FdSc Veterinary Nursing

Foundation Degree (subject to accreditation)

Apply for 2023

The foundation degree in veterinary nursing is a three-year programme at Level 4 and Level 5 academic study. The programme has been a successful Higher Education provision at Plumpton College since 2009 and incorporates theoretical modules, practical skills and a work placement.

Our course articulates with the RCVS Day One Skills for veterinary nurses and the RCVS Day One Competencies for veterinary nurses, and so pending full accreditation from the RCVS and graduation from the course, students are eligible to join the RCVS register of veterinary nurses. 

The course begins in January of the first year and September each year thereafter. Each year is split into two semesters and the modules offered in each semester are shown in the table below. 

Full-time students will undertake a range of modules totalling 240 credits over the duration of the programme. Students must achieve a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4 and a further 120 credits at Level 5.

A typical 15 credit module comprises a combination of tutor-led contact sessions (usually 2-3 hours per week) and independent study time spent on completing assessments.

The threshold is 40% for all assessed tasks in all mandatory modules. All modules require a minimum of 90% attendance as it is necessary for students to have learnt all aspects of the course, including practical and theory in order to safely practice in industry.

Why Choose Us?

  1. Purpose-built Veterinary Nursing Clinical Training Suite
  2. Experienced delivery of higher education Veterinary Nursing since 2009
  3. Registered Veterinary Nurse status awarded on graduation (subject to accreditation)
  4. Vocational, practical qualification suited for all ages wishing to work within the veterinary industry

Work Placement

A work placement is carried out alongside the course. Students complete this as a full year placement within their second year. This placement is found and allocated by Plumpton College and  will take place in an approved training practice. During the placement year students are allocated a clinical supervisor. This is a Registered Veterinary Nurse or Registered Veterinary Surgeon who has undergone additional training to be able to support students through the development of their clinical skills. 

Historically the course sees 100% employability with graduating students and they are able to go into industry as well rounded professionals with both academic and practical skills. Graduating students have gone onto to become Head Nurses, clinical supervisors, work in referral hospitals, had their project research published by recognised magazines and become teachers on the course. 

About the Programme Team: 

We are an experienced team of academic and industry professionals. All teaching and quality assurance members of the team are Registered Veterinary Nurses maintaining their professional registration and therefore industry knowledge and clinical skills by completing Continual Professional Development and industry insights. 

Industry Links & Affiliations

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 

Careers Hub

We offer impartial careers guidance to all of our students; email careers@plumpton.ac.uk to explore your next step or to book an appointment – we’re here to help.

Course details

Dates & Location

January 2024 & September 2024

Location: Plumpton College


3 years with a sandwich year

UCAS Details

Code: D310

Points: 64

Entry Requirements

Students must be at least 18 years old on entry 


• 5 GCSEs Grade 4 or above (A*-C) to include Mathematics, English Language and a Science.   

• 64 UCAS tariff points. This can be made of either A levels, BTEC national diploma or HE access course and must include elements of science specifically Biology or Anatomy and Physiology 

In addition to the academic entry criteria, students must demonstrate fitness to practise according to RCVS guidelines. Applicants are also required to disclose any criminal convictions as these may affect registration with the RCVS as a qualified Veterinary Nurse on graduation.  

Applicants are also required to have completed a minimum of four weeks work experience, two of which must be in a (UK) veterinary practice and two in another animal related industry. Satisfactory references must be provided from the work experience placement and the work experience must have taken place in the period of two years before the course start date. 

All suitable applicants will be required to attend an interview with the programme manager. 

Applicants will also be required to submit an essay on a given title and this will need to be of an acceptable standard. 

All entry criteria will apply to students entering the course via UCAS Clearing. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, I built great friendships with both staff and peers. I found that by being at Plumpton I grew as a person, and become more confident. I would strongly recommend the FdSc Veterinary course as I had the best three years. 

Shannon Desmond

FdSc Veterinary Nursing

The Foundation Veterinary Nursing Degree is a great experience that has helped my to get my dream job as well as learning new skills and gaining confident

Beth Field

FdSc Veterinary Nursing

The lecturers are supportive and they care about your future

Jessica Greenaway

FdSc Veterinary Nursing

A great course. Challenging at times but this is outweighed by it being very enjoyable and rewarding. A good balance between theory and practical

Luke Woodhams

FdSc Veterinary Nursing


Currently at the delivery site, the college hosts a bespoke Veterinary Nursing Training Suite. Designed as a ‘mock’ veterinary practice the layout replicates that of a small animal first opinion practice housing a range of specialised equipment such as laboratory equipment, anaesthetic machines and breathing systems, kennel accommodation, radiograph, ultrasound and endoscopy imaging. Renovations to the building as part of the colleges association with Institutes of Technology, will see expansion of the building to include a larger clinical space to accommodate larger group sizes and an exam centre for OSCEs as well as the introduction of new equipment such as digital radiography and improved anatomical models.  

In addition, classrooms will be available on the upper floor and these will be accessible in addition to the University centre classrooms and conference rooms in the Agri-food centre. 

Student spaces are available within the University centre - study rooms, common room and computer room dedicated to HE students, as well as café and social space in the Agri-food building. 

The college site also boasts a large internal library with IT facilities and study spaces, transport links to the surrounding towns and OFSTED rated outstanding, on-site catered accommodation. 

The Animal Management centre homes a range of exotic species from the more common household animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, to hooved livestock such as goats, donkeys and alpacas to more exotic species such as reptiles, chelonians, birds of prey, wallabies and sugar gliders. Access to the species forms part of the programme to develop students knowledge and practical skills in regards to animal husbandry and handling. 

Future Opportunities

In terms of employability, the proposed programme is highly focused on developing the key vocational and transferable skills required to work in the subject sector. Students have the opportunity to explore and evaluate case studies from relevant areas of the industry and the skills required to be successful in these sectors. In addition to this, students will be required to undertake work experience with an external organisation. This will ensure students directly work with industry professionals and will require them to reflect on their skills development over the course of their placement.

Careers, Apprenticeship & Higher Education Opportunities 

  • Clinical Director
  • Practice Manager
  • Nursing Managers
  • Lead/ Head Nurse
  • Deputy Lead/ Head Nurse
  • Lecturer
  • Progression on to becoming an ‘Advance Certificate Holder’ in:
    • Anaesthesia 
    • Medical
    • Surgical
    • Emergency Critical Care
    • Feline (cert/ diploma)
    • Physiotherapist
    • Hydrotherapy
  • Referral Registered Veterinary Nurse
  • Registered Veterinary Nursing (RVN)
  • Veterinary Technician in the Army Medical Forces
  • Clinical Supervisor  
  • Community Veterinary Nurse
  • Charity RVN
  • Academic Research
  • Processing Veterinary Insurance Claims


Assessment Breakdown


  • Assignment: A task or series of written tasks to be completed in your own time but submitted by a specified date.
  • Research Project: In Year Three, you will be required to complete a Research Project to demonstrate analytical, critical and research skills.


  • There are various terms used to describe examinations; the most commonly used are listed below:
  • Unseen Written Examination: The candidate (student) enters the examination hall with no prior knowledge of the questions which he/she must answer and no reference material is allowed in the examination room.
  • Practical examinations: Objectively Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) these focus on the assessment of practical skills and will be carried out as part of a staged treatment or clinical practice.


Presentations may be individual or in a group and may be recorded for the purpose of internal and external moderation

Year 1 (Level 4)

Module Title: Credit Value

Applied Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology


Study and Research Skills


Animal Health, Husbandry & Welfare


Clinical Veterinary Nursing Skills


Principles of Veterinary Nursing Practice


Veterinary Theatre Practice


Year 2 (Placement Year)

Year 3 (Level 5)

Module Title


Veterinary Anaesthesia & Analgesia


Independent Enquiry


Veterinary Diagnostics


The Fundamental Aspects of Advanced Nursing Care


Professional Development and Business Skills


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