional veterinary nurse within this.

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In the foundation year you will study fundamentals of animal health, an introduction to animal science, research and study skills preparing you for the BSc Honours course.

Year 1

In year 1 you will study professional issues, veterinary nursing care, applied functional anatomy and clinical placement.

Year 2

In year 2 you will develop your skills and knowledge by studying theatre practice, clinical placement, clinical veterinary nursing care, pathology and evidence based veterinary nursing.

Year 3

In year 3 you will have the opportunity to tailor your learning experience by choosing to study one elective module from a choice of six. You will also complete your dissertation on a topic that you are passionate about alongside studying pharmacology, your final clinical placement, diagnostic imaging and anaesthesia.

  • Foundation year - Compulsory

    • Essentials for Learning (30 credits)

      This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study on your chosen veterinary nursing programme, equipping you with the necessary soft skills and study skills to enable a smooth transition to study at level 4. The module principally aims to address the core subjects of: English and academic writing; use of number and applied mathematics; and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

    • Fundamentals of Animal Health (30 credits)

      Within this module you will gain a basic overview of what it means to join the veterinary nursing profession alongside essential basics of health, disease, behaviour and welfare. You'll gain a good grounding in animal health and care relevant to veterinary nursing in preparation for continued study on undergraduate veterinary nursing programmes.

    • Introduction to Animal Science (30 credits)

      This module explores the fundamental principles and concepts in animal anatomy, principles of genetics and basic laboratory skills in preparation for future study on veterinary nursing undergraduate programmes.

    • Applied Research (30 credits)

      You will engage in a research project specific to the veterinary nursing sector and apply the knowledge and understanding gained within the other three modules of this foundation programme. Additionally, the module provides an opportunity to develop the soft skills and employability skills that are vital to continuation on to the veterinary nursing degree and within the veterinary nursing profession post-qualification.

  • 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.

To find out more about this course, please download the full Veterinary Nursing Foundation specification (PDF).

How we'll teach you

You'll be taught by an experienced teaching team with a wide range of expertise and professional experience.

You will learn by attending lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Seminars and workshops are a great opportunity to discuss what you have learnt in lectures and through independent study with your peers and tutors.

Most seminar groups have about 20-30 students.

Work is divided into credits of approximately 10 hours of study time. You will need to complete 120 credits per year, which are broken down into modules of typically 30 credits.

Foundation year - weekly timetable

During your foundation year, your weekly timetable will typically consist of:

  • 4 days of teaching and learning activities, which includes practical teaching
  • 1 day to complete online learning activities and private study

Work is divided into credits of approximately 10 hours of study time. You will need to complete 120 credits per year, which are broken down into modules of typically 30 credits.

Where will I study?

This course is run in collaboration with The College of Animal Welfare, one of the UK's largest veterinary nurse training provider. The College of Animal Welfare has significantly invested in its technology and facilities over the recent years, providing a fully-equipped computer suite, an extensive e-Library and a dedicated clinical skills suite that will allow you to develop your practical skills in areas such as anaesthesia, theatre, laboratory and radiography.

Please note, the course is taught at the Huntingdon campus (Cambridgeshire).


The College of Animal Welfare's Huntingdon campus is located in Cambridgeshire, around an hour north of London. The campus has excellent transport links, being only half a mile away from the A14 and a few miles from the A1 for those travelling by car, and within walking distance of both the bus and train station (London Kings Cross line). There is free, on-site parking, subject to availability.

Those studying at this location will ideally live within a commutable distance of the campus. If you will be moving to the area, you will need to source local accommodation. Find out more about accommodation at Huntingdon campus.

Key information

The College of Animal Welfare
Headland House
Chord Business Park
London Road
PE29 2BQ

  • 2 miles from Huntingdon town centre
  • 18 miles from Cambridge city centre

Find out more about the Huntingdon campus.

Teaching vs independent learning

Outside of teaching hours, you’ll learn independently through self-study which will involve reading articles and books, working on projects, undertaking research, and preparing for assessments including coursework, presentations and exams.

Here is an indication of how you will split your time.

Foundation Year - semesters 1 and 2 theory with some practical sessions.

Year 1 - semester 1 studying theory, semesters 2 and 3 placement.

Year 2 - semesters 1 and 3 placement and semester 2 theory.

Year 3 - semester 1 theory and semester 2 placement.

Academic support

Our excellent teaching and support teams will help you develop the skills relevant to your degree from research and practical skills to critical thinking. Our Sheppard Library is open 24 hours a day during term time. And we offer free 24-hour laptop loans with full desktop software, free printing and Wi-Fi to use on or off campus, even over the weekend.

Our Disability Advice and Support service supports students with additional needs such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia. We’re happy to help you discover whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, so please get in touch with any questions.

Wellness support

We have specialist teams to support your emotional wellness and mental health with access to free individual counselling sessions, workshops and support groups. The Student Welfare Advice Team (SWAT) offer information guides to provide support and advice during your studies.

Coursework, exams and assessments

Your learning will be assessed regularly by the following methods. The exact balance will depend on the modules you are taking. The table below is a good approximate guide.

Note to SME - please provide info here.


Coursework %

Written Exams %

Practical exams%

Foundation year




Year 1




Year 2




Year 3





We'll test your understanding and progress with informal and formal tests.

The informal tests, formative assessments, usually take place at least once per module, from which you’ll receive feedback from your tutor. The grades from these tests don’t count towards your final marks.

There are formal assessments, known as summative assessments for each module, usually at the end, which will count towards your module and your final marks.

Assessments are reviewed annually and may be updated based on student feedback or feedback from an external examiner.


To help you achieve the best results, we will provide regular feedback including on formative assessment and summative assessments.

This course is delivered The College of Animal Welfare's Huntingdon Campus. The Huntingdon Campus offers a fully-equipped computer suite, an extensive e-Library, a dedicated clinical skills suite and a coffee shop. Find out more about the Huntingdon campus.

Student support

We offer lots of support to help you while you're studying including financial advice, wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

Additional needs

We'll support you if you have additional needs such as sensory impairment or dyslexia. And if you want to find out whether Middlesex is the right place for you before you apply, get in touch with our Disability and Dyslexia team.


Our specialist teams will support your mental health. We have free individual counselling sessions, workshops, support groups and useful guides.

Work while you study

Our Middlesex Unitemps branch will help you find work that fits around uni and your other commitments. We have hundreds of student jobs on campus that pay the London Living Wage and above. Visit the Middlesex Unitemps page.

Financial support

You can apply for scholarships and bursaries and our MDX Student Starter Kit to help with up to £1,000 of goods, including a new laptop or iPad.

We have also reduced the costs of studying with free laptop loans, free learning resources and discounts to save money on everyday things. Check out our guide to student life on a budget.

How can the BSc in Veterinary Nursing support your career?

There is a current shortage of registered veterinary nurses (RCVS, 2022), which means you'll have excellent career prospects after you graduate. Veterinary nurses are respected throughout the animal welfare sector, offering wider opportunities for registered veterinary nurses.

Graduate job roles

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.

Graduate employers

As a graduate registered veterinary nurse you will be welcomed by a wide range of employers across the veterinary sector.

Our dedicated lifetime career support, like our business start-up support programme and funding for entrepreneurs, has been recognised with the following awards:

  • The top 20 UK universities for business leaders and entrepreneurs – Business Money, 2023 
  • A top 10 university for producing CEOs – Novuana, 2023.

Transferable skills

You will develop a range of transferable skills including communication skills, problem solving, time management, academic writing and research skills.

Employability support

Our employability service can help you to develop your employability skills and get some valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one-to-one support with job hunting, CVs, covering letters, interviews and networking. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

  1. UK entry
  2. International entry
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

Head of Veterinary Studies

Dr De Franco qualified as a Vet from the University of Glasgow and worked for many years in Small Animal practice. She has been lecturing at The College of Animal Welfare since 2010 and has been involved in many aspects of work there. She is on the BSAVA Education Committee and has also worked as a technical consultant for Awarding Bodies. Her MSc in Educational Leadership involved lots of research on veterinary nurse training so she is always keen to explore ways of improving things.

Claire Defries
Programme Leader (London campus)

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.

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 BSc Honours

Start: September 2024

Duration: 3 years full-time

Code: D313 (London), D316 (Leeds), D315 (Huntingdon)

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