Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (BVetNurs)

The Faculty of Veterinary Science endeavours to meet the veterinary nursing needs of the country and the region. The recruitment and selection process addresses an informed career choice, excellence, equity and geographic distribution. The full-time BVetNurs programme is only offered by the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria and it is the only faculty of its kind in South Africa.

Veterinary nursing requires a dedicated and motivated person with a special interest in working with animals and their owners. The veterinary nurse is a member of a professional team that includes veterinarians and is expected to show a high degree of responsibility, organisational skills and patience. Self-discipline, compassion, honesty, dedication and a sense of humour are recommended attributes.

The programme is demanding and requires dedication and hard work. It is a career with long and often irregular hours. The ability to work with both people and animals is essential.

  • The BVetNurs programme requires three years of full-time study. The first and second years of the programme are devoted to didactic teaching and practical skills training.
  • In the third (final) year of the programme students undergo work-integrated clinical training.
  • The BVetNurs programme consists of lectures, electronic learning opportunities, discussions, demonstrations, assignments, curricular community engagement activities, group work, practicals and clinical work. The latter is offered mainly in the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital and its community clinics and includes exposure to private practices and other facilities.
  • Student support provided includes tutoring and academic support.
  • Entry into the BVetNurs programme is highly competitive due to its increasing popularity and limited available spaces.
  • Selection is based on academic merit and the Veterinary Nursing Value Added Form (VNVAF).
  • A graduate who successfully completed the programme will have received broad-based training in veterinary nursing. It is regarded to be at the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 7. A graduate can enter a postgraduate diploma in veterinary nursing which is at NQF level 8.

The BVetNurs programme is accredited with the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC).

The SAVC governs the ethics and standards of veterinary nursing education and practice in South Africa. All students must register with the Council at first registration in the BVetNurs programme, must maintain their registration annually and are subject to its rules. Registration with the SAVC is a prerequisite for practising as a veterinary nurse in South Africa.

Career Opportunities

  • Industries: Employment in the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital and the pharmaceutical and animal feed industries.
  • Research: Zoological gardens, game parks, laboratory animal units, rehabilitation centres, research centres, boarding establishments, organised agriculture, dairies and farming operations also offer gainful employment.
  • Private veterinary practice that could range from urban to rural, mixed general or species-specific. The veterinary nurse assists with anaesthesia, operating theatre management, intensive care, radiography, laboratory analysis, animal patient care and nursing, disease prevention, administration and practice management.
  • State veterinary services: Veterinary nurses are also employed in provincial and national government departments and animal welfare societies throughout South Africa.

More information regarding career opportunities for veterinary nurses can be found on the websites of the Veterinary Nursing Association of South Africa (VNASA) at click here and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) at click here.

Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 31/05/2023
  • Non-SA – 31/05/2023

Admission Requirements

Important information for all prospective students for 2024

The admission requirements below apply to all who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications. Click here for this Faculty Brochure.

    Enquiries: click here

    Minimum requirements

    Achievement level

    English Home Language or English First Additional Language


    Physical Sciences or Life Sciences









    For advice on a second-choice programme for BVetNurs, please consult a Student Advisor. To make an appointment, send an email to [email protected].

    Applicants currently in Grade 12 must apply with their final Grade 11 (or equivalent) results.

    Applicants who have completed Grade 12 must apply with their final NSC or equivalent qualification results.

    Please note that meeting the minimum academic requirements does not guarantee admission.

    Successful candidates will be notified once admitted or conditionally admitted.

    Applicants should check their application status regularly on the UP Student Portal at click here.

    Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to the Brochure: Undergraduate Programme Information 2024: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB, available at click here.

    International Students: Click here 

      Transferring students

      A transferring student is a student who, at the time of applying at the University of Pretoria (UP)is/was a registered student at another tertiary institution. A transferring student will be considered for admission based on NSC or equivalent qualification and previous academic performance. Students who have been dismissed from other institutions due to poor academic performance will not be considered for admission to UP.

      Closing dates: Same as above

      Returning students

      A returning student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme is/was a registered student at UP, and wants to transfer to another degree at UP. A returning student will be considered for admission based on NSC or equivalent qualification and previous academic performance.

      • Students who have been excluded/dismissed from a faculty due to poor academic performance may be considered for admission to another programme at UP, as per faculty-specific requirements.
      • Only ONE transfer between UP faculties and TWO transfers within a faculty will be allowed.
      • Admission of returning students will always depend on the faculty concerned and the availability of space in the programmes for which they apply.

      Closing date for applications from returning students is the same as the above

      Note:  Any deliberate ommission of information, or any false information provided by an applicant in his/her application or on the Veterinary Nursing Value-added Form (VNVAF) may result in the immediate cancellation of the application, admission or registration.

      Selection Process

      Selection categories

      School leavers

      • A school leaver is someone who has never been registered in a tertiary education programme.
      • A valid NSC/IEB or equivalent qualification with admission for degree purposes.
      • Subject requirements and the required Admission Point Score (APS) as indicated under Admission Requirements. The APS is calculated from the achievement levels obtained in the six 20-credit subjects of the NSC.
      • Life Orientation is excluded when calculating the APS. 
      • For applicants in the NSC or IEB schooling systems, conditional admission is based on Grade 11 final examination results and the Veterinary Nursing Value-added Form (VNVAF), and final admission is based on maintaining a similar performance in the NSC/IEB final examinations.
      • For applicants from other schooling systems conditional admission is based on the final results of the year preceding the last year of schooling or equivalent, and final admission is based on submitting a certificate for admission to degree studies or complete or conditional exemption by USAf.
      • Additional admission criteria may be used including an interview and additional selection tests.
      • School leaving applicants who are conditionally admitted based on their Grade 11 results will forfeit their placement if their Merit Point Score based on final NSC (or equivalent qualification) results is more than 5% lower than that based on final Grade 11 scores that resulted in selection. 

      Applicants with previous higher education exposure

      • There is an opportunity for students with previous higher education experience to also apply for the BVetNurs programme. 

      Applicants who are not South African citizens

      • A small number of students from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) are admitted to the programme, including those from neighbouring Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
      • If an applicant has multiple citizenships which includes South African citizenship, he/she will be considered as a South African applicant.
      • Applicants who are accepted receive a letter of confirmation from the University, which will facilitate their application for a study permit.
      • A valid study permit, obtained in the country of origin, is a prerequisite for registration.
      • Applicants from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) must comply with all UP and the Department of Home Affairs’ regulations relating to students in this category.
      • Please consult the International Cooperation Division’s Newcomer’s Guide for more information: click here

      Conditional admission

      • Conditionally  admitted applicants forfeit their placement if they do not comply with the relevant conditions.

      Only 50 students are admitted to the BVetNurs programme every year. The Faculty endeavours to meet the veterinary nursing needs of the country and the region.

      The recruitment and selection process is therefore structured in such a way that it will address diversity, excellence, equity, gender and geographic distribution.

      The procedure will be reviewed on an annual basis, but typically makes provision for the following categories of students:

      • South African school-leavers enrolled for the NSC or IEB: first round of selection in July
      • South African school-leavers enrolled for the NSC or IEB: second round of selection in January
      • South African school-leavers enrolled in other educational schooling systems (IGCSE/GCSE/NSSC OL/O level or HIGCSE/NSSC HL or A/AS level or IB Diploma or KOMBI ABITUR or CGCE/UCE/NECO/WAEC/ZIMSEC O LEVEL or CGCE/UACE/WAEC/ZIMSEC A Level or NCV) 
      • Applicants with university exposure
      • Applicants with university exposure: graduates (degree completed)
      • School-leaving applicants who are not South African citizens
      • Applicants who are not South African citizens,but have had  university exposure

      The Veterinary Nursing Value Added Form (VNVAF)

      The VNVAF is used in the Faculty of Veterinary Science to ensure that the applicant makes an informed decision about his/her career choice. This form will indicate prior exposure to veterinary nursing as profession and the Faculty will alllocate a score based on the prospective student’s veterinary profile.

      It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the online VNVAF is completed by the relevant deadline and that all related documents are uploaded.

      The components are:

      • Applicants should provide evidence of their balanced lifestyle that will promote and sustain personal wellness (leadership positions, participation in sports, culture and adventure activities, etc). 
      • Animal experience: Applicants should reflect on their experience with certain aspects, including animals being killed for humane purposes or animals giving birth. There is a section in the online VNVAF where these reflections must be typed in.
      • Career shadowing: Applicants should provide evidence of career shadowing of practising professionals (veterinary nurses). Applicants should attempt to get exposure to as wide a range as possible of practice areas within the relevant profession. This includes career shadowing of a professional in private practice (production animals, equines, wildlife and small animals).
      • Note: Applicants may be requested to participate in additional selection activities to verify the score obtained from the VNVAF. This may include an interview and/or additional selection tests.

      Why you should complete the Veterinary Nursing Value Added Form (VNVAF)

      • Completion of the VNVAF will help you to make an informed decision about the profession as a suitable career choice for you.
      • The score achieved for the VNVAF can improve an applicant’s chances for selection.
      • The VNVAF will help to prepare you for your studies by providing you with prior learning opportunities in the particular profession.

      Minimum duration of study

      3 years, full-time

      Faculty Notes

      Modules will be presented only in English, which is the University's official language of tuition, communication and correspondence.

      he Faculty of Veterinary Science is unique in South Africa. It is the only institution responsible for training veterinarians and veterinary nurses. Our graduates and research programmes are vital in enhancing human and animal health, promoting biosecurity and welfare, and ensuring our production animals, wildlife and pets are safe and in good health.

      The quality and scope of the Faculty’s training is such that our graduates are able to enter postgraduate programmes at universities across the world and can practice in many countries without the need to write registration exams. The Faculty is locally relevant and passionate about meeting the needs of South Africa. This not only applies to commercial farming but also to primary animal healthcare, where veterinarians as well as veterinary nurses can assist rural communities and smallholder farmers.

      • Disclaimer: This publication contains information about regulations and programmes of the University of Pretoria. Amendments to or updating of the information may be effected from time to time without prior notification. The accuracy, correctness or validity of the information contained here is therefore not guaranteed by the University at any given time and is always subject to verification. The user is kindly requested to verify the correctness of the information with the University at all times. Failure to do so will not give rise to any claim or action of any nature against the University by any party whatsoever.

      Enquiries about the programme

      Click Here
      How to apply

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