The post-baccalaureate undergraduate Certificate in Health Sciences 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 for the following:

MATH   151Precalculus Mathematics4
BIOL   151
BIOZ   151
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory I
BIOL   152
BIOZ   152
Introduction to Biological Sciences II
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory II
CHEM   101
CHEZ   101
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM   102
CHEZ   102
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory II

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 25 credit hours (comprising at least six courses) 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   200Calculus with Analytic Geometry4
STAT   210Basic Practice of Statistics3
STAT   314Applications of Statistics4
BIOL   205Basic Human Anatomy4
BIOL   209Medical Microbiology3
or BIOL   303 Microbiology
BIOL   300Cellular and Molecular Biology3
BIOL   3025
BIOL   308Vertebrate Histology4
BIOL   310
BIOZ   310
and Laboratory in Genetics
BIOL   402Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy5
BIOL/FRSC 438Forensic Molecular Biology3
BIOL   445Neurobiology and Behavior4
BIOL   455Immunology3
BIOL   524Endocrinology3
BIOL 530/HGEN   501Human Genetics3
BIOL   540Fundamentals of Molecular Genetics3
PHIS   206Human Physiology3
or BIOL   411 Animal Physiology
CHEM   301
CHEZ   301
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM   302
CHEZ   302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM   303
CHEZ   303
Physical Chemistry
and Physical Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM   304
CHEZ   304
Physical Chemistry
and Physical Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM   305Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences3
CHEM   309
CHEZ   309
Quantitative Analysis
and Quantitative Analysis Laboratory
CHEM/MEDC 310Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design3
CHEM   320Inorganic Chemistry I3
CHEM   403Biochemistry I3
CHEM   404Biochemistry II3
PHYS   201General Physics (includes laboratory)4
PHYS   202General Physics (includes laboratory)4
PHYS   207University Physics I (includes laboratory)5
PHYS   208University Physics II (includes laboratory)5

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-professional Health Advising at the time application is submitted for graduation.

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.