Master Degree


General Overview

To obtain the degree of “Master of Advanced Studies in Veterinary Medicine” in the discipline of your choice, you must attend ESAVS courses which are offered in several European locations, take and pass the respective examinations, submit a Case Log which promotes application of newly learned methods and skills in daily practice at home, write Case Reports and orally present one of the Case Reports (please refer to detailed information for each part in the respective sections of the program details). All post graduate education is organized in modules.

The certificate and master programs are offered under the patronage of the “Federation for EDucation in Europe” (FEDE) which has audited and officially approved our certificate and master degrees. FEDE is an international association of ca. 500 private schools of higher learning in a variety of domains from sustainable development to veterinary medicine and holds participatory status in the council of Europe. FEDE strongly promotes educational quality in its member institutions by complying with European standards.

Study while working in practice.
The program allows the candidates to study from their practice. This means that the formal instruction is part-time in the form of courses taken at intervals during the program. It is expected that students gradually apply the skills they acquire in the formal part of their education to their daily work in practice. Therefore, in addition to the coursework, students are assigned specific tasks to be completed at home, for which they also obtain credits. Thus, the ESAVS MAS is based on accumulating a defined number of ECTS in (1) coursework, (2) building experience by applying what is learned to daily practice recorded in a case log, (3) submission of a series of in-depth case reports.

Modular structure
Training is organized in modules. To obtain the degree, a passing grade must be obtained for each module. These modules are:

  • Module I: Coursework (major subject) (min. 25 ECTS)
  • Module II: Coursework (minor subject) (max. 15 ECTS)
  • Module III: Clinical work at home/case log (20 ECTS)
  • Module IV: Thesis (case reports) (20 ECTS)

Discipline specific requirements
While the requirements are generally the same for all disciplines, there are some discipline specific aspects relating to the coursework as well as the written work. Therefore, specific program descriptions for each discipline are available on the ESAVS website.

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
All work done by the students is expressed in ECTS credits. 1 ECTS credit is equivalent to 25 hours of student work. In the ECTS it is generally accepted that each hour of formal coursework (lectures, practical work, tutorials etc) generates an additional 2-3 hours of work for the student including preparation for lectures, practicals, tutorials etc, post-lecture review, additional reading and literature searches and preparation for and sitting the examination. One week coursework (40 hours of instruction) generates a total of 120-160 hours of students work. With one ECTS equalling 25 hours of students work, one week course is assigned 5 ECTS, regardless of the subject since all courses are of the same standard. It is important to note that credits are only given for work which has been validated by a formal examination.

Important Information

The Certificate of Advance Studies in Veterinary Medicine program (CAS) and the Master of Advanced Studies in Veterinary Medicine program (MAS) are the two continuing education options ESAVS provides. The CAS is ideal for candidates who want to enhance their knowledge in a highly specialized field while avoiding the extra time required for the MAS. Although the MAS does require a greater time commitment, it is perfect for those who desire a more comprehensive scope of knowledge and expertise within their chosen discipline. Before a student enrols in either program, they should consider which option is more suitable to their academic aspirations and time requirements.

Please be aware that it is possible to obtain the CAS and the MAS in the same discipline. This means once you have completed the CAS you may „continue or add on“ the MAS in the same discipline.

It is also possible to switch from the CAS to the MAS program (and vice versa), during your enrolment time, as long as you stay in the same discipline and switch not later than two years after the initial date of enrolment. All current ECTS credits will be transferred; the maximum study time still applies from the time of initial enrolment. It is only possible to switch programs once.

Program Details

Coursework (Module I+II, 40 ECTS)

ESAVS courses and study programs
The students are required to accumulate a minimum of 40 ECTS in coursework. Coursework means active participation in classroom work, practical work, tutorials, and on-line assignments (distance learning), self-study and taking examinations. The ESAVS offers discipline-oriented study programs (e.g., dermatology, internal medicine etc.) consisting of several consecutive courses, each course covering specific topics of the subject. ESAVS courses typically consist of one to two weeks of residential training (40 and 80 hours of instruction, respectively) with distance learning contacts in between consecutive courses.

Specific information on the courses can be found on the ESAVS website 

Format: The candidates can compose their own curriculum within the limits set by the Program Directors of the disciplines (the respective documents can be obtained at the ESAVS office). The composition of courses of each candidate must be approved by the PGEC prior to enrolment to the program. Candidates are advised to plan the coursework well in advance.

To meet the requirements of the MAS program the coursework includes a minimum of 40 ECTS and comprise a major subject and minor subjects. The specific requirements depend on the particular discipline (the respective documents can be obtained at the ESAVS office).

– A minimum of 25 ECTS are accumulated in the major subject: the chosen discipline and/or closely related fields (Module I)
– The remaining (up to 15) ECTS can be taken in minor subjects, which may not be directly related to the chosen discipline

Examination: ECTS for coursework (5 ECTS per week) can be collected after passing an examination for each course. Examinations are taken twice a year. All exams are in the CASUS® format, a computerized automated examination system. Results are graded on a 0-20 scale (<10= fail, 10-12 = sufficient, 12-14 = fair, 14-16 = good, 16-18 = very good, 18-20 = excellent). The exam is passed when a grade of at least 10 is obtained. In case of an insufficient grade, the candidate can retake the exam at the next possible examination date (max. 4 attempts).

External coursework: Up to 5 ECTS of coursework (completed up to 5 years prior to enrolment) may be accumulated from courses taken outside of ESAVS. Such external courses must be of the equivalent content, duration, similarly high standard and examined by the external provider or ESAVS. External courses with ECTS points assigned must be approved by the Program Director prior to presenting it to the postgraduate education committee (PGEC). It is recommended that participants wishing to select such courses should submit a detailed outline to ESAVS well before the enrolment as retrospective approval may not be given.

Retrospective recognition of ESAVS courses: ESAVS courses taken in the 5 years prior to enrolment in the Master program are usually recognized. Courses taken more than 5 years ago can be submitted but are subject to the approval of the Program Director. Proof of participation (certificate of attendance) must be submitted with the application and a passing grade for the respective examinations must be obtained within the study period.

Practical work and case log (Module III, 20 ECTS)

It is expected that candidates will continuously and progressively apply the skills they have acquired in the Master program in their daily practice at home, in this way supporting and reinforcing the learning process. The case log represents a condensed written account of this practical work.

Format: During the program, the candidates are required to accumulate 200 well documented cases in the form of a case log. These cases must reflect the chosen discipline and are expected to be mostly accumulated in the second half of the program. A written summary of each case is presented in a standardized format including case identification, signalment and history, results of the examination and ancillary aids, laboratory findings, differential diagnosis, diagnosis, and prognosis, therapy, and outcome. All raw data relevant to each case must be filed in a digitalized format and must be accessible upon request by the examination board.

Examination: The candidate is requested to submit his/her case log in two batches of 100 cases each to the ESAVS office. The case log is then reviewed by the respective Program Director (or an expert appointed by him) and graded on a 0-20 scale; both grades are averaged and the passing grade is 10/20. The maximum grade is 20 points. The grading scale is <10=fail, 10-11.9=sufficient, 12-13.9=fair, 14-15.9=good, 16-17.9=very good, 18-20 excellent. Passing grade is 10 points. A sample of cases may be requested by the reviewer to be immediately delivered in electronic form including all relevant information and documents. In case of an insufficient grade, the candidate is notified about the shortcomings of the case log and requested to resubmit a revised version or submit additional cases within 6 months of notice.

Master Thesis (Module IV, 20 ECTS)

The Master thesis consists of a series of 10 case reports covering a range of topics in the chosen discipline. Published case reports, (published during enrolment in the program) can also be submitted. An oral presentation of one selected case must be presented in an approved format.

Format: These case reports include a complete presentation of the case, illustrations where necessary, literature review on the subject with references and a discussion. The candidates must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Generally, a case report should contain 2000 words +/- 10%, excluding references and appendix. The combined case reports should not exceed a total of 20,000 words.

Examination: The candidate is requested to submit her/his case reports to the ESAVS Office to be forwarded to the Master’s Program Committee. Each case report is viewed and graded by the respective Program Director (or experts appointed by her/him). The grading scale is <10=fail, 10-11.9=sufficient, 12-13.9=fair, 14-15.9=good, 16-17.9=very good, 18-20 excellent. Passing grade is 10 points. The grades of the individual case reports are averaged to obtain one single grade. When this average grade is below 10, candidates are requested to resubmit revised versions of the failed case reports or submit new case reports. Published peer-reviewed case reports automatically receive at least a very good grade.

Credits obtained in the CAS
ECTS collected in coursework and the case log during a CAS program in the same discipline as the MAS will be fully validated to meet the MAS requirements in the said discipline.

ECTS collected during a CAS program in a different discipline as the MAS can in part be validated pending evaluation and approval of the PGEC.

Duration of the Program
The minimum time requirement of a Master’s program is three years, but generally the program extends over a period of up to five years. An additional year can be granted upon request and approval by the committee. An applicant can enter the Master’s program immediately after graduating from veterinary school but the Master’s degree can only be obtained when the applicant has been practicing small animal veterinary medicine for at least 4 years since obtaining her/his veterinary degree.


Next examination date

Summer semester: 14 June 2023


Following successful completion of coursework and case log, the PGEC reviews all grades collected by the candidate and assigns a final overall grade on a scale 1-20. The maximum grade is 20 points. The grading scale is <10=fail, 10-11.9=sufficient, 12-13.9=fair, 14-15.9=good, 16-17.9=very good, 18-20 excellent. Passing grade is 10 points. Upon passing, the candidate is awarded the Master of Advanced Studies in Veterinary Medicine (MAS) / discipline. An annual graduation ceremony will be held.

Master Programs