Experience is everything
Our campus is part of the city that surrounds us, and we don't let the walls of the classroom close students off from learning in the world beyond.
What you learn in class is very important, don’t get us wrong, but we also value the knowledge and experience you gain at internships, or when you study abroad, participate in a service-learning project, launch a startup or conduct independent research. And employers do, too. That’s why at VCU, experiential learning is built into the curriculum no matter what you study.
Make the most of your education
When you go to college, someone you know is going to give you a version of this advice: Take advantage of all the opportunities you can get your hands on. And guess what? They’re 100 percent right. Here are some ways you can get the most out of your academic experience at VCU.
VCU’s living-learning programs let students live and study together as they take classes and work on extracurricular projects centered around a common theme. You can choose from programs focused on leadership (LEAD), community service (ASPiRE), entrepreneurship and innovation (INNOVATE) and global citizenship (GLOBE). Added bonus: The residence halls are some of the nicest on campus.
Brazil. South Korea. Estonia. For students who want to see the world, VCU offers a range of options from weeklong trips to full-academic-year programs and is part of a study-abroad network of more than 300 universities in more than 50 countries. The best part? Many program fees cost the same as VCU’s in-state tuition, room and board. Learn more about study abroad.
The Honors College offers high-achieving students special opportunities to realize their potential as part of a vibrant community of dedicated scholars. Its innovative curriculum — integrated with experiential learning, including research, service and study abroad — provides the feel of a small, liberal arts college. Honors welcomes students of all majors, and those who are interested in attending VCU’s professional health science programs can apply for the Guaranteed Admission Programs.
Internships can lead to jobs after school. But they do more than that. They can help you decide if the career path you’ve chosen is a good fit for you. You’ll meet people who may have an impact on the rest of your life. They give you a chance to get your work out into the world and to make a difference. And they’re increasingly becoming an essential part of the college experience. Learn how VCU can help you land an internship that will make all the difference.
Support when you need it
VCU is serious about student success. We offer many resources to help you graduate on time.
Campus Learning Center
Offers one-on-one tutoring, academic coaches, supplemental instruction sessions, study groups and drop-in tutoring
Offers in-person or online writing consultations to help you with your papers and projects
All students are assigned an advisor who not only helps ease the transition from high school to college, but also helps create a plan focused on successful career outcomes after graduation
Offers resources and support specifically for transfer students
Military Student Services
Offers resources and support specifically for servicemembers and their families
Offers enhanced academic advising, tutoring, financial counseling education and more to students who are first-generation, low-income or have a documented disability
Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity
Offers advocacy, adapted materials and alternative testing to students with disabilities
7 majors unique in Virginia
18:1 student-faculty ratio
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Faculty who inspire
VCU’s nationally recognized faculty have a huge variety of expertise and a passion for collaborating across disciplines. They strive to prepare students for successful careers and to inspire lifelong learning.
- Professor Sonya Clark [View Image]
Professor of craft and material studies
Clark’s work, featured in hundreds of exhibits and many public collections in the U.S. and abroad, illustrates cultural concepts through materials ranging from hair to textiles. Her “Hair Craft Project” celebrates the connection between African hairstyling and textiles. “Unraveling,” in which Clark and participants take apart a Confederate battle flag thread by thread, was created as a reflection of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War’s end. After the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina, massacre, coverage of the work reached millions.
- Professor Marcus Messner [View Image]
Associate professor of journalism
Messner is a social media expert whose research focuses on the influence and adoption of social media in journalism, public relations and health communication. He was elected to the national teaching committee of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Messner teaches undergraduate digital journalism courses, and his “iPadJournos” mobile and social media reporting project with WTVR-CBS 6 has spearheaded the use of mobile devices as reporting tools in the Robertson School of Media and Culture.
- Professor Jay Albanese [View Image]
Professor of criminal justice and program chair
Albanese is an award-winning scholar who has also been recognized at the school, college and university levels for his teaching. He taught the first online course in criminal justice at VCU in 1999; today he works to incorporate an assortment of media and technology into his classes at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Paramount in his approach is enabling students to connect the subject matter to their daily lives. Through critical-thinking exercises and real-world scenarios, he helps students see the broader picture.
- Professor Samy El-Shall [View Image]
M. Samy El-Shall
Mary Eugenia Kapp Chair in Chemistry and department chair
El-Shall is known across the globe as a leader in the fields of physical chemistry and nanoscience. He has published more than 250 research papers and holds seven U.S. patents. In 1999, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award of Virginia, the commonwealth’s highest faculty honor, and in 2009 the Distinguished Research Award from the Virginia section of the American Chemical Society. El-Shall was a Jefferson Science Fellow at the State Department in 2012-13, working on the impact of complex scientific issues on foreign policy. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Physical Society.
- Professor Sarah Golding [View Image]
Assistant professor of biology
A molecular biologist by training, Golding’s former research focused on the activation of pro-survival signaling by low clinically relevant doses of radiation therapy. Currently, in addition to teaching biology courses, she is the director of undergraduate research in the Department of Biology, as well as associate research-training director in the School of Medicine’s Center on Health Disparities. She helped develop summer "boot camps," where students undergo a weeklong immersion in best practices for molecular laboratories.
Get comfortable, and get to work
Great spaces lead to great scholarship. Sure, you can study in your dorm room and try to ignore your roommate’s ever-growing pile of dirty laundry, but VCU has plenty of cutting-edge yet comfortable facilities with the resources you need to do your best work.
If someone told me at the beginning of my undergraduate studies that I would do as much research as I have done, I wouldn’t have believed them.
Class of 2017