High-Quality Distance Learning Veterinary Postgraduate Training
Learn Wherever You Are, At Your Own Pace
Increase your veterinary surgeon skills, knowledge and confidence with 24/7 access from your desktop, laptop or tablet no matter where you are in the world and you can fit your learning around the workings of a busy practice.
Once you join, you will be part of an international programme with participants from all over the world.
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Our Distance Learning Programmes provides all veterinary surgeons with access to our world-class teaching materials. By studying part-time, at your own pace, these programmes allow you to effectively manage your work-life balance while taking essential knowledge back to practice immediately.
All of our programmes are authored by a Specialist who is a Diploma holder in their field, giving guidance on interactive and engaging modules. Modules include presentations, notes, interactive quizzes and exercises which test your knowledge as you work, along with pre-module and post-module assessments allowing you to evaluate your progress. Each module is supported online by a Specialist who will be available to answer all your questions during the month the module is ‘live’.
Distance Learning Details
Progress your learning and work towards a GP Certificate and/or a PgC*
Support and guidance from a Module Tutor who is a diploma holder
Access via a desktop, laptop or tablet device
Recognised for application to the RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status and also RACE approved programmes
*General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert) and/or a Postgraduate Certificate (PgC).
Benefits for you:
Progress your career and achieve academic recognition
Increase your skills, knowledge and confidence in dealing with more complex cases
Recognised programmes for application to the RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status
Benefits for your clients:
Improve animal care
Reassure your client that their pet is in safe hands
Benefits for your practice:
Increase practice revenues
Reduce external referrals and increased practice capabilities
Transfer knowledge and skills within practice
Demonstrate your commitment to enhancing practice standards
Extend your knowledge and skills and work towards a recognised qualification
Our Distance Learning Programmes offer you a comprehensive range of structured learning with the ultimate flexibility to access the training that you want whilst working around your busy practice life. You can choose to gain new knowledge and skills to take back to practice or you can work towards a recognised qualification.
General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert)
By attending the full online structured programme, practical sessions where relevant and following successful assessment including an exam you can gain the GPCert awarded by the International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ISVPS).
Postgraduate Certificate (PgC)
A route to a PgC is available in partnership with Harper Adams University. The PgC is a recognised higher education qualification demonstrating that you have achieved the required standard within a designated subject. The qualification represents Masters Level 7 within the Quality Assurance Agency’s framework for higher and further education. In order to apply for the PgC route, additional assessments must be undertaken, please see the specific programmes for further details.
RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status
After completing your Postgraduate Certificate you can apply for the RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status. This is subject to meeting all of the other entry requirements set out by the RCVS in the Applicant Guidance Notes. You will also need to provide evidence of Key Professional Skills knowledge to the RCVS when applying for the Advanced Practitioner Status.
Who can enrol on the Distance Learning programmes?
All applicants must:
- Hold a veterinary qualification
- Have spent a minimum of one year in veterinary practice
- Be on the RCVS Home Practising Register (UK-based applicants), hold a qualification that would entitle them to register as a member of the RCVS (applicants based outside the UK)
What does the GPCert consist of?
The GPCert is a middle-tier qualification awarded to veterinary surgeons who successfully complete a dedicated modular training programme accredited by ISVPS and the associated ISVPS assessments. Only registered veterinary surgeons who have been qualified for a minimum of one year can apply to undertake a General Practitioner Certificate.
- To achieve a GPCert you must:
- Complete the modular training programme
- Submit a case report (number of words defined by ISVPS)
- Sit an online multiple-choice examination
- An online applied knowledge examination (OAKE)
- Sit a case-based scenario (CBS) examination
What qualifications are needed for taking the programme if coming from another non-European country?
You must be a qualified veterinary surgeon registered in the country of origin. Appropriate paperwork will be requested at point of registration.
What does the PgC consist of?
In addition to the assessment criteria for the GPCert you will need to:
- Complete a case diary
- Write a reflective essay
- Answer all pre and post-module surveys and MCQs
- Undertake the Advanced Practitioner module delivered remotely by Harper Adams University between January and July each year (not applicable for Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Programmes)
Harper Adams University (HAU) is responsible for the assessment of the case diary, reflective essay and Advanced Practitioner module.
Further information about the route to a PgC is available on request.
When is the learning content available for each module?
- Module content is hosted on our Learning Management System
- At the beginning of the month, the content for weeks 1 and 2 will be released
- At the beginning of the 3rd week of the month, the remaining content will be released
- Access to our world-leading Learning Management System will be provided for a period of one year after the last day of the programme
Is the PgC programme recognised by other countries?
The PgC is worth 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits but delegates are advised to check with their local governing body for the relevance of these credits in their country.
Can I do the GPCert and the PgC at the same time?
Yes, you can.
- If you register for the PgC you are automatically attending the modules required for the GPCert
- You need to register with both ISVPS and HAU
- ‘Upgrading’ from the GPCert involves paying the extra module fees and registering with HAU. Please contact us for further information
- You can upgrade from the GPCert to PgC within 5 years of achieving the GPCert award
- If you have attended the Distance Learning Programmes without committing to the GPCert, you have 4 years from completion of the programme to register with ISVPS and SUCCESSFULLY complete ALL assessments including the examination
What additional learning resources are available?
- Online interactive lessons
- Notes to support every lesson
- Pre- and post-module questions
- Summary videos at the end of each week
- Reading list
- Discussion Forum
- Module Tutor (diploma holder in their field)
- Programme Tutor support
How can I track my progress in the programme?
Progress of the completion of your module and programme are tracked in different ways.
Each module consists of 9 interactive lessons including reflective study which may involve case studies, MCQ writing and calculation practice during week 4, depending on the specific module. The interactive lessons will track and remember your progress whilst you complete it. When you return to a specific lesson or case study, you will return to the page that you last visited.
Once a lesson is completed, a tick will appear next to the lesson icon on the module course page. You will also see a progress indicator at the top right-hand corner of the course page and a more detailed Progress Bar in the collapsible side menu on the left.
Upon completing all 9 lessons and the 2 case studies, you will be awarded a Digital Badge, recognising your achievement. As you progress through the programme, badges will be awarded at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 completion stages.
Do I have to access the programme via a specific browser?
Even though you may access our world-leading Learning Management System via any browser, it is recommended that you choose a browser that supports integrated HTML editor. Google Chrome or Firefox on a Windows operating system, and Chrome, Firefox or Safari on a Mac system.
While using Internet Explorer (Edge) should not cause any issue, it has been reported that some security settings and adherence to W3C standards prevent the browser from operating in some instances. If you experience a problem please try one of the other browsers before contacting Improve for additional support.
Does the Postgraduate Certificate (PgC) programme differ from the GPCert?
Yes, there are additional assessment criteria. Contact your Programme Tutor for further information.
When do the exams take place?
For up to date exam dates please visit www.isvps.org
Which modules do I choose for the PgC and when do I have to choose them?
- You select your preferred modules and a final selection is made in discussion with the Programme Tutor and on a first come first-served basis. If you are studying the Surgery programme you will be attending the ten practical modules which form part of this programme and there is no need to select modules
- Module allocation will be made within the first two months of the start of the programme to allow for travel plans
- Delegates opting into the PgC ‘late’ will be allocated modules within 2 months of registering with HAU
Please note if you wish to progress to the PgC there is an additional fee – see the pricing tables for further information or please contact the Programme Tutor for further information.
How many hours per week will I have to spend on the programme?
You will spend on average 3-4 hours per week. Preparation of assessments and revising for the final exam is additional depending on your route.
Is the General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert) all online?
Yes, the full programme to achieve the GPCert is all online with the exception of the Surgery programme which includes ten practical modules. These will be held in two locations, see the programme for further information.
How do I submit my case report for the GPCert?
All ISVPS assessments are uploaded to the candidates’ area via the ISVPS website. You will be given a login to the candidates’ area when you register with ISVPS.
How do I register for the GPCert and/or the PgC?
- Registration is made directly to ISVPS (for the GPCert) and HAU (for the PgC) – you will be provided with contact details allowing you to complete their registration forms
- Ideally, the decision to aim for the PgC should be made within the first two months of the programme starting to enable you to benefit from the HAU library access and select your face to face modules if applicable to your programme
What do the case logs for the case diary consist of?
Harper Adams University (HAU) will provide you with information on the peer-reviewed case diary and self-reflection essay assessments required for the PgC.
For Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Distance Learning Programmes you will need to complete a peer-reviewed diary of 25 cases and 20 for Feline Practice seen by you in practice, not earlier than three years ago is required:
- Cases selected should demonstrate a balance of case types or procedures across species and where appropriate, across body systems
- Cases should relate to the list shown in Appendix 4*.
- Each diary entry should be a maximum of 100 words, comprising signalment, diagnosis, action taken (by you as the practitioner) and outcome
Peer Review: A supporting signature from a veterinary surgeon within your practice. Please see appendix 3* for a template. This should be present (scanned) on the final page of your diary.
*Appendix 3 and 4 are available on request
Can I defer a module?
- Online modules cannot be deferred without losing the real-time interactive engagement with the Module Tutor
- Face to face modules (where relevant to your programme) can be deferred provided you complete all modules within 3 years of beginning the programme
If coming from a non-European country – how would face-to-face module attendance work for the PgC?
- We will endeavour to allocate you face-to-face modules close together in date (e.g. within the same week) to reduce the numbers of trips to the UK required but these dates are restricted so you should be aware that you may have to make separate trips as places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
- It is your responsibility to check visa requirements and ensure that you have relevant documents in place well in advance of travel.
- Delegates attending from outside of Europe may require visas in order to participate in our face-to-face programmes. Please note that the Student Tier 4 visa is not applicable to Improve International Delegates as a result of us being a private education provider. Further guidance on your entry requirements should be checked with your local embassy.
- Improve International does not provide support in obtaining visas but can provide supporting documentation to support your application if requested.