Skip to content

VetGDP Graduate Declaration and exemptions

This page is for those joining the RCVS register: New Graduates, new overseas graduates with less than three years since they graduated and those coming back to the register after a period of 5 years.

VetGDP declarations are made to let the RCVS know if you are ready to begin your VetGDP or whether you would like to ask for an exemption, either in the short or longer term. All those joining the register must make a VetGDP statement in their RCVS My Account.

There is a Frequently Answered Questions section at the bottom of the page.

On becoming a member of the RCVS, you will need to complete your VetGDP declaration and/or apply for an exemption in your RCVS My Account. Most graduates will enrol onto the VetGDP, but a small minority of graduates will apply for exemption from the VetGDP, for example, if you are working overseas or are not yet starting a professional role.

Please follow these steps:

  1. Log into your RCVS MyAccount
  2. Make sure you have a relationship with your current practice (where applicable - see video: how to add a relationship with your practice)
  3. Click on the red VetGDP statement bar and choose the most appropriate statement.
  4. Click submit

UK graduates

Information about each statement:

  • I have started/will be starting a professional veterinary role with a clinical element, within the UK.

    Most new graduates will choose this option

  • I am going to work overseas

    It is not possible to participate in the VetGDP whilst working overseas. You may sign up for the VetGDP on your return for the UK. If you return to work in the UK you will only be exempt from the VetGDP if you have more than one year’s work experience in a role similar to that which you will be undertaking in the UK.

  • I am not yet starting a professional veterinary role

    If you have decided to take a break before starting work or are not yet taking on a veterinary role. Please remember to comeback and change your statement when you do start work.

  • I am continuing my studies

    For example, you may be taking a PhD or a Masters.

    If you are undertaking any work that requires you to be a member of the RCVS alongside your studies, such as working as a locum, you will need to begin your VetGDP.

  • My role has no clinical element

    All roles that require you to be a Member of the RCVS or if your role includes areas which require the knowledge that you have gained in your veterinary degree, then the VetGDP can be adapted to support you and you should begin your VetGDP, even if only 1 or 2 EPAs are relevant to your role.

Overseas graduates

Information about each statement:

  • I have started/will be starting a professional veterinary role with a clinical element, within the UK

    If you graduated oversees and have less than one year’s experience, you will need to choose this statement and sign up for the VetGDP. Please note: You can choose this statement if you have more than one year's experience and would still like to participate in the programme.

  • I have more than one year's experience in a role similar to that which I will be undertaking in the UK

    If you have more than one year’s experience in a similar role, you can choose this statement to make your declaration.

Returning to work

Those members returning to work after a period off the register of more than 5 years are strongly encouraged to participate in the VetGDP. If you have been working overseas in a position similar to that which you will now be undertaking in the UK then you do not need to participate but you must make a declaration.

Please log into your RCVS My Account to make the declaration which best describes your situation.

The practice or workplace you will be working in must make the VetGDP declaration to become an RCVS Approved Graduate Development Practice or Workplace. The appointed senior vet within your practice or workplace should do this.

The veterinary surgeon acting as your VetGDP Adviser in your practice or workplace must have completed the VetGDP Adviser declaration. The step-by-step guide for VetGDP Advisers shows them how to do this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

VetGDP exemptions

  • All of them. If your employment requires you to use your Veterinary degree and/or be MRCVS then you should participate in the VetGDP. If you are not sure how it would apply then please contact [email protected]


  • You will need to participate in the VetGDP if you are in a Government veterinary role, working for the food standards agency, working as an OV, working for the APHA, in animal welfare, as an inspector, in veterinary audit, meat hygiene inspectors, policy writers, epidemiologists, research roles, and so on.

    Please look at the EPAs and discuss this with your employer before you apply for an exemption. If you click on this option, it will take you to another screen to give your new job title and briefly describe your role. Your exemption will be confirmed by the RCVS by e-mail, and they may ask your for further detail. You may later sign up for the VetGDP when you begin a clinical role, just amend your statement on this page.

    If you need assistance in finding EPAs to suit your role, or in crafting your own EPA to suit your role, then please do contact us at [email protected].

    I am an Official Veterinarian or TB tester
    Whilst perhaps small, your role does have a clinical aspect. Here are some suggestions of which EPAs may be appropriate for your role. It is not an exhaustive list. Relevant EPAs will differ depending on role and should be discussed with the employer.

    • EPA 11 – Welfare assessments of animals arriving for slaughter are a common scenario to which this could[JST1]  be applied
    • EPA 12 – A veterinary risk assessment could be performed in a number of different aspects of the role relating to food safety/public health/animal welfare
    • EPA 13 – Audit activities in terms of the daily supervision of a factory are a requirement of the role. The OV may not be performing the annual FSA audit of the whole premises but their activities monitoring compliance through supervision contribute to that process
    • EPA 14 - OV may be asked to do export activities as part of their role
    • EPA 9 - OV would be expected to perform a Post Mortem Investigation following sudden deaths at an abattoir and may be expected to collect samples. This would only require a minor adjustment since collection of samples would only be required in certain cases.
    • EPA 10 - An OV is likely to be involved in, even if not lead epidemiological investigations of diseases which are identified at an abattoir. They have an important front-line role to play in identifying notifiable diseases. Beyond their initial training, they are more likely to take a leading role.


  • If you are continuing in education, studying towards a PhD for example, you can apply for an exemption but if you are taking on another veterinary role at the same time, such as being a locum, you will need to participate in the VetGDP.

  • Yes, it is.

    This may make it more awkward for you to find a VetGDP Adviser. You need to work in the same practice as your VetGDP Adviser for at least one hour a week, but there can be a sensible use of flexibility around your work patterns. Practices may not employ you unless you have an Adviser, although they can be in another practice. You may change your VetGDP Adviser where necessary.

    Even if you are working as a locum part time, you still need to engage with the VetGDP.

  • Overseas vets coming to work in the UK should participate in the VetGDP if they have less than 18 months experience in a role similar to that which they will be undertaking when starting work in the UK. This includes all roles for which the graduate needs to be MRCVS.