The University of Commonwealth of Virginia

VCU School of Medicine

About VCU school of medicine


    A few young doctors at Hampden-Sydney College envisaged setting up a medical and scientific education school in Richmond, Va. In 1838 the Richmond Medicine Department, endorsed by the Hampden-Sydney College Medical Department, rented the Union Hotel for its classrooms and infirmary and opened its doors for learning. By 1845, the medical school’s classes and patients moved to the Egyptian building, one of the oldest examples of U.S. based Egyptian architecture still in use for classrooms today. The Richmond Medicine Department broke away from its roots at Hampden-Sydney College in 1854 and became an independent college known as Virginia’s Medical College. In 1900, the college became the first in the country to expand the curriculum of medical schools to four years, as opposed to the four-month curriculum when the college began first. In 1918, 1920 class Innis Steinmetz became the first woman to enter medical school, and 30 years later the college admitted her first black student to VCU School of Medicine. MCV joined Richmond Professional Institute in 1968 to form the University of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today it has grown to serve as the only Level I Trauma Center in the area, as well as a major Southeast referral center.


    The University of the Commonwealth of Virginia School of Medicine’s mission is to provide physicians and scientists with pre-eminent education to improve the quality of health care for humanity. The School seeks to create and apply new knowledge through innovative, academic activity and a diverse educational context, and to provide and continually improve medical and science education systems. In addition, the university’s goal is to create more effective health care services to address the needs of the diverse populations we represent and to provide outstanding leadership in medicine and scientific advancement.


    The VCU School of Medicine will build on its excellence in the basic, clinical and behavioral sciences to improve human health by advancing the prevention and treatment of diseases. Training programs will incorporate a commitment to diversity and the advancement of healthcare yielding a quality diverse workforce in a welcoming and accepting environment.


    Diversity at VCU’s SOM is a commitment and ongoing process of inclusion with special attention to such characteristics as gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and geography and recognition of these differences in an environment that encourages the involvement and participation of all, representing the diversity of those the university represents. VCU’s SOM believes diversity pushes the organization towards excellence in teaching, study, service, and learning by generating distinct opinions, ideas, and beliefs. Diversity allows students to develop in an environment that parallels the world they live in, thereby facilitating understanding and appreciation of other people’s ideas and practices, building recognition.

    Strategic Plan

    The strategic plan articulates the over-reaching goals of the VCU School of Medicine to continue leading our students, faculty, and staff to success within a growing, diverse, intellectually stimulating, imaginative, inventive, welcoming and inclusive society. The strategy reaffirms the vision of a deep and continuing commitment to the mission and core values of the university which will ensure diversity, equality, and excellence in teaching, science, patient care, and community engagement.

    VCU School of Medicine Affiliated Institutes and Centers

  • VCU Autism Center for Excellence
  • Bariatric – Surgical Weight Loss Center
  • Center for Craniofacial Care
  • CERSE Rehabilitation Science and Engineering Center
  • Child and Family Studies, Commonwealth Institute for
  • Children with Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders, Center
  • Children’s Heart, VCU Center
  • Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center
  • HIV/AIDS Center
  • VCU Institute for Molecular Medicine
  • VCU Center on Society and Health
  • Human-Animal Interaction, Center
  • Human Simulation and Patient Safety, Center
  • Johnson Center for Critical Care and Pulmonary Research Liver Center
  • MIS – Minimally Invasive Surgery Center
  • Molecular Imaging, Center
  • Mood Disorders Institute
  • Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center
  • Pauley Heart Center
  • Transplant Center, Hume-Lee
  • Traumatic Brain Injury, Commonwealth Center
  • VCU Reanimation Engineering Shock Center
  • Weil Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Research at VCU
  • Women’s Health, Institute
  • Awards and Honors of University of the Commonwealth of Virginia Medical School

  • Klaus Ranniger Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • VA Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Anthony V. Proto Resident Research Fund Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award
  • Anthony V. Proto, M.D. Faculty Research Mentorship Award
  • Class of 2019 Award
  • Pinson Neal, Jr., M.D. Outstanding Resident Award
  • Charles L. Baird Award
  • Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award
  • Floyd Best Resident Lecture
  • In-service Examination Award
  • ABR Physics Examination Award
  • ABR Core Examination Award
  • McGuire VAMC Outstanding Second Year Radiology Resident Award 
  • McGuire VAMC Outstanding Third Year Radiology Resident
  • Cardiopulmonary Case of the Week
  • Paul R. Wright Chapter Success Award
  • Presidential Recognition Award
  • National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence\

VCU School of Medicine Admission

The VCU School of Medicine seeks to inscribe and graduate a class that represents many dimensions of diversity. Exposure to a variety of experiences, viewpoints, and interests prepares students to become professional doctors with a dedication to learning and a passion for helping others in all walks of life. The university’s goal is to select the most capable students to attend our school by using the AAMC Holistic Review Project E-A-M Model to evaluate Experiences, Attributes, and Metrics to determine how the applicant could contribute to the learning environment of the VCU School of Medicine, as well as to the medical profession as a future doctor.

    Application Process:

    All applications should be made through the American Application Services for Medical College (AMCAS). Applications must be sent to AMCAS by December 1, at 11:59 pm EST at the latest. Early Decision Program applications must be submitted to AMCAS by 11:59 pm EST no later than August 1. Offers to accept must be sent by October 1. The admissions test for medical college (MCAT) is required for admission.

    To be eligible for an invitation to an interview, all applicants to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine are required to complete the American Professional Health Sciences (CSP10101) CASPer test. Please note that there are limited options available to test date. They can be found at Scores take 3 weeks to receive to medical schools. CASPer scores are applied to interview invitations.

    Process of Review:

    When making decisions, VCU SOM weighs all those attributes:

  • Grade Point Average
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Community/Volunteer Service (preference non-clinical)
  • Patient Exposure


    Academic Requirements

  • The minimum GPA acceptable for this is 3.3. The average GPA in science, non-science, and in general is around 3.7. The calculation of AMCAS GPA includes all grades received for college credit. If a course is repeated, the GPA calculates both grades received for that course.
  • It is best when you are most prepared to take MCAT. All applicants must take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). Send your existing MCAT scores to your application AMCAS. Our committee has chosen the highest attempt to apply. On the latest MCAT, the minimum required is 503.

Required Courses:

Biology: 8 Semester hours, laboratory included. Overall biology, general zoology, or botany should be studied.

Mathematics: six credits of college-level math/statistics

General or Introductory Chemistry: 8 Semester hours, laboratory included

Organic Chemistry: 8 Semester hours, laboratory included

Physics: 8 Semester hours, laboratory included

English: Six credits of intensive class writing. Upon request other courses may be replaced, please contact the admissions office.

General or introductory physics: eight semester hours, including laboratory.

Psychology: Highly recommended

Sociology: Highly recommended

VCU School of Medicine Departments

    Basic Health Science Departments

  • Anatomy and Neurobiology
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Biostatistics
  • Health Behavior & Policy
  • Human and Molecular Genetics
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Physiology and Biophysics
  • Clinical Departments

  • Anesthesiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine and Population Health
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

VCU School of Medicine Housing Facilities

The students come from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds. For the first time, many are leaving for home. That’s why it makes sure the university offers plenty of options and all the comforts of home.

    On-Campus Residence:

    More than 6,000 students, including most freshmen, reside on the campus. Virginia Commonwealth University residence halls come in all shapes and size conventional, suite-style or apartment-style. With a 24-hour information desk, all buildings are secure and include laundry facilities, lounges, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and furniture. If you’re a student in the first year, it is strongly encouraged to live on campus. It’s not mandatory, but it’s going to give you more opportunities to get involved, interact with the university community and find your place at VCU. The residence halls provide frequent social activities for new students, not to mention easy access to a support network. Resident assistants, graduate resident directors, and professional staff will help with your social and educational transition to college. VCU has a variety of life-learning programs for students interested in the environment, leadership, the arts, outdoor adventure, and more. The aim of these programs is to enhance on-campus living with a focus on shared interests, academic experiences or comfort of living.

    Off Campus Residence:

    There are many apartments in trendy communities such as the Fan and Oregon Hill, within walking distance from the campus.

    Dining Facilities

    You can’t study without eating anything. That’s why VCU has tons of dining options on-campus to fuel your 8 a.m. Classes, your late evenings and everything in between, all with a VCU ID card swipe. You have the choice to eat at 23 different locations across two campuses when you have a dining plan with VCU Dine, like Panda Express, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or the all-you-care-to-eat dining hall, Market 810 And with ten different dining options to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find one that’s right for your wallet and stomach. VCU Dine is able to offer fresh, quality foods such as local kale, sweet potatoes, Asian pears and tofu, thanks to partnerships with local farms and distributors. Our innovative menus integrate unique holiday food traditions, and as part of our Guest Restaurant Program, we welcome local, regional and culturally diverse restaurants three times a semester to serve up their specialties.

    Transport and Parking

    As VCU continues to grow, so does parking requirements. Parking isn’t always easy, as an urban campus. To meet this demand, we maintain on the Monroe Park campus, MCV campus and off-campus facilities, several permit-controlled as well as visitor parking facilities. By becoming a subscriber for VCU Parking, students, faculty, and staff will be able to enjoy a guaranteed parking space, supervised well-lit facilities and free motor assistance enrolment. We still provide, in addition to our parking options, a comprehensive alternative transport network, an on-campus shuttle system, and an appealing carpool scheme.

    Located in the heart of downtown Richmond, VCU Parking and Transportation provides a robust and multimodal transportation system that makes it a breeze to navigate both campuses. In addition to on-campus parking, the university also operates cross-campus shuttles, charter services, airport rides, bus and train stations, GRTC transit passes and a plethora of alternative transit services.


    VCU Libraries has two main library locations: James Cabell Library at Monroe Park Campus, and Tompkins-McCaw Health Sciences Library at MCV Campus. Library services include library spaces, computers, and equipment, print, scan, copy and fax, borrow, renew and request, interlibrary loan, the workshop, research support, accessibility, and affordable course content

    Student Outreach

    The Student Outreach Program Office was established to strengthen the VCU School of Medicine’s mission through recruiting, retention, and programming activities that target students from backgrounds that include, but are not limited to racial/ethnic minority groups, first-generation college graduates, or those from rural communities who find themselves poor or underrepresented populations in medicine. Individuals are considered non-traditional students. The services of student outreach offices are available to current and future medical students as well as undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and non-traditional students with an interest in careers as physicians. We will encourage students through step-by-step instruction, encouragement, mentoring and advocacy.

Challenges and Opportunities 


    Attending the LCME’s recommendations in 2008, the School began a process of redesigning the curriculum content and the process by which it is delivered. The preclinical curriculum is primarily lecture-based and offers few opportunities for students to engage in self-assessment of their learning needs or to define, synthesize, independently, as stated by the LCME Survey team.

    Design and implementation of the new curriculum would concentrate on learner-centered rather than content-centered teaching, students working in teams representing social diversity, and faculty design to accept and master more effective means of instructional pedagogy. This focus would require a more regular and rigorous programmatic assessment aimed at better learning outcomes. The proposed program will also ensure students ‘ understanding of cultural competence and diversity, bioethics and social justice, integrative/complementary medicine, patient physical and psychological comfort, the social and behavioral meaning of health and disease, and wellbeing and prevention. 


    In many areas of research and education, the School has gained national leadership to include cardiac disease, brain trauma, and injury, transplantation medicine, neuroscience, genetics, and cancer. We should reinforce and improve certain interdisciplinary research areas so that the translation pipeline can be developed within certain disciplines such as Metabolism, cardiovascular disease, opioid medicine, and immunology while sustaining, enhancing and ensuring research grants and common core facilities management services. This is critical to motivate and facilitate collaborations among faculty. This plan offers the opportunity to build on the strengths of existing research areas. VCUSOM recognizes that the study and training climate provides a specific increased exposure to global diversity which is an increasingly important factor in our missions. Approximately 30 percent of our doctoral trainees come to us from outside the United States, as do more than 50% of our postdoctoral trainees. This provides increased exposure to a wide variety of people from distinct cultures.

    Community Engagement

    To fulfill our mission of successful community and population health research initiatives, to include K-12 schools and non-profit organizations, we need to promote stronger collaborations and partnerships between the school and the community. 

Hacks for advancing in a Medical College

    Good Management of Time

    At medical college, you can no longer rely on your parents to keep a calendar of everything that’s going on and instead you must sort things for yourself. Add to this the way that a big extent of time at medical college will be spent feeling exhausted, because of too much studying or celebrating, and there is a formula for potential catastrophe. Practicals may collide with sports matches or a get-together may be going on when you intend to see your family. The most significant thing is to deal with your time productively. Revise your notes on a regular basis and always start early. Whenever any task or test is assigned to you don’t drag it till the last date, rather start early so you have the opportunity to ask others and perform well.

    Avoid Distractions Completely

    Switch off the link to the internet. Shut down your PC. Don’t even bring it with you. Stop checking in your phone for email messages. Don’t keep it with yourself, either. Or take it, and pull out the battery. Take your book, some paper, a pen, and take notes about what you’re trying to learn. Writing things out helps remind you of concepts. Focus completely on your studies when you are studying and do not let distractions disturb you.

    Dr Najeeb’s Lectures

    Studying for hours from a book or notes is very tiring. Constantly staring at the book causes a headache and you get bored easily. You are easily distracted when you must do hours of straight reading. But video lectures are more interesting to watch and it is easier to study this way. It is a proven fact that your mind retains all the information which is taught through visual aids and diagrams. For all those students the ultimate source of medical knowledge is “Dr. Najeeb’s Lectures” which crystalize the concepts and provide most authentic knowledge. Dr. Najeeb’s Lectures are the world’s most popular medical Lectures, covering all the topics of Gross Anatomy, Neuro-anatomy, Embryology, Histology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. They are video lectures that cover almost all the topics in the current medical curriculum of most medical colleges. They contain visualization of what you study in your books. The hand-drawn illustrations in these lectures make it very easy to grasp the concepts. Furthermore, one can get lifetime access to these lectures and even download the app to avail them anytime, anywhere.

    Consult your Professor before Exam

    Also, professors have student study guides to help them prepare for an exam. Nonetheless, if you have concerns about certain subjects, it is also a good idea to reach out to your professors after class or during office hours. You will get a better understanding of the material in this way. If your professors are not providing a study guide, don’t be afraid to ask them what the most important concepts are. Before the exam, talking to your teachers will also show them that you care and take the right steps to succeed.

    In the end, we would like to assure you that there are always ups and downs in life. Don’t lose hope, keep up with the hard work and Good Luck!


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Kathryn Giroux Whitefish, Ontario
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Maryam Moradi The University of Texas, Austin
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Jacob Joseph
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Ann Ilaria Mayrhofer London School of Hygiene.
Ann Ilaria Mayrhofer
I'm grappling with my online studies in Infectious Disease at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It's made me realize what a visual learner I still am. So these vids are making what was murky crystal clear. While I am easily distracted when I have to do hours of straight reading, I am glued to the videos. I've looked for a series of such videos for months. A million thanks - Dr Najeeb has a true passion for teaching and can convey highly complex topics in an understandable and fun way.


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