A Preliminary Year Course in Veterinary Science: Course Overview and Student Progression

  • Kate Cobb University of Nottingham
  • Vicki Onions University of Nottingham
Keywords: Veterinary medicine; assessment


The Preliminary Year course in Veterinary Science was originally designed for high achieving students from non-science backgrounds and those with relevant vocational qualifications. Subsequently, students who have completed the required science qualifications, but due to lack of opportunity are unable to gain direct entry to veterinary medicine, have been accepted onto the course. The year-long course comprises seven compulsory modules, five of which are closely aligned to A-level Biology and Chemistry specifications. An animal care and behaviour module allows students to experience working with different species and gain insight into all aspects of the profession. A maths module provides support in topics which some students find challenging. Since its inception in 2007, 241 students have registered on the course, of whom 191 (79.3%) have progressed successfully to the five year course. There was no significant difference in performance between Preliminary Year students and the remainder of the cohort on the five year course and to date only five (2.6%) students who progressed have left the five year course with no further qualification. The Preliminary Year course has been successful in widening access to higher education and the veterinary profession for students without the traditional entry requirements for a degree in veterinary medicine.


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Author Biographies

Kate Cobb, University of Nottingham

Kate worked in first opinion small animal practice and as a secondary school science teacher before joining the University of Nottingham in 2006. Having been initially involved in the design and delivery of the Preliminary Year course, Kate is currently Associate Professor for Veterinary Education and Sub-Dean for Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

Vicki Onions, University of Nottingham

Following graduation Vicki remained at the University of Nottingham to undertake a PhD and a post-doc researching ovarian cryopreservation as a method of preserving fertility. Vicki joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2012 as a Teaching Associate on the Preliminary Year course and is the current course convenor.