In response to increased national needs for veterinarians, veterinarians, and skilled technicians, Rowan University is establishing New Jersey’s first veterinary school. There are currently only 33 veterinary schools in the United States.
Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine will offer New Jersey’s first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), along with additional degrees and training programs designed to shape the future of veterinary medicine and animal health care in the state.
In November, New Jersey legislators approved $ 75 million to build the Sewell School’s primary academic and clinical facility. The school plans to welcome its first class of 60 students in the fall of 2025, pending approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (COE).
Plans for the school were announced during an outdoor event on the Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester campus in Sewell. State and university officials teamed up with some furry and feathered friends – birds, goats, dogs, a rabbit, and a skunk – to make the announcement about the school’s future location.
See the video about the planned school here.
“The establishment of New Jersey’s first veterinary school at Rowan University is just the latest in a series of steps we’ve taken in expanding and improving the quality of medical education and research over the past decade,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney . “With this investment, we will be able to keep our best and brightest veterinary students in New Jersey, and we will also attract aspiring veterinarians from other states to study 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. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), applications to veterinary colleges have increased 6-7% in recent years and 19% between 2020 and 21.
The new school will make Rowan one of two universities in the country to offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Osteopathy degrees. The university offers its MD program through Rowan University’s Cooper Medical School and its DO program through the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Rowan will establish undergraduate, graduate, graduate, and internship / residency programs at the veterinary school. In addition, an AS in Veterinary Technology through to a BS in Veterinary Technology is offered in collaboration with Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester.
An innovative approach
According to Rowan University President Ali A. Houshmand, the new school will follow the university’s approaches to science, engineering and medicine, bringing innovations in curriculum delivery, operational cost efficiency, affordability of tuition and work readiness.
“We are creating a destination of choice for students who share a passion for animal health and who pursue careers in veterinary studies at all college levels,” said Houshmand. “Our curriculum will focus on developing working professionals to address the shortage of animal health service providers in New Jersey and across the United States.”
Rowan’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Matthew Edson became the founding dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine on June 1.
“We are excited to create a veterinary school where hands-on experience, virtual reality, simulations, and results-oriented, student-centered education and assessment are an integral part of the teaching and learning experience,” said Edson. “By continuing Rowan’s innovations in experimental learning, students will be exposed to our on-site veterinary teaching hospital and external clinical sites early on, where they will work side-by-side with faculty and practicing vets. In this way, they can gain extensive practical experience in order to promote professional readiness on the first day. “
In addition to the DVM degree, the following degree programs are in development:
- Graduate programs, including an MS / Ph.D. in Veterinary Biomedicine in collaboration with the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan Universities, and the College of Science & Mathematics;
- An accelerated DVM / MBA in partnership with Rowan University’s Rohrer College of Business, aimed at enhancing student education in veterinary practice management, business administration and economics beyond the core content of the DVM curriculum;
- Bachelor’s degrees, including Bachelor’s degrees in veterinary medicine and veterinary technology, as well as certificates and training paths for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants;
- Internship and residency programs that provide postgraduate training opportunities for those who have already completed their DVM degree. Programs could lead to specialization, including certification by professional bodies.
Educational and health institutions
The School of Veterinary Medicine’s primary academic and clinical facility will be located on the Rowan College of South Jersey campus in Sewell, near the new Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) facility. There, SOM will soon be welcoming more than 70 medical students to its latest academic extension, working with clinical practices that already serve hundreds of patients.
Designs for a 100,000 square foot veterinary complex are underway and will include academic classrooms, diagnostic and teaching laboratories, a teaching hospital, and administrative and faculty offices. The teaching hospital will impart core experiences to the students. It will also provide animal health services to the public, as well as specialized referral and diagnostic services for veterinary practices in the area.
The school is seeking accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. The COE is the US Department of Education’s recognized accreditation agency for colleges and schools of Veterinary Medicine in the United States.
Every new school must go through a number of approval steps before receiving full accreditation. Schools must adhere to 11 accreditation standards that demonstrate they are delivering high quality educational experiences as outlined by AVMA.
Dr. Matthew C. Edson has been a licensed veterinarian for more than a decade and the founder and owner of Rancocas Veterinary Associates, a multi-doctor and mixed animal practice in South Jersey. He has particular professional interests in the medicine and surgery of miniature pigs and small ruminants and has lectured on these topics nationwide.
A native of Eastampton Township, he is a board member and past president of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, site visitor to the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), past chair of AVMA’s Disaster and Emergency Issues Committee, and past vice chair of AVMA Practice Advisory pilot panel. He also served as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.
Edson was licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware and received his degree in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science and biology from Rutgers University and also trained as a mobile intensive care carer with Virtua Health.
Edson was named a Top Veterinarian by South Jersey Magazine in 2017 and was named “Best Veterinarian” in Burlington County for four consecutive years by Burlington County Times readers from 2018-2021.