Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) - Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAVP) work?

In order to be awarded the RCVS' CertAVP you must successfully complete the following modules:

  • 1x A-Module
  • 1x B-Module
  • 4x C-Modules

You can either work towards a general CertAVP qualification, which allows you the flexibility to choose from a broad range of C-modules, or you can choose a certain combination of modules in order to work towards a named qualification – a ‘designated certificate’ - in a particular specialism (e.g. 'Small Animal Surgery' or 'Equine Medicine').

Candidates who wish to be awarded a designated certificate must also successfully complete a Synoptic Examination in their chosen subject area.

All candidates studying at the University of Liverpool must complete A & B-Modules in order, prior to studying their 4x additional C-modules.

Do I have to complete the modules in a particular order?

Yes, at the University of Liverpool, you must complete A & B-Modules in order, prior to continuing with any C-Modules.

The A & B-Modules provide the foundation for the CertAVP; the knowledge and skills that are developed, will be consolidated and built-upon throughout the C-Modules that follow.

Most C-Modules can be completed in any order however, for some designations delegates are required, or strongly advised, to complete certain modules before others. For example, the Small Animal Surgery Core module (C-SAS.1), should be completed before other Small Animal Surgery Modules.

What is a designated certificate? What combination of modules do I have to complete for a designated certificate?

As an alternative to the general CertAVP you can choose to study towards a range of RCVS Designated Certificates. These require a specific combination of modules to be completed, followed by a Synoptic Examination.

The specific combination of modules required depends upon your chosen designation.

If you hold a designated CertAVP you could also be eligible to apply to the RCVS for Advanced Practitioner Status.

How do I enrol onto a CertAVP module?

The CertAVP programme is open to Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS), or to veterinary professionals who hold a registerable qualification.

Before starting to work towards individual modules you must enrol for the CertAVP with the RCVS. You should also inform the RCVS of your intention to study your CertAVP modules at the University of Liverpool. The RCVS will then confirm your eligibility to enrol onto the programme, and record your credits as you complete your modules with the University.

If you wish to enrol onto a module with the University of Liverpool, please complete the appropriate booking form. If you are new to studying CertAVP modules at the University, you will also be required to complete a New Student Registration Form.

All delegates studying at the University of Liverpool must complete A & B-Modules in order, prior to continuing with their C-Modules.

Further Information:

How is the RCVS involved?

The CertAVP is an RCVS qualification. The University of Liverpool provides and assesses modules for delegates to complete towards the Certificate, on behalf of the RCVS.

Further Information:

Can I complete the Certificate if I am not eligible to enrol with the RCVS?

Yes, the University of Liverpool has accredited all of its CertAVP modules as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters degree award. You can complete modules in the same way as RCVS-enrolled Certificate delegates, and count them towards a University of Liverpool award.

Note: Delegates from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate their language skills to IELTS level 7. All non-EU delegates are also required to provide a copy of their registration certificate and veterinary degree.

How long does it take to complete a CertAVP?

At the University of Liverpool we provide CertAVP modules over three semesters (January/May/September), and each module consists of 16 weeks of structured study, which is worth 10 credits.

If you were to complete all six modules (60 credits) consecutively, you could complete your Certificate within 2 years, although not all modules are provided every semester.

You have up to ten years from when you first enrol with the RCVS to complete the CertAVP programme, if you would like to take a break between some of the modules. Please note however, that if you take longer than three years to complete the Certificate, you will no longer be eligible for a University of Liverpool Postgraduate Degree award.

How much time should I allocate to complete a module?

Each 16-week module is designed to be completed in approximately 100 hours of study time. Therefore, we recommend that you allow a minimum of 6.25 hours per week to dedicate to your studies. 

Many delegates choose to spend longer than this, in order to get the most out of the module. You might also find that some weeks require more or less time to cover all of the materials and assessments.

Once the module begins, some of the course material will be available several weeks in advance, so that it is possible to read ahead in order to schedule for weeks when you will be unable to study.

How often do I have to be at a computer at a particular time?

Most of the reading, tasks and assignments can be completed online at a time to suit your individual schedule however, there are some set time commitments.

For many modules, attendance is required at a minimum of three live online journal clubs over the course of each 16-week module. These tend to occur on weekday evenings and the schedule is available at the start of each module. There is usually some flexibility over the dates that you attend.

In addition, assessment submission dates are interspersed throughout each module. This means that the workload is fairly evenly spread across the 16-weeks, but that there will also be some deadlines to meet throughout the module. Assessment submission dates are available to candidates at the start of the module.

How are the modules assessed? Is there an exam at the end of each module?

The exact assessment method varies between individual modules. However, assessment tends to be by a combination of written reflective case reports, discussion boards, case logs, attendance and participation at online journal clubs, and short answer questions or multiple choice tests.

Assessments are spread throughout the module, and feedback is made available as the module progresses. Detailed information on assessments and submission dates is made available to candidates at the start of the module.

What is the Synoptic Examination? What material is covered in the Synoptic Examination?

Following completion of a specific combination of all six CertAVP modules, delegates who wish to obtain a Designated Certificate must also complete a Synoptic Examination.

The Synoptic Exam is an oral examination in your chosen designation. It is NOT an examination of the materials covered in the CertAVP modules; rather, it is an all-encompassing examination on your chosen designation, wherein candidates present themselves to be examined as an Advanced Practitioner in the subject.

The modules will be useful as an aid in preparation for the Synoptic Exam however, some examination material might not have been discussed in module teachings. For some designations, particularly where there is a wider choice of C-Modules, this might be particularly apparent.

As a Synoptic Exam candidate, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that you are aware of the scope and content of your chosen designation, and that you are adequately prepared for the examination.

We are unable to provide access to lectures, notes or other module content for modules that you are not currently studying with us. If you wish, you might choose to complete additional modules (over and above the six modules required in order to complete your CertAVP), in order to ensure that you have covered more of the material upon which you are likely to be assessed.

You are welcome to enrol onto additional modules as normal, either simply to help you to prepare for the Synoptic Exam, or to be counted towards a Diploma / MSc in Veterinary Professional Studies, if you wish to progress further through the Veterinary Professional Studies programme.

Further Information:

Can I complete the CertAVP from abroad?

Yes, teaching and assessment of the modules is 100% online, and therefore University of Liverpool CertAVP modules can easily be completed from anywhere in the world.

Any module completed from outside of the UK can be counted towards the CertAVP, assuming that you have registered with the RCVS as normal.

Why are there different prices for each module?

At the University of Liverpool there are different levels of enrolment to choose from:

eLearning Participants (ELP): If you choose to enrol as an eLearning Participant, you will receive full access to the module teaching materials, including online lectures and the online library, full contact with other delegates via discussion boards and journal clubs, as well as ongoing support from the technical team and module coordinators.

The module fee includes assessments, which take place throughout the 16-weeks, with feedback provided by tutors. There is no final exam per module.

Full Course Participants (FCP): If you choose to enrol as a Full Course Participant, you will receive exactly the same online materials, assessments/feedback and support as an eLearning Participant however, you will also attend a workshop designed to complement the module materials, at the Leahurst Campus, Wirral.

Workshops take place over one or two consecutive days per module.

Assessment Only: If you choose to enrol onto a module on an assessment only basis, you will not have access to any of the online teaching materials, lectures, library resources or tutor/peer support. Instead, you will receive a document informing you of the assessment requirements, and will be asked to complete this work on a self-directed basis, by set deadlines over the course of the 16-week module.

Do I have to attend the workshop associated with each module?

No, workshops are entirely optional and you are not at a disadvantage if you choose to enrol onto modules as an 'eLearning Participant' only.

However, workshops are pitched at an appropriate level for CertAVP candidates and they are designed to complement the material covered in the module teachings. They cover practical skills or case-based discussions in more depth, and offer you the chance to meet fellow course delegates and tutors.

Can I enrol onto a module if I don’t want to work towards a CertAVP?

Yes, you do not have to be registered with the RCVS for a CertAVP in order to enrol onto a module. Modules can be completed for your own professional development, on a 'CPD-only' basis.

Please be advised however, that if you decide in future that you would like to work towards the CertAVP, but you have not enrolled with the RCVS prior to starting work on a module, you cannot use any credits earned towards the RCVS qualification.

If you complete all module assessments it might be possible to use the credits for the module towards a University of Liverpool Veterinary Professional Studies qualification.