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Postgraduate opportunities for cattle vets
  1. Jo Oultram and
  2. Cathy McGowan


Changes to the modules studied within the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Cattle) have been approved by the RCVS and the Quality and Standards Committee of the University of Liverpool. Module coordinator, Jo Oultram, and director of CPD, Cathy McGowan, explain what the changes mean

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THE modules for the CertAVP (Cattle) have been restructured by the University of Liverpool working in collaboration with the RCVS and the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA). The original three modules have been extended to four and this change has been agreed by the RCVS education subcommittee and the University of Liverpool's Faculty Academic Quality and Standards Committee.

This change enables practitioners with an interest in obtaining a postgraduate qualification in cattle studies to obtain their certificate by studying the compulsory A and B modules, plus four C modules that are dedicated to the study of bovine subjects.

These modules cover bovine nutrition, husbandry and lactogenesis; bovine reproduction; bovine mastitis and lameness (compulsory module); youngstock rearing and infectious diseases. The study of both the beef and dairy industries are included in the syllabuses.

The University of Liverpool is accredited by the RCVS to assess candidates for CertAVP modules through a series of case reports, problem-solving exercises (that are designed to test the candidate's ability to advise beef and dairy farmers), the writing of herd health plans, and participation in at least one live online journal critique/discussion. Each 16-week module culminates with an online examination.

With the successful completion of a module the candidate gains 10 Masters (M) level university credits, which are accrued and may count either towards successful completion of the CertAVP (60 credits) or a university award (PGCert). This can then be used to continue onto a higher postgraduate award (diploma or Masters degree).

The designation CertAVP (Cattle) is obtained by the candidate passing a combined oral and practical examination that aims to test their thinking and how they can apply what they have been taught. The RCVS has accredited the University of Liverpool to hold the synoptic examination for the cattle designation and recently announced that the first successful candidate was Hollie Dale from Wright and Morten Veterinary Surgeons in Cheshire. She says: ‘Completing the CertAVP has improved my knowledge and skills, enabling me to offer a high level of service to my clients. Liverpool university provided a structured approach that made studying while working achievable and enjoyable.’

The modules may be completed by a candidate who opts for the ‘assessment only’ option, or candidates may subscribe to the online taught module, which contains additional study material, usually a lecture (narrated) and/or directed study suggestions in each week of the course. Lectures are well referenced to guide candidates in their private study and appropriate use of re-sources), and are subject to review and updates.

Enrolled candidates also have access to the university's libraries (including electronic access to journals and textbooks).

The BCVA's advanced practitioner workshops, which are delivered by universities and other providers, are comprehensive workshop-based CPD that complement the RCVS accredited modules. The CertAVP modules and the BCVA workshops are both available as standalone CPD.

Further information about enrolment on the University of Liverpool modules is available from Gill Beckett, telephone 0151 794 6016 or e-mail: beckett{at}

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