Premedical Graduate Health Sciences Certificate Program
Certificate Program Contacts
Louis J. De Felice, Ph.D.
Joseph J. Feher, Ph.D.
Sanger Hall, Room 1-022
Telephone: (804) 828-9501
The Premedical Graduate Certificate Program (CERT) of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (SOM) is a one-year, graduate-level program for individuals seeking to enhance their qualifications for admission into professional school, including Medical, Dental, and Veterinary School. Students who successfully complete the Certificate Program also have an opportunity to continue to a Master of Science (M.S.) or Ph.D. degree program within the School of Medicine.
Administration of the Certificate Program is centralized within the School of Medicine, with required and elective courses based in specific Departments. See CURRICULUM below for more details.
The CERT Curriculum is structured to improve competitiveness for admission to professional schools and to help prepare students for taking or retaking standardized exams. In particular, we offer an MCAT refresher course in the spring semester to help CERT students become more competitive. We are currently planning to offer shadowing opportunities with clinical faculty in the School of Medicine. Should you have a glide year after the CERT Program, several area hospitals offer SCRIBE Programs that actively seek to recruit our graduates.
The CERT Program is a graduate program designed for applicants who have already taken basic undergraduate courses required for medical school and other professional schools. For those who have not taken these required courses, VCU also has an undergraduate program: Post-Baccalaureate Health Sciences Certificate Program.
Please visit the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) website for more information about post-baccalaureate programs.
Be sure to visit our Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] page for questions not answered by the information presented below
The Premedical Graduate Certificate Program at the VCU School of Medicine typically seeks students who:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Have taken required prerequisite courses and accompanying labs, to include two semesters each of Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physics
- Hold a cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0 and a science GPA ≥ 3.2
- Have earned test score results of either MCAT ≥ 25, DAT ≥ 16 or GRE ≥ 151 (Quantitative) and 153 (Verbal) (or combined GRE score of 1,200 on previous scale) and 4.0 Analytic Writing
- International students must have achieved ≥ 250 (cBT), 600 (pBT), or 100 (iBT) on the TOEFL examination or ≥ 153 on the GRE Verbal section (500 on previous scale)
A formal online application to the VCU Graduate School is required for admission to CERT. International students are directed to the VCU Office of Global Education. Please indicate “Fall Semester” as your term of entry and "Pre-Medical Graduate Health Sciences-CERT" as your program on the application. Most questions regarding the application process may be addressed at the Graduate Admissions website.
An application package consists of the following:
- A completed online Graduate School application
- Submittal of $65 application fee (fee increase effective 1 August 2013).
- Official Transcripts from all colleges attended (including Community Colleges)
- Official Test Scores (i.e. GRE, MCAT, DAT)
- Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages)
- Updated Resume
- Three Reference Letters or a Committee Letter Packet (Interfolio is permissible)
To report your GRE or TOEFL score, use VCU Code 5570.
Applicants interested in biomedical sciences Master of Science degree programs in specific disciplines should apply through the Certificate Program. Admission into the second year of the M.S. program can be achieved upon successful completion of the Certificate Program and specific departmental approval.
An admission tuition deposit is NOT REQUIRED for the CERT program.
- To check your Application Status - Contact Graduate Admissions at (804) 828-6916.
- Check list for New Graduate Students
- New Student Resources
- VCU Graduate Bulletin
Application review will begin in January. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.
While there is no official deadline for applying to the Premedical Graduate Certificate Program, we strongly recommend having all of your materials into the Graduate School by 1 July to ensure that your file can be processed in time for the upcoming fall semester. Please be advised that there is a short delay between when the VCU Graduate School receives and processes your application documents and when we can view and review your materials for a decision.
Applications received after 1 July will be reviewed on a space-available basis. Please contact the Program Administrator in case extenuating circumstances may justify a later application date.
Fast Track Review
Individuals may consult in advance with the Program Director for a preliminary review, using a self-reporting form for their GPA and MCAT's, DAT's or GRE's. The Fast Track Review Self Reporting Form [Word] will allow rapid feedback to the applicant but does not replace the formal application to the Graduate School.
Fall 2013 Orientation Sessions
The School of Medicine Office of Graduate Education will host a New Student Orientation session on Monday 19 August at 10 a.m. in Sanger Hall, room 1-044. Certificate students will have an additional orientation session in the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Sanger Hall, room 3-016. Attendance at both orientation sessions is mandatory. The morning session will include lunch and a campus tour.
Required and elective courses are drawn from departments within the School of Medicine: Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Human and Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Physiology and Biophysics. All courses are held on the MCV campus. Open the CERT Curriculum page for specific offerings.
To assist students with choosing courses, Elective Course Advice [PDF] is provided. Students should review this information with regard to the professional direction desired upon completion of the Certificate Program. The listed electives are suggestions only; students with varying interests may choose other courses with the approval of the Program Director.
Criteria for Graduation
The curriculum is composed of three (3) required courses (15 credits) and 12 elective credits (including for-credit research options) spread over two semesters. Students must maintain good academic standing while completing at least 27 credit hours of course work with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0 scale). No greater than 20 percent of total credit hours can be a 'C' or less.
The Graduation Application is to be completed by keying in the information on the electronic form and then printed. Required signatures must be original signatures, not copied or scanned.
Students who successfully complete the CERT Program will have achieved the following competencies:
1. Achievement of a Threshold Competency in the Basic Health Sciences
The candidate will achieve / surpass expectations of a threshold level competency in the Basic Health Sciences, particularly in areas related to gaining admission to professional and / or higher level degree programs.
2. MCAT/DAT Preparation
The candidate will be prepared to take and/or retake standardized tests. The candidate will achieve a score that fulfills medical or dental school admission requirements.
3. Preparation for Career Advancement
The candidate that meets the threshold competency objective will display an enhanced level of advancement to higher levels of professional and / or advanced degree training.
The graduating class of 2011 consisted of 57 students. Of those who reported their plans, 30 were accepted into a medical school (21 at VCU), and 6 into VCU Dental School.
The graduating class of 2010 consisted of 69 students. Of those who reported their plans, 27 were accepted into a medical school (21 at VCU), 6 into VCU Dental School, and 2 into the Genetic Counseling Master's program.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please click on the following link.
Guaranteed Medical School Interview at VCU School of medicine
Students successfully finishing the program with a GPA of 3.5 and presenting an MCAT score of 28 or higher are guaranteed an interview for the medical school at VCU, for the application cycle following completion of the CERT Program. Significant medical experience and exemplary professional behavior are also important for guaranteed interviews.
It is essential that MD applicants apply to the VCU School of Medicine through AMCAS early, i.e., June or early July, so that the MD Admissions Office can review the application and schedule an interivew for the reserved interview slots. Applicants that apply later than July will still get an interview if they meet the requirements, but will be in the regular scheduling pool.
NOTE: Although the CERT Program accepts international students, VCU only matriculates U.S. citizens, Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents for the M.D. degree. This restriction does not apply to M.S. or Ph.D. programs at VCU, and it does not apply to all U.S. medical schools for which the CERT Program is equally good preparation.
DENTAL SCHOOL INTERVIEW AT VCU
Predental students with competitive credentials and a DAT score of 20 or higher, will be considered for an interview pending a review of the CERT program's fall grades. Transcripts should be submitted to AADSAS and the School of Dentistry.
Certificate students who continue into a second year for the M.S. degree (CERT/MS) program will work closely with an individual faculty member in a particular department. Research mentorship begins in the first year by taking a spring elective lab rotation in Directed Research (3 credits). In their second year, CERT/MS students focus almost exclusively on experiments in their mentor's laboratory, with minimal course work.
Tuition, Required Fees, and Benefits
The current tuition for the one-year CERT Program is $25,000 regardless of in-state or out-of-state status. Tuition includes the on-campus pre-MCAT refresher course, individualized career and personal counseling, mock interviews, letters of reference, and special-needs benefits. Additional in-state fees are $1,097.23 or out-of-state fees are $1,403.23 per semester. Thus for the 2013-2014 school year, the total per semester (tuition and required fees) is $13,597.23 for Virginia resident students and $13,903.23 for non-resident students. Increases may apply for the 2014-2015 school year.
For those students electing the second-year CERT/M.S. program, the tuition in the 2nd year reduces to the standard published graduate tuition rate for in-state or out-of-state students.
Financial Aid and Student accounting
Financial aid is available to qualified CERT and CERT/M.S. students through the School of Medicine Office of Financial Aid. There are no additional funding opportunities. To be considered for financial aid, students need to complete the FAFSA form. An installment payment plan is available through the Office of Student Accounting.
Beginning with Fall semester 2010, there are new billing and payment policies and procedures. Please review the information at http://www.enrollment.vcu.edu/accounting/payments.html for more information.
For students interested in residence halls, rooms for rent or apartment living, VCU offers a web site that provides housing opportunities and interesting facts about historic neighborhoods and counties in the Richmond Metropolitan Area. If you are not familiar with the Richmond area, here are some helpful hints on getting around and a listing of places to stay while you are visiting VCU.
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