Veterinary science concerns the diagnosis and treatment of injured or sick animals. Professionals in this field either work to restore animals to health, or conduct research to improve veterinary practice. Postgraduate study provides an in-depth look into diagnostic laboratory techniques, molecular genetics, variations in animal physiology and more. Higher programs often consist of a thesis or large research paper.
Humans have depended on animals for thousands of years, so the necessity to keep them healthy has endured equally as long. The Papyrus of Kahun is an exemplary document from the twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt, being a nearly four thousand year old record of veterinary practice. It took thousands of years for the field to develop into what we know today, beginning in 1762 when Claude Bourgelat founded the first veterinary school. Published works by the likes of James Clark and animal treatment initiatives by people like Thomas Burgess saw the 18th and 19th centuries flourish with animal welfare activity.
Modern veterinary scientists and medical professionals now take compassionate animal treatment as a given. Through the use of cutting-edge practice and technology, animal well-being is upheld to the utmost extent wherever possible.
This is a field for animal lovers with a great deal of discipline. There is an extraordinary amount to be learned about various animals and their physiology. Veterinary scientists, unlike medical doctors, need to have a comprehensive understanding of multiple different species to be effective. If your devotion to animal welfare knows no bounds, veterinary science could be for you.
Veterinary science can be taken all the way up to PhD level, with graduate certificates, diplomas and master degrees being available in different areas of interest.
Graduate certificates like those from the University of Queensland are designed to provide a succinct learning experience, taking six months of full time study to complete. Students can expect to learn about animal biosecurity, molecular imaging and more coupled with multiple units in an advanced topic of their choice. These programs build upon prior knowledge, requiring a bachelor degree in veterinary sciences. This particular course allows non-veterinary science graduates entry so long as they have five years of relevant work experience, which is an option granted in a similar fashion by other institutions.
Graduate diplomas are twice as long, taking one year of full time study to complete or up to two years if part time. Institutions like the University of Queensland offer these programs to students with a clear idea of where they want to take their career, making them highly customisable and flexible. This program requires students to have completed a bachelor of veterinary sciences beforehand. Unlike graduate certificates, work experience is not an adequate substitute for entry.
Master degrees are essentially two concurrent programs in one; students must write an extensive thesis in parallel with practical coursework. The University of Melbourne offer such courses to students who have attained an honours level bachelor degree in veterinary sciences. Those admitted can expect to learn a great deal from spending time in a veterinary hospital. In addition to having an honours degree, students must also present their CV to a committee for review, but this requirement will vary between institutions.
PhD programs represent the highest level of expertise, with institutions like the University of Melbourne offering the chance to engage in high level research regarding a chosen portion of veterinary science. There is also the option of going into a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) through the University of Sydney and others, which is the necessary qualification to become a veterinary physician. There are considerable entry requirements for both, which can include:
These programs take three to four years of full time study to complete, or up to eight years part time.
These professionals provide wounded or sick animals with medical or surgical treatment using their specialised knowledge. This career is the most common, as their qualification is primarily a means to this end. The Australian Veterinary Association is the leading professional institution, providing networking and employment opportunities to its members. Clinics across the country like Hawthorn Veterinary Hospital and Noah’s Crossing Veterinary Clinic need capable veterinary surgeons to function.
For those at the highest levels of veterinary knowledge, teaching future veterinary surgeons can be a rewarding career. Top veterinary programs at James Cook or Murdoch thrive by the grace of skilled teachers.
Facilities around the country require skilled researchers with a background in veterinary science to develop the field. Professionals in this field know there’s always more to be learned, so do their utmost to continue that search.
There are a number of career specialisations available, particularly to veterinary surgeons. The following are just some of these: