Postgraduate Certificates

The BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) equips veterinary surgeons with the knowledge and expertise that they need to deal with the medical or surgical situations that they encounter regularly. The programme also explores complex techniques and new advances, better enabling them to discuss treatment option and potential outcomes with clients, as well as to refer appropriately.

The certificates are validated by Nottingham Trent University and are relevant to small animal practice, with a combination of face-to-face courses and online learning enabling flexible study, yet providing a feeling of academic community and support.

PGCert subjects:

  • Small animal surgery
  • Small animal medicine
  • Emergency and critical care
  • Ophthalmology

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To apply, you need to either be a registered user of the website or a BSAVA member. Choose your option on the course outlines below.

If you have any queries about the Postgraduate Certificates, please email or call 01452 726700. 

UPDATE FOR 2020 enrolments in light of COVID-19

 We are committed to the continued delivery of the BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate Programmes throughout this challenging time without unnecessarily extending the period of time that students will be studying. To that end, we will deliver the majority of the taught content online and look to reschedule any practical courses to a later date. For those students enrolling on the PGCert in ECC and Ophthalmology in May 2020, we want to reassure you that the vast majority of the units will be deliverable in your first year, with the Ophthalmology practicals being delayed to a later date.  These contingency measures will continue for as long as required until we can welcome students back to Woodrow House and our partner venues.


Small Animal Surgery

Designed primarily for veterinary surgeons working in small animal practice, who would like to strengthen their surgical knowledge and practical skills, allowing them to manage surgical situations confidently and appropriately.

Successful completion will lead to the award of BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Surgery (BSAVA PGCertSAS)

Frequently asked questions

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Small Animal Medicine

Designed primarily for veterinary surgeons in small animal practice who would like to strengthen their medical knowledge, problem-solving and decision-making, to support optimal management of the medical conditions commonly encountered.

Successful completion will lead to the award of BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Medicine (BSAVA PGCertSAM).

Frequently asked questions

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Every veterinary surgeon working in small animal practice is presented with a critically ill patient or an emergency situation from time to time. This programme is designed to develop medical and surgical knowledge and practical skills in this context, and build confidence in managing such patients appropriately.

Successful completion will lead to the award of BSAVA & Vets Now Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care (BSAVA & Vets Now PGCertSAECC)

Frequently asked questions

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This programme is focused specifically on the acquisition of knowledge and practical skills in ophthalmology, including the development of a logical problem-solving approach to each case. It is designed to enable veterinary surgeons to manage ophthalmic cases confidently and appropriately in small animal practice.

Successful completion will lead to the award of BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Ophthalmology (BSAVA PGCertSAOphthal).

Frequently asked questions

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Course structure

The BSAVA PgCerts are divided into two modules.

Module 1

One-day courses

Each of the 20 small units begins with a one-day course of seven hours of teaching and discussion, combining lectures and interactive case discussions. Participants will need to allow roughly 3 hours to read the course lecture notes, before and/or after the courses, which will be run monthly.

Online resources and activities

Following attendance at the taught course, you will spend 10 hours completing online activities and studying using the online resources available from the BSAVA education site.

These will vary but may include:

  • Recommended reading
  • Notes and lecture presentations from the taught course
  • Access to podcasts (BSAVA congress MP3s), and publications from JSAP and Companion
  • MCQ or short question exercises
  • Case-based problem solving exercises
  • Webinars
  • Online moderated discussion forums


Satisfactory completion of each of the 20 units will require attendance at the taught course and participation in all compulsory online activities, including the formative assessment. When all 20 units have been completed, there will be a formal written examination, which candidates must pass before progressing to the next section of the programme.

There will be a formative online assessment task for each unit, meaning that you will get a mark, with feedback. Please note that although this is compulsory, the mark is solely to allow you to gauge your level of understanding and will not contribute to the final result.

Module 2

Case Book

Eight cases will be presented, illustrating a variety of clinical presentations, and demonstrating the candidate’s ability to work logically through a case, to select and justify the decisions made, and to evaluate the outcome in the context of the published literature.

Participants will need to allow 200 hours for preparation of the case book.


The submitted case books will be marked and then all candidates will undertake an oral examination (or viva), at which problem solving and decision making in any of the 8 submitted cases will be discussed.

The final award will be classified Distinction / Commendation / Pass.

Enrolment process and fees

Enrolment Process

You can enrol at any time throughout the year by completing the online enrolment form. We take in one cohort of students onto each programme per year, and places are offered on a first come, first served basis

We will notify you within three working days of receipt as to whether or not you have successfully secured a place. We will then send you a full enrolment pack, which must be completed, signed and returned with a non-refundable deposit of £300.00 by the stated deadline in order to confirm your place.

If numbers are such that we cannot enrol you immediately, we will place you on a waiting list and will contact you as soon as a place is available for you.

Enrolment criteria

The criteria for enrolment onto the BSAVA PgCert courses are as follows:

  • Applicants must hold a veterinary qualification
  • UK-based applicants must be on the RCVS Home Practising Register
  • Applicants based outside the UK must hold a veterinary qualification that would entitle them to register as a member of the RCVS
  • Applicants must have spent a minimum of one year in veterinary practice
  • Veterinary surgeons who qualified in 2007 or later and who are based in the UK must have completed the RCVS Professional Development Phase (PDP) before they can enrol.


Students are required to pay an annual enrolment fee for each of the first 3 years of their studies.
In 2021, this fee is set at £3,620 plus VAT.

This fee covers:

  • Attendance at each of the taught courses run for the programme of study during the year
  • Access to all online activities and resources
  • Membership and support from RCVS knowledge
  • All assessment fees
  • Academic and pastoral support
  • Registration with Nottingham Trent University
  • BSAVA membership
  • Discounted admission to BSAVA Congress and on BSAVA manuals

If studies are extended, then the full enrolment fee is not payable in years 4 and 5. Students will be required to maintain their BSAVA membership, and to pay a fee each year for registration with Nottingham Trent University.

Online resources

Students and mentors can access resources on the BSAVA Education site.

VetCEE approval

The BSAVA Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Medicine and Postgraduate Certificate in Small Animal Surgery have been evaluated and approved by Veterinary Continuous Education in Europe. (VetCEE).

VetCEE is responsible for developing a high standard for structured continuing professional development and mutual recognition across Europe. VetCEE approval of BSAVA’s Postgraduate programmes means the certificate is not only at the recognised European standard, but has also gone through vigorous evaluation by an independent panel of experts.

What is VetCEE?

VetCEE is a joint initiative of the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE), European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS), Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and Union of European Veterinary Practitioners (UEVP).

Why was VetCEE set up?

While minimum standards already existed at veterinary graduate and specialist level, there was a lack of European standards for the middle-tier level for veterinary practitioners wishing to improve their clinical skills. VetCEE was created with the aim to validate the quality of these middle-tier programmes.

VetCEE will raise the quality and transparency of postgraduate training programmes, and in turn support improvement in veterinary care.

Find out more


"I absolutely loved the course, would even consider doing another PGCert in the future. It’s really helped my confidence.” (BSAVA PGCertSAM)

“I’ve done a lot of CPD over the years in different countries throughout Europe and this was the best!” (BSAVA PGCertSAM)

“It was a really well structured, useful and enjoyable course. There was a good balance between online activities and also meeting face to face with colleagues to discuss cases. It has contributed enormously towards my everyday working life”. (BSAVA PGCertSAM)

“Overall, I am really glad I sat this course. It has accelerated my career progression in a way I couldn’t have hoped for. Very friendly and approachable staff and lecturers. I particularly enjoyed the 2 or 3 days courses for getting to know others.” (BSAVA PGCertSAS)

“This has been by far the best value for money and most worthwhile CPD I have ever done. So good I’m considering signing up to another BSAVA cert in a year or two.” (BSAVA PGCertSAS)

“Truly fantastic experience that has developed my skills professionally, and opened up the opportunities to improve my patient care and job satisfaction. Wish I could have done it 10 years earlier!” (BSAVA PGCertSAS)

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