The Post-baccalaureate Undergraduate Health Sciences Certificate is designed for students who hold a baccalaureate degree in a non-science area and wish to pursue their undergraduate pre-health sciences requirements at VCU. The program is intended for students who have few or none of the prerequisites they need to enter doctoral-level programs in physical therapy, pharmacy, dentistry, medicine, osteopathic medicine, optometry or veterinary sciences. This program challenges students to complete more intensive science and math course work than the basic prerequisites and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. The certificate program assists students in becoming more competitive for admission into graduate-level programs in the health sciences, but it does not guarantee admission into any program.
Those students completing the certificate are expected to achieve competency in introductory and more advanced-level science courses and will be granted opportunities to gain health care experience. Students can learn about health care program admissions requirements and strengthen their credentials through advising, student-run club activities and seminars.
Depending on the types of courses students complete before entering the program, the certificate can take one to three years to complete with either full- or part-time study. Students are advised on how to progress based on prior math and science course work, work and family constraints, and other factors that could affect the time frame to completion. The certificate program requires the completion of minimal competencies and a core curriculum.
Before beginning the core curriculum, students must show minimum competency by completing or transferring in equivalent courses with minimum grades of B or above for the following: MATH 151, BIOL 151, BIOZ 151, BIOL 152, BIOZ 152, CHEM 101, CHEZ 101, CHEM 102 and CHEZ 102. Students must have completed all chemistry courses within five years of the time they begin the program in order to apply them toward the minimum competency requirement.
The academic requirements to complete the core portion of the program are as follows: a minimum of six undergraduate courses or 25 credit hours in mathematics, statistics, chemistry, biology or physics. All program core courses must be at the 200 level or above. At least three of the courses in the core must have a laboratory.
A maximum of 11 credit hours can be transferred toward the core curriculum of the certificate program. Students must have earned a minimum grade of B in all course work accepted for transfer, which must come from an accredited institution. Students should consult with the pre-health sciences advisers to determine the most appropriate courses to meet their educational and career goals.
Courses will be selected from the following lists:
Math and statistics
MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics
STAT 314 Applications of Statistics
BIOL 205 Human Anatomy or
BIOL 301 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIOL 209 Medical Microbiology or
BIOL 303 Bacteriology
BIOL 218 Cell Biology
BIOL 302 Animal Embryology
BIOL 308 Vertebrate Histology
BIOL 310 Genetics
BIOZ 310 Genetics Laboratory
BIOL/FRSC 438 Forensic Molecular Biology
BIOL 445 Neurobiology and Behavior
BIOL 455 Immunology
BIOL 524 Endocrinology
BIOL/HGEN 530 Human Genetics
BIOL 540 Fundamentals of Molecular Genetics
PHIS 206 Human Physiology or
BIOL 311 Animal Physiology
CHEM 301 Organic Chemistry
CHEZ 301 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 302 Organic Chemistry
CHEZ 302 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 303 Physical Chemistry
CHEZ 303 Physical Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 304 Physical Chemistry
CHEZ 304 Physical Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 305 Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences
CHEM 309 Quantitative Analysis
CHEZ 309 Quantitative Analysis Lab
CHEM/MEDC 310 Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design
CHEM 320 Inorganic Chemistry I
CHEM 403 Biochemistry I
CHEM 404 Biochemistry II
PHYS 201 General Physic (includes laboratory)
PHYS 202 General Physics (includes laboratory)
PHYS 207 University Physics I (includes laboratory)
PHYS 208 University Physics II (includes laboratory)
While matriculating all students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Courses may not be repeated after gaining admission into the certificate program. Failure to maintain the minimum GPA will result in formal dismissal from the certificate program.
Students accepted into the program must also commit to at least 50 hours of volunteer service in the VCU Medical Center Volunteer Program or a private health care setting. Volunteer hours must be documented and submitted to the Office of Pre-health Sciences Advising at the time application is submitted for graduation.
Students participating in the program receive all of the services provided by the University College, which include advising, placement testing, tutoring, student-run club activities, pre-health sciences advisory committee evaluation (for pre-dentistry and pre-medicine only), confidential letter-of-evaluation file service (for pre-dentistry and pre-medicine only) and listserv announcements.
Admission to the Post-baccalaureate Health Sciences Certificate Program is based on students’ academic achievement in their baccalaureate programs and whether the certificate program will help them achieve their professional goals. The program accepts students to start in the fall and spring semesters. Application deadlines are the same for transfer students applying to the university. The program is not offered to students pursuing entry into undergraduate- or master's-level health professions programs, nor is it open to those pursuing pre-health course work as part of their undergraduate concentrations at VCU.