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Taking your career to pastures new

With an ever-growing global population and an increasing emphasis on food supply and safety, it is predicted that the demand for professionals with veterinary science qualifications will increase by 18% by 2026.

Written by Lindsay Alexander |

Cows in a field.
Veterinary expertise in areas such as economics, disease control, animal welfare and food safety is highly sought after.

While the booming pet care industry has contributed to a greater need for veterinarians, an increase in affluence in developing countries and a rise in urbanisation is seeing the demand for specialist veterinary expertise outpace supply, specifically in urban areas. In particular, professional knowledge in areas such as economics, disease control, animal welfare and food safety is highly sought after.

University of London’s postgraduate programmes in veterinary sciences provide the opportunity for those working in animal health to take their qualifications further with the skills needed to progress into more complex areas of their professions.

The MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health and the MSc in Livestock Health and Production have been developed by leading academics from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). RVC is currently ranked as the world’s number one veterinary school in the prestigious QS World University Rankings (2019).  The programmes are offered online and are taught and assessed by the same academics who teach the on-campus students, therefore matching the quality of the on-campus versions. To support students’ learning and to provide some interactivity, the programmes are structured to include features such as online tutorials and live teaching webinars. 

Also of great relevance in the current field of veterinary sciences are issues of global trade and markets. In addressing some of these areas, the programme modules cover issues of food safety, international trade in livestock products and economic policy affecting livestock production.

A range of engaging modules explore subject matter that is of great relevance to current issues in veterinary sciences worldwide. Distance Learning Director at the Royal Veterinary College, Dr Christine Thuranira-McKeever, gives an example of one of the key topics covered:

“One example is zoonotic disease; estimates suggest that over three quarters of the human diseases that are new, emerging or re-emerging at the beginning of the 21st century are caused by pathogens originating from animals or from products of animal origin. These are diseases such as avian influenza, bovine TB, and Rift Valley Fever.

"A number of the modules address the threat of zoonotic disease from different perspectives; these modules include - the epidemiology of animal disease, sustainable livestock production, animal disease processes, veterinary public health and One Health.

"Also of great relevance in the current field of veterinary sciences are issues of global trade and markets.  In addressing some of these areas, the programme modules cover issues of food safety, international trade in livestock products and economic policy affecting livestock production.”

The postgraduate programmes are suitable for a broad range of professionals working in animal health. This includes veterinarians in both the public and the private sectors, scientists, those working in public policy and those working in livestock farming.

The flexible approach to learning means that you won’t need to take time out of your career to complete your qualifications. You can study from anywhere in the world, at your own pace. You’ll also be able to use and apply your newly acquired knowledge in your professional roles almost immediately. 

Wendy Weirich, MSc Livestock Health and Production graduate, worked full-time in small-animal pet nutrition, part-time in farm animal welfare and also managed her own farm while completing her degree.

“I have a very busy life, but I was able to do most of my studying on the weekends and in the evenings and was able to get all of the work done, get my papers in and complete the programme.

“The animal welfare module covered all different species and there were sections about pet animals, chickens, sheep and cattle. I was able to use that in a lot of different parts of my life and my career,” she said.

The qualifications will provide a strong post-graduate level grounding in veterinary epidemiology and public health, and also in livestock health and production. Graduates of these programmes are employed in a variety of organisations, including the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), University Veterinary faculties and international organisations such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) and WHO (World Health Organisation).

Whether you’re looking to update your skills or move into related areas in research and policy, the flexibility and quality of these programmes will enable you to gain a prestigious degree that can enhance your career.

Find out more about the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health or the MSc in Livestock Health and Production.