RCVS Working Party paving the way to a modular postgraduate qualification

5 June 2003

The RCVS Working Party charged with developing a modular approach to RCVS postgraduate qualifications has suggested that a credit-based system is needed for future RCVS qualifications and, at present, is concentrating on the design of Certificate-level qualifications for those in general practice.

The Working Party proposes that each module is worth two credits and that 12 credits, some 600 notional study hours, would be needed to obtain a full Certificate-level qualification.  Modules could also be available separately for individuals who chose not to take the full qualification. The proposed format is for modules in three categories A, B and C, which would be studied sequentially and six modules must be completed for the Certificate-level qualification. Category A would consist of two compulsory modules of professional key skills and clinical key skills. Category B would comprise three modules of small animal practice, production animal practice and equine practice and veterinary surgeons can choose to study any, or all, of these. Category C would provide a wide choice of special interest modules.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has been embraced with enthusiasm by many in the profession and the multiplicity of CPD providers and courses attest to this. Many CPD courses provide a certificate of attendance to attendees and a number of CPD providers have opted for a modular approach to learning. Improve International has just launched a modular General Practitioner Certificate in Small Animal Practice. Inevitably this selection of non-RCVS certificates and modules has caused some confusion and it is important to distinguish the qualifications awarded by CPD providers from the present RCVS Certificates and the modular RCVS Certificate-level qualifications that will replace them. The working party will be considering a possible change of title for the new RCVS certificate-level qualifications to make the distinction clear.

The RCVS Modular Working Party will be discussing its proposals for modular RCVS qualifications with representative organisations from the profession and with CPD providers at a meeting to be held at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on Tuesday 8 July 2003.  




1.   The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.


2.   The Modular Certificates Working Party was set up under the chairmanship of Professor Sheila Crispin in November 2002 and its remit is:-

  • To make recommendations to the Specialisation & Further Education Committee for a system of modular certificates, following the proposals of the Education Strategy Steering Group.
  • To make recommendations on the content of possible certificate modules.
  • To make recommendations on the form of assessment for the new certificate modules.
  • To make recommendations on the timescale for possible implementation.
  • To ensure that the standard of the Certificate level qualification is maintained.

3.  The working party is following up the recommendations from the Education Strategy Steering Group which outlined its proposals for modular certificates and CPD in its paper “Veterinary Education and Training, A Framework for 2010 and Beyond” published in July 2002. “A modular Certificate system, allowing achievement of a mixture of discipline and/or species based modules, will provide a more flexible structure to meet the varying needs of practitioners. Achievement of individual modules along the route to a full Certificate should be recognised and credited, and a significant proportion of CPD provision should be geared to those modules. The standard of the RCVS Certificate must not be lowered in the process”.  



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