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Program Accreditation

What is veterinary school accreditation?

Accreditation of veterinary schools is an integral part of quality assurance procedures for veterinary education. In general, the process operates regionally and includes a number of countries in each system. In Australia and New Zealand, the system is managed by the Veterinary Schools Accreditation Advisory Committee (VSAAC) which reports to the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC).

International standards

Regular meetings of veterinary accreditation bodies in the UK, Australia and the USA have sought to understand and find common ground in some of the jurisdictions responsible for veterinary accreditation – namely the American Veterinary Medical Association Council of Education (CoE), AVBC and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK), and with recognition of the key role of the European accreditation system, known as EAEVE (European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education). Successful joint visits of the AVMA and AVBC/RCVS have been held at several Aust/NZ universities since 2017. EAEVE and the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) have sent observers to site visits and been involved with International Accreditation Working Group Meetings since 2007.

The AVBC has agreements with the RCVS, the SAVC and the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) for the reciprocal recognition of veterinary graduates from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; and Australia, New Zealand and Ireland respectively.

View the list of veterinary qualifications generally recognised by AVBC here.

Accreditation Standards

The procedures for accreditation in Australia and New Zealand are described in the AVBC Accreditation Standards (the Standards). These place great emphasis on the attributes of veterinary graduates and how veterinary schools are developing and delivering the veterinary curriculum to ensure that their graduates have developed these attributes.

The Standards document is revised annually by VSAAC, with a view to contemporary issues in veterinary education and international best practice in accreditation. In 2021, the AVBC will commence a comprehensive review of the Standards to ensure that they continue to be aligned with contemporary benchmarks and expectations and to ensure continual improvement in the standard of veterinary education.

Accreditation cycle

The AVBC evaluates veterinary schools based on compliance with 12 standards. The accreditation process involves a review of a school’s comprehensive self-evaluation report and an on-site visit to the school by a VSAAC review team. The AVBC requires evidence that each standard is being met or exceeded and that the school’s mission is being achieved. It must also be confident that graduates will continuously meet legislative requirements and community expectations. The VSAAC review team details the findings of the evaluation and these are considered by VSAAC. In turn, VSAAC makes recommendations to the AVBC for final decision on accreditation.

AVBC accreditation follows a cyclical program of review. Every veterinary school will have a site visit at least once every seven (7) years. In the intervening period, schools must submit an annual report to VSAAC. These are reviewed by VSAAC and a recommendation is made by VSAAC, to AVBC, on continued accreditation.