Rowan to open 1st veterinary school in N.J.; sets start for fall 2025

University hopes program, just 5th on East Coast, will help solve shortage in animal health care

Looking to fill a national demand for veterinarians, veterinary specialists and skilled technicians, Rowan University announced it is establishing the first school of veterinary medicine in New Jersey — and just the 34th in the country.

The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine will offer the state’s first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, as well as additional degrees and training programs designed to shape the future of veterinary medicine and animal health care in the state.

Rowan officials said they plan to welcome an inaugural class of 60 students in fall 2025, pending approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

Dr. Matthew C. Edson, the founder and owner of Rancocas Veterinary Associates, was appointed as the founding dean June 1.

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 facility.

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.

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

“Launching New Jersey’s first school of veterinary medicine at Rowan University is just the latest in a series of strides we have made in expanding and improving the quality of medical education and research over the past decade,” outgoing state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said during an announcement last week. “With this investment, we will be able to keep our best and brightest veterinary students in New Jersey, and we will attract aspiring veterinarians from other states to study here as well.”

Of the 33 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S., 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.

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 M.D. program through Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and its D.O. 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 President Ali Houshmand said the new school will bring innovation in curriculum delivery, operational cost efficiency, tuition affordability and job readiness.

“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,” he 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.”

Edson said he is eager to get going.

“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,” he 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.”

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 University 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 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 U.S.

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.