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Requirements for continuation in the program

Students will be dismissed from the program for any of the following:

  • Failing either the M1 or M2 year and having to repeat all or part of either year
  • Failing a required component of the Ph.D. degree so that the degree cannot be completed in that department or program
  • Activities that are grounds for dismissal from the VCU School of Medicine (honor, moral or legal)
  • Failure to pass Step I of the USMLE exam after two attempts

Students can be dismissed or put on probation from the program for:

  • Two less-than-passing grades in M1 or M2
  • Unsatisfactory academic performance in any phase of medical school

Probationary status may result in temporary suspension of financial support and will require that certain academic benchmarks are achieved.

Students can appeal any attempt at dismissal to an M.D.-Ph.D. panel composed of students and steering committee members and/or a university grievance or appeal committee.


Students cannot transition from M2 to graduate phase without having themselves, their thesis adviser and the department chair sign a Transition Form.

  • Students cannot transition from graduate phase to M3 without signing an Intent to Transition form, having their committee and dean of graduate studies sign a completed thesis, and taking a course in basic life sciences (BLS).

Graduation and degrees

  • A student has officially earned the degree of Ph.D. when all requirements have been fulfilled and the thesis is approved and received in final form.
  • Both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees are formally awarded at the same time, at graduation in May.