Why You Should Consider Edinburgh for Veterinary Medicine

January 12, 2023

By Nina Atanackovic, Student Veterinarian, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences 


Hi everyone! My name is Nina and I am a UofG graduate, class of 2021. I have wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I was little, and never had a back-up plan despite being aware of the difficult competition to attend OVC. So, if you have found yourself in a similar position, please continue reading.


I applied to OVC in 2020 and unfortunately was rejected. This is when I realized I should start looking into other options, and began researching international schools. I decided to stay an extra year at Guelph to boost my GPA. When I reapplied to OVC for the second time, I received an interview (I guess the extra year worked)! During this time, I also applied to a ton of international schools through VMCAS as my backups. Come June, I was devastated to find out that I had been rejected for a second time even after attaining an interview. I realized that my options were simple: either stay and re-apply for a third time, risking being turned down again, or attend one of the international schools I was accepted by and start my vet journey immediately. This is when I made the best decision for my future career and chose to pursue my veterinary degree at the University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences. 


Why I Chose Edinburgh for my Studies 

  1. Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences, or R(D)SVS, is widely and internationally accredited giving us the opportunity to work anywhere we’d like after graduation (AVMA, RCVS, EAEVE, AVBC, SAVC).

  2. It was ranked the 3rd best vet school in the world by QS World Rankings for Veterinary Sciences in 2021, allowing students to receive a world class education.

  3. Graduates have very high employment rates and high NAVLE pass rates after graduation.

  4. Research-based teaching and large investments in educational facilities/equipment.

  5. Offers a 4-year graduate entry program for students who have previously completed an undergraduate degree. Find more information about this program here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/vet/studying/undergraduate/bvms/4-year-programme#:~:text=Why%20study%20this%20programme%3F,multi%2Dcultural%20and%20thriving%20environment.


Hands-On Experience and EMS

If you’re worried about hands-on experience with animals, don’t worry! The school does a fantastic job at offering students loads of animal interaction through practical classes. This includes working with dogs, farm animals, horses, small mammals, and exotics. Additional species, such as zoo animals and wildlife, are also seen in the dissection room. 




The school requires students to complete Extra Mural Studies (EMS), which are individual weekly placements pertaining to animal husbandry (1st year) and clinical skills (2nd-4th year). Students are required to find their own placements and these hours must be completed in your own time (Christmas, Easter, or Summer). In my opinion, this should be required for all vet schools as it allows you to put your current knowledge into practice before you graduate. It will strengthen your skills by helping you better understand everything you are taught in school. If you go through your whole vet education without having extensive hands-on experience, it can make your career after graduation more difficult. You can read more about EMS here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/vet/studying/undergraduate/learning-and-teaching/extramural-studies.



Student and Staff Support 

Since starting my education here in Edinburgh, one thing that really stands out to me as a vet student is the support I receive from the staff and students. The school designs the assessments in such a way that receiving a passing grade (50 or above) will set you up to succeed in the field. Therefore, unlike my undergraduate experience, I don’t feel like I am competing with my classmates for the highest grades. As we are all in the same situation, we have created a safe and welcoming environment by helping each other out when it is needed. For example, having open discussions in our class group chat when someone is struggling with a certain topic. Further, the faculty arranges mental health seminars that give us insight into useful strategies we can use to alleviate stress from school and when working in the field. Staff members attend one-on-one meetings with students each semester to give us a chance to address any concerns we may have with our studies, which I find very encouraging. Being in a supportive environment has not only allowed me to excel in my academics but has taught me how to better support my peers when needed. Here is a link to further details regarding student support for vet med students: https://www.ed.ac.uk/vet/studying/undergraduate/student-support.


Living Abroad and Travelling

Moving to Guelph for my undergraduate degree was not very difficult as I grew up in Toronto, so Guelph was very close to home. Most of my university friends were from Guelph and I could easily go home for weekends when I wanted to see my family. But I’ve realized that living abroad has taught me many invaluable skills and has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, leading me to become a more confident and well-rounded individual. Making new friendships from all over has expanded my cultural awareness and has allowed me to look at life with a greater perspective. I’ve noticed a change in myself in terms of my independence and how adaptable I’ve become when faced with challenging or stressful situations. I’ve met tons of incredible people who I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet if I didn’t move to Scotland. Moving abroad will make you a stronger and more resilient person and it is truly an incredible experience that students should take advantage of. 


Second, one of my favourite parts of living in Edinburgh is the accessibility and ease of travelling. Not only is it quite affordable, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures all while having fun with friends. The best part is that you can get away to a new country for a weekend without having to miss any school. Living in Canada, I didn’t have the opportunity to experience Europe the way I do here because of the cost of flights. All of you will know that even flying within Canada can be quite pricey, but here our round trips can cost anywhere between 20-40 pounds (seriously). So, if you’re like me and love to travel, you should definitely consider moving overseas. 


I truly hope this post inspires you to look into Edinburgh University if you are considering vet med abroad. I’ve been able to gain certain experiences that have made me a better person and I’ve created amazing memories that I wouldn’t have with me today if I stayed in Canada for my education. From personal experience, I know that the application process for vet school can be very stressful and if you are in that position right now, I just want to let you know that everything works out one way or another. And sometimes things work out even better than you expect them to.☺