This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2021-2022 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Graduate study in the neuroscience program in the School of Medicine is a highly individualized undertaking and required course work represents only one component. Each student’s program is tailored to meet his or her particular interests, with the primary emphasis on developing research skills and the capacity for independent scholarship and with the recognition that career goals for many M.D.-Ph.D. physician-scientists are distinct from those of most Ph.D. trainees. 

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree program are:

  • Students in the M.D.-Ph.D. program in neuroscience will acquire the foundational skills to allow them, after further clinical specialty and postdoctoral research training, to become independent physician-scientists. Program graduates ultimately pursue careers in academic medicine, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, research institutes and government agencies as clinicians, scientists, educators and administrators. 
  • Students will gain a progressive mastery of concepts in neuroscience and related disciplines, an understanding of the current state of research investigations in the field, an ability to synthesize information and apply foundational concepts to identify key areas for innovative investigation and experimentation, and the knowledge to design, execute and interpret experiments and publish studies that address the questions identified.
  • Students will develop skills in various means of communicating core knowledge in the field and the details of experimental design, results and interpretation to a variety of potential audiences.

Among the many benefits offered by participation in the dual-degree program are the following:

  • Students will have the foundation and training in neuroscience and in medicine to conduct basic and translational research that will enable them to take bedside observations to the bench and the results of bench research to the bedside to advance both the underlying science and patient health.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in clinical research during the M4 year.
  • Students with M.D.-Ph.D. training are highly competitive for positions in leading physician-scientist clinical training programs, faculty positions in academic medical centers, and are well-positioned to ultimately take on leadership roles in academic medicine, industry and government.
  • Tuition, fees and a stipend are provided throughout both the medical and graduate phases of training.

The diplomas for this dual degree program are awarded simultaneously upon completion of the requirements for both degrees.

Student learning outcomes

The student learning outcomes described in the neuroscience Ph.D. program page also apply to M.D.-Ph.D. students.