University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine year by year

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is structured as a four year program with learning integrated across units of study in each year.

Clinical case examples are used throughout the program to demonstrate the relevance of each topic in understanding the complexities of animal diseases including their diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Research training is embedded throughout the course, to ensure students are proficient users and creators of research.

Year 1 Function of the Normal Animal Body and Year 2 Principles and Approach to Clinical Disease

Year 1 employs a body systems approach to learning about the basic veterinary sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathobiology and pharmacology) within a medical context.

During Year 2, students will develop skills in disease investigation by examining common disease syndromes.

During Years 1 and 2, three days are timetabled for learning and teaching activities at the Camperdown campus per week. Aspects of all major disciplines are introduced via the following on-campus activities:

  • small and large group tutorials
  • case-based scenarios
  • interactive lectures related to the current topic
  • laboratory and computer practical sessions
  • interactive online learning.

Two days per week comprise practical and professional skills training in small group situations:

  • animal handling
  • basic surgical skills
  • clinical consultation skills
  • clinic visits in the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

These activities take place at a range of locations including the University Farms, Camden Campus teaching facilities, University Veterinary Teaching Hospitals (Camperdown and Camden campuses), and the clinical skills lab (Camperdown campus). Students will also visit the University farm at Arthursleigh.

Animal husbandry placements commence during the second semester and must be completed by the end of second year.

Year 3: Animal Health and Disease Management

Building on the knowledge and skills attained during years 2 and 3, students will develop an advanced approach to managing health and disease across the major domestic, exotic and production animal species. Third year is mostly based at the Camden campus, with some learning and teaching activities based at the Camperdown campus.

Preparatory clinical placements must be completed by the end of third year.

Year 4: Professional Placements Program

Year 4 is a capstone experience combining intramural (in University Veterinary Teaching Hospitals) and extramural (in industry and private veterinary practices) placements.

These placements enable students to gain workplace experience in a broad range of small animal, large animal and industry situations in preparation for introduction to the workforce following graduation.

All students are required to undertake rotations at University Veterinary Teaching Hospitals (Camperdown and Camden campuses), extramural small animal and rural mixed practices, the Livestock Health and Pest Authority and at other sites on nomination.

Students are responsible for funding their transport and accommodations expenses to complete each rotation.

Practical and clinical experience

Clinical experience

The Faculty of Veterinary Science maintains teaching hospitals at Camperdown and Camden campuses, where students and veterinarians work together in a clinical teaching and learning environment.

Referral and primary accession cases are seen at both sites, and the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Camden also provides veterinary services to farms in the region. A wide range of companion animals, farm animals, racing animals, exotic and native species are seen.

Visiting specialists complement faculty specialists in most disciplines in providing an excellent learning environment for veterinary students. Knowledge of medicine, surgery, anaesthesia, radiology, clinical pathology and production animal issues are developed with small group teaching.

Practical work requirements

Students are required to complete an extramural studies program of practical work in pre- clinical (animal husbandry) and preparatory clinical (veterinary practice) placements during vacation periods from Year 1 to Year 3.

Students are also required to attend a placement at an abattoir in Year 3 or 4.

In Year 4, students complete a minimum of 40 weeks of clinical rotations at approved extramural sites and the University Veterinary Teaching Hospitals (Sydney and Camden).

The extramural studies program meets requirements set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is an essential component of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. All arrangements for placements in these programs are made through the Faculty Office.


The faculty holds and maintains continuous accreditation through the transition to a new veterinary program.

Graduates of accredited programs are immediately eligible for registration with the Veterinary Practitioners Board in each state and territory in Australia.

The course is also recognised internationally by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK) and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Students graduating from an AVMA-accredited school have their degree recognised in North America and are entitled to sit the US National Veterinary Licensing Examinations.

To maintain international accreditation, the faculty must constantly monitor, critically evaluate and improve the quality of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum, both in learning and assessment methods and graduate outcomes.

This means the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program meets the highest international standards and is constantly being reviewed and improved as the profession changes. Graduates of the University of Sydney veterinary program can go on to work internationally with confidence that they have completed a rigorous and internationally scrutinised course.