1.1 The Veterinary Surgeons Act (1966) regulates the veterinary profession in law by its governing body, the
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) for the protection of the public and its animals.
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Only a Member
of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) may 'carry out an act of veterinary surgery' and the
only route to membership for graduates of UK universities is by graduation with a veterinary degree
registerable with the RCVS.
The Royal Veterinary College (University of London) and the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool currently offer such degrees. These courses are subject to regular in depth review by the RCVS and, more recently, by the European Association of Establishments of Veterinary Education (EAEVE) who together ensure that standards and facilities are maintained.
On registration and admission to Membership, the RCVS requires all new graduates to swear the
'Inasmuch as the privilege of membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is about to be
conferred upon me, I promise and solemnly declare that I will abide in all due loyalty to the Royal College of
Veterinary Surgeons, and will do all in my power to maintain and promote its interests.
I promise above all that I will pursue the work of my profession with uprightness of conduct, and that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care.'
This declaration is the foundation of the College's Code of Conduct.
1.2 The need for all veterinary degrees to meet the requirements of a statutory body leads to a greater
degree of standardisation of course content between the schools than is the case with most degrees, and
consequently the scope for undergraduates to select options and modules at their own discretion is more
The titles of the degrees awarded by the six universities variously include the terms 'Veterinary
Science', 'Veterinary Medicine' and 'Veterinary Medicine & Surgery', but this reflects historical considerations
only. In this Subject benchmark statement 'veterinary science' is used as a neutral term to denote the general
area of veterinary study and practice.