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Academic programs

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Case in point

At VCU, 86 percent of federal research funds are used in the area of life sciences, the highest of any university in Virginia, according to the Center for Measuring University Performance.

The VCU Life Sciences academic matrix fosters convergence across the majority of academic and research units at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Convergence is an approach to problem-solving that cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It integrates knowledge, tools and ways of thinking from life and health sciences; physical, mathematical and computational sciences; engineering disciplines and beyond to form a comprehensive synthetic framework for tackling scientific and societal challenges that exist at the interfaces of multiple fields.
– National Research Council


Environmental studies


The Center for Environmental Studies administers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies.

The B.S. in Environmental Studies curriculum at VCU is unique among Virginia schools for its effective integration of courses from both life and earth sciences with social sciences such as economics, political science and communications.

For degree requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.


The Center for Environmental Studies administers two master’s degree programs: a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and a Master of Environmental Studies.

The M.S. in Environmental Studies is a research degree requiring a research thesis. The program focuses on environmental planning, environmental science, environmental health and environmental technology.

The Master of Environmental Studies is a professional degree requiring a practical experience. The two-year program provides a unique, interdisciplinary opportunity for students and faculty to explore the critical links among environmental life sciences, technology and policy.

For degree requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.



The Center for Biological Data Science administers a Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics.

The B.S. in Bioinformatics curriculum at VCU features the integration of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science with a core course series in bioinformatics. With three tracks at the undergraduate level — biological/genomic, computational and quantitative/statistical — students can complete a program related to their interests.

This bioinformatics degree program is one of a limited number for undergraduates in the U.S. It is closely linked with the assets of the VCU Medical Center, particularly the faculty members and core laboratories, including the Nucleic Acids Research Facilities.

For degree requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.


The Center for Biological Data Science administers two master’s degree programs in Bioinformatics: a Master of Science in Bioinformatics and a Master of Bioinformatics.

Students in the M.S. program complete a faculty-mentored research project and thesis. The goal of this research-oriented degree program is to prepare students for research careers in university, foundation or industry laboratories.

The Master of Bioinformatics program is designed for the entrepreneurial student seeking a solid foundation for entry-level employment in industry, government or academia. The centerpiece of this program is the opportunity to intern for a full semester at an academic, government or industry location. The program, which is highly integrated with the faculty and core laboratories of the VCU Medical Center, is the only degree program in Virginia that is formally listed by the Keck Graduate Institute’s list of Professional Science Master's.

For degree requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.

Integrative Life Sciences


The Center for Integrative Life Sciences Education administers a Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences.

This innovative Ph.D. program involves faculty from across VCU’s campus to focus on the emerging field of systems biology. One of the most interdisciplinary and flexible doctoral programs at VCU, the program is designed for students who want to conduct research that is integrative across multiple disciplines and that takes a systems approach to emerging research questions across the many fields that comprise the life sciences.

For degree requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.

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Realizing a dream
While a candidate for a Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences, Dr. Cathy Viverette lived her dream of studying tidal rivers and the birds that dwell among them.


The Center for Environmental Studies also offers a Certificate in Sustainable Innovation, which provides additional training in using systems thinking to provide innovative solutions to problems of sustainability. It can be added to any baccalaureate degree at the university. For certificate requirements, visit the VCU Bulletins website.

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