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Faculty of Veterinary Science

Frequently Asked Questions

What is veterinary science?

Veterinary science is a biomedical science, which serves the health interests of farm animals, companion animals, wildlife and humans alike. As such, it deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases, the production of safe food and, through the control of diseases transmitted from animals to humans, the health of human beings.

Where is the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria situated?

The Faculty of Veterinary Science is situated at Onderstepoort in the north of Pretoria. Onderstepoort is a generic name for a hub of three institutions in the vicinity, namely the Faculty, Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI). All three institutions are independent. The Faculty is part of the University of Pretoria; the OBP is a fully corporative entity and the OVI falls under the auspices of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). (See map and directions to Faculty).

Is the Faculty the only institution in South Africa that provides training in Veterinary Science?

Yes, the Faculty is the only Veterinary Science faculty in South Africa. It is the second oldest of 46 Faculties of Veterinary Science in Africa and was founded in 1920. The Faculty offers the BVSc (Veterinary Science) degree programme as well as a University Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (DipVetNurs) as well as various postgraduate degree programmes.

In order to study Veterinary Science (BVSc), do I first have to complete another degree?

As from 2011, this will not be necessary. Students who are currently registered for the BSc (Veterinary Biology) degree (second and third year) will have to complete this degree before they will be able to continue with the veterinary science (BVSc) degree programme. All prospective students who aim to obtain a qualification in veterinary science (BVSc degree) should in future apply for admission to the first year of the BVSc programme. Selection will precede admission, as places in the programme are limited.

What is the duration of study for the BVSc (Veterinary Science) degree programme?

Students who are already enrolled in the programme will need 3 years to complete the BSc (Veterinary Biology) degree and another 4 years for the 4-year BVSc degree; a total of 7 years. Students who will be admitted to the new degree programme from 2011 onwards will need only 6 years to complete the programme. It should be noted, however, that the first 2 – 3 cohorts of students in the new programme will also take 7 years to complete the programme due to transitional arrangements.

Is the BVSc (Veterinary Science) degree accepted and acknowledged abroad?

Yes the BVSc degree is formally accepted in the UK and Australasia for registration purposes to practice in those countries. The quality of training is such that graduates of the Faculty of Veterinary Science have no difficulty to compete for and enter postgraduate programmes in universities in most countries in the world. Graduates of the Faculty are partners in or principles of private practices, and occupy managerial positions in industry and public service across the world.

What are the application and admission requirements for the BVSc degree in 2014?


  • A valid National Senior Certificate (NSC) with admission for degree purposes.
  • Subject requirements and an Admission Point Score (APS) as indicated in the table below. The APS is calculated from the achievement levels obtained in the six 20-credit subjects of the NSC.
  • A completed National Benchmark Test (NBT). Basic performance in any component of this test is regarded as unacceptable.
  • Completed value-added form. 

Applicants with tertiary exposure

  • The first semester of the BSc (Biological Sciences) programme with subjects as indicated in the macro-curriculum of the BVSc study programme as it appears on pages 3 and 4 of this brochure (please note that details may change in later years of study).
  • The first three semesters of the University’s BSc (Four-year programme) in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.
  • Senior undergraduate and graduate students with exposure to subjects shown in both semesters of the first-year macro-curriculum as it appears on page 3 may be considered for admission to the second year of the BVSc study programme.


Study programme


Closing dates

Career opportunities


Minimum requirements

Achievement level





Physical Science

BVSc (University degree in Veterinary Science)

[6 years]

Closing dates:
SA – 31 May

Non-SA – 31 May


NBT compulsory as part of the selection process

Careers:  Veterinarians in private practice, research, academia or state veterinary services. Veterinarians can also work in the following fields: private, state and provincial diagnostic laboratories, veterinary public health (milk and meat hygiene, control of transfer of disease), technical services, research and product development in pharmaceutical and food industries, consultancy, laboratory animal management, wildlife management, poultry and pig productionand animal welfare.






(University Diploma in Veterinary
[2 years]

Closing dates:
SA – 31 May

Non-SA – 31 May

NBT compulsory as part of the selection process

Careers: Veterinary nurses can be employed by the following institutions: private veterinary practices, veterinary academic hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, the animal food industry, animal welfare societies, zoological gardens, game parks, laboratory animal units, rehabilitation centres, research centres, animal boarding establishments, organised agriculture, dairies and farming operations.






Please refer to the electronic brochure on this website for further information.

The Faculty of Veterinary Science views student selection as a key component of its endeavours to meet the veterinary needs of the country and the specific requirements of higher education legislation. To this end the Faculty of Veterinary Science once again states its intent to actively recruit and select students to ensure that the student body will ultimately reflect national demographics. It may also consider market needs in allocating specific positions for e.g. state veterinary service (national and provinces), the defence force and the needs of neighbouring countries who do not have a faculty of veterinary science, etc.

Can I complete my first year of study at another University?

Although it is preferable to complete the first year of study at the University of Pretoria, candidates may elect to complete the first year elsewhere. In this instance, the onus will be on the candidate to submit proof of the equivalence of modules (courses) completed in relation to content and scope.

Are there any alternative routes for school leavers with the required subject combinations, but who fail to meet the minimum requirements?

Applicants should write the NBT and apply for admission to the University of Pretoria’s BSc (Four-year programme) in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

How many students are admitted to the BVSc (Veterinary Science) degree programme?

A total of 160 students will be admitted to the first year of the study programme and 190 to the second year from 2014 onwards. The Faculty endeavours to meet the veterinary needs of the country and the specific requirements of higher education legislation through the selection of applicants. The recruitment and selection process is therefore structured in such a way that it will address diversity, excellence, equity, gender and geographic distribution.

Are foreign students admitted to the BVSc (Veterinary Science) degree programme?

A limited number of foreign students (category 5 above) may be admitted to the programme. Equivalency of academic credits will be taken into account. Priority will be given to students from neighbouring countries without a faculty of veterinary science, then other SADC countries and then other countries further afield.

What is the language of tuition in the Faculty of Veterinary Science?

The language of tuition in this Faculty is English. Tests and examinations may also be done in Afrikaans in accordance with the language policy of the University of Pretoria.

What are the closing dates for applications?

The closing date for applications for all undergraduate programmes offered by the Faculty of Veterinary Science is 31 May.

Where can I get application forms?

Application forms are available from the Client Service Centre of the University at (012 420 3111 or e-mail: Electronic application forms can be obtained on the web at

Does the Faculty have its own residence and who can apply for accommodation there?

Yes, the Faculty has its own residence known as Huis Onderstepoort. Veterinary Science students and Veterinary Nursing students may apply for accommodation in the Onderstepoort residence. Allocation of a room is subject to selection and admission, and the availability of rooms. It is recommended that students who are selected for the first year of the new veterinary science programme should seek accommodation in the residences around the Hatfield campus of the University as all their lectures in the first year of study will be offered on that campus.