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December 30, 2021

Rowan University to create New Jersey's first veterinary school

The program expects to have its inaugural class of 60 students enrolled by 2025

Education Universities
Rowan University veterinary school Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Rowan University is planning to open New Jersey's first veterinary school in 2025.

New Jersey residents who want to study veterinary medicine will soon be able to receive the academic degrees necessary for the profession in their home state.

Rowan University will open the state's first school of veterinary medicine in 2025, university officials said Wednesday.

The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine expects to enroll an inaugural class of about 60 students. The school hopes to eventually have as many as 90 per class.

The veterinary school will be housed within a 100,000-square-foot academic and clinical facility on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell, Gloucester County. The New Jersey state legislature allocated $75 million in funding towards the construction of the building, according to the university.

The veterinary medical complex will include classrooms, labs and a teaching hospital, which will offer animal health care services to the public and serve as a referral source to local veterinary practices.

The school's program offerings will be highlighted by New Jersey's first doctoral degree in veterinary medicine. The veterinary school will also have a number of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as internship and residency opportunities for postgraduates. 

Program highlights include the following:

• A joint master's and doctoral degree in veterinary biomedical science
• An accelerated doctoral degree in veterinary medicine and master's degree in business administration
• Bachelor's degrees in veterinary studies and veterinary technology
• An associate's degree in veterinary technology to bachelor's degree in veterinary technology pathway initiative

University officials cited a growing need for animal health care specialists as their reason for establishing New Jersey's first veterinary school. 

In 2006, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges predicted a shortage of about 15,000 veterinarians in the U.S. within the next 20 years. However, veterinary school applications have increased by as much as 7% in recent years and jumped by 19% during this past application cycle, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“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,” Rowan University President Ali A. 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.”

The school's founding dean will be Dr. Matthew Edson, a licensed veterinarian who started Rancocas Veterinary Associates in South Jersey. A native of Eastampton Township, Burlington County, Edson has worked closely with the AVMA and the New Jersey Medical Association.

"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.”

Before opening its doors, the school must first receive accreditation from the AVMA's Council on Education. There are currently only 33 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S., which includes the University of Pennsylvania.

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