The RCVS Council has agreed to temporarily suspend its requirements for UK veterinary students and veterinary degree programmes around extra-mural studies (EMS).

Normally, students would be required to complete a minimum of 38 weeks of EMS throughout their degree programme in order to gain real-life work experience to enhance their university-based studies.

Under the circumstances, however, Council has decided to allow a temporary flexibility around completion of EMS:

  • It is no longer compulsory for students to complete EMS over the next eight-week period, after which the situation will be reviewed. This applies to students in any year of their studies.
  • For students in their final year of study, any shortfall of up to four weeks’ duration in EMS relative to the requirements should not be a barrier to completion of the programme.
  • For students in years one to four of their studies, it is expected that there will be sufficient time for them to make up the full 38 weeks of EMS required to complete their degree programme. However, this will be reviewed as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

RCVS President Niall Connell said: “Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) are an important and valued part of the veterinary programme, and all students are required to complete a total of 38 weeks across the full programme.

“However, the health and safety of students and staff are paramount, and we are aware that a number of restrictions are being put in place at this time to ensure their safety and minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.”

These measures will be subject to further review/extension depending upon the prevailing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. The RCVS will monitor the impact of this through EMS completion data provided by UK veterinary schools.

Regarding final exams and assessment, the College says it may be necessary for UK veterinary schools to consider alternative methods to assess students in certain areas, but that UK veterinary schools should continue to ensure that any alternative assessment methods continue to be robust, valid and reliable, and ensure students have met the RCVS Day One Competences.

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