Jump to content

Why choose VCU?

Man in lab

Moderate program size. We typically admit six to eight students per year into the program, with a program total of about 50 to 60 students. This size provides a critical mass to stimulate interactions while preserving a familiar and congenial environment. Check out the bios of our current students here!

Outstanding clinical and research training. The VCU Medical Center is one of the largest medical centers in the country, caring for the sickest patients in the Central Virginia area. The VCU Medical Center has vibrant programs in transplant medicine, stroke and movement disorders, Level I trauma, and women's health. Moreover, the Massey Cancer Center at VCU is one of only two NCI-designated cancer centers in the State of Virginia and the new Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is Virginia’s only Level I pediatric trauma center. Our students also train at the McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center in Richmond, which has outstanding neurological and rehabilitation facilities.

Clinical rotations before beginning graduate work. Because the M1 and M2 years are completed in 18 months, students in our program are able to spend 6 to 8 weeks completing a block of M3 clinical rotations after taking USMLE Step 1 and prior to starting their PhD phase. This gives students the opportunity to better appreciate and apply the translational aspects of their graduate research. Additionally, it allows students the flexibility to rotate back into their clinical years anytime between April and October, following their successful PhD dissertation defense. More information about our curriculum can be found here!

Student involvement in the program. MD-PhD students are involved in all phases of the program, from admissions and interviewing to organization of monthly seminars and annual retreats. Additionally, students in each cohort select a class representative to serve on the MD-PhD Student Council, which meets monthly with the Program Director to recommend and discuss improvements to the program. See what activities our students organize here!

Unconventional PhD options. In addition to strong traditional basic science training offered through departments in the VCU School of Medicine, MD-PhD students in our program are eligible to obtain their PhD through a variety of novel research programs. These programs include the Cancer and Molecular Medicine translational research program offered through our Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Healthcare Policy and Research, and Social and Behavioral Sciences, with more programs to come. See the current list of PhD options on our research page here!

Big-city feel with quaint Southern charm. Richmond has it all – museums, festivals, and concert venues; restaurants, craft breweries, and farmers’ markets; park systems, bike trails, and Class III and IV rapids. And with I-64 and I-95 running right through downtown, it’s easy to get to the Appalachian Mountains, Virginia Beach, and D.C. Or you can fly in and out of town from the Richmond International Airport. Find out more about Richmond here and here!