The School of Pharmacy and the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health in VCU’s School of Medicine offer a dual-degree program through which students earn both Pharm.D. and M.P.H. degrees. This dual-degree program offers students the opportunity to achieve a Doctor of Pharmacy while also learning about research and the importance of population health. This five-year program requires students to spend the fourth year of the Pharm.D. program pursuing the M.P.H. degree, after which they transition back to pharmacy for advanced practice experiences.

Students are required to take 36 of the 45 credits required for the M.P.H. This includes 24 credit hours of core and required courses, a minimum of nine credit hours of elective courses, and a minimum of three credit hours of a capstone project that examines a relevant public health topic. Note that some elective courses may not be available in certain years or may require instructor permission for registration. The M.P.H. field study (internship) requirement will be satisfied by Pharm.D. special advanced practice experiences in community health during the fifth year of the program.

Students complete either two credits of practical skills work or one three-credit course during the P3 year, followed by full immersion in the M.P.H. curriculum in the P4 year. The required M.P.H. capstone project will be completed in a community setting during the P5 year; it will involve a comprehensive project that serves the needs of a professional public health organization and typically involves the development of one or more deliverables. Examples include a disease surveillance project, a needs assessment or program evaluation, or analysis of survey data.

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.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

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.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on 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.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.

For M.P.H., apply online at sophas.org. Pharm.D. applicants follow instructions on the School of Pharmacy website.

Please review the admission requirements for each stand-alone degree (Master of Public Health and Doctor of Pharmacy) in the VCU Graduate and Professional Bulletins to learn the specific application requirements for each program.

Curriculum requirements

M.P.H. courses

Required
BIOS 543Graduate Research Methods I3
BIOS 544Graduate Research Methods II3
EPID 547Applied Data Analysis Lab I1.5
EPID 548Applied Data Analysis Lab II1.5
EPID 571Principles of Epidemiology3
EPID 580Public Health Ethics1
EPID 593MPH Practicum I2
EPID 604Principles of Environmental Health3
EPID 694MPH Capstone Project3
HCPR 601Introduction to Health Policy3
SBHD 605Introduction to Social and Behavioral Health3
M.P.H. electives
Select a minimum of nine credit hours of elective course work selected according to an area(s) of interest in public health. These may include the following:9
Clinical Trials
Design Implications in Clinical Trials
Introduction to Public Health
Contemporary Issues and Controversies in Public Health
Public Health Policy and Politics
Epidemiologic Methods
Cancer Epidemiology
Maternal and Child Health
Chronic Disease Epidemiology
Epidemiology of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders
Behavioral Epidemiology
Special Topics
Independent Study
Introduction to Grant Writing
Physiological Aging
Aging
Social Gerontology
Problems, Issues and Trends in Gerontology
Contemporary Issues in Health
Nutrition for Health and Physical Activity
Exercise, Nutrition and Weight Management
Psychology of Physical Activity
Psychosocial Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity
Introduction to Human Genetics
Advanced Human Genetics
Principles of Human Behavioral Genetics
Emergency Management: Response Planning and Incident Command
Risk Assessment
Public Health Preparedness
Health Psychology
Health Communication
Theoretical Foundations of Social and Behavioral Health
Health Disparities and Social Justice
Community-based Participatory Research
Program Evaluation
Domestic and Sexual Violence in Social Context
Aging and the Minority Community
Seminar in Population Studies
Seminar in Racial and Ethnic Relations in America
Studies in the Community
Seminar in Criminology
Community and Community Services for the Elderly
Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence: Medical Practice and Policy
Application of the Policy Process to Issues of Violence
Social Contexts of Childhood and Violence
Theorizing Gender Violence
The Sociology of Health and Illness
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Community Socioeconomic Analysis Using GIS
Spatial Database Management and GIS Modeling

Pharm.D. courses

IPEC 501Foundations of Interprofessional Practice1
IPEC 502Interprofessional Quality Improvement and Patient Safety1
MEDC 527Basic Pharmaceutical Principles for the Practicing Pharmacist3
MEDC 533Pharmacognosy2
MEDC 542Biotechnology-derived Therapeutic Agents1
MEDC 543Clinical Chemistry for the Pharmacist2
MEDC 553Clinical Therapeutics Module: Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry1
PCEU 507Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics I3
PCEU 508Pharmacokinetics3
PCEU 509Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics II3
PCEU 615Applied Pharmacokinetics2.5
PHAR 509Evidence-Based Pharmacy I: Introduction to Pharmacy Information Skills2
PHAR 513Contemporary Pharmacy Practice2
PHAR 523Foundations I1.5
PHAR 524Foundations II1.5
PHAR 526Community Pharmacy Practice2
PHAR 529Clinical Therapeutics Module: Introduction to Special Populations2
PHAR 530Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Community Practice4
PHAR 532Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Hospital Practice3
PHAR 533Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Patient Care0.5
PHAR 534Foundations III1
PHAR 535Foundations IV1
PHAR 540Self-Care and Alternative and Complementary Treatments2.5
PHAR 541Patient Assessment in Pharmacy Practice2
PHAR 544Clinical Therapeutics Module: Cardiovascular4.5
PHAR 545The U.S. Health Care System2
PHAR 547Managing Professional Patient-centered Practice1.5
PHAR 549Personalized Medicine1
PHAR 550Pharmacy Practice Research3
PHAR 555Clinical Therapeutics Module: Endocrinology2.5
PHAR 556Clinical Therapeutics Module: Neurology4
PHAR 565Evidence-based Pharmacy II: Research Methods and Statistics2.5
PHAR 566Evidence-based Pharmacy III: Drug Literature Evaluation2
PHAR 602Clinical Therapeutics Module: Psychiatry3
PHAR 603Clinical Therapeutics Module: Respiratory/Immunology3
PHAR 604Clinical Therapeutics Module: Infectious Diseases4.5
PHAR 605Clinical Therapeutics Module: Hematology/Oncology2.5
PHAR 606Clinical Therapeutics Module: Nephrology/Urology2
PHAR 607Clinical Therapeutics Module: Dermatology/EENT and Joint2
PHAR 618Clinical Therapeutics Module: Gastrointestinal/Nutrition2.5
PHAR 619Clinical Therapeutics Module: Women's Health/Bone2
PHAR 620Clinical Therapeutics Module: Critical Care/Toxicology and Complex Patients2.5
PHAR 621Pharmacoeconomics2
PHAR 622Epidemiology and Pharmacy Practice2
PHAR 640Foundations V1
PHAR 645Foundations VI1
PHAR 652Health Promotion and Communication in Pharmacy Practice2.5
PHAR 660Community Pharmacy Practice Management II2
PHAR 661Institutional Pharmacy Management2
PHAR 724Pharmacy Law2.5
PHAR 760Acute Care Pharmacy Practice I5
PHAR 761Advanced Hospital Pharmacy Practice5
PHAR 762Geriatrics Pharmacy Practice5
PHAR 763Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice5
PHAR 765Elective I5
PHAR 766Elective II5
PHAR 768Advanced Community Pharmacy Practice5
PHAR 771Student Pharmacist Professionalism1
PHAR 773Acute Care Pharmacy Practice II5
PHTX 606Introduction to Pharmacology of Therapeutic Agents (Pharmacy)1
Electives4
Total Hours155.5

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 191

Typical plan of study

Many students often end up taking more than the minimum number of hours required for a degree program. The total number of hours may vary depending upon the program, nature of research being conducted by a study or in the enrollment or funding status of the student. Students should refer to their program websites and talk with their graduate program directors or advisers for information about typical plans of study and registration requirements.

Graduate program directors
Saba Masho, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Associate professor, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health
saba.masho@vcuhealth.org
(804) 628-2509

Amy Pakyz, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Associate professor, Department of Pharmacotheraphy and Outcomes Science
apakyz@vcu.edu
(804) 828-6027

Additional contact
Lisa S. Anderson
Director of educational programs, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health
lisa.s.anderson@vcuhealth.org
(804) 628-2512

Program website: pharmacy.vcu.edu and familymedicine.vcu.edu/education/graduate/dual-degrees