University of Maryland Eastern Shore plans to admit first veterinary students in 2026


The new academic program would be the first of its kind in the state, and the first public historically black college or university in the nation to offer a DVM-earning opportunity.


Photo: SeventyFour/Adobe Stock

The number of veterinary schools preparing to open within the next few years continues to grow as more universities around the country invest in animal care education. Since the start of 2024, several institutions have announced new doctorate programs in veterinary medicine (DVM) programs. They join previously announced DVM initiatives being built for future students by colleges and universities that are preparing to join the nearly 3 dozen accredited veterinary doctorate programs currently operating in the US.1-3

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is planning to open its School of Veterinary Medicine in time for students to begin learning by fall 2026. The school received approval January 16, 2024, from the Maryland Higher Education Commission and aims to help the region alleviate an unmet need for veterinary practitioners by offering a 3-year academic program. “Our goal is to use student time more effectively in order to graduate students a year earlier,” Moses T. Kairo, dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at UMES, said in a news release.1

The UMES school is poised to become the first veterinary college in Maryland as well as the first of the nation’s public historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to offer a DVM degree, according to the institution. Once open, the UMES veterinary school will be only the second of all HBCUs to provide a doctorate-level veterinary education,1 followed by Tuskegee University.

“Deeply rooted in our 1890 land-grant mission, this program will enable us to serve farmers, the food industry and the 50% of Marylanders who own a pet. It will also increase both the diversity of the profession and address the workforce needs of the industry,” said UMES President Heidi M. Anderson, PhD, MS, in the release.1

“In terms of demand based on labor statistics, we are looking at 19% projected growth in the field over the next 7 years. Black veterinarians make up only 3% of the population in this country, indicating a tremendous need to diversify the profession,” added Moses T. Kairo, dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at UMES, in the release.1

UMES’ aims to graduate 100 students per year. A consultative visit from the American Veterinary Medicine Association-Council on Education (AVMA-COE) is expected later this year. In the meantime, Kimberly Braxton, DVM, an assistant professor and veterinarian at UMES, has been named interim dean of the UMES School of Veterinary Medicine.1

Other veterinary schools to open

In January 2024, the Ana G. Méndez University-Gurabo (UAGM-Gurabo) School of Veterinary Medicine in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, announced it received a letter of reasonable assurance from the AVMA COE, and plans to open this year, in August. This letter affords UAGM-Gurabo veterinary school the opportunity to obtain accreditation within 3 years.2

The school would be the first in Puerto Rico to offer a DVM degree. This doctorate program is joining existing UAGM-Gurabo veterinary technology programs for earning associate and bachelor’s degrees.2

Also in January 2024, Hanover College in Indiana announced plans to provide veterinary medicine degree options to students. Those plans include a hybrid accelerated DVM degree-earning program with students beginning their education at Hanover in August 2026. This program will offer an online component combined with laboratory and regional clinical experiences.3

Anticipated new DVM programs also include the following3:

  • Arkansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine is set to open in Fall 2025.
  • The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine of Rowan University in Harrison Township, New Jersey is slated to become the Garden State’s first veterinary medicine program. Rowan aims to welcome its first class of veterinary students in fall 2025. Additionally, Rowan's veterinary school will offer graduate programs that include a Master of Science degree and PhD in veterinary biomedical science; an accelerated Bachelor of Science/DVM pathway program; and an accelerated DVM/MBA program.4
  • The Clemson School of Veterinary Medicine will welcome its first class of veterinarians in fall 2026, becoming the first college of veterinary medicine in South Carolina.
  • Students at Utah State University (USU) spend their first 2 years at Utah State and then finish their remaining 2 years at Washington State University where their degree is awarded. However, USU anticipates that students admitted for fall 2025 will attend all 4 years of their DVM program in Utah.


  1. UMES vet school will be a first for Maryland and public HBCUs. News release. University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. January 30, 2024. Accessed February 26, 2024.
  2. Yankowicz S. First Puerto Rican veterinary school will open in 2024. dvm360. February 15, 2024. Accessed February 26, 2024.
  3. Yankowicz S. Hanover College helps alleviate veterinary shortage by offering a DVM program. dvm360. January 30, 2024. Accessed February 26, 2024.
  4. Coppock K. The new Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine breaks ground. dvm360. April 28, 2023. Accessed February 26, 2024.
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