VCU Bulletins

Pre-medical Graduate Health Sciences (Post-baccalaureate graduate certificate)

Graduate program director
Louis J. De Felice, Ph.D.
Program Director
(804) 628-4853

Additional contact
Joseph J. Feher, Ph.D.
Program Adviser
(804) 828-9761

Certificate program office
(804) 828-9501

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Pre-medical Graduate Health Sciences, Certificate in (Post-baccalaureate graduate certificate)

of entry:


Jul 1

TOEFL for international students
Special requirements: While there is no official deadline for applying to the certificate program, the school strongly recommends applicants have all of materials into the graduate admissions office by July 1 to ensure that the file can be processed in time for the fall semester. The program has rolling admissions for a limited number of positions.

Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program goal

The pre-medical graduate health sciences certificate program in the School of Medicine provides an advanced level of didactic training in the biomedical sciences to enhance the preparation of students for a variety of career options, particularly professional degree training (i.e. Ph.D., M.D. and D.D.S.). The program also provides the opportunity for the development of an informed approach to the admission process in professional and/or advanced degree training to enhance the prospect of advancement.

Student learning outcomes

  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 who meets the threshold competency objective will display an enhanced level of advancement to higher levels of professional and/or advanced degree training.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must complete a minimum of 27 graduate credit hours of course work with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale), with no more than 20 percent of the total credit hours at the C or below level. The curriculum is composed of six required courses (15 credit hours) and 12 elective credit hours (including for-credit research options) spread over two semesters. The curriculum should be completed in one academic year (fall and spring semester).

Required and elective courses are drawn from departments within the School of Medicine: the departments of 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.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
Required courses 15
BIOC/MICR 504 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology 5
BIOC 530 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Module 1: Protein Structure and Function 2
BIOC 531 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Module 2: Basic Metabolism 1
BIOC 532 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Module 3: Central Dogma of Molecular Biology 1
BIOC 533 Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Module 4: Lipids/Membranes and Bioenergetics 1
PHIS 501 Mammalian Physiology 5
Electives 12
ANAT 611 Histology 5
ANAT 612 Human Embryology 2
BIOL 530/HGEN 501 Human Genetics 3
BIOS/STAT 543 Statistical Methods I 3
HGEN 502 Advanced Human Genetics 3
IBMS 690 Basic Health Sciences Research Seminar (or department-specific 690 course) (Recommended for students planning to apply to the CERT/M.S. program) 1
MEDC 533 Pharmacognosy 2
MICR 505 Immunobiology 3
MICR 616 Mechanisms of Viral and Parasite Pathogens 3
NEUS 609 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience 4
PHIS 512 Cardiac Function in Health and Disease 3
PHTX 548 Drug Dependence 3
PHTX 536 Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology 5
XXXX 692 (department-specific topics: basic research) 3
XXXX 697 (department-specific directed research) 3
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 27

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

Other information

Applying to professional school and advanced graduate degree programs

Students must follow admission guidelines for applications to the M.S., M.D., D.D.S. and other programs. Completion of the certificate program does not afford a guaranteed admission to professional training programs at VCU. Exceptional performance, 3.5 GPA and a 28 MCAT guarantees an interview at VCU School of Medicine. Similar criteria increase eligibility for an interview at the VCU School of Dentistry.

Research option: Upon completion of the one-year certificate program, individuals may apply for admission to advanced degree programs. Certificate students who are admitted to the M.S. degree (CERT/M.S.) will work closely with an individual faculty member on a research project in a particular department. CERT/M.S. students will choose a research seminar elective in their first year, which consists of one-time faculty presentations to inform students of research areas and laboratory opportunities. Research mentorship can begin in the first year, in conjunction with a spring or summer three-credit research rotation that counts toward the 27 credit hours required to graduate.

Advising: Students are encouraged to seek opportunities for academic, personal and professional development from the Division for Academic Success, Career Services and the CERT Program Office. For students who choose to take a year off between CERT and professional school, several School of Medicine professors hire students for research positions and area hospitals offer SCRIBE programs that actively recruit VCU graduates. The CERT Program Office can also help identify possibilities.

Letters of reference: The CERT program adviser will provide a letter of reference for professional school applications. Students must schedule an appointment to interview with the program adviser for a letter.



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