VSC331 Diagnosis and Critical Thinking in Veterinary Science (8)

Diagnosis and Critical Thinking in Veterinary Science will provide students with the tools to embark on the remaining components of the veterinary science degree. This subject will be taught in a Problem-based learning (PBL) format where students will work in teams of about 6 students to solve authentic, ill-structured problems, working though a set of Situation Analysis and Critical Thinking questions. PBL is student centred learning, rather than teacher centred learning. Therefore, students will be required to determine what they need to know in order to solve the problems presented, and then using prior knowledge, experiences and references, identify information that can be utilised to advance the case or solve the problem. PBL is collaborative; students do not work alone, but in a team for the entire session, and are therefore able to develop their communication and team skills.

Knowledge acquired previously and knowledge and skills taught concurrently during the session in the other subjects will be applied to the PBL cases. There will be a strong connection between these clinical subjects and this subject, where students will be able to apply this knowledge to the case in a safe and supportive environment. AHEMS marks will also be collated into this subject. Students cannot progress to Phase 2, without the completion of Phase 1.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: VSC331. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students enrolled in the following courses:

Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Veterinary Biology


VSC310 and VSC332 and ASC262 and ASC474

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to communicate veterinary knowledge and information clearly, effectively and efficiently to a variety of audiences utilising appropriate terminology, both verbally and in writing;
  • be able to engage in the Problem Based Learning (PBL) process, working as part of an effective PBL team by demonstrating developing skills in team management, team communication and team efficiency;
  • be able to demonstrate appropriate time management and organisational skills to permit completion of all PBL activities and assessment tasks;
  • be able to demonstrate the development of self-directed learning skills, utilising appropriate quality references and sharing this knowledge with PBL team members in a collaborative and timely fashion;
  • be able to utilise the PBL approach to develop a plan to investigate, diagnose and manage diseases of animals, and gather and interpret this relevant information to progress the cases;
  • be able to work according to the principles of Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine in applying knowledge from the pre-clinical, para-clinical and clinical disciplines, to the health management, prevention and treatment of diseases of animals;
  • be able to discuss veterinary and production issues taking into account financial, clinical, welfare and social factors; and
  • be able to demonstrate developing critical appraisal skills in self and peer evaluation of PBL performance.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • AHEMS: This subject will be a collection point for Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Studies (AHEMS) Reports undertaken over the previous 2 years during vacations
  • There will be PBL packages covering a range of topics and animal species. There will be:
  • Companion Animal Packages - canine, feline and equine
  • Production Animal Packages - bovine, ovine, porcine, piscine and camelid

Workplace Learning

This subject contains a 60 days Compulsory Workplace Learning component.

The WPL component  is Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Studies (AHEMS) which is comprised of 12 weeks off campus placements at student selected farm enterprises, undertaken in non-session time over a two year period, but at a time of the students choosing. Students can begin AHEMs placements at the end of Session 1 Year 1 and they must be completed before the end of Session 1 Year 3. Essentially the 12 weeks of AHEMS is a requirement of the veterinary science accrediting body of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. VSC331 is the collection point of AHEMS reports and these will contribute to a significant component of the subject's grades.

Special Resources

Students must provide their own transport and accomodation for the AHEMS component of this subject, which is undertaken during out of session time at the students discretion.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.