UK’s newest veterinary school officially open

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The United Kingdom now has its eighth veterinary school, the second to launch in the U.K. in the past 50 years.

The University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine in Guildford, England, had it first class of 48 students join in September 2014, but the veterinary school’s new, £45 million ($69.6 million) buildings officially opened Oct. 15. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on hand for the dedication. The buildings are an academic building, pathology facility, and Clinical Skills Centre.

Queen Elizabeth was on hand for the official opening of the University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine in Guildford, England. (Courtesy of the University of Surrey)

This year’s class numbers 124 students; the veterinary school had 1,025 applicants. Surrey’s veterinary program is the result of five years of “vision, enthusiasm, and determination from many talented individuals,” according to its executive dean, Dr. Lisa Roberts, in a university press release. The five-year veterinary medical degree program is centered around a “one health, one medicine” theme.

“Veterinarians play a pivotal role in animal and human disease control and prevention. The university’s veterinary program encompasses global diseases and food security issues and facilitates progression into a broad range of careers in the veterinary profession,” Dr. Roberts said. “We are particularly proud of the innovative and modern curriculum we are delivering for our students in collaboration with partners across the veterinary sector in small and large animal practices, government, and industry.”

Surrey works with more than 60 partner organizations, including veterinary schools such as North Carolina State University. The two have held joint research meetings in the past two years and have had student exchanges. Surrey also has a joint research project with NCSU on antimicrobial resistance.

Surrey is seeking accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which accredits U.K. and European veterinary schools. The earliest it could be recognized would be 2019. Surrey does not anticipate seeking accreditation by the AVMA Council on Education, according to a university spokesperson.

Tuition for U.K. and European Union undergraduate students is £9,000 ($13,916) per year starting in 2016; for overseas students, including from the U.S., the tuition is £27,500 ($42,522).

Surrey is the second veterinary program to open in the U.K. since 1965. The University of Nottingham took in its first class of students in 2006 and was accredited by the RCVS in 2011. In addition to the five-year veterinary medical degree, Surrey offers a bachelor’s in veterinary biosciences, a master’s in veterinary microbiology, and doctoral degree programs.