To qualify as a dual degree student in any of the training paradigms which appear in the Bulletin, a student must have evidence of having been simultaneously enrolled in one or more courses of both of the programs constituting the “dual degree” for at least one semester.

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 a minimum of 36 credits in the M.P.H. curriculum. This includes 24 credit hours of core courses, a minimum of nine credit hours of concentration courses and a minimum of three credit hours of a capstone project that examines a relevant public health topic. These courses [credits] within the Pharm.D. curriculum count toward the M.P.H. degree:

IPEC 501Foundations of Interprofessional Practice1
PHAR 509Evidence-Based Pharmacy I: Introduction to Pharmacy Information Skills1.5
PHAR 533Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Patient Care0.5
PHAR 545The U.S. Health Care System2
PHAR 546Pharmacy-based Immunization Delivery1.5
PHAR 565Evidence-based Pharmacy II: Research Methods and Statistics2.5
Total Hours9

Students in this dual degree program must complete a minimum of 191 graduate credit hours to earn both degrees. If students were to complete both degrees independently, a minimum total of 200 graduate credit hours would be required.

The required M.P.H. internship and M.P.H. capstone project will be completed in a community setting during the P5 year. The internship will be a community health-based advanced practice experience approved by both programs that involves the development of one or more deliverables. The M.P.H. capstone project will be a comprehensive, integrated learning experience involving either a hypothesis-based research question or a comprehensive project serving the needs of a professional public health organization. Examples include a disease surveillance project, a needs assessment or program evaluation, or analysis of survey data.

Note that some elective courses may not be available in certain years or may require instructor permission for registration.

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.

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 academic regulations 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 academic regulations 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.