The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Professional Development

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. 


The following courses are available as PPD.


Basic Sciences: Start date Mid September.

This 10 week course delves deeper into the subjects which are essential for an anaesthetist - physiology and pharmacology.  This course is designed to give you a good understanding of the major areas of physiology and pharmacology and how these relate to anaesthesia analgesia and perioperative care.  This is a 10 week course which is delivered by lecturers from University of Edinburgh.  The course starts with covering the cardiovascular, respiratory and other organ systems.  The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of common anaesthetic and sedative drugs are also explored., along with the impact of disease and physiology of drug metabolism.


Clinical anaesthesia: equipment & the patient: Start date early January.

By the end of this 10 week course you should be able to:

·                  Explain the function and use of anaesthetic equipment during the peri-anaesthetic period, including being able to draw and/or describe the parts of the anaesthetic machine.

·                  Select appropriate types of anaesthetic equipment for specific situations and troubleshoot equipment related problems.

·                  Describe how to assess patients and recognise problems that may occur in the peri-anaesthetic period.

·                  Discuss factors which may lead to critical incidents and/or anaesthesia accidents and describe appropriate actions and treatments.

The first few weeks of the course will concentrate on anaesthetic equipment. By exploring the theory behind the equipment we can get a better understanding of how the equipment works and its limitations.  The latter weeks of the course will focus on pre-anaesthetic assessment and clinical monitoring during anaesthesia and will deal with common problems encountered during anaesthesia. We will discuss how you will recognise, differentiate and finally treat these problems. The final section of this course will focus on cardiopulmonary resuscitation. 


Chronic pain & advanced analgesic techniques: Start date late February.

This course examines different aspects of chronic pain, its assessment and management. There are many problems associated with chronic pain and how it is managed can vary depending on the underlying pathophysiology.  As companion animals age they can also develop chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, that result in pain.  Managing chronic pain in animals it is important in order to maintain a good quality of life, but recognising and treating of chronic pain can be very difficult.  Chronic pain can manifest in various ways and is seen in many different species, so our lecturers on this course come from diverse backgrounds.   Matt Gurney, Dr Louise Clark, and Professor Pamela Murison are all anaesthetists with considerable experience in pain management, as well as being Diplomats of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthetists. 


Avian anaesthesia: start date late February.   

This course will support you in developing knowledge of avian species and recognising the similarities and differences between species. The approach will cover aspects of physiology, anatomy which have implications on anaesthesia and perioperative management. Particular emphasise will be placed on encouraging application of knowledge to clinical anaesthesia in avian species, with the aim of improving anaesthetic management of these species for those in practice.


Anaesthesia in ruminants, camelids and pigs: Starts mid April.   

The artiodactyla are the even-toed ungulates, and include cattle, sheep, goats llamas, alpacas and pigs. They present a range of anaesthetic challenges, which often depends on the context in which they are found. This course will focus on these challenges and those arising from context, i.e., on farms, in laboratories or as "pets" .  The content for the next 5 weeks is delivered by a variety of experienced staff here at the R(D)SVS, Including Professor Eddie Clutton, Dr Rachael Gregson and Dr Paul Wood.


Anaesthesia in Equidae:  Starts late May.

This course will look at the relative anaesthetic risks of horses compared to other animals, examining the factors which contribute to that increased risk and how we can try to reduce them. There are alternatives to general anaesthesia in some situations and these are explored in week two before moving onto the different aspects and methods of general anaesthesia in the horse in week three, this will also include more in depth species-specific physiology. Week 4 will concentrate on how to anaesthetise the horse presenting for emergency abdominal surgery, the major differences from healthy horses and how the disease process affects physiology and anaesthetic management. Finally in the last week we will cover less commonly encountered cases, how to approach anaesthesia of the parturient mare and neonate and some of the reasons this may be necessary. 


Anaesthesia in small mammals:  Starts late May. 

The aim of this course is to discuss the general and specific considerations for the anaesthesia of small mammals. We will think about general management and considerations for anaesthesia, progress to some more specific details of anaesthetic management and also think about pain assessment. We may be called to anaesthetise rodents and small mammals that are pets, or perhaps for research purposes. We will think about any differences between these situations. The course is organised by Dr Kevin Eatwell, who is the Head of the Exotic Animal service at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


For more information on the programme these courses sit within, see the main programme page.

How to apply

Applications must be made through the University's online postgraduate prospectus


In order for you to have access to the PPD of your choice you need to be enrolled as student. After we have accepted you onto the PPD, Academic Registry will send an email to your new University of Edinburgh Student email account asking you to fill in, sign and return a form for matriculation.