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How to apply for veterinary medicine (BVMS)

Thinking about applying to study veterinary medicine at the University of Central Lancashire? We have put together some guidance to help you with your application.

We recognise and value the importance and positive impacts of diversity within our Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVMS) programme, the wider university, and beyond.

Our BVMS programme welcomes applications from all students. Students who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences contribute a range of perspectives and problem-solving approaches that enhance the educational experience for everyone.

We know that not all prospective students will come from a typical school-leaver background. This guidance has been developed to support your application regardless of whether you are applying directly from school, college or from the workplace. We also provide guidance on diversity and disability to which students should refer before completing their application.

This page covers everything you need to know when applying for our BVMS programme, including:

  • How to apply
  • Admissions process
  • Personal statement
  • Reference
  • Interviews

Before you apply

Think clearly about why you want to study veterinary medicine and write a list of your reasons – it would be good to get these across in your application.

Where do you want to study? Whichever university you apply to, make sure you visit, talk to the students and have a good look around the campus and city – five years is a long time.

We’d encourage students, where possible, to engage in voluntary or paid vocational experience that helps to develop personal and professional attributes as well as expose students to what it means to work with animals and people in different settings. This might include working with animals in some capacity, such as at a veterinary practice, farm, animal shelter or stables. It may also include roles that demonstrate your abilities in engaging with the general public, communicating and problem-solving, such as in a retail or hospitality setting.

If you’re unable to access veterinary work experience then don’t worry; focus on voluntary or paid work experiences, hobbies and activities that demonstrate skills which could be applied in the veterinary context, or study a relevant free open-access online course via platforms such as Coursera or FutureLearn. Whilst we encourage vocational experience, we also recognise that it is not possible for all students, and a lack of vocational experience will not be a barrier to your application to veterinary medicine at UCLan.

If you have any questions before or during your application, feel free to contact us via email:

Things to think about

Other choices
You won’t be judged for your other university applications. It doesn’t matter if you also apply for a non-veterinary degree, as long as you can demonstrate a strong case for applying to veterinary medicine.
Taking a gap year
If you want to take a gap year then do so. You could further familiarise yourself with the various roles of veterinary surgeons, or develop your personal and professional attributes.
Your background
University selectors are not influenced by whether your parents are veterinary surgeons, or what type of school you come from. It is you they are interested in.
Be positive
Be positive about what you have to offer. If you get an interview, then be confident and relax; it’s your opportunity to show us why you would make a great veterinary surgeon and if you have any questions then don’t be shy to ask.

How to apply

UK applications are submitted via UCAS.

UK veterinary school applications are expected to be submitted by 15 October the year before entry (so if you’re applying for September 2023, you will need to submit your application by 15 October 2022).

International applications can be submitted via UCAS or directly via our online application form.

We accept direct international applications throughout the year but advise that you apply early so that we can process your application in good time.

The table below offers a step-by-step overview of the application process:


Initial application assessment

Your application will be assessed against both academic and non-academic set criteria.

There are several stages to the admissions process:

Personal statement for BVMS

Your personal statement should be approached in the same way as a job application. You should use it to provide evidence that you possess the qualities required by a trainee veterinary surgeon. Instead of telling us what you think you're good at, provide examples of things you've done that demonstrate what you're good at and tell us what you’ve learned from your experiences and achievements.

Please note that we assess applications on the principle that observation does not constitute experience. Using examples from any vocational or veterinary experience you may have been able to complete, focus on describing the qualities and attributes you can bring to the profession that you feel are particularly relevant to veterinary medicine. Avoid simply. giving us a great deal of detail about how much time was spent shadowing veterinary surgeons, for example.

We are interested in what you have done and what qualities you will bring to the program. Your personal statement should explain what you have learned from your life or vocational experiences and how you reflect upon your life or vocational experience rather than the details of what you saw during any vocational experience, activities or voluntary work.

Your personal statement should contain specifics that enable us to determine whether it was a relevant or useful experience. As space is limited it is advisable not to include anything in your personal statement that does not address these points unless it is required by another university to which you are applying.

Your personal statement should cover the following:

Reference for BVMS 

In your reference we want to know what the writer of the reference thinks about you as a whole person, not simply about your academic achievements and potential.

Your reference is likely to be written by your head teacher, college principal, head of year or form tutor.

Applicants who are not currently in school or college should approach an academic supervisor whenever possible: a ‘character reference’ is not sufficient. Please ensure that whoever is writing the reference sees a copy of these guidelines.

The areas in which we require information from your referee are listed below: