Royal Welsh: Celebration of Wales’ only Vet School, ‘training for the nation’s needs’

some of the Aberystwyth University veterinary students on a recent study trip in South Africa

some of the Aberystwyth University veterinary students on a recent study trip in South Africa

24 July 2023

Aberystwyth University will celebrate two years since it was founded as Wales' only School of Veterinary Science at the Royal Welsh Show today (11:30am, Monday, 24 July).

Since 2021, students have been studying for a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree which is provided jointly by Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

The programme covers the full range of animals, from domestic pets to farm animals, in common with all other veterinary programmes.

As part of the five-year degree, the students spend two years at Aberystwyth University followed by three years at the RVC's Hawkshead Campus in Hertfordshire.

Among the speakers at the celebration event on the showground will be international rugby referee Nigel Owens, Dr Dylan Phillips from the Coleg Cymraeg together with staff and students from the School.

Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Richard Irvine said:

“It’s great to see the Veterinary Science undergraduate course at Aberystwyth University celebrate its second anniversary.  It’s so important to give vets of the future the opportunity to study in Wales, including teaching through the Welsh language.  The facilities are excellent, having seen them first-hand, and I look forward to seeing the school going from strength to strength.”

The course provides opportunities for students to study specific areas of veterinary science through the medium of Welsh, which is partly funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Dr Dylan Phillips, Secretary and Senior Academic Manager of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said:

"The Coleg Cymraeg is very proud to support the development of the Welsh language provision at Aberystwyth University's School of Veterinary Science.

"With a higher percentage of workers able to speak Welsh in the agricultural sector than in any other sector in Wales, it is important that we nurture graduates who have the right skills for the demands of the farming world.

"We are also very grateful to the family of the late DGE Davies, Llandysul, for their generous donation to the Coleg to establish the Defi Fet Scholarship in his memory. The scholarship is available to one student a year who is studying part of their Veterinary degree through the medium of Welsh and is worth £500 per year over five years."

Rugby referee and farmer Nigel Owens said:

“It’s truly wonderful that the School has been established in Aberystwyth. This is a vital resource for Wales and for agriculture here. The fact that there is Welsh language provision on the course as well is so important. Without a doubt, it’s something for us to celebrate at a national level, here at the Royal Welsh.”

The Veterinary Education Centre is a key part of the Aberystwyth University School of Veterinary Science and represents an investment of more than £2 million in new teaching facilities on the University’s Penglais campus. Featuring brand new anatomy and study facilities, the centre was funded from alumni donations totalling £500,000 and the University's own funds.

As well as the new Vet School facilities on the University’s Penglais campus, the students also study in the excellent existing laboratory facilities enjoyed by students at the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences and gain valuable experience on the University’s dairy and sheep farms, and at the Lluest Equine Centre.

Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure said:

"It's lovely to be able to celebrate the first two years of the School, which has been established to meet the unique needs of Wales, with an emphasis on farm animals and Welsh-medium provision.

“Agriculture and its related industries play such an important part in the Welsh economy and it is incumbent on us as universities to provide the people and skills that will contribute to ensuring they thrive for years to come. The School of Veterinary Science adds a vitally important new piece of the jigsaw, one that is building resilience in the rural economy through education and research at a time of great potential change and challenges.

“Our students enjoy the best of two worlds at universities that offer academic excellence and an enviable reputation for student experience. I would like to thank everyone, including our very generous donors, who has contributed to finally realising the vision of a school of veterinary science for Wales.”

Professor Stuart Reid CBE, President & Principal of the RVC, said:

“The Royal Veterinary College is delighted to be celebrating the success of the first two years of our joint veterinary programme with Aberystwyth University and looks forward to welcoming the first cohort of students to the clinical phases of their degree later this year.”

The new School builds on over 100 years of animal health teaching and research at Aberystwyth University, and more recently, the successful introduction of a BSc Veterinary Biosciences degree in September 2015.