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Dual DVM/PhD Program

Program Overview

Major medical and biomedical breakthroughs generally involve multidisciplinary investigative teams with knowledge of basic and clinical sciences. Veterinarians have a well-grounded understanding and knowledge of disease processes; however, the majority of veterinarians are not adequately trained in a focused, purposeful fashion to perform hypothesis-driven biomedical research. Consequently, there is a critical shortage of veterinarians with a biomedical research background in academic, government, and corporate settings to assume leadership roles.

In recognition of the critical need for veterinarians trained in both basic and clinical sciences, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine offers an opportunity for doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) students to purse a PhD program in conjunction with their veterinary training. The DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program trains veterinary students in the skills of a researcher and encourages these students to pursue academic, government, or corporate careers.

Students admitted into the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program typically:

  • Spend the first 3-4 years in the PhD program, deferring the start of the DVM program.
  • After completing their third or fourth year in the PhD program, will enter the DVM curriculum
  • Some students may complete the PhD portion prior to beginning  the DVM program, completing all requirements of the BMVS PhD program. Alternatively, students may return to the laboratory during the summer after the first year of the DVM curriculum to conclude their PhD project.

The total length of the program is approximately seven to eight years. 

Application to the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program

The following information applies to the application process for the dual degree program:

  • During the DVM supplemental application stage, within the VMCAS application system, qualified applicants will be provided with information regarding the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program and asked to indicate on their application form if they are interested in the Dual Degree Program.
  • After completing the supplemental application within the VMCAS DVM application, applicants may be invited to interview for the Dual Degree Program in conjunction to DVM admission interviews. Upon interviewing for the Dual Degree Program, applicants must additionally apply to the Virginia Tech Graduate School BMVS PhD program. 
  • Students must meet the criteria of both DVM admission and Graduate School admission to be considered for admission.
  • Currently, a maximum of one to two positions in the dual DVM/PhD program are available each year; therefore, only the best-qualified applicants will be considered for the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program.

Financial support

Students in the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program will be provided with a full stipend (approximately $29,880) and tuition waiver during the duration of the PhD program. 

Program during PhD curriculum

Based upon the student’s research interest, the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Committee will assist the student in identifying a suitable faculty mentor to serve as their major professor for PhD work. This must be a mutually agreeable arrangement between the student and the major professor.

The mentor and the student will then appoint a four-member faculty committee for the student’s PhD program. The research project of the DVM/PhD dual degree student will follow the same requirements as the regular PhD student. All project-related research will be formed and begin to take place during the first two years of the PhD program. Students will then complete and pass a preliminary examination, typically at the end of the second or beginning of the third year of the PhD program. After passing the preliminary examinations most dual DVM/PhD students continue with the PhD program for an additional year or two years prior to beginning the DVM portion of the program. 

Program during the DVM Curriculum

At the beginning of the fourth or fifth year of the DVMPhD program, the student will join a regular DVM class and participate in the normal DVM curriculum during the spring and fall semesters. During the first two summer semesters of the DVM curriculum, the student will return to the laboratory to continue work on the PhD project, unless the PhD has been fully completed prior to matriculation into the DVM curriculum

Completion of PhD after earning the DVM degree

After earning the DVM degree at the end of the sixth year, the student will return to the laboratory to complete the PhD program. It is expected that the student will complete the PhD within one year after completion of the DVM degree. While many students follow the previously described timeline, the program is flexible. Some students choose to complete the entire portion of their PhD before beginning the DVM portion. 

Coursework

The students are expected to participate in the normal DVM curriculum and complete all required courses for DVM.

To fulfill the requirement of PhD coursework, the students are required to take a total of 90 credits, including:

  • a minimum of 30 credits for research;
  • a minimum of 27 credits for courses at 4000 level and above;
  • a maximum of 4 credits for seminars; and
  • a maximum of 18 credits for special study and independent study courses.

Required courses for the PhD program include:

  • one biostatistics course (above 4000 level);
  • one course dealing with ethical, scientific, and humane use of animals in research (the course can be waived at the discretion of the student’s PhD committee); and
  • four BMVS seminars.

In general, the DVM/PhD dual degree student will follow the same requirements as the regular PhD student. However, the DVM/PhD student can use up to 24 credits of the courses taken in the DVM curriculum towards the fulfillment of requirements for a PhD.

Further clarification of the program will be available if applicants are invited for an interview.

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BMVSPlanOfStudy_PHD.docx
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bmvs-course-requirements.pdf Course Requirements
Current and Past Dual Degree Students

Last Name 

First Name

Start PhD

Start DVM

Graduating DVM

 

 
Rogers-Catrone Thomas Fall 2007 Fall 2010 2014  

Castilucci

Tam

Fall 2008

Fall 2011

2015

 

Walters

Jessica

Fall 2009

Fall 2012

2016

 

Schroder

Betsy

Fall 2009

Fall 2012

2016

 

Cassaboom

Catilin

Fall 2010

Fall 2013

2017

 

Smith

Garrett

Fall 2010

Fall 2013

2017

 

Cowan

Catherine

Fall 2011

Fall 2014

2018

 

Williams

Kaylyn

Fall 2011

Fall 2014

2018

 

Catanzaro

Kelly

Fall 2012

Fall 2015

2019

 

Ives

Angela

Fall 2013

Fall 2016

2020

 

Waldrop

Steven

Fall 2014

Fall 2017

2021

 

Rothschild

Daniel

Fall 2014

Fall 2017

2021

 

Hazy

Amanda

Fall 2015

Fall 2018

2022

 

Kravitz

Amanda

Fall 2016

Fall 2020

2024

Current DVM/PhD student

Cash

Alison

Fall 2017

Fall 2020

2024

Current DVM student

Shiraz

Ashton

Fall 2018

Fall 2022

2026

Current DVM student

Kuchinsky

Sarah

Fall 2018

Fall 2021

2025

Current DVM student

Tupik

Juselyn

Fall 2019

Fall 2022

2026

Current PhD student

Kaloss

Alexandra

Fall 2019

Fall 2022

2026

Current PhD student

Moore

Greyson

Fall 2020 Fall 2022

2027

Current PhD student

Murphy

Kelsey

Fall 2020 Fall 2023

2027

Current PhD student

Nyblade

Charlotte

Fall 2021

Fall 2024

2028

Current PhD student
May James Fall 2022 Fall 2025 2029 Current PhD student