Veterinary Nursing

Course Information

BSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

Full Time - Undergraduate Studies

CAO Code: DN310
CAO Points Range 2018: 467
Length of Course: 4 Years
Average Intake: 44

Leaving Certificate:

O6/H7 in English, Irish, Mathematics a laboratory science subject and two other recognised subjects

Click below for equivalent entry requirements information for:

Why is this course for me?

In response to the recognition and registration of veterinary nursing as a profession in Ireland, UCD developed and implemented a full-time, four-year honours BSc Veterinary Nursing degree programme in 2009. The degree provides the graduate with not only a sound academic foundation but also the practical skills and competencies with which to build a solid career as a professional veterinary nurse.

The study of Veterinary Nursing necessitates using animal-derived material in some classes. Any animal tissue used in classes is ethically sourced in full compliance with the university’s ethical review body. Individuals who object unreservedly to the use of animal material in teaching should not enter the veterinary nursing programme.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

In addition to the highly skilled role of veterinary nursing in the practice environment, strong demand exists for qualified veterinary nurses in a number of related fields:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Insurance
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Practice Management
  • Animal Welfare
  • Charitable Work
  • Education

You will also have the opportunity to pursue graduate studies, thereby actively contributing to academic and research fields both within your profession and in related sciences.

What Will I Study

First & Second Year

Students receive a high-quality education through lectures, tutorials and practical classes, as well as off-site work experience. The curriculum reflects the demands on the Irish veterinary nurse in practice by incorporating teaching on small animal (including exotics), farm animal and equine nursing

During the first two years, students spend an average of 30 hours per week attending lectures, tutorials and practicals on all aspects of veterinary nursing, including:

  • Comparative Veterinary Anatomy & Physiology I & II
  • General Veterinary Nursing & Animal Handling
  • Principles of Animal Behaviour, Nutrition & Welfare
  • Veterinary Anaesthesia & Therapeutics
  • Reception & Practice Management for Veterinary Nurses
  • Surgical Nursing


Third & Fourth Year

During third year you undertake additional modules and embark on placements within veterinary practices that are committed to veterinary nurse training. During the final year, Veterinary Nursing rotations largely take place in the UCD Veterinary Hospital and can involve early mornings and some late-night work. Students are also expected to undertake independent study.

A combination of end-of-semester written and practical examinations, along with continuous assessment during semesters, is used throughout the programme.

For detailed information on subject content click here.


“From a very young age I knew I wanted to work with animals when I grew up. The course in UCD while challenging, is extremely rewarding and enjoyable. The course comprises of lectures, tutorials, practical classes and clinical placement. Each as important as the other. My favourite though, I must admit, were the practical classes and especially clinical placement within UCD Veterinary Hospital in final year. So much so that after graduation I was fortunate enough to join the nursing team in UCD’s veterinary hospital. The course equips its graduates with skills and knowledge to be valuable members of the veterinary team and advocates for their patients.”

Olivia Flanagan Graduate 

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