Veterinary Biosciences

Key Facts

Code D906
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB-ABB with B in Biology or Human Biology

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Veterinary Biosciences is a course dedicated to the biology underpinning veterinary medicine. On this course, you will combine molecular, cellular, and physiological aspects to understand the biology of farm animals, horses, and companion animals. Along the way, you will develop the applied and analytical skills needed to pursue careers such as veterinary laboratory diagnostician, nutritionist, researcher, welfare inspector, or animal care worker. It does not provide recognised training for those wishing to practise as a veterinary surgeon, but may provide graduates with a suitable pathway to a veterinary medicine degree programme.

Here’s why we think Veterinary Biosciences at Aberystwyth is for you: 

  • Fantastic modern laboratories, farms, equine centre, aquarium, and microscopy suites
  • A range of module options, allowing you to focus on diagnostic or applied areas of veterinary biology
  • Passionate teaching staff, including locally practicing veterinarians, who conduct research in areas such as nutrition, infectious diseases, and welfare

If you have any questions about this scheme please contact the scheme coordinator, Dr. Iain Chalmers:

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning


If you are interested in the biology that underpins the health and welfare of a range of animals, then Veterinary Biosciences is for you. Here’s why we think Aberystwyth is the very best place to make your journey of discovery…

Passionate teaching staff who are expert in their field

You’ll be taught by expert scientists working at the forefront of their research fields. Their expertise includes molecular investigations of parasitology in sheep, cellular investigations of wound healing in horses, breeding investigations to eliminate hip dysplasia in dogs, and behavioural investigations of how animals cope with new environments. This research expertise directly informs our teaching! You’ll also be taught by local veterinarians, giving you first-hand insight into clinical aspects of veterinary science.

Fantastic facilities

As a budding veterinary bioscientist, you’ll need access to top-notch research and teaching facilities. We have modern, well-equipped teaching laboratories, lecture theatres, and seminar rooms. You’ll also benefit from other facilities including:

• Over 1000 ha of farmland, including lowland and upland sheep farms, a 500 cow dairy herd, intensive and extensive beef production systems, an equine centre, and a flock of layer poultry
• An advanced microscopy and bio-imaging laboratory
• A beautiful local environment, including marine, moorland, mountain, grassland and coast, providing you with a fabulous variety of fieldwork and recreational opportunities

A world renowned teaching and research institute 

  • IBERS (the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences) is one of the largest and best resourced institutes of its kind in Europe.  
  • IBERS was awarded the “Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology” award at the 2013 Times Higher Education Awards. 
  • IBERS students won the “Biology Student of the Year” award at the European Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Awards in 2011, and were finalists in 2013. Could you be the next winner? 
  • Top 10 in the UK for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment (2014).
  • 78% of research assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 REF.

International opportunities

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take the chance to study abroad during your degree? We have exchange agreements with universities in Europe, USA, Canada, and elsewhere, so you can apply to spend all or part of your 2nd year studying veterinary biosciences overseas. You’ll miss Aberystwyth, but you’ll love the new perspectives international study can bring!

Want to study in Welsh?

Students can elect to study a number of IBERS modules in the medium of Welsh. Ask the department for further details.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


You will be fully supported with developing your employability skills throughout the degree scheme.

There is a growing market for graduates with skills and specialist knowledge gained on Veterinary Biosciences degrees. Our graduates are well placed to gain employment in a range of careers such as veterinary research, civil service, charity advocacy, teaching, research in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry.

Many students from Aberystwyth have gone on to undertake veterinary medicine training and also postgraduate training (PhD, MRes and PGCE).

The department has a close working relationship with the Careers Service and has an IBERS link careers adviser to support students with their career development. Employer events are organised to allow students to gain an insight into different graduate employers and develop their networking skills. The IBERS Employer Advisory Group invites a variety of employers to advise on curriculum and employability development to ensure students are acquiring the right skills needed by graduate employers.

You can also participate in the Year in Employment Scheme (YES) to gain graduate level work experience and IBERS students have successfully gained placements with a number of employers including West Midlands Safari Park and Chester Zoo.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

In the first year you will take core modules in cell structure, molecules, genetics, microbiology and metabolism. You will also take more specialised veterinary biosciences modules in physiology (with special emphasis on the horse) and disease diagnosis. You will also have the opportunity to either learn about the major farm animal production systems (beef, sheep, dairy, pig, broiler and egg) in the context of UK and world agriculture or the principle of equine exercise physiology. You will also receive training in communication and research skills and career development.

In the second year you will consider mammalian nutrition, animal welfare, companion animal and livestock health, practical skills in microbiology and the immune system. You will also be given the option to choose from a range of applied or molecular modules.

In the third year you will explore general topics such as animal biotechnology, breeding, veterinary drugs and veterinary infectious diseases, as well as selecting modules that align with your passions. A compulsory dissertation will allow you to perform in-depth research under the guidance of a supervisor. Your project may be based on laboratory experiments or fieldwork exercises, comprise a computer modelling exercise, or involve a critical review of published scientific literature.

Among many skills, you will learn to: synthesize information from scientific literature; understand and explain the implications of technological developments in animal science; scrutinise data in terms of quality and quantity; and respond to new data through laboratory investigation.

How will I be taught?

The course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, workshops, tutorials, and practicals. Some aspects of the course will rely on student-centered e-learning, supported by computer workshops. You will receive thorough training in concepts, research and methodology relating to animal science. You will explore this learning in laboratory research and experimentation, as well as hands-on practical exercises.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will be assessed through numerous methods including essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, reports, statistical exercises, dossiers, posters, portfolios, wikis, reflective diaries, literature reviews, magazine articles, field notebooks and exams. In all these areas you will need to demonstrate scientific rigour and apply a systematic approach to the problems with which you are presented.

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB-ABB with B in Biology or Human Biology

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
32 points overall with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
70-75% overall with 75% in specified subject

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