Surrey Vet School

As you will probably all know, this year there is going to be another vet school joining the mix with Surrey opening their doors to vet students in September 2014. Understandably there has been A LOT of talk about this in recent months with both the BVA (British Veterinary Association) and AVS (Association of Veterinary Students) voicing their concerns. To say that the news wasn’t taken well would be an understatement and, to be totally honest, I can understand their concerns. OK, all this may make absolutely no difference to whether to apply to them but I do think that if Surrey is on your list of unis then you should be aware of the arguments against the new vet school as well as those for it. The main argument is the stress that an extra class of vet students is going to put pressure on an already stretched system since they are all going to be applying for a job at the local veterinary clinic. As it stands getting work experienced while at university can be a serious problem with some of the equine hospitals having a 1.5 year waiting list, so an extra vet school has the potential to make a bad situation worse. And this is without the considering the impact it is going to have on new graduates looking for jobs when a new class is added to the numbers. Anyway, all this is beside the point because wherever you go you are now going to have this to deal with. The first year Surrey Vet School take applicants they are only going to take 25 so if you are considering it as one of your choices please be aware that your year will only be a quarter of the size of the years following you through the school, as in the second year they are open they are hoping to increase their intake to 100 students. If I’m totally frank, the course sounds much like the other universities offering veterinary medicine but Surrey have made a particular point of emphasising their relationship with DEFRA and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. What this will actually mean for the course remains unknown but their aim appears to be to direct the course at those more interested in veterinary public health, research and pathology. (This may be something to bear in mind when organising work experience before you apply)The final year at Sussex will take on a similar format to Nottingham where the students will carry out their rotations at a variety of practices and hospitals in the local area. This system has been very successful at Nottingham so it should be safe to say that it will be the same at Surrey, though it may take a while for the practices being used to settle into the constant presence of students and the need for teaching. The most important factor and the aspect of the university I am sure you are all most anxious about has to be whether you will actually get a veterinary medicine degree at the end of it. In order to practice as a vet you have to be registered as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), something you can only do if you graduate from an accredited university or if you take the royal college exams in your final year. The RCVS can only accredit a university once they have had a class of students move through all of the years which means that the first year through may have to take the royal college exams as part of their finals. It is also worth noting that there is nothing to say that the RCVS will definitely approve Surrey’s course (though I can see absolutely no reason why they wouldn’t).

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