This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. We may add courses that expose our students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning. We may also add content to the general education program that focuses on racial literacy and a racial literacy graduation requirement, and 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.

Students in the M.D.-Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical engineering will capitalize on their boots-on-the-ground clinical experience to inform their research into improvements in drug formulation and delivery. During graduate training they 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.

The students will engage in a rigorous and cross-disciplinary educational experience that includes foundational and research area specific coursework be empowered with the necessary tools to formulate and answer hypotheses-driven research questions in collaboration with mentors that have special expertise; engage in professional development opportunities to effectively promote and disseminate their work; and be immersed in a research and innovation environment of excellence.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree program are:

  • Capitalize on clinical training, experience, perspective, and insights with advanced training in the design and manufacturing of novel pharmaceutical therapeutics.
  • Provide students with an integrated training program in which clinical training and graduate training are engaged throughout the training period to cross-fertilize these disciplines.
  • Train students in cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary science to recognize the need for a team-based approach to solving challenges related to the design and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.
  • Graduates will gain the necessary skills and scientific foundation to work in a team-based environment, cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary science who recognize the need for a team-based approach to solving challenges related to the design and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

  • Prepare students who will simultaneously work in clinical and research environments to work and innovate in areas that create medicines to improve human health including the pharmaceutical industry, medical nonprofits, universities and regulatory authorities.

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

  • Students holding these degrees will be prepared to capitalize on their clinical training and experience to translate observations from clinical practice to advance novel approaches to developing effective pharmaceutical entities.
  • Students will have the foundation and training in pharmaceutical engineering 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 on the pharmaceutical engineering Ph.D. program page also apply to M.D.-Ph.D. students.