The M.D./Ph.D. Program seeks to train physician-scientists for careers that bridge basic and clinical science. Physician-scientists will translate laboratory discoveries into better patient outcomes. The program begins two months prior to the first year of medical school. These students arrive on campus for orientation and complete two laboratory rotations before the start of medical school classes. They complete the first two years of medical school and, after taking the first part of the U.S. National Medical Licensing Examination, enter a Ph.D.-granting department or program as a graduate student. Graduate-level course work, examinations and research will be guided by the thesis adviser and the thesis committee, with oversight by members of the M.D./Ph.D. Steering Committee. The main undertaking at this phase is laboratory research that leads to the Ph.D. dissertation. After completion of doctoral degree requirements, students move to the clinical year of medical school. Students may begin their clinical year of medical school immediately after completion of doctoral (Ph.D.) requirements, regardless of the time in the calendar year, and, 14 to 16 months later, may complete their medical school requirements. These students are exempt from the major part of the fourth year of medical school.
Prospective students submit applications through the American Medical College Application Service. Upon review of the AMCAS documents, qualified applicants are sent supplemental admission materials, including an application for the M.D./Ph.D. Program. Those invited to Richmond for interviews will spend one day in the standard interview for the School of Medicine and will spend a second day interviewing with members of the M.D./Ph.D. Steering Committee, as well as touring labs of faculty scientists.
Admission of medical students to the Ph.D. phase of training takes place formally following completion of the M-II year of M.D. training. A copy of the student file is transferred to the Office of Graduate Education and the individual is formally accepted to Ph.D. training by the VCU Graduate School.
The requirements for a combined professional school/graduate school degree in the School of Medicine are equivalent to those required of students seeking a graduate degree alone and are determined by the individual program.