Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (third year)



One year full-time; two years part-time

Online with 160 hours of work experience

Please note: International students will need to attend weekly tutorials at the EIT campus in Hawke’s Bay


Click the light blue Apply tab to the right to apply via the EIT website


There are some exciting changes coming to our Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing programmes in 2023. Updated programme information will be added as soon as possible.

To chat about the best options for you or for further information, please email 

For the first time in the South Island, and in collaboration with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), we are now offering the third year of this qualification online.

Otago Polytechnic Veterinary Nursing learners can now pathway through our Level 5 Certificate during year one, the Level 6 Diploma during year two and then move into this EIT qualification to complete their degree-level Veterinary Nursing study. 

During this degree, you will develop your skills in critical thinking so you can become an essential part of a veterinary team in a clinic or hospital. Graduates could seek employment in a variety of roles including as a Veterinary Nurse, Veterinary Nurse Educator, Animal Care Educator or across specialist clinic roles.

Please note: You will apply for this degree with EIT and be enrolled as an EIT learner but will study online and attend block courses in Dunedin. 

Career opportunities 
  • Veterinary Nurse
  • Veterinary Nurse Educator
  • Animal Care Educator
  • DOC roles
  • MPI roles
  • Humane Society roles
  • Commercial representative
  • Medical representative
  • Specialist clinic roles
  • Veterinary Nursing or Animal Care Researcher 
What will I learn to do? 

Graduates of this degree will:

  • place animal welfare at the forefront of every veterinary nursing task and procedure performed while also considering human and environmental factors;
  • integrate extensive knowledge and understanding of the professional, cultural, ethical and moral responsibilities of a veterinary nurse;
  • confidently apply advanced theoretical knowledge and skills in veterinary medical nursing, anaesthesia and surgical assistance in practice;
  • think and reflect critically to continuously improve animal well-being, their own practice and the industry as a whole;
  • proactively engage in continuous learning and undertake research to support evidence-based practice, solving complex problems in relation to patient care and health;
  • advise clients on the management of individual animal care based on contemporary evidence; and
  • recognise the need for and lead the development of strategies to deal with emotionally and otherwise stressful situations. 
Entry requirements 

All applicants must demonstrate an acceptable level of English language fluency prior to acceptance in the programme. For international students, ways in which English language fluency may be demonstrated include the following: 

  • successful study of a programme in which English was the language of instruction (subject to the conditions in EIT's Database for English Language Proficiency (DELP))
  • completion of a New Zealand Certificate in English Language (Level 3) - with any endorsement 
  • IELTS Academic score of 6, with no band score lower than 5.5, achieved in a single test within the two years preceding enrolment 
  • accepted international equivalents to the above IELTs scores, achieved in a single test within the two years preceding enrolment (see equivalency tables in the DELP). 

Please note: International students will need to attend weekly tutorials at the EIT campus in Hawke’s Bay 

Pathway into third year of degree 

1. New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant)

  • One year full-time/two years part-time
  • Dunedin or online with block courses in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland 

2. New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)

  • One year full-time/two years part-time
  • Dunedin or online with block courses in Dunedin or Christchurch 

3. Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (third year) in collaboration with EIT

  • One year full-time/two years part-time
  • Online with block courses in Dunedin
  • International students will need to attend weekly tutorials at the EIT campus in Hawke’s Bay  

Your study time will be made up of contact time (online learning directed by tutors, tutorials and industry-based learning) and non-contact time (individual study time and self-directed online learning). 

Contact time

  • Tutorials are timetabled between 8.00am-5.00pm, Monday to Friday
  • 160 work experience hours 

Non-contact time

  • You should plan to spend 10 hours of study per course per week including scheduled classroom time
Work experience 
  • 160 hours during Year Three
  • You will complete your work experience in at least two different veterinary practices – unless you are currently employed at a veterinary clinic.
  • You will need to find your own work placements (with assistance from programme staff where needed).
  • Recommended that work placements are in two or three week blocks.
  • While on work experience, you must maintain a portfolio with evidence of completion of practical assessments and clinical skills; you will be in contact with your Programme Coordinator on a regular basis, to discuss progress on the workplace requirements.
  • A memorandum of agreement will be drawn up between the work placement facility, the student and EIT, to define rights and responsibilities of each party involved in the work placements.    
Year Three courses 

Course name


Advanced Medical Nursing
Develop the skills and knowledge required to provide advanced medical nursing care to acute and critical patients as part of a multidisciplinary team in a clinical environment.


Advanced Anaesthesia and Surgery

Learn how to monitor and manage complex patients receiving general anaesthesia and to provide assistance in advanced surgical procedures.


Applied Animal Welfare, Behaviour and Training

Develop the skills and knowledge required for critical evaluation of animal welfare, behaviour and training in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally.


Reflective Practice and Inquiry for Veterinary Nursing A

Discover how to plan work and to analyse and apply research in a veterinary nursing practice.


Wildlife and Conservation

Develop skills and knowledge related to wildlife care, management and conservation.


Emergency Care and Response

Learn how to manage response teams and patients during natural disasters and clinical emergencies within the veterinary clinic and the community.


Animal Rehabilitation

Discover how to contribute to the planning of patient rehabilitation and to monitor patient progress throughout rehabilitation.   


Reflective Practice and Inquiry for Veterinary Nursing B

Develop the skills and knowledge required to critically analyse research to inform evidence-based veterinary nursing practice.



These consist of practical workbook completion for on-campus block courses, completion of work experience portfolio, assignments, tests, exams and observations, depending on nature of the course. 

How to apply 
Student loans and allowances 

StudyLink is a service of the Ministry of Social Development. Apply well before your programme begins (even if you haven’t been accepted yet) so you’ll be ready to get your payments when you need them most. Check out or phone 0800 88 99 00. A student allowance is a weekly payment to help you with living expenses. It doesn’t have to be paid back. A student loan is made up of three parts – compulsory fees, course-related costs and living costs. You have to pay these back.     


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.