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COE green-lights new Arizona vet school

A Letter of Reasonable Assurance is granted for a three-year program launching in 2020.

COE green-lights new Arizona vet school
The University of Arizona College of Veterinary is expected to fill a need for veterinarians within the state and nationally.

The University of Arizona has earned a Letter of Reasonable Assurance of accreditation for its start-up veterinary medicine program, which is expected to offer a three-year DVM program starting in 2020.

The announcement, made Oct. 17, followed a site visit in May by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s accreditation-granting Council on Education.

The University of Arizona is accepting student applications for a founding class that would graduate in 2023. The three-year, nine-semester program would offer two years of pre-clinical courses on the Oro Valley campus near Tucson and one year of clinical rotations conducted at university-owned venues and partner veterinary clinics.

“Our goal is that students will have their hands on animals in the first week and all the way through the curriculum,” said Julie Funk, DVM, MS, Ph.D., dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We have a real focus on making sure that students are learning veterinary medicine in context, looking at what they’re learning in the classroom and how that relates to what they’re going to do in practice.”

Graduating students within three years will put them in the job market one year earlier than at traditional programs. Annual tuition is estimated at $45,000 for Arizona residents and $70,000 for out-of-state students, according to the college website.

The program’s supporters have said Arizona needs a public veterinary school. The Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine, which opened in 2014 in suburban Phoenix, is privately owned.

“Agricultural, ranching and related industries drive strong demand for veterinarians in our state and across the nation, and Arizona students will now be able to take advantage of an innovative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program situated within the land-grant, Research-1 setting provided by the University of Arizona at in-state tuition rates,” said university President Robert C. Robbins, MD. “This show of support from the AVMA paves the way for the University of Arizona to become a leader in veterinary medical education.”

The program will hold the Letter of Reasonable Assurance until the first class enrolls, at which point provisional accreditation will be granted and later, if required standards are upheld, full accreditation.