Professional Veterinary Practice

Subject VETS40018 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 100
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1590 hrs
Total Time Commitment:

2000 hrs


Passes in all subjects at BVSc 3 level

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

A sound understanding of structure, function and dysfunction in domestic animals and diseases of importance in domestic animals and principles of their treatment.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

Prospective students are advised to familiarise themselves with the Faulty's Academic Requirements Statement

Subject Overview:

This subject is undertaken as a series of rotations, internally within the University Veterinary Hospital and extramurally in external placements, and concludes with a capstone “transition to the workplace” lecture and workshop series. The subject comprises 42 weeks of study.

This subject addresses and assesses the five core themes of Professional Veterinary Practice;

  1. Personal and Professional Development
  2. Clinical Skills
  3. The Scientific Basis of Clinical Practice
  4. Ethics and Animal Welfare, and
  5. Biosecurity and Population Health.

The internal rotations include training in each clinical discipline; small animal medicine, small animal surgery, equine medicine and surgery, cattle, small ruminant medicine, diagnostic imaging, anaesthesiology, small animal emergency medicine, ophthalmology, dermatology, avian medicine, exotic animal medicine, animal behaviour and veterinary public health. The extramural rotations include both compulsory and elective rotations. The compulsory rotations include training in veterinary public health and dairy cattle medicine and surgery.

The three elective rotations are each of three weeks' duration. They may be undertaken in approved veterinary practices in Australia or internationally, in government veterinary laboratories or other organisations, or in a veterinary research environment. A research project may be undertaken during elective rotations.An intensive lecture and workshop series at the end of the year reviews topics that prepare students for transition to the workplace and registration as members of the veterinary profession.


On completion of this subject students should be equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience required for graduation and registration as veterinarians. These competencies are described in detail in the document Day One Competencies of a Graduate of the Melbourne School of Veterinary Science.They will be acquired throughout the course and students will self-evaluate their attainment of the listed competencies, practicularly during their final clinical year.


Overall Assessment:

  • Clinical Rotations, Extramural Placements and Electives (50% total)
  • Up to five oral/practical examinations (20% total)
  • Research project (10% total)
  • Two hour multiple choice examination at the end of the year (20% total)


Details of Assessment

Clinical Rotations, Extramural Placements and Electives

Continuous assessment of performance in the internal clinical rotations at the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital and in the extramural placements and electives. Students will be assessed in each of the five core themes of Professional Veterinary Practice (50% of total subject assessment).

Each of the five core themes will be equally weighted (10% each of total subject assessment). Weekly marks and feedback will be provided to the students within approximately 1 - 2 weeks of each rotation.

Hurdle 1: Passing each of the five core themes individually, averaged across all internal clinical rotations, extramural placements and electives, is a hurdle requirement for this subject.

Clinical Rotations

All students must perform satisfactorily in each of the 21 clinical rotations.Performance appraisal is undertaken by veterinary staff supervising the rotation and generally encompasses evaluation of attendance and punctuality, theoretical knowledge, practical skills, professional demeanour, oral and written communication skills, initiative and enthusiasm. Some rotations may require submission of a short written assignment or case report or an oral presentation as part of the assessment.

Hurdle 2: Achieving a pass in each of the 21 clinical rotations is a hurdle requirement for this subject. A student who fails any rotation is given the opportunity to repeat that rotation once.

Extramural Placements with Academic Associates

Students must perform to a satisfactory standard (as assessed by the designated Academic Associate or Supervising Veterinarian) during each of the 13 weeks of compulsory extramural placements.Four of these weeks are to be completed prior to the commencement of BVSc4 and the remaining nine weeks during BVSc4.

A case log-book similar to that for the electives must be submitted which will comprise case record sheets of a minimum of 5 cases per week of placement.

Hurdle 3: Students must achieve a satisfactory grade in each extramural placement. A student who fails any extramural placement may repeat that placement (or its equivalent) once.


Students must perform to a satisfactory standard (as determined by the designated veterinary supervisor) during each of the three 3-week electives undertaken during PVP.

Hurdle 4: Achieving a pass in each of the elective rotations is a hurdle requirement for this subject. A student who fails one elective will be given the opportunity to repeat that elective, or an alternative elective, once.

  • A case log-book must be submitted in the required format if learning at an elective placement is case-based (e.g. general and referral veterinary practices). A case log-book will comprise case record sheets of a minimum of 15 cases observed over the three-week elective and will illustrate the variety of cases investigated and treated over that period. Each Log-book must be submitted in a neat format with the case record sheets bound or otherwise constrained within a presentation folder. All information presented in the log-book must be in English. The log-book or report must be submitted to the Faculty Academic and Clinical Programs Office within one week of completion of an elective. Each log-book or report will be reviewed by appropriate members of the Faculty.
  • An elective block report must be submitted if an elective does not involve case-based learning (e.g. placements with the Department of Primary Industries or equivalent).
  • The format of the report should be agreed upon in advance with the supervising veterinarian and the Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, but is generally expected to describe the experience and achievements of the student during the elective. As a guide, the elective block report should be between four and five pages of double-spaced 12-point text.
  • A Research Report must be submitted where an elective is completed in a research facility. The form of this report will vary depending of the length of the research placement. For a three-week elective the report should include a review of current research activities of the laboratory and a description of methodologies observed in the laboratory. Where students spend more than one elective placement in the research facility, the report should in addition include an aim, description of results obtained and discussion of the results.

Hurdle 5: Students must submit a satisfactory case log-book, elective block report or a research report for each of the three electives.

One 2-hour multiple choice/short answer written examination covering applied aspects of all clinical disciplines of BVSc3 and BVSc4 and scheduled at the end of the year (20% of total subject assessment).

Hurdle 6: Students must pass the written examination.

Up to five short oral/practical examinations covering applied aspects of all clinical disciplines of BVSc3 and BVSc4 and scheduled at the end of the year (20% of total subject assessment). These examinations cover the fields of general practice, horses, cattle, small ruminants and dogs and cats.

Hurdle 7: Students must pass each of the five oral/practical examinations.

Research Project (10% of total subject assessment) - details to be provided to students at the start of the year.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students completing this subject will:

  • be able to seek solutions to problems through the application of knowledge, the ability to initiate and integrate new ideas. an appreciation of the broad picture of science, and an understanding of the importance and application of scientific method.
  • deal with integrity and honesty with professional colleagues, clients and the general public.
  • demonstrate empathy and concern for animals and people.
  • possess an understanding of both scientific and vocational aspects of veterinary science
  • be motivated to be a veterinarian, aware of the veterinarian's place in society and prepared to be a leader in the community.
  • have broad knowledge of veterinary science and be able to develop intellectual and physical skills as circumstances dictate.
  • be trained in all disciplines and aspects of veterinary science.
  • be adaptable to changes in their specific field of employment and to advancements in veterinary science in general.
  • be confident in their veterinary capabilities on day one post graduation, whilst recognising the limitations of their training.
  • be equipped with skills and habits for continual learning throughout their career.
  • be aware of the global society and equipped to contribute to it.
  • be a graduate of choice for employers.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Veterinary Science
Bachelor of Veterinary Science(PV)

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