Take a career course in bioveterinary science

Q&A: Dr Síle O’Flaherty, AIT
Take a career course in bioveterinary science

Qualifications to work in the pharmaceutical, food and agricultural sectors, medical-based industries, biomedical research, animal nutrition, or veterinary public health are offered in Ireland’s first bioveterinary science degree course, at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT).

According to AIT, the bioveterinary science graduate will also be very well qualified to work in scientific laboratories in a wide range of industries.

Graduates are well placed to go on to employment in veterinary diagnostics and pharmaceutical research, veterinary, medical and nutritional sales, hospital and forensic laboratory work.

Or graduates may apply for positions in allied animal industries such as feed and equipment manufacturers, artificial breeding associations, pharmaceutical firms, breeding and livestock organisations and government agencies.

Zoos, kennels, animal clinics, stud farms, animal sanctuaries and similar facilities also offer openings for bioveterinary graduates.

According to Dr Brian Murphy, Department of Life and Physical Science, AIT, “This new degree is at the cutting edge if you are interested in the study of the life sciences, which straddle the biological and medicinal sciences, with an emphasis on the applied veterinary area.

Application to the degree is through the Central Applications Office (CAO), where it has the code AL842, says Dr Síle O’Flaherty, also of the AIT Department of Life and Physical Science.

“While the initial closing date is this Saturday, the change of mind facility enables students to enter the programme on their CAO application until Jul 1,” said Dr O’Flaherty.

* When will the bioveterinary science degree course start, and what is the duration?

>>The new course will commence in Sept 2014. It’s a four-year honours degree programme.

* What is the attraction of a multidisciplinary degree like this?

>>What makes this new honours degree especially attractive is that the programme is multidisciplinary. The degree is at the cutting edge for students interested in studying further the life sciences, which straddle the biological and medicinal sciences, with an emphasis on the applied veterinary area. The degree opens up numerous opportunities for graduates to work in range of veterinary-related sectors, such as the pharmaceutical, food and agricultural sectors, medical-based industries, biomedical research, animal nutrition or veterinary public health.

* Can you summarise the course content?

>>The degree is divided into many specialisations covering the biological, life and animal sciences. The uniqueness of this degree is that it explores the interactions between these threes branches of science and how they influence one another. For example, we could be looking at the biochemistry in the soil, and how that is impacted by the actions of agriculture and industry, such as fertiliser or pollution, and how that in turn impacts on ecology, on the animals, their health and productivity. It’s very much a holistic approach.

* What is the likely entry requirement (CAO points, etc)?

>>The minimum entry requirements for this degree are Grade C3 in two higher-level subjects, plus a minimum of grade D3 in ordinary level Maths, and three subjects at grade D4 at ordinary level. The subjects must include a language (English or Irish). It is not necessary to have studied a science subject in the Leaving Cert.

The degree is open to FETAC applicants, who must hold the Laboratory Techniques (CASLT or 5M3807) award. They are also required to have the module Mathematics (C20139 or 5N1833) included in their award, or alternatively have Leaving Certificate Mathematics. They must also possess distinctions in three modules.

Applications are also welcome from mature students, that is those who are 23 years or over on Jan 1, 2014; they are not required to meet the minimum entry requirements, but the institute does look for evidence of the applicant’s ability to pursue and benefit from the course.

It is not possible at this stage to indicate what the likely points will be for 2104.

* Can the degree lead to a career as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse?

>> The BSc (Hons) in Bioveterinary Science prepares graduates for a variety of scientific-based careers in the applied veterinary area. However, the degree does not confer eligibility to register with the Veterinary Council of Ireland as either a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse. If a student is interested in becoming a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse then they should apply for a programme in these distinct areas. A number of colleges have offerings in veterinary nursing. This degree is shorter, as it is Level 7 and takes just three years. AIT offers a BSc in Veterinary Nursing, which is accredited by the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) and graduates of this Level 7 programme are eligible to enter onto the Veterinary Nurse Register of Ireland. UCD offers a five-year Level 8 MVB (Hons) degree in Veterinary Medicine.

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