This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. 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.

Dental students with an interest in academic and research careers are afforded the opportunity to undertake advanced degree training while in dental school. The D.D.S./Ph.D. (dual degree) program seeks to train students interested in translating oral research to the clinic. These clinician-scientists will help bridge the gap between basic and clinical science in the field of dentistry.

Students will have both a research and a clinical mentor. Students will complete the first two years (preclinical years) of dental school during which time they will select their Ph.D. dissertation laboratory. Following completion of their second year of the dental curriculum, students will focus on the requirements for their Ph.D. The main undertaking at this phase is laboratory research that leads to the Ph.D. dissertation. Students are exempt from certain didactic courses in the Ph.D. program in recognition of the content in the dental curriculum. This will improve time to degree for the dual degree program. Students will also to take part in weekly clinical sessions to maintain their dental knowledge. After completion of doctoral degree requirements, students re-enter the dental curriculum in the third year.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree program are to:

  • Train clinician scientists to bridge the gap between basic and clinical science in oral and systemic health.

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

  • Students holding these degrees will have the tools to integrate research, practice and education in pursuit of new technologies and treatments for diseases of the head and neck.
  • The combined program has a reduced time to degree.

The diplomas for this dual degree program may be awarded simultaneously.

Student learning outcomes

See each degree program page for learning outcomes.

Other information

School of Dentistry program policies

The School of Dentistry provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on the doctoral program is available elsewhere in this Bulletin. Additional information on dental programs is available on the School of Dentistry website.

The requirements for a dual professional/graduate degree in the School of Dentistry are equivalent to those required of students seeking a graduate degree alone and are determined by the individual program. For additional information, please visit the program website.