BSc in Veterinary Nursing

Course Points
Course Duration
3 Years
Course Level
Level 7
Course Places
30 Places

Four great reasons to consider this course

  • Small class group sizes ensure as much “hands on” practical skills training as possible.
  • Each first year student is mentored by a third year student to help them successfully transition to college and the veterinary nursing profession.
  • Feedback from veterinary employers consistently identifies DkIT veterinary nursing graduates as highly employable and “workplace ready”.
  • Dedicated and enthusiastic teaching staff with expertise across both companion and production animal care.

Course Summary

This three-year, Level 7 degree course in veterinary nursing equips students with the professional knowledge and practical skills needed to work as a registered veterinary nurse (RVN) in Irish and European veterinary practices.

Graduates will acquire knowledge of and skills of a wide range of topics. These include, but are not limited to, anatomy and physiology of domestic animals, fluid therapy, medical and surgical nursing care, laboratory testing, veterinary diagnostics and therapeutics, office management and client communication.

This course is accredited by the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI), enabling graduates to register with them and practice veterinary nursing in Ireland. It is also accredited by ACOVENE (Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education) which means that the qualification is recognised in all EU member states. In addition, the course is currently recognised by the Veterinary Nursing Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), thereby allowing graduates to practice veterinary nursing in the UK and Northern Ireland.

All relevant practical competencies will be covered in relation to dogs, cats, horses, farm animals and exotic species. Students spend a residential week in Teagasc Ballyhaise, Cavan, in the spring of first year to gain practical experience with farm animals. Horse handling classes take place at a local equestrian centre before Christmas in 2nd year.

Read FAQs About this Course

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Anatomy and Physiology 1
  • Cellular Biology (including biochemistry)
  • Introduction to Veterinary Nursing
  • Mathematics and Computer Applications (year-long module)
  • Work Placement 1 (4 weeks before Christmas)

Semester 2

  • Anatomy and Physiology 2
  • Microbiology
  • Animal Husbandry (including 1 residential week of farm experience at Ballyhaise, typically in early March)
  • Client Care and Relationship Marketing
  • Mathematics and Computer Applications (year-long)
  • Work Placement 1 (4 weeks after January exam session)

Year 2

Semester 1

  • Clinical Pathology
  • Small Animal Medical Nursing
  • Veterinary Nursing for Exotic Species
  • Parasitology
  • Office Practice and Team-working (horse handling classes take place for the last week of this semester).

Semester 2

  • Applied Writing and Research Skills
  • Pharmacology / Large Animal Medical Nursing
  • Animal Welfare & Husbandry
  • Work Placement 2 (8 weeks over March-April)

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Anaesthesia and Analgesia
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Pharmacy, Law and Ethics
  • Surgical Nursing 1
  • Personal Effectiveness & Team Support (including 1st year mentoring) 

Semester 2

  • Animal Reproduction
  • Surgical Nursing 2
  • Small Animal Clinical Nutrition
  • Equine Nursing
  • Veterinary Nursing OSCE (final practical skills assessment, held in late May/early June)
  • Veterinary Nursing Internship (12 weeks over the summer)


* All module titles are subject to change and are for indicative purposes only.

Veterinary Nursing is a very ‘hands on’ career, which is why this course involves a lot of practical work, as well as lectures and tutorials. Practical classes cover a wide range of topics: basic anatomy and dissection of body tissues, blood and urine testing, parasite identification, animal restraint and handling, fluid therapy, drug calculations, surgical assistance, anaesthesia, bandaging and wound care, and the taking of x-rays are all included for example.

Assessments are a mixture of written exams and course work, such as practical exams, group assignments, quizzes, poster presentations and online assignments.

The course is intensive in nature, due to both the wide range of skills needed by a veterinary nurse and the time spent on work placements.

Graduates from this course will mainly find employment in large animal, companion animal, equine and mixed veterinary clinics and hospitals. Opportunities also exist in animal welfare facilities, veterinary product businesses and the wider animal care industries.

Some examples of the diverse range of roles beyond veterinary practice occupied by graduates of this course include pet insurance, clinical nutrition, farm advisory services, horse racing regulation, Bord Bia auditor and Local Authority animal welfare officer.

A one-year Level eight top-up programme in veterinary nursing is currently under development. Graduates also have the option of obtaining a Level 8 qualification in other Institutes of Technology or via distance learning from Edinburgh Napier University. 

Please find information on fees and funding here:

Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements:

Six Grades at O6 or H7 in Leaving Certificate

→ INCLUDING a minimum H5 Grade in Biology or Agricultural Science
→ AND Mathematics Grade F2, O6 or H7
→ AND English Grade O6 or H7 OR Irish Grade O6 or H7

Northern Ireland/UK Entry Requirements:

Applicants must meet the matriculation requirement of 5 different subjects which must include:

→ Mathematics at GCSE (Grade A* - C or better)
→ Minimum Grade C in A Level Biology or Agricultural Science
→ English (or Irish) at GCSE (Grade A* - C or better)
→ One subject at:

    • 'A Level’ (Grade A* - E or better)
    • OR Applied A-Level (Grade A* - E)
    • OR BTEC National Level 3 (National Award, Subsidiary Diploma, Extended Certificate, 90-Credit Diploma, Foundation Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).
    • OR OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 (Introductory Diploma, Extended Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Foundation Diploma, 90-Credit Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).

→ The remaining subjects must be different from those listed above and may be drawn from recognised subjects at:

    • GCSE (Grade A* - C)
    • AND/OR 'AS Level’ (Grades A - E)
    • AND/OR ‘A-level’ (Grades A* - E)
    • AND/OR Applied ‘A-level’ (Grade A* - E)
    • AND/OR BTEC National Level 3 (National Award, Subsidiary Diploma, Extended Certificate, 90-Credit Diploma, Foundation Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma*) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).
    • AND/OR OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 (Introductory Diploma, Extended Certificate, Subsidiary Diploma, Foundation Diploma, 90-Credit Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma*) (Pass, Merit or Distinction).

Additional Information:

There are 30 places on the course. 20 Leaving Certificate, 4 QQI Animal Care Level 5 and 6 mature applications. All applications should be made via the CAO by February 1st annually.


Students are required to complete a work placement in a registered veterinary clinic or hospital (as listed in the Veterinary Council of Ireland Premises Accreditation Scheme) in each year of the course.

The work placement lasts for eight weeks in 1st year (4 weeks either side of the Christmas break and semester 1 examination session), 8 weeks in the springtime in 2nd year and a 12-week internship over the summer at the end of 3rd year. Two weeks of the third year internship may be an elective in a premises or industry of the student’s choosing e.g. a veterinary laboratory, physiotherapy service or animal charity.

The course lecturers and work placement office will assist in organising this, but students are responsible for making transport and accommodation arrangements etc. where necessary.

This course is best suited to students who:

  • Have a love for animals is obvious, but this course is also suitable for students who enjoy working with people – all animals have an owner or carer that you need to communicate with, and optimal nursing care is delivered by a veterinary team.
  • Have an interest in science, as the aim of nursing care is to restore the animal’s body systems to normal.
  • Have good writing and maths skills - Veterinary nurses need these skills to be able to provide and record safe and effective patient care.

The course covers all the common veterinary species, but the more practical animal handling experience you have, the easier you will find it. Veterinary nursing is a job that requires you to spend a lot of time on your feet and animal handling can be strenuous – being reasonably fit and physically active will help you with this aspect of the job.

Dr Breda Brennan (Head of Department for Agriculture, Food and Animal Health)
Phone: +353-0429370200

Karen Dunne (Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing, Department of Applied Sciences)
Phone: +353 429370200

Doireann Dowling (Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing)
Phone: +353 429370200

Course ID DK784
Level 7
Duration 3 Years
Points 382
Places 30
School School of Health & Science
Department Agriculture, Food and Animal Health
Awarding Body Dundalk Institute of Technology
Apply to CAO

How to Apply

All applications for this course must be made directly to the CAO by using the course ID

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Northern Ireland & UK

Applicants from Northern Ireland/UK must also apply through CAO. Find out more information about
applying to DkIT from Northern Ireland or the UK.