The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Extra Mural Studies (EMS)

Extra Mural Studies (EMS) allows students to gain practical experience in as many aspects of veterinary work as possible.


Person with 2 dogs.

"Seeing Practice" for 26 weeks has been a requirement for all veterinary students in the UK since 1932 and is currently referred to as EMS.

EMS consists of two distinct phases:

Pre-clinical or animal husbandry phase, which comprises a total of 12 weeks carried out during the first two years of the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery course.

Clinical EMS, which comprises 26 weeks towards the latter part of the degree course. Clinical EMS should include time in abattoirs, laboratories, and with the government veterinary services, as well as in clinical practices. Students can also spend time working on research projects or attending research summer schools as part of EMS.

Veterinary practices provide a vital contribution to this part of the veterinary student's training.


The aim of EMS is to enable students to gain practical experience in as many aspects of veterinary work as possible, including the handling of animals, the achievement of proficiency in routine techniques.

First hand experience will help students develop as professionals.

Specifically, EMS should enable students to:

  • understand the practice and economics of animal management systems;
  • understand practice economics and practice management;
  • understand medical and surgical treatments of farm, equine, companion, exotic and laboratory animals;
  • develop communication skills for all aspects of veterinary work;
  • expand their experience to those disciplines and species not fully covered within the University;
  • appreciate the importance of animal welfare in animal production and in the practice of veterinary medicine;
  • gain experience to help them appreciate the ethical responsibilities of the veterinary surgeon in relation to individual clients, animals, the community and society.

A variety of opportunities

At the Dick Vet we encourage students to follow their interests with their EMS offering advice on placement planning and distributing information about new opportunities that arise.

Whilst this is an important part of learning the core skills required of all vets it is also an opportunity to travel and see the wide range of careers open to our graduates.