Medical schools in Virginia offer Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs for aspiring doctors as well as dual degree programs that lead to both an M.D. degree and a master's or doctoral degree in a related area of study. Students in M.D. programs must have already completed an undergraduate program. They generally begin their graduate studies with two years of general courses in the various bodily systems and later take courses in their chosen specialty area. The medical schools' facilities also provide an opportunity for students to gain clinical experience and conduct medical research. Those pursuing a joint degree will complete additional courses to earn the second degree, with a dissertation also required for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs.
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Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University, located in Richmond, has a university hospital and five health science schools, including a School of Medicine. Students can pursue a standalone M.D. degree or enroll in one of the several joint programs that combine the M.D. degree with a Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science (M.S.) or Ph.D. degree.
The M.D. program is divided into four 1-year phases. During the first phase, students learn about healthy human structure, function, growth and development. The second year addresses pathological conditions in various bodily systems. The third year provides students with clinical training through rotations in various hospitals and ambulatory services, while the fourth year consists of elective courses.
The joint M.D./MHA program is designed to integrate the practice of medicine with the leadership and management knowledge required to supervise healthcare organizations. Students in the joint M.D./MPH program take courses on the cause of epidemics and formulating public health strategies to address the, while those in the M.D./M.S. program obtain research skills in a particular area. The M.D./Ph.D. program is designed to merge basic clinical practices with research methodologies to develop new medical technologies, experimental protocols and more refined scientific inquiry.
University of Virginia - Main Campus
Located in Charlottesville, the main campus of the University of Virginia maintains a medical school that serves the community, as well as provides medical students with clinical experience and research facilities. Degree options include a standalone M.D. program and a joint M.D./Ph.D. program.
Although the School of Medicine offers 65 specialties, students in the M.D. program can expect to focus on general practice during their first two years of graduate study. The third year includes medical clerkships, and the fourth year includes electives taken before students apply for residencies. The combined M.D./Ph.D. program takes six years and includes traditional training in medicine and basic research practices. Students choose an area of research to specialize in as well.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School||School Type & Setting||Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2014-2015)|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||4-year, public; midsize city|| M.D.
|$32,453-$32,493 (in-state), $48,839-$50,278 (out-of-state)*|
|University of Virginia - Main Campus||4-year, public; small city|| M.D.
|$48,114 (in-state), $58,920 (out-of-state) **|
Sources: *Virginia Commonwealth University, **University of Virginia.