Veterinary Medicine

St John’s currently admits between two and four veterinary students each year, and our students come from a wide variety of schools and backgrounds and from all parts of the UK and abroad. St John’s is particularly fortunate in having a resident pre-clinical Director of Studies in Veterinary Medicine (who is also the Veterinary School Clinical Advisor for Clinical Studies), and no fewer than six Teaching Fellows who supervise our undergraduates in all the central medical veterinary subjects.

Lectures and practical classes for pre-clinical students are, of course, provided by the appropriate University Departments (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology), but the College also provides excellent facilities for those reading the subject. The library is well stocked with all core veterinary textbooks and subscribes to several veterinary journals, a feature not common in college libraries.

The College has a Veterinary Society that meets for a meal — with varying after-dinner speakers — once or twice a year. This gives the opportunity for pre-clinical and clinical students to meet and discuss veterinary medical matters in an informal setting.

A short introduction to Veterinary Medicine at St John's College from Dr David Williams.

Entry Details

UCAS Code: D100

Typical Minimum Entry Requirements

A Level: A*AA

International Baccalaureate: 42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Essential Subjects: A Level/IB Higher Level in Chemistry and one of Biology, Physics and Mathematics

Admissions Assessment (pre-registration required): Applicants for Veterinary Medicine will need to sit the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT) in mid-October as part of the application to the University. Further information here

You must register for pre-interview assessments so please do review this information carefully.

Work Experience: Work experience is not a requirement for applicants but some experience is useful to understand the profession and what is required of its members. We recommend applicants acquire at least two weeks of work experience, if possible. Further advice and guidance can be found on the on the Veterinary School’s website.

Please be aware that most successful applicants have at least three science/mathematics A Levels. 


Our assessment of your academic potential will be based on a combination of past examination results, ESAT results, the confidential report that we ask your school to write, as well as the interviews. The main purpose of the interviews is to help us to set this information in a wider perspective and to find out more about your motivation and aptitude for the Cambridge course and profession. We conduct our interviews in a friendly and informal manner and you should not feel daunted by the prospect of them. Two interviews are held for each candidate, of about 20 minutes each, detailed below:

The Scientific Reasoning interview is given by the Director of Pre-Clinical Studies and a Fellow in one of the basic veterinary medical sciences. This academically-based interview will draw together ideas which you have studied in your different subjects at school. The aim is to see if you can apply concepts which you have already met in ways which you have not encountered before. The interview is normally divided into two approximately-equal parts. One will typically explore a problem which may be loosely-related to veterinary medicine. The other will be designed to test your scientific reasoning skills as you link together concepts from the basic sciences to address a problem which you have not met before.

The Clinical Reasoning interview is given by the Director of Studies for Veterinary Sciences and another Vet. This interview will cover aspects specific to your aspirations in Veterinary Medicine, compared to the first interview which is likely to be more wide ranging. The interview will include broad ranging discussion on clinical side of veterinary work such as ethical decision making and current issues in Veterinary Medicine. Although it is likely that you will be asked a few questions about your schoolwork, the interview will not be an oral examination of your academic progress and no special preparation is necessary or desirable.

A sample of the Scientific Reasoning Skills problem is provided, based on the questions used in the 2017 admissions round. The problems used in the actual interview will, of course, normally be different each year.