ESAVS Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Veterinary Medicine

Introduction
ESAVS as school providing continuing education for veterinarians.

Small animal veterinarians are increasingly focusing their activity on specific aspects of veterinary medicine in line with a significant trend to create group practices and clinics. This development and the growing demand for veterinarians with certified competences in advanced clinical small animals medicine and case management increases the demand for post-graduate education in specific disciplines. Educational authorities in veterinary training in Europe recognize an intermediate level of competence between the veterinary graduate and the European Specialist (diplomats of respective colleges of the European board of Veterinary Specialization). This level of intermediate competence is achieved by state-of-the-art education.
Over the past 30 years the European School of Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS) has offered an international postgraduate education recruiting the best specialist-teachers from all over Europe and beyond offering comprehensive training programs aiming at the said intermediate level. These programs also offer the opportunity to obtain a Certificate or Master degree.

Obtain a Master degree by studying while working.

A diploma or degree testifies that its holder has achieved competences and skills which have been evaluated and examined by a board of experts. It is now internationally accepted that extra-occupational studies leading to a Master degree should be based on specifically designed continuing education programs called “Master of Advanced Studies (MAS)”, also known as “professional” or “executive” Master. A MAS focuses on practical experience and skills rather than on scientific and research experience of the traditional Master of Science (MSc).
Our MAS offers an opportunity to achieve a high level of competence by part time formal coursework and individual written work both of which provide a frame to focus and guide the professional activity in the chosen discipline in practice at home. The written work requirements promote in depth study of the chosen discipline at an academic level.

The objectives of the program.

Students will have to:
– Acquire competence in the promotion of health as well as in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases of small animals at a level which serves the needs of the consumer of modern high quality veterinary care.
– Become well versed in selected disciplines of small animal veterinary medicine and to interact optimally with EBVS diplomates
– Acquire problem solving skills, rather than skills in the accumulating knowledge. Therefore, the teaching is problem-based using state of the art didactic techniques offered by our experienced ESAVS faculty, who are recruited from among the recognized specialists in Europe and beyond.
– Be capable of critical information retrieval and literature search as well as scientific writing.
– Lay a foundation for continuous life-long professional development in the chosen discipline.

Program

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.

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 https://www.esavs.eu
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).
Generally:
– 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. 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 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. 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. 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 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.
Who is responsible for the program?
The Master’s program is offered by ESAVS, an officially recognized school by the Federation for Education in Europe (FEDE), an international association of about 500 private schools of higher education. FEDE which holds participatory status in the council of the European Union has certified these programs. The teaching procedures have been audited and approved by a Swiss EduQua-accredited, supranational independent institution. In addition, ESAVS is in the process of accrediting our programs by VetCEE, an accreditation agency for continuing veterinary education endorsed by the highest authorities in veterinary education represented in the European Coordinating Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT).

  • Each discipline has a Program Director (PD).

o The PD is defining and regularly updating the discipline’s specific requirements complying with the general rules and standards determined by the post-graduate education committee.
o The PD is defining, together with the other course masters the major and the minor subjects of the discipline.
o The PD is responsible for overseeing the creation of CASUS-based examinations.
o The PD is appointing and inviting course masters in the responsible discipline to join the examination board.
o The PD is overseeing the evaluation/grading of all written work (case log, case reports) of the students enrolled in their discipline program. She/He can perform the evaluation her/himself or may also delegate the evaluation assignments to other members of the examination board.

  • The program is supervised by the Post Graduate Education Committee (PGEC), which consists of the ESAVS Educational Director and four professors of veterinary medicine from various European universities coming from different disciplines of small animal veterinary medicine. The committee is assisted by a coordinator from ESAVS.

The duties of the PGEC include:
o Supervision of the quality of program.
o Regular review of the rules and requirements.
o Collecting all examination grades and assignment of ECTS credits and a final global grade to each candidate following review of all the data.
o Management and interaction with the Program Directors.

  • The PGEC is assisted by the Examination Board, which consists of at least 10 specialists usually associated with ESAVS, representing various disciplines of small animal veterinary medicine. The committee is chaired by the Educational Director.

The examination board is responsible for:
– Reviewing and grading the case logs and case reports.
– Creation of examinations.

  • The faculty of ESAVS (Principal Course Masters and Course Masters) consists of internationally recognized veterinary specialists from all over the world, most of which are university teachers. The ESAVS faculty teaches in the courses and prepares the respective examinations.
  • All administration associated with the MAS is handled by the Certificate/Master department at the ESAVS office.
Admission requirements
  • Candidates must hold a recognized, state-validated veterinary degree from a university or equivalent institution of higher education, according to DIRECTIVE 2013/55/EU (see for details: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013L0055).
  • Candidates must provide proof that for the whole duration of the Master´s curriculum they are working at least half time in a veterinary practice with a case load of at least 1000 diseased small animals (500 per clinician) per year, adequate facilities for examination, surgery, diagnostic imaging and hospitalisation equivalent to the Tier 2 category of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons of the UK practice standards scheme (see for details: https://RCVS.org.uk).
Cost
The cost of the program includes registration fees, course fees and examination fees (including evaluation fees for the written assignments).

  • Registration and evaluation fees must be paid to the ESAVS office.
  • The fees for the coursework are paid for each individual course directly to ESAVS.
  • The courses offered by ESAVS are published on the website and in the annual brochures. The fees vary according to the discipline. Generally, highly technical courses are more expensive than others.

  • The examination fees are paid for each individual examination.
  • Registration
    Write an email to the ESAVS Master & Certificate department (master-certificate@esavs.eu):

    • Expressing your intention to participate in the program.
    • Include a copy of your veterinary diploma (scanned version will do).
    • Include a brief description of your working environment:

    – Address of the practice/veterinary hospital
    – List of staff and their qualifications
    – Short list of facilities: rooms for examination, equipment, hospitalisation space, ajor laboratory equipment, diagnostic imaging equipment
    – Case load: indicate approximate number of dogs, cats, other pets seen per year over the past three years

    • Include one copy of your passport or personal identification card.
    • Include a list of the ESAVS courses you may have attended in the past and/or plan to attend.
    • Selected course curriculum: Please request the respective curriculum form for your discipline at the ESAVS Master & Certificate department (master-certificate@esavs.eu)

    These documents will be forwarded to the PGEC. You will be notified in due course whether your application has been accepted and receive an invoice to pay a registration fee.