ANZCVS 50 Year Anniversary


17 February 2021

The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists is proudly celebrating our fiftieth anniversary in 2021. As the premier body certifying excellence in veterinary science in Australia and New Zealand, ANZCVS has evolved and grown significantly since its inception.

Established in May 1971, the College was born from a strong need within the Australian veterinary community for post-graduate qualifications undertaken outside the University setting. The College was established with 503 veterinarians, judged to have a high level of proficiency and skill and having at least eight years’ experience post-graduation, being invited to become foundation members. It was agreed that subsequent membership of the College would be by examination. Initial examination subjects suggested included Pathology, Preventative Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Surgery and Animal Reproduction and Obstetrics. The first examinations were held in 1973, with 14 candidates (including 3 in New Zealand) sitting subjects such as Diseases of Dairy Cattle, Diseases of Cattle and Sheep, Preventative Medicine Beef Cattle, Diseases of Sheep, Parasitology, Radiology, Pathology, Veterinary Anaesthesiology and Diseases of Cats and Dogs.

Membership of the College signifies to the profession and general public that a veterinarian is an advanced practitioner, representing a middle-tier of knowledge, competence and experience in a specific area of veterinary practice.

Today we have an average of 270 candidates enrolled each year and offer 34 subjects. After the fallout of COVID-19, Membership examinations were deferred in 2020 for the first time in the College’s history. As a result, this year we will be delivering exams to our largest cohort to date - 540 candidates.

ANZCVS also offers Fellowship examinations, providing veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to attain specialist qualifications without the need to travel to the northern hemisphere.  Fellowship of the College is by examination on completion of an approved residency program and acceptance of the candidate’s credentials.  Attaining Fellowship of the College indicates that a veterinarian has sufficient knowledge and experience in a particular area of veterinary science to entitle them to be acknowledged as a registered specialist or consultant in that area.      

ANZCVS also fosters veterinary education through our flagship annual scientific conference, Science Week. Science Week brings Members, along with the local and international veterinary community together to share knowledge and network with their peers. The conference delivers cutting-edge scientific veterinary education, otherwise not available in the southern hemisphere. From its small beginnings in the late 90s, Science Week has grown to a conference with over 1000 delegates and is the only veterinary conference in the world that uniquely brings together over 23 specialty disciplines together in one location.

Over our 50-year history, we have grown from just over 1000 members in the early 90s, to over 2800 members today. The College’s fortieth anniversary in 2011 marked a significant change when we officially acknowledged New Zealand in the College’s name. Formerly known as The Australian College of Veterinary Scientists (ACVSc), the College is now known as The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.

ANZCVS exists to advance professional qualifications and education across the veterinary sector, for the benefit of society.

Through our commitment to excellence in veterinary science, we aim to empower veterinarians to continue our tradition of excellence through challenging them.

In 2021 we are deeply thrilled to celebrate 50 years of ANZCVS.