2017 CAO Applicants

New Requirement for Undergraduate Admission to the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine:

From 2017, the School of Veterinary Medicine at UCD is introducing a new requirement for undergraduate applicants to the Degree programme in Veterinary Medicine (DN300).

Undergraduate students applying through the CAO system will be required to demonstrate that they have acquired at least two weeks practical experience relevant to animal handling or veterinary practice, covering at least two of three species areas: pets, horses and farm animals.

This new initiative is to encourage prospective applicants to learn about the profession before applying to the programme. It should increase applicant awareness of what the career entails and cement their determination to follow this path. The requirement for practical experience does not in any circumstance involve ranking of applicants.

The requirements are not onerous, and many potential applicants to Veterinary Medicine will already be seeking out this experience of their own accord. In fact, the School surveyed their recent cohort of CAO entrants to ascertain their levels of animal and vet experience and only very few students would have failed to meet the criteria.

These are some examples of experience that would fit the criteria:

  • Working at any equine establishment (riding school, stud farm, racing yard, performance yard): mucking out stables and looking after the horses
  • Working at an animal rescue facility: walking and grooming dogs, cleaning kennels, feeding and grooming animals
  • Working on a commercial farm: assisting the farmer with daily chores – milking cows, feeding stock, lambing ewes, etc.
  • Experience in a small animal veterinary practice: observing consultations, procedures and surgeries, assisting with animal care, observing the business
  • Experience in a large animal veterinary practice: going on farm visits, observing procedures and surgeries, observing the business
  • Experience in an equine practice: going on farm visits, working at equine sporting events and sales, observing calls, consults, surgeries and procedures, observing the business

The only details you will be asked to provide are the name of the premises, the number of hours worked, the dates worked, the species area and contact details for the responsible person who will verify your experience.

All information provided will be verified by the School of Veterinary Medicine.


All EU applicants must apply via CAO for Veterinary Medicine DN300. From 2017, this will be a restricted course which means that the CAO application for DN300 needs to be submitted by 1 February. You will receive an email from UCD in January/February (depending on when you apply) advising you of how to submit the information about your Practical Experience. This will be an online form. The closing date for submitting the details of your animal/veterinary experience will be 18 March of the year of application.

UCD School of Veterinary Medicine provides an opportunity for relevant experience in the form of a Summer School; however, places are limited. Participation in the Summer School will count for one week of the requirement. It will not entitle an applicant to a place, nor will it rank applicants higher than those who complete the requirements elsewhere. Click here for information on the Summer School.

For more information please see FAQs