Foundation degree (validated by the Royal Agricultural University)

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* subject to revalidation

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 Competences for veterinary nurses and so on graduation of the course, the students are eligible to join the RCVS register of veterinary nurses. Please note, the course has been provisionally accredited by the RCVS and is validated by the Royal Agriculturual University.

The course begins in September of each year and 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. The final award is calculated by a 30:70 split between level 4 and level 5 marks.

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 assessment tasks.

The threshold is 40% for all assessed tasks in all mandatory modules. In order to meet the PSRB requirements the RAU compensation regulations do not apply to this programme. All modules require a minimum of 75% 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

Work placement

A work placement is carried out alongside the course. Students begin this in the second semester of their first year, spending three days in placement alongside two days in college. The students will then continue to spend three days in placement through their second year and then two days a week in their third year. This placement will take place in an approved training practice where the student is allocated a clinical coach. 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.

On completion of the course, students will be eligible to join the RCVS register of veterinary nurses. 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 coaches, work in referral hospitals, had their project research published by recognised magazines and become teachers on the course.

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Entry Requirements:
  • 5 GCSEs A-C/Grade 4 or above 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 practice according to RCVS guidelines. Students are also required to disclose any criminal convictions as these may affect registration with the RCVS as a qualified Veterinary Nurse on graduation.
  • Students 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. This does not need to be achieved prior to applying for the course but must be completed prior to enrolment
  • All suitable applicants will be required to attend an interview with the programme manager.
  • Students 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.
Dates & Location:

September 2021


Full-Time: 3 years (year 2 is a sandwich year). 

UCAS Details:

The UCAS code for this course is D310.


For the academic year 2019/20 the tuition fees for full-time UK and EU students are £9,000.

The sandwich year fees total £1,000.

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


Students on the course have access to the facilities in the VN training suite which holds a range of equipment and materials found in veterinary practice and enables the students to learn the basic knowledge and understanding of how to maintain, care for and use equipment and develop their clinical nursing skills.

During the students first year, they spend time in the Animal Management Unit developing their knowledge and skills in husbandry and handling of exotic species. This time also incorporates experience on the smallholders far ‘Little Wales Farm’ where experience with livestock is gained.

All teaching staff on the programme are registered veterinary nurses holding a level 4 qualification or above. A requirement of being a registered veterinary nurse is that 15 hours a year of industry relevant CPD is carried out, ensuring that the students are being taught by staff with most up-to-date industry knowledge.


The library facilities at Plumpton located in the centre of the College campus. There is plenty of space for quiet study and plugs at every desk. The library has extensive computer facilities to support student research and there is also easy access to printers. The library is staffed by the library manager and library assistants.

There are over 10,000 books on land-based subjects, plus a range of magazines and journals, including electronic resources that may be accessed from College or home. The library stocks specialist material that covers a broad range of animal management, conservation and veterinary science subjects to facilitate students in their assignments and research projects. Students also have access to subject-specific e-journals and e-publications.

I.T. Resources

We have a dedicated Higher Education I.T. room here at Plumpton, providing reliable access to a quiet study space and printing facilities.

Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is based on the programme Moodle. It is used daily by both staff and students to ensure that we adhere to the College aim of using modern technology to help support outstanding teaching, learning and assessment at college. Staff are encouraged to empower their students through the use of digital tools both in and outside the classroom. For example, they can provide support before a lesson by uploading lecture slides onto the module page. Digital enhancement can be conducted in a variety of ways during a lesson, such as encouraging student interaction through the use of Virtual Reality. Meanwhile, post-lesson enrichment can come in the form of a lesson-review quiz. Students must also submit assignments online via Turnitin, allowing staff to provide accessible and detailed digital feedback.

HE Study Rooms

HE students have access to their own study rooms that is for the sole use of HE students. The rooms are located in the Research & Development building, and creates a quiet self-study environment for students. Additionally, there is also a dedicated HE common room designed to provide students with a space to relax and engage with other HE students.

Future Opportunities

We work closely with many veterinary practices within Sussex and the surrounding counties. You’ll be allocated a work placement practice in your first year – most students will stay with the same practice throughout their training. This is an opportunity for you to become fully integrated within a multidisciplinary team. We’ve found that many of our students have gone on to be employed at their placement practice after they’ve successfully completed their Foundation Degree.  

What professional qualifications can I study? 

On graduation, you’ll receive professional accreditation as a veterinary nurse from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and will be eligible to enter the professional register as a registered veterinary nurse (RVN).


Year 1 (Level 4)

Module title & credits:  

Veterinary Anatomy and physiology


Study and research skills


Animal health and husbandry


Clinical Nursing Skills


Principles of Veterinary Nursing Practice


Small Animal Nursing


Year 2 (Placement Year)

Module Title


Career Development


Year 3 (Level 5)

Clinical Placement to be completed alongside modules from Semester 2 year 1 until the end of semester 2, year 3

Module Title


Independent Enquiry


Veterinary Diagnostics


Medical and Critical Care Nursing


Surgical and Theatre nursing


Professional Development and Business Skills


Veterinary Anaesthesia (FdSc Veterinary Nursing only)


Applied Animal Behaviour Management (FdSc Animal Health Studies only)


Clinical placement


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