Student and clinical supervisors’ perspective on student preparedness for clinical learning in veterinary medicine – a multicentre study

This is an exciting fully funded PhD studentship opportunity exploring perceptions and characteristics that are important for clinical learning in both students and their clinical teachers. The successful candidate will join a vibrant and nurturing group of senior and early career academics with clinical and pedagogical experience in the veterinary and medical field.

Start date

1 October 2019


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

Funded by the Basil Longhurst Legacy at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey

Funding information

Funding will cover university tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for three years and a stipend for three years at RCUK levels (£15,000 per year).


Please note: The project can be adopted/modified to suit the successful candidates’ scientific interest in consultation with the supervisory team.

Student preparedness for clinical practice has been discussed in the literature across a range of health disciplines. The overall goal for clinical placement is for graduates to gain the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours (attributes) that are required to be a competent and effective clinician in their chosen field.

A successful relationship between a student and their supervisor is based on a common understanding of what is expected and required during placement. Traditionally, pre-clinical veterinary science has been taught on a subject/discipline based model, with clinical veterinary training undertaken within veterinary teaching hospitals associated with the University. Veterinary education is increasingly adopting a distributed model of clinical training occurring within external partner practices  during the final year. This model has been used in human health degrees such as medicine, nursing and physiotherapy; however, it is a relatively new concept within veterinary education.

Recently, there has been research into supervisor’s perspectives on the characteristics that are important for preparedness for clinical practice in the disciplines of medicine, pharmacy and nursing (Banneheke et al 2017; PMID 28789645); however, there is very little on a comparison of student and supervisor’s concepts of preparedness, particularly within the veterinary field.

The research questions of this study will focus on analysing whether there is a disparity between the student’s perception of what is expected for being prepared for clinical studies, and the clinical supervisor’s perception of what is required for students to be considered to be prepared for clinical studies. We will also recruit clinical supervisors from the core species area (companion animal, veterinary public health/pathology, equine and production animal) into this study and will compare responses to see if there are differences between the species specialists in what they consider to be student preparedness for clinical learning.

Furthermore, we will be looking into any potential disparities between these views and identifying what potential challenges this will therefore create in a distributed model of curriculum. Outcomes of the study should inform future curriculum design.

Eligibility criteria

Applications open to UK and EU students only.

This is purely a pedagogical focused research project and undergraduates with a degree in a related discipline would be expected.

Medical and veterinary graduates are encouraged to apply. A master’s degree in related subject (e.g. education, psychology) is desirable and previous experience in statistical methodology is desirable.

IELTS requirements: Overall score of 7 with minimum in each component being 6.5.

How to apply

Please apply through the School of Veterinary Medicine PhD course page.

Applicants are invited to contact Dr Jeevaratnam to discuss the project informally prior to making an application.

School of Veterinary Medicine PhD

Application deadline

Contact details

Kamalan Jeevaratnam
01 VSM 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682395


Research group: Preclinical Sciences

The student will be based at the University of Surrey; this is an ideal location which promotes informal interactions among the member of the team and constant exposure to innovative approaches, problems and settings beyond pure academia.

The candidate will benefit from international and interdisciplinary (med-vet-environment) development and networking activities organised by the school. There are opportunities to interact with several overseas collaborators may exist.


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.