The three year Cambridge course in pre-Clinical Veterinary Medicine is academically demanding and scientifically based with an emphasis on the understanding of basic principles and experimental evidence. This approach provides a solid foundation for the Clinical course, general practice and research.
Pembroke is ideally suited for those reading Veterinary Medicine: although the Cambridge Vet School is a ten minute bike ride away, the back gate of the College leads directly into the New Museums Site where most of the pre-Clinical lectures take place. The College has a strong tradition in the subject, since Prof Robin Franklin, Professor of Neuroscience at the Vet School, and Dr Dan Tucker, our Director of Studies, are Fellows here. In the same way as in all Universities, Cambridge is restricted in the number of places which can be offered in Veterinary Medicine: over the last few years Pembroke has been allowed to admit two vet students each year. Although the numbers are inevitably small, vets join up with the medical students for many of the first and second year courses. As in all colleges, Veterinary Medicine is a very competitive subject. All students are offered College accommodation for their three pre Clinical years, and may continue to live in College houses during their Clinical years if they wish to do so.
If you are applying to any Cambridge College to read Medicine, you will be required to take a two-hour test in your school or college before coming for interview. If you are a post-A-level candidate, please get in touch with us to discuss where you should take the test (many post-A-level candidates arrange to take it at their old school or college).
The course is tough, and we would expect those applying to have a very strong background in the appropriate sciences. We do not normally set offers to include a fourth A-level, if taken, nor do we require STEP.
The most useful combinations of A-levels (or equivalent) are Physics, Chemistry, Biology; Maths, Physics, Chemistry; or Maths, Chemistry, Biology. We have no preference between these combinations.
Candidates are usually expected to take Chemistry and two of Biology, Maths and Physics to A2 level, although exceptional students offering just two Science/Mathematics subjects will be considered. In practice, the large majority of our applicants take three sciences/maths at A-level (or equivalent). We appreciate that, very occasionally, there are circumstances when grades that a candidate achieves are not an accurate reflection of their ability or potential, particularly for those submitting an Extenuating Circumstances Form alongside their application. Normally, however, we do not encourage candidates to re-sit their A-levels to obtain improved grades.
Interviews and Assessment
We are looking for students who are highly motivated and enthusiastic about Veterinary Medicine and have the academic ability to learn very fast in a demanding course. Candidates should have strong scientific interest: unlike many other Vet Schools, where the emphasis is placed very much on small animal practice etc. the Cambridge course is ideal for those who, while wishing to become practising vets, are also interested in the study of disease and in research developments. We expect our candidates to have had some farm and practical experience, but not to the extent that excludes time for scientific reading. We do not admit for Veterinary Medicine without interview, and normally interview all candidates who stand a realistic chance of a place. Candidates are given two or three interviews with those who teach in related fields: we will assess your interest and ability in the more scientific aspects of the course and your attitude to Veterinary Medicine as a profession.
Most vets seem to want to get on with the course, but we are happy to offer a deferred place to a candidate who has something specific that they really want to do before coming to Pembroke. We particularly encourage those who are very young to defer.
Mature and Affiliated Students
If you wish to apply to read Veterinary Medicine as a mature or affiliated student, then you should not apply to Pembroke. There is an agreement between all the Cambridge Colleges that quota places for such students are allocated to Graduate Colleges.