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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center

Graduate Programs

Advanced degree (graduate) programs in the VCU School of Medicine are coordinated through the Office of Graduate Education. The School of Medicine offers a broad spectrum of training programs at the Ph.D. and M.S. level as well as specialized master’s training with the Master of Genetic Counseling and Master of Public Health Programs. We emphasize interdisciplinary training to prepare our graduates for the emerging pattern of career opportunities.

Students may apply for Ph.D. training without committing to a particular department in the first year. The Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP), allows students to spend their first year rotating in laboratories from any department, supplemented with cross-departmental course work.

The School of Medicine also offers a Premedical Certificate program for students seeking professional training as a career objective and also hosts a variety of combined degree programs (M.D./Ph.D., M.D./M.P.H., D.D.S./Ph.D.).

The individual Program/Department listings provide detailed information on specific degree requirements and opportunities. Applications are formally submitted to the VCU School of Graduate Studies; application materials can be downloaded from this site.

The SOM Graduate Program Directors and the BSDP Director meet as the MCV Graduate Committee which is chaired by the Associate Dean for Graduate Education of the School of Medicine. This body, which meets monthly, serves both collegial and administrative functions in reviewing developments in didactic components of training, student performance and policy recommendations.

The authority of the awarding of advanced degrees is vested in the Departments designated by the State Council of Higher Education which holds the ultimate authority for the creation and continuation of graduate programs. As the program listing indicates we are moving to provide opportunities for training in interdisciplinary areas, a reflection of both student and faculty interest. We are accomplishing this through the cooperative involvement of the Departments to provide a meaningful diversity of training opportunity while maintaining a proven structure for program administration.

All members of the School of Medicine faculty are encouraged to participate in advanced degree programs. Appointment to the Graduate Faculty is required for participation which is achieved through formal or ad hoc affiliation with a degree-granting department.

The Office of Graduate Education also coordinates the Watts Day and Forbes Research Symposia, events held in the Fall and Spring terms respectively. Both these events provide a venue for highlighting research accomplishments of our advanced degree students. Watts Day focuses on poster presentations while the Forbes Research Symposium is a selection of short oral presentations by students selected on a competitive basis by the faculty.

Student achievement is also recognized through the C. C. Clayton Fellowships which are awarded to students on the basis of academic achievement through the initial stages of advanced degree work. These awards and activities commemorate the pioneering efforts of individuals in the history of advanced degree education in the biomedical sciences.

The Office coordinates activities to assist students in preparing for the more diverse range of career options becoming available to advanced degree trainees. Given the variety of career paths our graduates follow, there is a need to provide support services that will allow our students to better prepare for the world outside.