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Veterinary Nursing (Top-up) BSc Honours

Learn about the course below
D106 (Huntingdon)
September 2024
2 year full-time
3-4 years part-time
£9,250 (UK)*
£16,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Catherine Hemingway

Veterinary nurses work alongside veterinary surgeons providing nursing care to a variety of animals and making a real difference to the lives of animals and pets. Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of qualified veterinary nurses so job prospects upon graduation are excellent. Topping up your veterinary nurse qualification to degree level will open up many opportunities and expand your career prospects.

Why study BSc Veterinary Nursing (Top-up) at Middlesex University?

This course is run in collaboration with the College of Animal Welfare, one the UK's largest veterinary nurse training providers, and aims to give you the skills, experience and knowledge to become a critically thinking individual who can enhance the standing of the Veterinary Nursing profession.

You'll develop analytical and problem-solving approaches and be able to demonstrate the holistic assessment, planning and implementation of veterinary nursing care to a range of species.

You'll learn how to be a reflective practitioner with the skills required for autonomous practise, decision-making and team-working. You'll gain a variety of transferable skills which will enhance your veterinary career and continue your personal and professional development.

You'll be taught by leading practitioners who will be on hand to support you throughout your studies and by choosing elective modules, you'll be able to study subjects and topics that interest you.

After you graduate, you’ll be invited to join The College of Animal Welfare’s alumni association, CAW Connect, a social networking website and education hub. You'll have the opportunity to connect with other alumni, enjoy industry discounts, make use of exclusive careers advice and resources, find new job opportunities and keep up-to-date with the latest industry news.

Course highlights

  • Take advantage of the flexible study options of either full-time or part-time
  • The majority of the course is delivered online via distance learning
  • For attended sessions and exams, you can choose to visit one of our three sites in Hendon (London), Leeds or Huntingdon
  • We were the first university to offer veterinary nursing at degree level in Europe
  • Eligibility for Companion Animal Suitably Qualified (C-SQP) person status is gained when you successfully graduate

The majority of the course is delivered online via distance learning. There is one module that will require attendance on site every third week which runs from January – April. Please note that written and practical examinations are held on campus.

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What will you study on Veterinary Nursing (Top-up)?

During this top-up degree, you'll further your understanding of the legal, professional and ethical aspects of veterinary nursing and how these principles can be applied when supplying veterinary care. You’ll study the research process and how evidence based medicine can be applied to veterinary nursing.

Your understanding of pharmacological principles and their application to patient care will be explored culminating in eligibility for Companion Animal Suitably Qualified Person (C-SQP) status. Specific interests will be explored in the project and dissertation modules, during which you'll be supported by experienced tutors. The wide range of elective modules allows subjects to be studied in detail.

What will you gain?

As well as furthering your understanding of the subject areas underpinning Veterinary Nursing, you'll also gain skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Critical evaluation of research and evidence
  • Academic writing and presentation skills
  • Team working
  • Problem solving and complex decision making skills

The modules and the associated learning will allow you to develop into a thoughtful and knowledgeable practitioner as well as an an independent learner.


  • Year 1 - Compulsory

    • Pharmacology for Veterinary Nursing Practice (30 credits)

      The aim of the module is to build upon knowledge gained in practice, to develop an understanding of pharmacological principles and their application to patient care. Development of skills related to supply of veterinary pharmaceuticals will be considered, culminating in eligibility for Companion Animal Suitably Qualified Person (C-SQP) status.

    • Legal, Professional and Ethical Aspects of Veterinary Practice (30 credits)

      This module will develop your understanding of the complex nature of delivering veterinary care, with reference to the key legal, professional and ethical frameworks that exist. You'll be introduced to such frameworks and enhance your understanding and application of knowledge to your own field of practice. There will be an opportunity to engage in discussion with other RVNs to develop strong links between theory and practice.

    • Work Based Project (30 credits)

      During this module you will undertake a real work based project that's designed to develop or inform areas of your own or your colleague’s professional practice within a veterinary environment or educational setting.

      You'll plan, carry out and evaluate the project and critically discuss the learning gained, as well as the outcomes of the project for your area of practice. The focus of the project is negotiated with your tutor and your employer (or equivalent) and can be related to individual or team practice development and/or wider organisational development aims.

      The module will provide an opportunity for learning to be achieved in the work context whilst facilitating strategic development within the work place for the mutual benefit of both the employer and employee.

    • 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.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory

    • Dissertation (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.

  • Year 2 - Optional (choose three of the following)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. 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. Campuses
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BSc Veterinary Nursing (Top-up) 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.

You could continue your career into teaching, research, practice management, the pharmaceutical industry or specialists areas such as exotics nursing or advance in further postgraduate training.

Catherine Hemingway
Programme Leader

Catherine qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College in 2006. She initially worked in small animal clinical practices in the UK, including an RCVS accredited hospital practice. During her time in practice she qualified as an A1 assessor and subsequently a clinical coach. Catherine has also recently gained her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. As a clinical coach, she successfully supported many student veterinary nurses, some of whom now work in leading referral centres in the UK and overseas. Catherine moved into teaching, initially as Programme Leader for the BSc(Hons) Veterinary Nursing degree before moving over to lead the Top-up Veterinary Nursing degree.

  • 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 BSc Honours

Start: September 2024

Duration: 3 years full-time

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

Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year BSc

Start: October 2024

Duration: 4 years full-time

Code: D107

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