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Pharm.D. FAQs


  • Academic Info

  • What academic calendar does the School follow?

    The School follows a semester calendar, which generally coincides with the University calendar. The Fall semester begins during the third week in August and continues until the second week of December. First year students arrive approximately three days before the start of classes for an extensive orientation. The Spring semester begins during the second week of January and continues until the first or second week in May. Breaks from the academic workload include the usual holidays such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas / New Years, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Spring Break (1 week).

  • Describe the School’s curriculum

    The curriculum provides 155 semester hours of course work during the four year professional program. The first three years are primarily didactic, although experiential learning is a significant component of specific courses such as the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience course and the Foundations Laboratories. The entire fourth year is experiential.

  • Is the School accredited?

    Yes, the VCU School of Pharmacy has been continuously accredited since the ACPE begin accrediting Pharmacy Schools in the 1930s. It currently is the only School of Pharmacy in Virginia with a full six year accreditation.

  • Is it important to go to an accredited School of Pharmacy?

    Yes, students who graduate from a School of Pharmacy that is not accredited are not eligible for licensure as a pharmacist.

  • Describe the typical day for a student.

    During the first three professional years of study, students will generally adhere to an 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. schedule, Monday - Friday. Students are free every day from Noon - 1 P.M. A Student Assembly is scheduled each Wednesday from 11 A.M. - Noon. Several afternoons are open depending on the scheduling of laboratory and conference sessions. Lecture periods last 50 minutes, conference sessions for 2 hours, and laboratories may last up to three hours. In the fourth year, students maintain a minimum of 40 hours per week, as assigned by their clerkship preceptor.

  • What electives are available?

    Students in the third professional year of study select 4-6 credit hours of elective didactic courses. Offerings are related to pharmacy or health care. Also, electives may be individualized to include special topics or research projects. Students in the fourth year of study select two elective clerkships for a total of 10 credit hours.

  • Do students attend classes in the summer?

    There are no summer courses offered during the first three professional years. However, the summer between the third and fourth professional years is committed to clerkships. Students end class in early May and begin their first clerkship period approximately two weeks later. During the summers between the P1-P2 and P2-P3 years, most students seek employment in a pharmacy to gain additional practice experience. 

  • How large are classes?

    Class size is usually 140 students. Classes are routinely divided into subgroups for laboratory sessions, conference sessions or other experiential learning experiences. Students are assigned to groups on a random basis, allowing for greater interaction among class members.

  • Is there competition among students?

    The majority of students are adult learners who cooperate and collaborate with their student colleagues. Almost all students in professional degree programs are competitive, but primarily with their own personal achievement goals.

  • Do students feel more pressured here than at other schools or colleges they attended?

    The academic rigor of a professional degree program tends to be greater than an academically sound baccalaureate program. Students acknowledge that there is an increased volume of course material presented in an extremely rapid fashion. Good study habits and time management strategies are considered essential.

  • What happens if I experience academic difficulty?

    The School provides a tutoring program without charge. The academic performance of all students is monitored by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services and tutors are assigned when needed or requested by students. Also, study groups are common within classes. Additionally, student academic support services, counseling services and services for students with disabilities are available for all students on the MCV campus.

  • What is the graduation rate?

    The graduation rate is approximately 96 percent. It is important to note that many students who do not graduate with their entering class are those who enter combined degree programs. The careful admissions screening of applicants for academic success helps to assure that students are capable of completing the program. In comparison, attrition estimates (tracking enrollees through to graduation) over the past five years among all U.S. Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy have averaged 11.6 percent per class.

  • Do graduates pass the National Pharmacy Licensure Exam (i.e., state board exam)?

    Definitely. On occasion, a student will not satisfactorily complete a specific section of the examination, resulting in failure. In this situation, the student sits for a re-examination. The initial passing rate for the School has averaged between 95-100 % for several decades and during the past five years the average has been 95%. Data for NAPLEX scores for all Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy can be found on the NABP website at http://www.nabp.net/.

  • How are courses graded?

    Grading scales are specific for each course. Details are provided to students by the course coordinator during the initial class session and documented in the course syllabus. For the majority of courses, letter grades are assigned. The designation of honors/high pass/pass/fail is also used for some courses such as advanced pharmacy practice experiences in the P-4 year.

  • Are course exemptions permitted?

    If students have mastered the course content and competencies at another academic institution, a course coordinator will provide a formal evaluation process for students to seek exemption. This process varies with department, but generally includes a review of the previous course syllabus, reference materials used and successful completion of an equivalency examination. If desired, exempted students are eligible to register for elective courses to maintain a full academic load.

  • What classes are offered at the Northern Virginia and Charlottesville Campuses of the School of Pharmacy and which students may attend classes there?

    Classes are only offered on the Northern Virginia and Charlottesville Campuses during the 3rd and 4th year of the pharmacy curriculum. All students attend class in Richmond during the first 2 years of the program. During the initial interview process students are asked to indicate if they are interested in spending the last two years of the Pharm.D. program at one of the satelite campuses. Up to 20 students per class are allowed to transfer to the Northern Virginia Campus and 10 students to the Charlottesville campus at the end of the 2nd year and priority is given to those students who have already indicated that they wish to go there. If there are remaining spots available, requests will be taken during the P2 year for additional students to transfer. If more than 20 students apply for Northern Virginia and more than 10 students apply for Charlottesville, the final selection of students will be made by the Dean. Students who are on Academic Probation will not be allowed to transfer to one of the satelite Campuses. Third year didactic classes for Northern Virginia are held on the campus of Inova Fairfax Hospital and students may choose APPEs during the P4 year at Inova Fairfax Hospital as well as many other locations in the Northern Virginia/Metro D.C. area. Charlottesville classes are held on the campus of the UVA Health Sciences Center. Students in Charlottesville may also complete their P4 APPE at UVA and around the Charlottesville area.

  • Can an alternative course be taken in place of public speaking?

    No, only public speaking will be considered to fulfill the prerequisite course for the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Courses such as interpersonal communications, introduction to communication and baccalaureate seminar are important courses to consider but cannot be used to fulfill the public speaking prerequisite.

  • What teaching methods are used by the faculty?

    A variety of methods are used depending on the course and instructor. Usual methods include lecture, laboratory, conference, computer assisted instruction, problem-based learning, learner centered instruction, and experiential instruction.

  • How do students participate in the evaluation of courses?

    Course evaluations are completed by students at the end of each semester. Course evaluations are reviewed by the faculty coordinator and department chairman. Suggested changes are submitted to the Curriculum Committee prior to implementation. A representative of each class serves as a voting member of the School’s Curriculum Committee.

  • How do students participate in evaluating the teaching effectiveness?

    Each instructor in each course is evaluated by students. These evaluations serve as a basis for evaluating teaching effectiveness. Reviews are an integral part of the faculty member’s annual review and overall evaluation for promotion and tenure consideration.

  • Does an honor system exist for students?

    The University maintains an honor system to promote honesty, truth and integrity.

  • Do Pharmacy students serve on the MCV Campus Honor Council?

    Yes. Two students are elected from each Pharmacy class to serve as members of the Honor Council.

  • How many full time and part time faculty are in the School?

    The School has a total of 888 faculty: full-time (75), affiliate (800), emeriti (13).

  • What is the student to faculty ratio for the Pharm.D. program?

    Based on full-time faculty, the ratio is 6.9/1.0 (520/75); based on all faculty of the School, the ratio is 0.6/1.0 (520/888) when faculty who serve as preceptors for P-4 students are included.

  • Where can I find a listing of the faculty?

    Faculty are listed in the School’s departmental sections of the VCU Graduate and Professional Programs 2010-2011 Bulletin. The School of Pharmacy web site (www.pharmacy.vcu.edu) also includes a faculty directory.

  • How accessible are faculty to students?

    When faculty are not immediately available to students, they provide information about how to be reached. This generally includes a telephone number, pager number and e-mail address. Most faculty prefer that students arrange a mutually convenient time for an appointment so that the meeting time is not interrupted.

  • What is the difference between a Ph.D. and Pharm.D. degree?

    The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded to students as an advanced research degree, usually completed in four years. This degree does not qualify an individual to become a licensed pharmacist unless they have also earned a B.S. in Pharmacy or Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree is a professional degree designed to produce a scientifically and technically competent pharmacist who will primarily provide health care services to patients.

  • What types of students do best in graduate programs?

    Graduate school education is different from professional education. Classes are usually smaller, and classes require significant student participation. Class assignments are often project-based and can be challenging. Students work independently or in small groups. Students must be self-motivated. Students should have clear goals and objectives for their education and work collaboratively with professors to achieve them.

  • What is the Pharm.D./Ph.D. program?

    These combined programs are designed for highly motivated students to complete dual degrees after five or six years of study while enrolled in the School of Pharmacy. The programs take advantage of curricular efficiencies to develop an academic program with a concentration in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacy administration or pharmacotherapeutics.

  • What is the Pharm.D./M.B.A. program?

    This combined degree program is designed to prepare pharmacists for careers that require expertise in both pharmacy and business theories and principles. The program is offered in conjunction with the VCU School of Business. Students complete a mix of pharmacy and business courses during the first three years of the program, finish all business courses during their fourth year of study and then complete their experiential course work during the fifth year of study.

  • What types of positions can I get with an advanced degree or training experience?

     

    In general, the greater the time spent in an advanced training program, the greater the degree of specialization. This results in being able to compete for highly selective positions. For example, students with the combined Pharm.D./M.S. degree will be prepared to apply for entry level pharmacy positions in:

     

    1. The pharmaceutical industry (pharmacoeconomics, clinical or outcomes research, regulatory affairs, sales & marketing, liaison with managed care)
    2. Managed care (formulary management, clinical coordinator)
    3. Hospital pharmacy (drug information, clinical pharmacist, assistant director)
    4. Long term care (clinical coordinator, research coordinator)
    5. Federal and state government (FDA, AHCPR, Medicaid)
    6. Pharmacy associations (state, national)
    7. Academia (clinical pharmacist, outcomes research)
    8. Corporate positions in chain pharmacy (management, marketing)
  • What is the average cost for books per semester?

    Cost will vary by year and will depend on whether new or used textbooks are purchased. Expenditures will also depend on the degree of dependence on adjunctive references desired by an individual student. In general, students will allot $250-350 per semester for books. 

  • Are used books available?

    Upper class students routinely post notices announcing the sale of used books. Postings are especially common at the beginning of each semester.

  • What are the fees and how are they used?

    Fees are specifically indicated for the student services provided to all university students, and include Student Government Association activities, health services, technology, clerkship/practicum administration and the School’s student government activities.

  • Are scholarships available?

    Scholarships in the total amount of $ 600,000 were provided to professional students during the 2011-2012 academic year. Scholarships for academic merit and for financial need are assessed by a Scholarship and Awards Committee. Applications for scholarships are completed in the early Fall semester and notification of awards are made during the early part of the Spring semester. All students are eligible for scholarship application.

  • What types of financial aid are available to pharmacy students?

    Eligibility for financial aid programs varies with personal finance. Pharmacy students are classified as professional, rather than undergraduate students and thus are eligible for extensive financial aid. Some examples include the Health Professions Student Loans, Stafford Loans and Work Study. Eligible programs include subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans and selected low interest loans from the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • How do I apply for financial aid?

    The MCV campus maintains a staff to specifically assist with all financial aid issues. The application process is initiated by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available from the Student Services Center (Room 1-055, Sanger Hall, 804-828-9800) or from any high school guidance office or college financial aid office. The application may also be found on the Internet at: www.fafsa.ed.gov. FAFSA on the Web allows you to complete and submit your financial aid application electronically. The applications are available in December for submission after January 1. The FAFSA is the only application needed to apply for financial aid at VCU.

  • What are Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs)?

    IPPEs are one semester hour courses offered during each of the first three years of the professional curriculum. Students have direct contact with patients and pharmacists in pharmacy practice sites throughout the state as a major portion of course assignments. These experiences are scheduled before or after the regular academic semester.

  • What are clerkships or advanced practice experiences(APPEs)?

    A clerkship or advanced practice experience is an experiential learning experience that is five weeks in duration. Each week’s experience is a minimum of 40 hours in duration and is guided by a faculty member. The entire fourth year is devoted to this type of learning. Areas of study include acute care, institutional practice, geriatrics care, ambulatory care, advanced community pharmacy and two electives (e.g., drug information, nuclear pharmacy, association management, and industry).

  • Where do students complete clerkships or advanced practice experiences(APPEs)?

    Since 1971, the School has provided clerkships at pharmacy practice sites throughout Virginia. The majority of these sites include community pharmacies, nursing homes and hospitals. In general, students will complete most of their clerkships in a specific geographic location such as Richmond, Tidewater, Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Roanoke, or Southwest Virginia. Students may also choose selected sites outside Virginia and some students complete elective rotations in other countries.

  • What type of library resources are available?

    The Tompkins-McCaw Library is located on the MCV campus. The library subscribes to nearly 3,000 medical and health related journals. Electronic journals are available via the library’s web pages. An extensive holding of biomedical textbooks and journals is available. The VCUONE CARD serves as a library card allowing textbooks and related materials to be checked out. Photocopiers are available for self-service copying. Additional library resources are located in the Cabell Library on the VCU Academic Campus. Additionally, the Library of Virginia is located within several blocks of the MCV Campus.

  • Does the School have student organizations and professional fraternities that students may join?

    Yes, most students belong to at least one organization, and many are members of multiple groups. The School has six professional student organizations, all of which are associated with a national pharmacy organization. The School also has 3 professional fraternities and 2 honor societies. Each class elects class officers as does the entire Student Body. Some students also get involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) and may become MCV Campus wide officers.

  • Can students on the satellite campuses participate in organizations?

    Yes, regular meetings of the organizations and professional fraternities are relayed by video conference to the satellite campuses.

  • Are faculty involved with students outside class?

    Faculty participate in student sponsored professional and social activities throughout the year. Also, students are invited into the homes of faculty members for dinner through the Fireside Chat Program. This program is provided during the Fall and Spring semesters.

  • What do faculty do beyond teaching?

    The School’s faculty are extensively involved in research and service. Research is a critical element of faculty performance and a major contribution to the success and reputation of the School and the MCV campus. Faculty also provide service to the profession, the University and actively participate in patient care services.

  • Can students participate in research if they are not graduate students?

    Students are encouraged to participate in research and scholarly activity. Students can participate in research as an elective course offering, seek employment in the laboratories of faculty investigators and compete for summer research fellowships offered to professional students.

  • What research facilities are available to Pharmacy students?

    The Smith building and McGuire Hall house research laboratories for faculty. Students frequently work in these laboratories when completing student research fellowships during the summer or research electives during the academic year. The school also maintains a bioanalytical lab, a coagulation lab, a center for biomarker research and laboratories in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, located adjacent to the MCV Campus.

  • What is the job outlook for pharmacists?

    Major changes in health care have created many opportunities for pharmacists beyond the commonly available positions established in pharmacy practice. Career options include: Community Practice (e.g., Chain, HMO, Independent); Institution (e.g., Hospital, Long Term Care, Veterinary); Consulting; Regulatory (e.g., State, Federal); Industry (e.g., Administration, Business, Research and Development, Technical/Scientific); Academia; and other options (e.g., Automation Technology, Computer Technology, Legal, Mail Order, Third Party Insurance).

  • How much money will I make when I graduate?

    Salaries vary within specific practice settings, geographic location, and the extent of experience. New graduates in 2010 received annual salaries generally starting at greater than $100,000 for full time employment in a variety of practice settings.

  • Does a career counseling program exist?

    During the P-1 orientation, students participate in the American Pharmacists Association’s Career Pathway Evaluation program (http://www.pharmacist.com). The elements of this interactive session are reinforced throughout the curriculum. Career opportunities are discussed by pharmacy practitioners and faculty during student assemblies throughout each academic year Additionally, faculty provide career counseling during each advanced pharmacy practice experience in the fourth year of the professional program.

  • Will I get help in finding a job before I graduate?

    The School maintains an ongoing network with alumni and employers. The School conducts a formal career placement day-long program for P-4 students during the late Fall on an annual basis. During this time, graduating students conduct formal interviews with prospective employers.

  • What do your graduates do after graduation?

    Most students enter pharmacy practice. Others seek specialized training (e.g., residency or fellowship) or additional education (e.g., M.H.A., M.B.A., M.P.H., M.S., Ph.D.). Faculty assist students in applying for these types of post-graduate programs.

  • What did your recent graduates do after earning their degree?

    On the day of graduation, approximately 55 percent of the members of the graduating class will have obtained positions in community pharmacy practice; approximately 25 percent will have committed to continue their professional education and training by entering residency or fellowship programs; approximately 15 percent will have entered practice in a health system; and 5 percent will have entered other types of practice positions such as those with the federal government (e.g., U.S. Navy, Air Force, Public Health Service) or will be undecided about their available offers.

  • What is a Pharmacy residency?

    A pharmacy residency is an organized, directed, postgraduate experience in a defined area of pharmacy practice. Residencies offer additional knowledge and skills beyond the professional degree. Two general types of residencies are offered including PGY1 (Post-Graduate Year 1)/ pharmacy practice (e.g., community or health-system) or PGY2 (Post-Graduate Year 2)/specialized (e.g., adult internal medicine, clinical pharmacokinetics, critical care, drug information, geriatrics, infectious diseases, nuclear pharmacy, nutritional support, oncology, pediatrics, pharmacotherapy, primary care and psychotherapy). Most residency programs are one year in duration and most PGY2/specialized residency programs require the completion of a pharmacy practice residency. Most, if not all, residency programs offer a stipend in excess of $40,000.

  • What is a Pharmacy fellowship?

    A pharmacy fellowship is a directed, highly individualized postgraduate experience designed to prepare an individual to become an independent researcher. The fellow trains under the close direction and instruction of a qualified pharmacy researcher-preceptor. Upon completion of the one or two year program, the fellow should be capable of conducting collaborative research or functioning as a principal investigator. Often, candidates pursue a fellowship after completing a residency program.

  • Admissions

  • Can I obtain a catalog?

    The Undergraduate Bulletin for the Monroe Park Campus and the Graduate and Professional Degrees Bulletin for the Medical College of Virginia Campus can be accessed via http://www.vcu.edu/bulletins/.

  • What prerequisites are required for admission to the School of Pharmacy?

    Specific course requirements can be found on the school website at: http://www.pharmacy.vcu.edu/programs/pharmd/prospective/prereq/.

  • How many applicants are accepted?

    Approximately 140 students.

  • Are students admitted during the spring semester?

    Students are admitted only at the start of the academic year (i.e., the start of the fall semester).

  • Does the School of Pharmacy use PharmCAS?

    The VCU School of Pharmacy continues to use the national online application service PharmCAS for all applicants to the doctor of pharmacy program. Paper applications will not be accepted. You can visit the website www.pharmcas.org for additional information about the process.

  • Is there a Supplemental Application?

    Yes, but only for students who are invited to an interview. The supplemental application fee is $30.

  • Is there an Early Decision option?

    Yes. Under this option, you would apply only to VCU, and you will be obligated to enroll at VCU if accepted, udually mid-October. You would then also be able to apply to other PharmCAS institutions for an additional fee.

  • When will Early Decision applications be reviewed and decided?

    The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications for Early Decision in August. All complete applications for Early Decision will be reviewed and decisions will be made by the date specified by PharmCAS for applicants seeking early decision status. Since applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received, it is advantageous to submit application materials as early as possible.

  • What is the regular application deadline under the PharmCAS system?

    The deadline for regular admission is March 1. Because of sometimes lengthy delays by PharmCAS in verifying transcripts, it is recommended that you submit all material a month ahead of the deadline.

  • What is the minimal grade point average that is acceptable?

    There is no minimum. The school tries to evaluate students in a holistic manner, but the average science GPA is 3.4 

  • What is the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)?

    The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized test that measures the general academic ability and scientific knowledge deemed to be suitable for success in the professional degree curriculum. Test dates, registration deadlines and fees are available by visiting www.PCATweb.info.

  • Is it necessary to take the PCAT test?

    It is not necessary to have taken the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) before you submit your application, however the Admissions Committee will wait to make a decision on your application until your PCAT scores have been received.

  • How are Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores evaluated?

    PCAT results should be sent directly to PharmCAS (use PharmCAS code 104). The PCAT results that you receive will provide two columns of test scores; the first is a "scaled" score, and the second is a "percentile" score. The Admissions Committee uses the percentile column in evaluating each category of the PCAT results. If your percentile score in the Chemistry category is "50", that indicates that your score fell exactly in the middle. If your score is "70", it would indicate that 70% of the others taking the test scored lower than you and only 30% scored higher.

  • How important are the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores?

    In general, successful candidates have 70th percentile as a minimum score in each of the six measured areas. While scores in the 70th percentile are considered acceptable, lower scores are nevertheless given consideration by the Admissions Committee. If you retake the PCAT, the School of Pharmacy will accept the highest scores in each category.

  • How long are PCAT scores kept?

    If there is a lapse of more than two years between taking the PCAT exam and application, you will be asked to resubmit your scores.

  • Is it necessary for me to have completed all prerequisite courses before submitting my application to PharmCAS?

    It is not necessary to have completed all prerequisite course work before submitting your application. However, you must complete all prerequisite courses before entering our program. 

  • In addition to the grade point average and PCAT scores, what qualities does the Admissions Committee look for in an applicant?

    In addition to your academic credentials, the Admissions Committee will consider: Course load carried, exposure to pharmacy, work experience, extracurricular activities, honors and awards in high school and college, volunteer experience and evidence of leadership and community service.

  • What is the composition of the Admissions Committee?

    The committee is comprised of faculty, students and alumni of the School of Pharmacy. The committee submits recommendations to the Associate Dean for Admissions and the Dean for final consideration.

  • Are there additional courses that I can take to prepare myself for the program?

    Due to the importance of a strong biomedical science foundation for success in the doctor of pharmacy program, the following courses are recommended: molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, and immunology.

  • Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits accepted?

    Credits earned through Advanced Placement Tests of the College Board or International Baccalaureate programs are not acceptable in meeting the total ninety (90) semester hours requirement. Such AP credits may excuse an applicant from taking a specific nonscience course such as English, but these credits must be replaced with additional electives. The school will accept AP scores in calculus, statistics, and physics, but other science courses will not be accepted. The school requires AP of 3 or higher or IB of 4 or higher. 

  • Are high school/college dual credits accepted?

    Dual credits taken during high school may be considered acceptable for transfer credit pending review of college transcripts.

  • Will courses from non-U.S. educational institutions be considered for transfer credit?

    Only courses completed at a U.S. accredited college or university will be accepted.

  • Is there a special application process for international students?

    All applicants for the professional degree program (Pharm.D. degree) must be U.S. citizens or be a permanent resident of the United States.

  • What documentation is required to be provided by applicants who are permanent residents of the United States?

    Applicants who are permanent residents of the U.S. will need to provide the School of Pharmacy with proof of their permanent residency status. This may be accomplished by providing a copy of your green card (both front and back); a copy of your passport stamped with the inscription "processed for I-551;" or other official INS notification in the form of a letter.

  • Do I have to have a personal interview before admission to the School of Pharmacy?

    Yes, all students must complete a successful interview session before admission to the School. Interviews are by invitation only and are offered to a limited number of applicants after initial screening of the PHARMCAS application by the School’s Admissions Office. To allow easier applicant attendance without interfering with classes, interviews are offered on select Saturday afternoons during the Fall and Spring semesters. The session will consist of interviews with a team of a faculty member and a pharmacy student and a team of a pharmacy student and a practitioner-alumnus, as well as a tour of the school and the campus. During the session, the applicant will also write an extemporaneous essay on an assigned topic.

  • Do you accept online or distance education courses?

    A limited number of online courses will be accepted. Public speaking and/or communications courses must be taken live and in person.

  • What immunizations will I need?

    When you are admitted to the school, you will have to submit a list of required immunizations. Learn more at https://students.vcu.edu/health/immunizations/

  • Are non-Virginia applicants accepted?

    Yes. Approximately 25 percent of the student body members are non-Virginia residents.

  • Can non-Virginia applicants apply for in-state tuition?

    When a non-Virginia resident moves to Virginia specifically to attend a state-supported college or university, he or she retains their non-Virginia status for tuition purposes. Exemptions may be permitted following review by a university panel if the applicant can establish their intent to reside in Virginia on a permanent basis.

  • I have been out of college for several years. Is it necessary for me to retake the prerequisites?

    If you took the science (e.g., biology, organic chemistry) and mathematics (e.g., calculus, statistics) portions of the prerequisites more than five years ago, it is suggested that you consider repeating these courses to ensure that you will be adequately prepared to meet the challenges of the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum.

  • What courses are acceptable as electives?

    The electives you select should represent a balanced program in social sciences, arts, and humanities. Examples are psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, economics, computer science, history, foreign languages, philosophy, religious studies, and related courses. Natural sciences, physical education, and studio course credits will not be accepted toward satisfying the electives requirement. If you have a bachelor's degree, the electives requirement will be waived.

  • What type of speech course should I take?

    It is recommended that you take a speech course that provides experience in speaking before a group, as you will make many presentations in pharmacy school.

  • If my school doesn't offer General Biology, what can I take to meet your Biology prerequisite?

    You may take Botany, Zoology, Cell Biology, or Genetics to satisfy the General Biology requirement. Any other substitutions will need approval by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services. As with the General Biology requirement, any of the aforementioned substitute courses must have a lecture and laboratory component.

  • Do I need to work in a pharmacy before being accepted?

    No. However, exposure to pharmacy practice is desirable. Some applicants will volunteer in a pharmacy. Others will volunteer in other health care areas, such as a hospital, nursing home or free clinic. Ideally, successful candidates have some exposure to the health care system and patient care involvement.

  • When will I be notified about my acceptance or rejection?

    A definite date for notification will depend on the decision of the Admissions Committee. The Committee frequently will postpone final notification until the majority of the applicants have been interviewed. A candidate’s status is always available via PharmCAS.

  • Is there an alternate list for applicant admission?

    Yes. This is a roster of candidates deemed appropriate for admission, if spaces become available. Historically, several alternates are admitted each year.

  • If I am not accepted, can I reapply?

    Yes. Ideally, the applicant will have enhanced his or her application upon reapplication. The Associate Dean for Admissions is always available to meet with applicants to outline a strategy for a successful admission. Each year, many re-applicants are successful in gaining admission. 

  • Other

  • What is the reputation of the School among other Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy?

    The School has a long-standing reputation for excellence in research, teaching and service. Faculty and alumni are known and respected within national professional circles. An assessment of objective criteria for determining excellence readily establishes the School among the best in the nation. Although Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy have not been ranked by external groups such as the U.S. News and World Report for more than five years, the VCU School of Pharmacy was consistently listed as a top tier school when the surveys were current. The School’s respected relationship among the other health science schools on the MCV campus provides additional prestige. Additionally, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning has designated VCU as a "Doctoral/Research University - Extensive" institution. This is the most prominent designation assigned to institutions of higher learning.

  • What role do the alumni serve?

    Alumni are supportive in contributions of time and funds. The Pharmacy Division of the MCV Alumni Association has a student representative from each class attend their Association meetings. Many alumni serve as adjunct faculty precepting students enrolled in clerkships. Also, alumni are frequent employers of graduates. Approximately 65 percent of all practicing pharmacists in Virginia are alumni of the VCU School of Pharmacy.

  • What type of interactions do you have with alumni?

    Alumni are extremely involved with School activities. Students have many opportunities to network with alumni during their time in School, such as formal class presentations, career planning discussions, participating in professional meetings and attending School-sponsored social events.

  • Who are some of your successful alumni?

    Depending on the definition of “successful”, the School has many alumni that qualify, especially after more than a century of existence. Briefly, a few notable alumni include

    • Senator Ed Wiley (significant tenure as a senator in the Virginia legislature)
    • E. Claiborne Robins (former president of A.H.Robins Company)
    • R. Blackwell Smith (former president of the Medical College of Virginia)
    • Eugene V. White (pioneer of the office-based pharmacy practice)
    • J. Curtis Nottingham (past-president of the American Pharmaceutical Association)
    • R. David Anderson (past-president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists)
    • R. Reginald Rooke (past-president of the National Community Pharmacists Association)
    • Delegates Harvey Morgan and Chris Jones (current members of the Virginia legislature)
    • Marianne Rollings (first woman to be elected President of the Virginia Pharmacists Association and appointed to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy)
    • Daniel Herbert (Past-President of the of the American Pharmacists Association)
    • Janet Silvester (past-president of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists)
    • Carl Emswiller (recipient of the American Pharmaceutical Association's Remington Medal)
    • Bertha Rolfe (recipient of VCU’s Edward A. Wayne Medal)
    • Scotti Russell (Director, Virginia Board of Pharmacy)
    • John Hasty (past-director, Department of Health Professions, Commonwealth of Virginia)
    • Rebecca P. Snead (Vice-President and CEO, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations)

     

  • Are students permitted to attend alumni events?

    Yes. Students are encouraged to participate in alumni activities. For example, graduating students are specifically invited to attend the annual Pharmacy Alumni Dinner and Awards Ceremony each Spring. Two representatives from each class are elected annually to serve as members of the School of Pharmacy Division of the MCV Alumni Association.

  • Are any of your faculty alumni?

    Yes. Approximately ten percent of the faculty completed some portion of their professional education at the School.

  • What is the weather like in Richmond?

    Richmond has a pleasant temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The coldest months are generally restricted to January and February when light snow is even possible. The summer months of July and August tend to be hot and humid. The University maintains a website for inclement weather alerts and school closing information is provided by all local radio and television stations.

  • Where do students shop in Richmond?

    Shopping centers in the Richmond metropolitan area range from large, indoor malls to neighborhood specialty shopping areas. Larger malls include:

    • Chesterfield Towne Center
    • Shops at White Oak Village
    • Regency Square
    • Sycamore Square
    • Willow Lawn
    • Virginia Center Commons
    • Short Pump Towne Center
    • Stony Point Fashion Park

     

  • What places of worship are available in the vicinity of the campus?

    A wide variety of churches, synagogues and mosques are conveniently located within access to the campus, especially in the downtown and Fan areas of Richmond.

  • Is there a post office available on campus?

    Limited services are available from the U.S. Post Office located in the VMI building at 1000 East Marshall Street. Rental boxes are available. Full services are available at the U.S. Post Office in the Federal Building at 7th and Marshall Streets (approximately four blocks from the MCV campus). For students residing in campus housing, mail is delivered daily to mailboxes in each dormitory.

  • Where can I register to vote?

    Voter registration materials can be obtained through the MCV Campus Student Services Center located on the 1st floor of Sanger Hall, 1101 E. Marshall Street. Applications to register to vote can be submitted at any office of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The nearest office to VCU is 2300 W. Broad Street. For voting dates and locations, contact the registrar in the locality of your residence: City of Richmond (646-5950), Chesterfield County (748-1471), Hanover County (730-6080) and Henrico County (501-4347).

  • Student Life

  • How active is the School’s Student Government?

    The student government of the School is represented by the Student Executive Committee. The Committee is presided over by the Student Body President. This annually elected position is assisted by the Student Body Vice-President. Other members of the Committee include the elected President of each class and the elected President of each student organization and fraternity. The President of the Inter-fraternity Council also serves as a member of the Student Executive Committee. The Committee meets monthly during the academic year and serves as the decision making body for the student population of the School. The Committee maintains a budget and is responsible for overseeing professional and social issues involving the student body.

  • Do Pharmacy students participate in the Student Government of the campus and University?

    Each class elects one or more representatives to serve as members of the MCV Campus Student Government. Monthly meetings are held and students of the School are eligible for leadership positions. The Campus Student Government Association also sponsors social activities including picnics, parties, fun runs and the MCV campus formal.

  • Will I be able to meet students in the other Schools on campus?

    A valuable asset of attending a school that is part of a major health science campus is the interaction with other health profession students. Pharmacy students meet and interact with other students (e.g., medical, dental, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nurse practitioner, laboratory technology, social work, and dietitians) through formal association activities such as the MCV Student Government and Honor Council, socially through parties and intramural sports activities, living together in campus dormitories, through courses, and during clerkship experiences.

  • Are students represented on School committees?

    Students are included on all standing School committees (e.g., Admissions Committee, Outcomes and Assessment Committee, Curriculum Committee, and Tenure/Promotion Review Committees), except the Academic Performance Committee.

  • How difficult is it to become involved in student organizations?

    The large number of student organizations provides a great opportunity for membership and active leadership. Students are welcomed and encouraged to actively participate in one or more organizations. Each organization provides information to all incoming students during orientation.

  • What student organizations are available to students?

    Chapters of national pharmacy organization are represented. These include:

    • Virginia Academy of Students of Pharmacy (VASP)
    • Virginia Society of Health-System Pharmacists Student Chapter (SVSHP)
    • Student National Pharmaceutical Association
    • Student Association of Consultant and Geriatric Pharmacists
    • Student Association of Community Pharmacists.
    • Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International
    • Phi Lambda Sigma, a Pharmacy leadership society
    • Rho Chi, the professional honor society for the profession.
    • Phi Delta Chi
    • Kappa Epsilon
    • Kappa Psi

     

  • Does the School conduct a White Coat Ceremony?

    Yes, a white coat ceremony is conducted for incoming students. The white coat serves as a symbol of professionalism and an important reminder to future pharmacists about their covenant with the patients they serve. The formal event is conducted during the fall semester of the P-1 year.

  • Is there a dress code?

    The student body has published a dress code which outlines the need for professional students to act and dress accordingly. This is especially important when students are participating in a patient care activity. Some clerkship sites have definite dress codes which require strict adherence. All students are provided with a name tag for identification in the clinical and laboratory settings.

  • Where do students park their car if they live on campus? If they commute?

    Students living on campus park in the “N” deck located adjacent to the dormitories. Commuting students are assigned parking in “A”, "C" or “I” lots (the Eighth Street Deck may be available, but at a higher rate). These parking areas are within walking distance of the School. A reliable shuttle bus also rotates between various sites on campus and all parking lots. After hours, the VCU escort service will provide students with transportation to any area of campus, including satellite parking lots. Other private parking lots are available near the MCV campus.

  • Is it better to live on campus or away from campus?

    This is a personal choice. Some students like the convenience of being on campus. Others prefer to live off campus, especially if they have lived in a dormitory for two to four years prior to coming to the MCV campus. Commuting time (e.g., thirty minutes during rush hour traffic from the West end) is a primary consideration in selecting off-campus housing.

  • How are residence hall assignments made?

    MCV students are randomly assigned housing on the MCV campus, initially. Returning students have priority in choosing room assignments.

  • Are single rooms available in the dorms on the MCV campus?

    Yes. After deciding to live on campus, a single room should be requested if this is preferred.

  • Are laundry facilities available?

    Yes, in Cabaniss, McRae and Rudd Halls

  • Are appliances allowed in dormitory rooms?

    Yes

  • Are any of the dormitories co-ed?

    Yes

  • If I live in a MCV campus dormitory will there be a loud undergraduate student next door?

    Probably not. MCV campus dorms give priority to professional students and only if vacant rooms remain are undergraduate students allowed, and then only short-term overflow students from the Monroe Park Campus.

  • If students live off campus, what area of the city do they prefer?

    The Richmond metropolitan area has a population of more than 1 million people. The variety of housing is extensive, especially apartments. Consequently, students live in all surrounding regions based on personal preference. The Shockoe Bottom, Fan and West End areas are especially popular with students.

  • Is the campus on a bus line?

    The MCV campus is located on the city bus line. The municipally owned Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) provides service during the day to the city, west end and south side of Richmond. VCU students may obtain a GRTC Student Transit Pass at no charge from the VCU Parking and Transportation Office. The VCU Campus Connector runs approximately every 15 minutes, providing a free and quick method of getting between the MCV and Monroe Park campuses.

  • Where do students eat on campus?

    Students can bring their lunch or dinner and use the services (e.g., refrigerators and microwave ovens) provided in the School’s student lounge. MCV Hospitals Cafeteria, McDonalds, Alpine Bagel, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Hideaway Café (Hunton Student Center), Valentine Museum Café and street vendors are all within one block walking distance of the School. Starbuck’s Coffee and a variety of other dining options will be available in the new MCV Campus Larrick Student Center opening in Spring 2010. A variety of other restaurants are located several blocks from the School in the Shockoe Bottom and Slip areas.

  • How safe is Richmond?

    Almost all sections of the urban area are safe to live, work and enjoy. Several isolated areas of the city have been associated with the majority of serious crimes. Avoidance of these areas dramatically reduces the likelihood of being a victim of crime.

  • Are the dormitories safe?

    All dormitories are safe and secure. For example, Cabannis Hall has an additional lock on a second set of interior doors that can be opened only by residents with a room key and student identification access card.

  • How safe is the campus?

    VCU, in spite of an urban university status, is consistently ranked among the safest college campuses in Virginia. Statistics show that the number of crimes on VCU’s grounds are minimal, especially crimes against people. Violent crimes are virtually non-existent. Ninety-eight percent of the crimes at VCU are thefts - crimes that take place on any campus across the country. VCU Police tell students that seventy-five percent of thefts are avoidable by locking up personal items. VCU employs 70 police officers who patrol both campuses on foot, by car and on bicycle. An escort service is always available to students by calling a central operator.

  • Are banking services available on campus?

    Wachovia operates a full service bank in the Nelson Clinic Building at 11th and Marshall Streets. Also, three ATMs are available on the MCV campus. They are located outside the bookstore at 601 N. 10th Street, the lobby of the Gateway Building at 1200 E. Marshall Street and the first floor of MCV Main Hospital.

  • Can I join the Virginia Credit Union?

    The Virginia Credit Union offers student memberships. The nearest office to the MCV campus, including an ATM, is located in the Theater Row Building, 720 East Broad Street. The customer service telephone number is 804-323-6800.

  • Are intramural sports available?

    Flag football, basketball, volleyball, softball, track and swimming are all available to MCV campus students. Coed team sports include softball, volleyball and two-on-two basketball. Individual tournaments are offered in handball, racquetball, squash, tennis, table tennis, billiards, wrestling, basketball free throw and basketball one-on-one. Cross country runs are held in the fall and spring.

  • What resources are available in the gym on the MCV campus?

    The main gym includes three basketball, two tennis and two volleyball courts; two weight rooms; two squash and two racquetball courts; an exercise room; a multipurpose room for dance and martial arts; locker and shower facilities for men and women. A gym addition includes a basketball court, official volleyball court, exercise area, two racquetball courts and locker/shower facilities. A swimming pool is also located in the addition.

  • Is it acceptable to work during the school year?

    Yes. However, students must be able to balance their personal time demands with the rigorous course load of each academic semester.

  • Can I find employment in a pharmacy during the school year?

    There are more than 200 community pharmacies and 12 hospital pharmacies in the greater Richmond area. Many of these offer part-time employment to pharmacy students, especially during the summer and holiday periods.

  • What do students do for enjoyment?

    Richmond offers a variety of activities for entertainment. These include:

    • Spectator sports (e.g., college, professional baseball, soccer, hockey, automobile racing, horse racing)
    • Theater (e.g., Barksdale Theater, Barksdale Theater in Hanover Tavern, Swift Creek Mill Dinner Theater, Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, Randolph Macon Drama Guild, and Firehouse Theater)
    • Ballet (e.g., Richmond Ballet and the Concert Ballet of Virginia)
    • Richmond Symphony and Sinfonia
    • Richmond Chamber Players
    • Virginia Opera Association
    • Annual Events (e.g., Richmond Folk Festival, Strawberry Hill Races, Monument Ave. 10K, Richmond Marathon, Easter on Parade, June Jubilee, Arts in the Park, Innsbrook Afterhours, Friday Cheers and Jumpin' in July)
    • Riverfront Canal Walk
    • Movie Theaters
    • National Theater (concerts)
    • Restaurants and Bars
    • Dance Clubs
    • Parks (e.g., James River, Maymont, Byrd, Forest Hill, Bryan)
    • Museums (e.g., Science Museum of Virginia, Ethyl Universe Planetarium, Virginia Museum, Valentine Museum, Museum of the Confederacy and the Edgar Allen Poe Museum)
    • Historic buildings (e.g., Agecroft Hall, James River Plantations, Scotchtown, State Capital)
    • Historic areas (e.g., the Fan District, Monument Avenue and Shockoe Slip)
    • Ice skating rinks
    • Hiking trails
    • White water rafting
    • Golf courses

     

  • Where do I go if I get sick while I’m on campus?

    During School hours, students will visit the Student Health Center on the MCV campus. All other times, students receive care at the Emergency Room located in the MCV Main Hospital adjacent to the School of Pharmacy.

  • Is additional health insurance available?

    Students may also choose a VCU-sponsored insurance plan, available through GM-Southwest, for hospitalization and major medical benefits. This may be a desirable option for students no longer covered under their parents’ health insurance policy. Further information is available at the GM-Southwest website.

  • How does the School deal with student exposure to infectious diseases?

    All students receive formal training in universal precautions for potential blood-borne pathogen exposure during patient care experiences. Actual exposures are handled through the services of the VCU Student Health Center.