USA’s newest veterinary school plans 2025 opening

Dr Matthew Edson has been announced as founding dean of the Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine. Pending approval from the AVMA, the school plans to welcome its inaugural class in 2025.
Dr Matthew Edson has been announced as founding dean of the Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine. Pending approval from the AVMA, the school plans to welcome its inaugural class in 2025. © Rowan University

A new veterinary school in the US will be the first for the state of New Jersey and will welcome its first 60 students in 2025.

The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine will offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, as well as additional degrees and training programs designed to shape the future of veterinary medicine and animal health care in the state. It says it will offer “a less traditional curriculum”, with online, virtual reality, and simulation models integral to student learning experiences.

Of the 33 accredited veterinary schools in the United States, only five are on the East Coast. Rowan will become the 34th, pending approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE).

In 2006, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges predicted a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians in the nation within 20 years. Applications for veterinary medical colleges have increased 6 to 7% in recent years and grew 19% in 2020 to 2021, according to the AVMA.

In November, the New Jersey Legislature approved $75 million in funding to construct the school’s primary academic and clinical facility in Sewell.

Designs for a 100,000-square-foot veterinary medical complex are under way and will include academic classrooms, diagnostic and teaching laboratories, a teaching hospital, and administrative and faculty offices.

Plans for the school were announced during an outdoor event on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester in Sewell. State and University officials joined with some furry and feathered friends–birds, goats, dogs, a bunny and a skunk–to make the announcement at the future site of the school.

With the addition of the new school, Rowan will become one of two universities in the nation to offer Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees. The University offers its MD program through Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and its DO program through Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Rowan will establish undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and internship/residency programs at the veterinary school. Additionally, an A.S. in veterinary technology to B.S. in veterinary technology pathway program will be offered in collaboration with Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester.

Rowan’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr Matthew Edson as founding dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine on June 1.

Edson said students would have early exposure to Rowan’s on-site veterinary teaching hospital, as well as external clinical sites where they will work side-by-side with faculty and practicing veterinarians. “This will allow them to gain ample real-world experience to promote day-one career readiness.

“We’re excited to create a veterinary school where hands-on experience, virtual reality, simulations and outcomes-based, student-centered education and assessment are integral to the teaching and learning experience,” Edson said.

In addition to the DVM degree, the following programs are under development:

  • Graduate programs, including an M.S./Ph.D. in veterinary biomedical science in collaboration with Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan Universities and the College of Science & Mathematics;
  • An accelerated DVM/MBA in collaboration with Rowan University’s Rohrer College of Business designed to improve training of students in veterinary practice management, business and economics beyond what will be offered as core content within the DVM curriculum;
  • Undergraduate programs, including bachelor’s degrees in veterinary studies and veterinary technology, as well as certificates and training pathways for veterinary technicians and assistants;
  • Internship and residency programs, which will provide postgraduate educational opportunities for those who already have completed their DVM degree. The programs could lead to specialization, including specialist board certifications.

The vet school’s primary academic and clinical facility will be located on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell, near the new Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) facility.

The school is seeking accreditation by AVMA’s Council on Education. The COE is the US Department of Education-approved accrediting agency for colleges and schools of veterinary medicine in the United States.

Each new school must follow a series of approval steps before receiving full accreditation. Schools must adhere to 11 accreditation standards demonstrating that they offer high-quality educational experiences as outlined by the AVMA.

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