Veterinary Medicine


The pre-clinical phase of the Veterinary course lasts 3 years. Lectures and practical classes are held in the University science departments with students from other colleges. Small group tutorials (supervisions) take place in Queens', usually in the evenings.  Students typically have 3-4 supervisions per week to explore the lectures in more depth, with time for discussion of set work and help with exam preparation. The main “Tripos” exams are held in June with three papers for each of the main subjects (MCQ, practical, and essay papers).  

In Part I, our students build a solid scientific foundation for the clinical training to follow - this is a key feature of the Cambridge course ( The first year (Part IA) covers veterinary anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. The Principles of Animal Management course starts immediately and covers diverse areas of animal husbandry, management and the economics of animal-related industries. From week one and throughout the year you will attend animal handling courses with all the major domestic species – a superb grounding for the twelve weeks of Pre-Clinical Extramural Studies which our students complete over three years. The Veterinary Anatomy course involves 120 hours of dissection in small groups (three or four), and ‘live anatomy’ sessions which give you the chance to learn the basics of orthopaedic examination, thoracic auscultation, echocardiography and abdominal palpation.

The second year (Part IB) covers the core courses of neuroanatomy & animal behaviour, pharmacology, pathology, comparative vertebrate biology and animal reproduction, plus you will complete the Preparing for the Veterinary Profession course, which further develops your knowledge of the professional, ethical, financial, management and social responsibilities of veterinary surgeons.

In the third year (“Part II”) our Veterinary students have the opportunity to enroll in one of the courses offered by Departments in the Natural Sciences Tripos (NST Part II or NST Part II BBS course) such as Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Development & Neuroscience and Zoology. Veterinary students tend to favour Pathology (particularly the Dynamics of Infectious Disease option with its focus on animal infectious diseases and zoonoses) and the Zoology courses, but there is freedom to take other Tripos courses offered by the University, e.g.  History of Art, Philosophy, Management Studies, Engineering, Social and Political Sciences, and Anthropology. Students choose a single subject usually from the Natural Sciences Tripos with an associated laboratory or field-based research project, or a group of modules from the Biomedical and Biological Sciences Tripos with an associated  literature-based dissertation project. The Part II year has a greater focus on independent learning and studying primary research literature. There are fewer college supervisions, with teaching concentrated in the individual departments and laboratories. Successful completion of the third year is acknowledged by the award of the Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in the chosen subject, equivalent to a B.Sc. at other universities.

Clinical Veterinary Medicine: 

After successfully completing their preclinical course, all Cambridge Veterinary Science students transition to the clinical course based at the Vet School.  In their 4th and 5th years, students spend much of their time applying their scientific knowledge and practical skills to clinical scenarios and clinical practice. Lectures are complemented by a series of practical classes, called ‘rotations’, in areas such as consultation skills, farm animal clinical studies, bovine footcare and obstetrics, neurology, equine cardiology and visits to the RSPCA Clinic in Cambridge. The lecture-free sixth year of the course is when our students enjoy forty weeks of ‘rotations’ in the different disciplines and clinics of the Veterinary Hospital. This is the time when our small class sizes really come into their own - our clinical groups are tiny so each student manages more cases, gains more experience, and becomes more confident by the time they qualify.

Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at Queens’

Queens’ has approximately 42 undergraduates studying medicine or veterinary medicine, which helps to support a thriving Medical Society (which celebrated its 90th birthday this year), fostering cohesion and friendship between the preclinical and clinical years of both courses. A primary aim of the Society is to widen the experience of the pre-clinical students (both medical and veterinary) by networking with speakers from clinical and related disciplines, both within and outside of Cambridge. There are three to four speaker events in each of the Michaelmas and Lent terms; recent topics include: “The life of an amputee in the Developing World”; 'Breathing Thinking Functioning - development of the Cambridge Breathlessness Service Approach’; and ‘The Coolness of Naked Mole-rats’. There are also a wide range of social events such as the annual welcome lunch for new students, the Medics’ Curry and the Annual MedSoc Dinner. Between them, the Queens' medical and veterinary students form one of the most coherent groups in the College, while at the same time they are individually involved in almost all aspects of College sporting, social and intellectual life.

We believe that our students are among the best Cambridge students entering the clinical years. This is reflected not only in the excellent examination results they achieve but also in their subsequent careers.  Preclinical students are supervised in the main by Queens' Fellows supported by dedicated Teaching Associates and Research Students. Together these form a loyal team who take great personal interest in the careers of each individual student.


Candidates will have two 30 minute interviews. Each interview will typically have one veterinary clinician and one non-clinical interviewer from a medically related discipline. You will be asked in advance to provide a selection of topics you would like to discuss. These are used as “ice-breakers” that may provide the basis to explore related topics. The interviews are structured to allow us to assess your knowledge-base and ability to interact with the questioner. We aim to assess how effectively you apply your existing knowledge and additional information provided to enable you to interpret data and extrapolate to answer questions on a topic that may not be immediately familiar to you. We will also explore your past experience, motivation and aptitude for a career in Veterinary Medicine.

Gap years:

A 'gap year' between school and university can provide wider life-experience and independence, which we consider to be valuable even if the time is spent doing non-veterinary related activities. We do not discriminate between those who have or have not taken a gap year.

Queens’ Veterinary Medicine Fellows 

Dr Laurence Tiley, Director of Studies

Molecular Virology, Biochemistry 

Professor Clare Bryant, College Lecturer 

Veterinary, Pharmacology 

Professor Alun Williams, Clinical Advisor (Vet)

Diagnostic Pathology

Teaching Associates

 Mr Jonathan Hall (Vet Anatomy)