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If the University of Arizona has its way, the state will have its first degree-offering program for veterinarians launching in 2015.

The Arizona Board of Regents recently approved a $4.2 million request to develop a four-year doctor of veterinary medicine program.

None of the state’s universities offer a DVM.

Shane Burgess, the dean of the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said it’s expensive for Arizona students to go out of state to earn their doctorate.

Burgess said this program would allow students coming out of high school to skip the undergraduate degree requirement and earn their doctorate in veterinary medicine.

“People today are leaving the United States, doing this exact model, and after four years flying back to the U.S. and practicing as DVM's," he said. "These people can pass the board exams and come from an accredited veterinary school just like any school in the U.S. So all we’re doing is taking some of the innovations that have been used offshore and bring them here to the states so Arizonans can benefit from them.”

Burgess said Arizona’s rural agricultural communities are facing a shortage of veterinarians.

State lawmakers and the governor must approve the program.