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Veterinary Medicine Courses in New Zealand

If you would like to combine your love for animals with study in science and medicine, you may consider studying a veterinary medicine course. These courses are tough yet rewarding, offering you the chance to treat and cure sick and injured animals and improve their quality of life.

For more information about studying veterinary medicine in New Zealand, visit the following websites:

  • New Zealand Veterinary Association
  • New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association
  • Veterinary Council of New Zealand
If you are considering studying veterinary medicine, you may also find courses of interest in health and science.

What you can study

At vocational level, students entering the field may qualify to work as veterinary nurses by completing a certificate or diploma in veterinary nursing. These courses provide the knowledge and practical skills to care for animals in settings such as veterinary practices, animal hospitals, zoos, wildlife parks and rescue shelters. Veterinary nurses may undertake a range of tasks, including administrative and reception duties, providing advice to clients over the telephone, feeding and exercising animals, completing diagnostic tests (such as blood tests and X-rays), administering medication, and cleaning and preparing surgical instruments and equipment.

To become a professional veterinarian, you need to complete a degree in the higher education sector. The bachelor of veterinary science is the minimum qualification required to practise as a veterinarian. This degree requires five years of full-time study and is made up of an ‘intermediate semester’, followed by a ‘professional phase’ where students continue along the path to practice. To progress to the professional phase, students must successfully complete the initial semester with a high academic average. Places are very competitive, with a limited number of places available. Prior to commencing the first semester of study, students must have completed 10 days (minimum of 80 hours) of work experience in a veterinary setting.

Postgraduate study allows graduates to expand their knowledge in the field, with postgraduate diplomas and masters degrees offering specialisations in areas such as veterinary clinical science, veterinary preventative medicine and veterinary public health. Some programmes may admit students without a relevant degree but who can demonstrate experience in the field.

In addition to courses in veterinary medicine, options exist to study fields such as animal care, animal science, animal management and animal husbandry.

Where to study

Veterinary nursing and animal studies courses are widely available throughout New Zealand. For students seeking courses in veterinary medicine, Massey University is currently the only provider to offer these programmes. Courses are available at undergraduate and postgraduate level, with the bachelor of veterinary science providing students with the required skills and training to work as a veterinarian.

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