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.

The Certificate in Health Care Innovation is a collaboration between the VCU School of Nursing and the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation and may be completed online or in a hybrid format. The graduate certificate will prepare students to become leaders in developing digital and physical products and innovative solutions in the area of health care. Students will acquire skills and knowledge necessary to identify problems and implement solutions that foster high-quality, safe and accessible health care. The curriculum focuses on merging principles of leadership in health care and principles of product innovation and emphasizes the analysis of organization and clinical processes for effective operations to improve quality and safety. The specialized knowledge and skills include problem identification, product development, user analysis, prototyping, testing, marketing, intellectual property protection (patents, copyrights and trademarks) and commercialization opportunities. Students who would like to complete this program fully online should work with their advisers in their respective unit and check the Schedule of Classes to ensure their desired courses are available online.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates will:

  1. Acquire skills and knowledge necessary to identify problems and implement solutions that foster high quality, safe and accessible health care
  2. Develop specialized skills and knowledge to lead health care teams in innovation

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 academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

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 academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Visit the School of Nursing website for program-specific application instructions.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Certificate All Rolling admissions made on a space-available basis

The admission requirements outlined below will apply to all students. All applicants to the graduate certificate program are required to meet the admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School. Applicants will be required to submit the following materials to Graduate Admissions:

  • Application form and application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation, professional and/or academic
  • Official undergraduate transcripts from all schools attended
  • A statement of purpose outlining career goals, strengths and skills that will be brought to a team and how life experience has shaped the applicant’s perspective
  • A resume or CV stating relevant work experience in health care and any additional experience in design, business, engineering, product development, innovation and/or entrepreneurship

The VCU School of Nursing and the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation require students to have a bachelor’s degree with evidence of strong academic performance.

No transfer credit hours are accepted for this certificate program. Credits applied to a degree already awarded cannot be applied toward the certificate.

International students will submit an official transcript evaluation from a recognized foreign educational credential evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Service or the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. International students must also provide proof that they can support themselves financially for the duration of the program.

International applicants must also provide additional information with the application according to the English language proficiency guidelines for those who are international or non-native English speakers without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university (Additional information can be found on the ‘Required materials’ tab of the VCU International Admissions website.) 

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the standards for admission:

  1. Applicants from a health care background must be in good standing with licensing and certifying bodies as applicable.
  2. Select applicants will complete a scheduled interview with the graduate admissions committee.

Degree requirements

Students will complete course work to develop specific knowledge and skills in leadership and processes related to development and implementation of innovative solutions to health care issues such as rising costs and improving quality and access to care. The curriculum focuses on merging principles of leadership in health care and principles of health care innovation while emphasizing the analysis of organization and clinical processes for effective operations to improve quality and safety. Problem identification, product development, user analysis, prototyping, testing, marketing and commercialization opportunities will be emphasized. 

Upon satisfactory completion of each course, students are required to submit completed course projects to an online portfolio folder to document their work in the certificate. Submission of completed course projects is required for graduation.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
Nursing courses
Select six credits from:6
Holistic Leadership in Health Care Delivery
Organizational Science Implications for Human and Material Resource Management
Improvement Science and Outcomes Management
Innovation courses
Select six credits from option A or B6
Option A
Business Principles for Product Innovation
Integrative Design Studio
Innovation, Design Thinking and Change Management
Topics in Product Innovation
Option B
Master's Project in Product Innovation I 1
Total Hours12

Students obtain all skills and knowledge needed to develop a project within this course.

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 12.

Students who complete the requirements for this program will receive a Certificate in Health Care Innovation.

Allison Schumacher
Director of academic alchemy, da Vinci Center for Innovation, and graduate program director
(804) 828-7188

Additional contact
Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff, Ph.D., RN, FGSA
Associate professor, School of Nursing, and graduate program director
(804) 828-3340