A first for New Jersey: Rowan University to establish School of Veterinary Medicine

A first for New Jersey: Rowan University to establish School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Matthew Edson was announced as founding dean of the Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine during an event on Wednesday, Dec. 29, on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey-Gloucester. Pending approval from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education, the school plans to welcome its inaugural class in fall 2025..


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

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. 

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

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.

See video about the planned school here.

“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,” 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 attract aspiring veterinarians from other states to study here as well.”

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).

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. 

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.


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.

Founding dean

A licensed veterinarian in practice for more than a decade, Dr. Matthew C. Edson is founder and owner of Rancocas Veterinary Associates, a multi-doctor, mixed-animal practice located in South Jersey. He has special professional interests in miniature pig and small ruminant medicine and surgery and has lectured nationally on those subjects. 

A native of Eastampton Township, he is an executive board member and the immediate past president of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, a site visitor for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education, former chair of the AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues, and former vice chair of the AVMA Practice Advisory Pilot Panel. He also has served as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.

Licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, Edson earned his veterinary medical degree from Kansas State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science and biology from Rutgers University and also completed training as a mobile intensive care paramedic through Virtua Health.

Named a top veterinarian by South Jersey Magazine in 2017, Edson was voted “Best Veterinarian” in Burlington County by Burlington County Times readers for four consecutive years, from 2018-2021.