ST. PAUL – A partnership between the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University will create new opportunities for students who want to be veterinarians and address a shortage of vets, especially in rural areas.

Formation of the new collaborative professional program in veterinary medicine leading to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree was announced this winter and will be launched next year.

Once students have completed their pre-veterinary requirements, the new program will allow admitted students to complete the first two years of their veterinary medicine education at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, and the final two years at the U of M’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul.

The first group of 20 students is expected to begin classes on the SDSU campus in Brookings within the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department in August of 2021.

The new collaborative program will focus on rural practices and is expected to help address a shortage of veterinarians, create additional opportunities for South Dakota students to pursue careers in veterinary medicine and support the agriculture industry in the region, according to a new release.

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“This professional degree addresses the need for more veterinarians in South Dakota and adjoining states, particularly those who work with food animals,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The new program has been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education, which will monitor the program’s progress, said Laura Molgaard, Interim Dean of the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine.

“This permission to proceed is a testament to the outstanding work of faculty and staff on both campuses plus the investments both states are making,” she said.

The AVMA Council also approved an expansion of the U of M’s graduating class from 105 up to 125 students.

South Dakota students participating in the new program will pay tuition based on in-state rates as part of a subsidy through a subsidy from the South Dakota legislature, according to Killefer.

For more information about SDSU’s Professional DVM Program in Veterinary Medicine, contact Gary Gackstetter, Director of the Professional DVM Program in Veterinary Medicine, at gary.gackstetter@sdstate.edu, or Jane Hennings, Head of the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department, at jane.hennings@sdstate.edu.