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Specialist status

New applications from holders of all eligible qualifications can be submitted at any time, and you can apply online through My Account. Details on how to apply, along with the criteria and general guidance notes can be downloaded below. Completed new applications will be assessed and accepted applicants listed quarterly. 

The application window for those due to re-apply in 2023 is now closed. For those due to re-apply in 2024, details of your re-application window will be emailed to you in due course.

For all new and reapplicants going through the European Diploma system, the length of RCVS accreditation awarded to successful applicants will be based on the applicant’s EBVS accreditation, rather than a five-year period being awarded as standard. The full details can be found in the Specialist information pack that can be downloaded from the related documents box.

Please also note that from 2023 onwards, applications will no longer require references to be submitted.

RCVS Specialist status is not easily achieved. To be included on the List of RCVS Specialists (on our Find a Vet website), an individual must have achieved a postgraduate qualification at least at Diploma level, and must additionally satisfy the RCVS that they make an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim and publish widely in their field.

An RCVS Specialist must also be available for referral by other veterinary colleagues.

Specialist status is time-bound, and the individual must reapply for recognition every five years (or earlier in certain cases) to maintain their name on the List.

For the full criteria and guidance, please refer to the Specialist Application Pack.

Revised CPD requirement due to COVID-19 pandemic

On 30 March 2020, we announced that a decision had been taken to reduce the annual requirement of hours of continuing professional development (CPD) that veterinary professionals are expected to undertake in 2020 by 25% due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the UK Government’s measures to reduce its transmission. Our annual minimum requirement for veterinary surgeons will be reduced from 35 to 26 hours of CPD

Taking this into account, the CPD requirement for Specialist status will also be reduced. Where CPD from 2020 will need to be submitted as part of an application, i.e. for all years between 2020-25, the required amount will be 237 hours, rather than 250 hours. The designated CPD requirement will also be reduced from 125 hours to 119 hours.

If you have any questions about this reduction, please contact us by email.

Objectives of the RCVS Specialist List

The objectives of the RCVS Specialist List include the following:

  • to promote specialisation within the veterinary profession;

  • to identify, for the public and the profession, veterinarians who have specialised knowledge and skills; who are active practitioners within a recognised field of specialisation; who maintain specialised competence through continuing professional development;

  • to encourage veterinary surgeons to refer cases, as appropriate, to RCVS Specialists;

  • to recognise specialised competence in key areas, where there are suitable postgraduate qualifications.

Please note that the Code of Conduct has been changed, and with effect from April 2016, all Specialists “must be registered with the RCVS and included on the RCVS specialist list if they want to practise and use the title ‘specialist’ in the UK.”

We have consequently introduced a streamlined application process for European specialists, to take account of their accreditation with accepted European Colleges. Please see Section E of the Specialist Information Pack for further information.

Criteria for recognition as a Specialist

Recognition as a Specialist by the RCVS is based upon the following criteria:

  • Possession of an RCVS, or RCVS-approved diploma, or other relevant postgraduate qualification;

  • being acknowledged by peers in the area of specialisation;

  • maintaining acceptable continuing professional development (CPD), e.g. through publication, teaching, reviewing, examining, attending and participating in national and international meetings within the specialised field;

  • being available for referral by other veterinary colleagues;

  • being a current active practitioner within the specialised field.

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How to apply or re-apply

If you are interested in applying for inclusion on the list of RCVS Specialists, you can find the full criteria and guidance in the Specialist information pack, which can be downloaded from the 'Related documents' box.

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List of RCVS Specialists

You can view the List of RCVS Specialists by designation on our Find a Vet website.

Full details of the location and contact details of the following individuals should, in the first instance be obtained from the referring veterinary surgeon.

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