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Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing


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3 years full time / 6 years part time


Please refer to the La Trobe University Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing Page to check the specific requirements for this course.

Next Intake


Next Intake


Join a growing industry and develop specialised skills studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing. This La Trobe University degree was designed by the Melbourne Polytechnic veterinary nursing academic team, together with industry input and was accredited by La Trobe University. It is delivered by Melbourne Polytechnic through a partnership agreement with La Trobe University.

Higher pet insurance uptake, growing awareness of animal health and advancements in medical procedures for animals has driven demand for the veterinary services industry, which has doubled in size since 2000. Veterinary nurses make up 42% of the veterinary services workforce and the occupation is projected to grow by another 10% in the next five years.

Please note – further information on this course can be found on the La Trobe University Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing website.

Build your confidence with clinical experience

Practice clinical skills in our purpose-built veterinary precinct, Melbourne Polytechnic’s Veterinary Nursing Learning Centre, which includes extensive simulated veterinary practice suites. This is Australia’s first Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing, combining the practical side of the vocational industry with a greater depth of knowledge. This pioneering full degree program grants you access to specialised subjects and you’ll complete up to 800 hours of industry placements. Clinical placements throughout your study will offer you extensive opportunities to apply the theory and practices learned on campus with Melbourne Polytechnic’s industry partners. You’ll develop the knowledge and high-level skills required to graduate as a job-ready veterinary nurse.

Work as a vet nurse while you study

Ongoing practical clinical experience ensures you are work ready and highly employable when you graduate. The final semester of the second year includes an internship-like approach, where you undertake placement three days per week. You’re encouraged to find veterinary nursing work by the end of the second year and in your third year, you elect subjects in areas of special interest to match your work goals. Once you complete this course, you’ll be set to begin your specialised career with the experience, knowledge and confidence to succeed.

Career Pathways

Where will this take me

You will be highly employable in veterinary clinics and hospitals within the private, university and not-for-profit sectors as veterinary nurses in a range of fields.


If you are a graduate of a Veterinary Nursing Diploma, then you are eligible to apply for some credit recognition (this will be up to a maximum of 8 subjects), assessed on an individual basis and may include testing of knowledge and skills levels

Course Details

Delivery methods

Course delivery continues at Melbourne Polytechnic during the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation the world is facing right now. Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our community.

This program has responded to the COVID-19 restrictions by modifying its delivery to a blended model supporting remote learning. For the immediate term, we’ve changed the way our students attend class, with all lectures, tutorials and seminars moved online.

A collaborative learning environment is created through the requirement of students to attend synchronous online sessions at the normal class times. These sessions are run through Moodle, our learning management system, and conferencing software (e.g. Zoom or Teams). This includes assessment wherever possible.

Alternative arrangements are being made for activities which must be conducted on-campus.

  • Tutorials
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Work placements
  • Online components
  • Workshops
  • Lecture
  • Classroom

Class Schedule

Mon - AM and PM
Tue - AM and PM
Wed - AM and PM
Thu - AM and PM
Fri - AM and PM
Sat - AM and PM
The timetable will vary depending on the year level, semester, subjects chosen and placement roster. Students may be required to attend classes and/or placements up to four days per week.

Assessment Methods

Assessment will be based on a broad range of authentic tasks, involving individual and group responsibilities. The assessments will include assignments, tests, tutorial questions, oral presentations, client and staff educational materials development (videos, brochures, etc), case studies, practical skills tests, portfolios, role play scenarios, and a clinical placement journal.

Units of Study

Credit points are a basic measure of student workload. All subjects are given a credit point value. Most subjects at Melbourne Polytechnic are 12 credit points. A normal full-time annual workload is 96 credit points. The academic year is divided into two main semesters; full-time students usually enrol in 48 credit points each semester, part-time students usually enrol in 24 credit points each semester or less.

Code Subject Elective Description Year Semester
VET1FSV FOUNDATION STUDIES FOR VETERINARY NURSING Core This subject is designed to enhance student numeracy and academic information and scientific literacy, in a relevant and applied manner. Students will be introduced to the concept of a scientific and evidence based approach, and how this can be applied in context as a student and veterinary nurse. 1
VET1AFA VETERINARY CLINICAL PERSPECTIVES: ANIMAL FORM, FUNCTION AND HEALTH A Core This is an integrated subject focusing on Functional Animal Anatomy and Physiology, and its relationship with an animal’s state of health. A range of common health-related case studies will be examined by groups of students for various body systems. 1
VET1ACM ANIMAL CARE AND MANAGEMENT Core This subject introduces students to the care and management of a range of common animal species, and examines the challenges for sustainability practice in animal care. While this subject will focus in detail on companion animals, it also examines the same factors in a range of other common species. 1
VET1IVN INTRODUCTION TO VETERINARY NURSING PRACTICE Core This subject introduces students to the various roles of a veterinary nurse in working with animals, owners, team members, facilities, equipment. Students begin to develop and practice a wide range of veterinary nursing technical skills, both on campus in skills laboratories and on placement. 1
VET1CVT COMMUNICATION FOR THE VETERINARY TEAM Core This subject introduces students to effective human communication techniques, strategies and their application in a veterinary and global context. Students will learn personal cognitive and coping skills to help them respond in a professional, ethical, caring and empathetic manner. 1
VET1AFB VETERINARY CLINICAL PERSPECTIVES: ANIMAL FORM, FUNCTION AND HEALTH B Core This subject builds on learning in Animal Form, Function and Health A with a continued examination of the functional anatomy and physiology of the body systems. Fluid regulation and thermoregulation will be introduced to help students to integrate body systems from a whole animal perspective. 1
VET1VNA APPLIED VETERINARY NURSING PRACTICE A Core In this subject, students will develop and practice a wide range of nursing and technical skills required by practicing veterinary nurses, both on campus in the clinical skills laboratories and whilst on weekly clinical placement. They will also examine nursing process, models, plans, protocols and their application in practical veterinary nursing. 1
VET1SAB SMALL ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR AND TRAINING Elective This elective subject offers students a thorough and practical introduction to small animal behaviour and training, enabling students to develop the underlying knowledge and skills required by small animal veterinary nurses to conduct puppy classes, advise owners on common behavioural and training problems, and to triage cases for veterinary care. 1
VET1EHS EQUINE HEALTH SYSTEMS Elective This elective subject aims to develop the knowledge and skills required for successful equine health management, through learning how to recognise the clinical signs of an ill horse, triage the significance of presenting problems, seek veterinary attention when required and manage a horse’s recovery. 1
LTU0AIM ACADEMIC INTEGRITY MODULE Core This study module helps students to learn what academic integrity entails, and how they can successfully study and prepare assignments in a manner, which maintains a high level of academic integrity. This is a compulsory subject, which all La Trobe degree students are required to complete. 1
ABS0WOM WOMINJEKA LA TROBE: INDIGENOUS CULTURAL LITERACY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION Core This study module helps La Trobe students to learn and develop indigenous cultural literacy and is a compulsory subject which all La Trobe degree students undertake during their study. 1
VET2VAD VETERINARY NURSING AND ANIMAL DISEASE Core This integrated subject examines the cause, investigation, treatment, management and prevention of animal disease from a veterinary perspective. It also introduces students to the science of pharmacology and veterinary pharmaceuticals and the skills and knowledge required to perform a range of common, in-house, clinical pathology tests. 2
VET2DIA DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING AND ANAESTHESIA Core Veterinary nurses today are often expected to act as the radiographers and anaesthetic technicians for routine imaging and surgical procedures. This subject examines the applied science behind imaging, anaesthesia and pain control and then helps students to apply this science to practice, in both a theoretical and practical sense. 2
VET2PRM VETERINARY PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Core The veterinary nurse plays a key role in the management of the physical resources of a veterinary practice. Senior nurses and managers are also required to manage other staff and finances within a practice. This subject examines these areas from a theoretical perspective and then applies them into a veterinary practice context. 2
VET2VNB APPLIED VETERINARY NURSING PRACTICE B Core Students will deepen their skills, knowledge and application in a range of key areas associated with veterinary nursing practice. This will be supported during both their on-campus learning and their clinical placements. They will also continue to develop deeper professional judgement, the ability to manage more complex situations and a reflective approach to nursing. 2
VET2EBN EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE FOR VETERINARY NURSES Core This subject helps to develop an understanding of research and scholarship in a veterinary nursing context and also helps to prepare students for the lifelong learning and scholarship required for a para-professional’s ongoing personal and professional development. The subject will also develop personal writing and critical peer review skills. 2
VET2IAN INTRODUCTION TO ADVANCED VETERINARY NURSING Core In this subject, students will consolidate the skills they have learnt in previous Veterinary Nursing Practice subjects, as well as being introduced to advanced veterinary nursing knowledge and skills. This introduction will help students to prepare for the advanced veterinary nursing skills which they will learn during third year. 2
VET2PVN THE PRACTICING VETERINARY NURSE Core This subject is designed to ensure that students will be ready for practice at the Associate Degree level for a Veterinary Nurse. Students undertake an extensive work integrated learning placements 2
VET3AEH ADVANCED EQUINE HEALTH CARE Elective In this elective subject, students deepen and apply clinically their underpinning equine health knowledge, by learning how to plan and provide for the nursing care needs of equine patients, and to work as an effective team with equine veterinarians. They will also develop the skills required to assist with equine reproductive care and management. 3
VET3VSM VETERINARY SHELTER MEDICINE AND PATIENT CARE Elective In this elective subject, students will learn how to plan and manage the behavioural, husbandry and health care needs of animals living within an animal welfare shelter, to achieve positive animal welfare outcomes and compliance with the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds. 3
VET3ASC ADVANCED VETERINARY SURGICAL PATIENT CARE Core In this subject, students will learn how to move beyond routine surgical nursing to work as a senior surgical nurse and manager. Students will learn how to manage: surgical theatres and wards within a veterinary hospital, the anaesthesia and analgesia of complex surgical patients, and the pre-, peri- and post-operative care requirements of complex surgical patients. 3
VET3ECC EMERGENCY AND CRITICAL CARE Elective In this elective subject, students will use an evidence-based approach to learn how triage, prioritise, monitor and manage the nursing care of emergency and critical care (ECC) patients. They will also learn how to apply the knowledge and skills required to work as part of a veterinary ECC team and to lead it when required. 3
VET3LAH LARGE ANIMAL HEALTH CARE Elective In this elective subject, students will learn how to safely perform a range of cattle and sheep farm animal management procedures, and to assist a veterinarian with the management of animal health conditions. They will also learn how to perform a number of reproductive assistance techniques in cattle e.g. pregnancy testing, artificial insemination and assisting cows with calving. 3
VET3EAW EXOTICS, AVIAN AND WILDLIFE CARE Elective In this elective subject, students will learn how to plan and provide evidence based nursing care for a range of exotic, avian and wildlife species, including pocket pets, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and native Australian wildlife. Students will also holistically examine the importance of habitat for wildlife, and will work together to plan a response to the needs of vulnerable animal populations following natural disasters. 3
AGR3RP1 APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECT 1 Core This subject develops student theoretical knowledge and skills of the methods and project management skills required to plan and undertake an applied research project. Students will develop an understanding of applied research practices and processes including searching, analysing and synthesising relevant literature; research methodologies, methods of data collection; ethical considerations. 3
AGR3RP2 APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECT 2 Core Students will continue and complete the second part of an applied research project begun in Applied Research Project 1. Undertake a small research project including: collection, analysis and interpretation of data; present findings. Students will demonstrate selected relevant project management processes and techniques to complete their project on time. 3
VET3MPC ADVANCED VETERINARY MEDICAL PATIENT CARE Elective In this subject, students will learn how to plan and deliver gold standard veterinary nursing care to medical ward patients with a broad range of serious complex medical conditions. They will research current best practice in the veterinary literature and integrate this evidence into their individualised care planning, and they will learn how to educate clients about the management of complex medical conditions. 3
VET3VPT PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR VETERINARY NURSING PATIENTS Elective In this elective subject, students will learn about the types, indications and methods of physical therapy available for animals, that trained veterinary nurses are capable of competently and safely undertaking, under the direction of a veterinarian or animal physiotherapist. They will also develop evidence based veterinary nursing plans to suit an individual patient’s needs and will learn how to competently perform the physical therapy techniques included in these plans. 3

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Now’s the time to register for our information and enrolment sessions. We give you an in-depth look at your chosen area of study and a tour of our department facilities.

Fees & Costs

Per year $
Per semester $
Per year $
Per semester $

When you are studying higher education courses you may qualify for FEE-HELP payments for part or all of your tuition fees. FEE-HELP loans do not cover materials costs.

Find out more information about FEE-HELP.

Fees displayed are effective for new applications received on or after 19 November 2020. Tuition fees do not include textbooks, course materials or overseas student health insurance and visa fees.

After initial deposit, international students are able to pay tuition fees in installments, four times per year.

For more detailed information please read the International Student Fees.

Please note: Commonwealth Supported Places for domestic students available. For more information about fees for the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing please visit La Trobe's website.


Lists of required materials, books and timetables will be provided at course induction or class enrolment by the teaching department.

Fees explained

The fees for those ineligible for a government-funded enrolment. 

The cost of tuition for those eligible for government funding.

Additional expenses

Amenities fees are used to improve non-academic services including libraries, counselling services, student support, and recreational activities.

Amenities must be paid each academic year you are enrolled.

Course Fees

Commonwealth Supported Places for domestic students available. For more information about fees for the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing please visit La Trobe's website.

When you are studying higher education courses you may qualify for FEE-HELP payments for part or all of your tuition fees. FEE-HELP loans do not cover materials costs.

Find out more information about FEE-HELP.

Scholarships on offer

'We’d been discussing what projects we had coming up that we needed to go and buy materials for.  And so then the scholarship came and it was just a sigh of relief.'

See what scholarships are available



Melbourne Polytechnic is committed to providing transparency to the admissions process. In line with this commitment, we provide you with information that will help in making informed choices about your future studies.

Please refer to the La Trobe University Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing Page to check the specific requirements for this course. For further clarification regarding the selection requirements please email Please note, ALL applicants (VTAC, direct, course transfer and international) are also required to submit a written personal statement and supporting documentation. Click here for more information.


Next Steps

Melbourne Polytechnic delivers this course on behalf of La Trobe University. All applications for this course are made to La Trobe University. This may be through VTAC, or if eligible through a direct, course transfer or international application to La Trobe University. For detailed information on whether you will meet the pre-requisites, what type of application to make, how and when to apply, how applicants are ranked in this competitive course, and what the course itself is like, we would strongly suggest that you attend one of our regular online detailed information sessions. Follow the Vet Nursing Facebook page for information on the next scheduled session, and email to book in.