Faculty of Veterinary Science

Faculty of Veterinary Science


name = University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science
motto =
type = Public
Veterinary school
established = 1920
affiliations = University of Pretoria
dean = Professor GE Swan
free_label =
free =
students = 767
undergrad = 535
postgrad = 232
city = Pretoria
state = Gauteng
country = South Africa
campus = Onderstepoort
website = [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=50]
The Faculty of veterinary Science is a faculty of the University of Pretoria. Founded in 1920, it is the oldest veterinary faculty in Africa. With the exception of the faculties in Khartoum (Sudan, 1938), and Cairo (Egypt, 1946), all the other African faculties were established after 1960. It is the only one of its kind in South Africa and is one of 33 veterinary faculties in Africa.


The first Colonial Veterinary Surgeon in South Africa was appointed in approximately 1874 in Port Natal (present day Durban in KwaZulu-Natal), followed by the appointment of the first Colonial Veterinary Surgeon in the Cape Colony in 1876 and the subsequent arrival of private practitioners in the late 1800's. A major event was the arrival in 1891 of a Swiss-born veterinarian, Arnold Theiler, who went on to establish a disinfection station and vaccine factory at Daspoort close to Pretoria in 1898. When this facility became unsuitable in 1905, Arnold Theiler was instrumental in establishing a new facility at Onderstepoort in 1908, which became the current [www.arc.agric.za Agricultural Research Council's] Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute

During this time and in the years thereafter, the possibility of training veterinarians in South Africa was frequently raised but it was not until 1920 that Sir Arnold Theiler was appointed as Director of Veterinary Education and Research. He served as the first Dean of veterinary science at “Onderstepoort” under the supervision of the then Transvaal University College. New facilities were inaugurated at the end of 1921 and the first residence was opened in 1924. The first eight South African trained veterinarians qualified in 1924.

The initial intakes were small and the number of veterinarians graduating from the Faculty every year remained below 20 until 1956. The first batch of graduates to exceed 40 in number, qualified in 1967. The numbers fluctuated around the 40 mark until 1978 and was followed by the first large batch of graduates in 1979 (69) following an increase in the intake of second year students in 1976. It has since remained in the region of approximately 85 per annum. The intake was increased to 120 per annum in 2000 and to 135 in 2005.

The Faculty was the only one of its kind in South Africa until 1980 when a second Faculty of Veterinary Science was established within the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA). This Faculty admitted its first students in 1982, produced its first graduates in 1987 and was amalgamated with the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria in 1999. The new National Faculty created in this way continues to utilise the facilities of the Onderstepoort campus of the University of Pretoria and continues to function as a fully-fledged faculty of the University of Pretoria. It is once again the only one of its kind in South Africa.

The undergraduate veterinary programme has developed from the original 5-year programme to a five-and-a-half year programme in the mid 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. It was changed to a 6-year programme in the late 1990’s and to a split degree structure consisting of a 3-year BSc (Veterinary Biology) degree and 4-year BVSc degree in 2003. A University Diploma in Veterinary Nursing was offered for the first time in 1977 and is still being offered as such.


The Faculty is situated on the Onderstepoort campus of the University of Pretoria, which is a property of 65 hectares. The faculty has 5 academic departments responsible for teaching, research and service rendering. These activities are further facilitated by well developed support services provided by an academic hospital, various departmental laboratories, general and student administrative sections, a teaching animal unit and a number of research centres. The Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital provides clinical services rendered with full student participation as part of the primary teaching mission of the Faculty of Veterinary Science.

The 5 academic departments are:
* Anatomy and Physiology
* Companion Animal Clinical Studies
* Paraclinical Sciences
* Production Animal Studies
* Veterinary Tropical Diseases

There are four main research centres within the faculty:
* [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=1202&sub=0&parentid=50&subid=1174&ipklookid=13 Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies]
* [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=2727&sub=0&parentid=50&subid=1174&ipklookid=13 Equine Research Centre]
* [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=1190&sub=1&parentid=50&subid=1174&ipklookid=13 Veterinary Pharmacovigilance Centre]
* UP Biomedical Research Centre

Academic programmes

The Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria offers a BVSc degree which is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council for registration as Veterinarian which entitles the holder to practice as a veterinarian. It is also recognised as such by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in the UK, the [http://www.avbc.asn.au/ Australasian Veterinary Boards Council] (AVBC) in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as by the relevant authorities in Malaysia.. It also offer a University Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (DipVetNurs; also referred to as DVN) which is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council for registration as Veterinary Nurse which entitles the holder to practise the profession of veterinary nursing.

The faculty also offers a number of postgraduate courses including BVSc Hounours, MMedVet, MSc, PhD and DVSc courses.


* http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=50
* http://www.up.ac.za

External links

* [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=2476&subid=2476&ipklookid=13 Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital]
* [http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=50 University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science]
* [http://www.sava.co.za/ South African Veterinary Association]
* [http://www.savc.co.za/ South African Veterinary Council]

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