New veterinary school to open in New Jersey

In response to an increased national demand for veterinarians, veterinary specialists and skilled technicians, Rowan University in New Jersey is establishing a school of veterinary medicine. Currently. There are currently only 33 veterinary schools in the United States.

Dr. Matthew Edson, seen here during an announcement event on campus, will be the founding dean of the Rowan University School of Veterinary.

The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine will offer New Jersey’s first 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.

The school plans to welcome its inaugural class of 60 students in fall 2025, pending approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (COE).

See video about the planned school here.

Of the 33 accredited veterinary schools in the United States, only five are on the East Coast. 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 6-7% in recent years and grew 19% in 2020-’21, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

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.

An innovative approach

Following the University’s approaches to science, engineering and medical education, the new school will bring innovation in curriculum delivery, operational cost efficiency, tuition affordability and job readiness, according to Rowan University President Ali A. Houshmand.

“We are creating a destination of choice for students who share a passion for animal health and who want to pursue careers in veterinary-related studies at all higher education levels,” Houshmand said. “Our curriculum will emphasize developing career-ready professionals to address shortages of animal health care providers in New Jersey and throughout the United States.”

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

“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. “Continuing Rowan’s innovations in experiential learning, students will have early exposure to our 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.”

Degree programs

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.

Education and health care facilities

The School of Veterinary Medicine’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. There, SOM will soon welcome 70-plus medical school students to its newest academic expansion, partnered with the clinical practices already serving hundreds of patients.

Designs for a 100,000-square-foot veterinary medical complex are underway and will include academic classrooms, diagnostic and teaching laboratories, a teaching hospital, and administrative and faculty offices. The teaching hospital will provide core experiential learning to students. It also will offer animal health care services to the public, as well as specialty referral and diagnostic services to veterinary practices in the region.

Accreditation

The school is seeking accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. The COE is the U.S. 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.