Specialist status

Applications from European College Diploma holders are currently being accepted 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.

The application window for for holders of all other qualifications, as well as those due to re-apply for Specialist status in 2019, will open on Monday 3 June. The deadline for new and re-applications will be Friday 4 October.

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.

Please use the links below to navigate this page, and also refer to the ‘Related documents’ box, where further information is available for download.

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.

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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

Applications for inclusion on the list of RCVS Specialists (or re-applications for those whose initial period of recognition has expired) are considered once a year.

Applications received in September are considered by a sub-committee which meets in January, and recommendations are passed to RCVS Council each February before being published in the next edition of the RCVS Register.

If you are interested in applying for inclusion on the list of RCVS Specialists, you can either download the Specialist information pack from the 'Related documents' box or contact Duncan Ash at the RCVS.

Those applicants who download the Referees form are requested to provide each of their Referees with an envelope addressed to the Education Department.

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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.

Alternatively, this information is available in the RCVS Register of Members or by contacting our registration team.

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