The Premedical and Predental Graduate Health Sciences Certificate (CERT) program of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is a one-year, graduate-level program for individuals seeking to enhance their qualifications for admission into professional school, including medical and dental School. The program is administered through the VCU School of Medicine, with required and elective courses based in specific departments.
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The CERT program is structured to improve overall competitiveness for admission into professional school. The CERT curriculum allows students to enhance their academic record through graduate-level, medically relevant courses. In the spring semester, students take a preparatory course to strengthen standardized test scores and have opportunities to increase clinical or research experience and volunteer in the community.
Information sessions throughout the program explore various topics, research/clinical opportunities and interviewing skills.
Students who successfully complete the CERT program may be eligible for a guaranteed interview at VCU School of Medicine or early file review at VCU School of Dentistry.
Advising and Mentorship
Students meet regularly with the program director, advisers and coordinators to improve their applications for professional school.
Courses are designed to mimic the rigor of first year professional school curricula. Learn directly from Medical and Dental School professors.
- Semester 1 (13 credits)
- BIOC 503 - Biochemistry, Cell and
Molecular Biology: 5 credits
- PHIS 501 - Physiology: 5 credits
- ANAT 691 - Special Topics:
Introduction to Human Anatomy: 3 credits
- Semester 2 (14 credits)
- BIOC 504 - Biochemistry, Cell and
Molecular Biology: 5 credits
- ANAT 611 - Histology: 5 credits
- Additional elective courses: 4 credits
Why Choose CERT?
- Boost your GPA
- Improve your DAT
- Dental-specific electives
- Guaranteed early file review with School of Dentistry Admissions upon successful completion of CERT
- Letter of recommendation provided
- Meet VCU School of Dentistry faculty
- Take classes taught by School of Medicine faculty
- Guaranteed interview with School of Medicine admissions upon successful completion of CERT
- Letter of recommendation provided
- Increase your science knowledge
- Improve your MCAT
- Boost your GPA
The Premedical Graduate Certificate Program at the VCU School of Medicine seeks students who:
- Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
- Successfully completed the following prerequisite courses (including labs). Must complete two semesters for each of the following courses:
- General chemistry and organic chemistry
- Math (calculus and/or statistics preferred)
- For more information about accepted courses, please refer to the AMCAS official guide.
- Present a cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 and a science GPA greater than or equal to 3.2
- Earned one the following test score results within the last five years:
- MCAT greater than or equal to 501; or
- DAT greater than or equal to 16; or
- GRE greater than or equal to 153Q (quantitative) and 151V (verbal) and 4.0W (analytic writing)
- We highly recommend students take the GRE for CERT admissions as the CERT program provides MCAT/DAT resources for students during the school year.
- International students must have achieved the following:
- TOEFL examination scores greater than or equal to 250 (cBT), 600 (pBT), or 100 (iBT) on the TOEFL examination; or
- GRE verbal score greater than or equal to 153 (500 on previous scale)
Students who do not meet the standardized test score requirement or GPA requirement are reviewed on an individual basis. Many factors influence an applicant's competitiveness including GPA, test scores, personal statement, letters of recommendation and resume.
Non-science majors who have not completed the prerequisite coursework for admission to CERT may wish to consider VCU's 'career-changer' Undergraduate Post-Baccalaureate Health Sciences Certificate Program.
To quickly gauge your competitiveness for the CERT program, please fill out a Quick Look form which is a self-reporting form consisted of the applicants’ GPA and MCATs, DATs or GREs. The CERT QuickLook will allow rapid feedback to the applicant but does not replace the formal application to the Graduate School at VCU. Please email the completed Quick Look Review Self Reporting Form to firstname.lastname@example.org for informed feedback on your application.
- For fall matriculation, the application will open in January and the deadline is July 15. Due to rolling admissions, the class may fill before application deadlines.
- For spring Matriculation, the application will open in August and the deadline is November 15. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.
- Please be advised that there is a short delay between when the VCU Graduate School receives and processes your application documents and when we can view and review your materials for a decision.
Yes it is included in the tuition, and it is an online course. We are currently using the Kaplan online course.
Every student will receive a letter of recommendation from the program advisor. The CERT program does not write committee letters on behalf of students. Please contact your undergraduate university for any committee letters.
Students who successfully finish the program in two semesters with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and an MCAT score of 508 or DAT score of 20 are guaranteed either an interview at VCU School of Medicine or early file review at VCU School of Dentistry. These are both able to be used only one time and must be used within two years following completion of the CERT program.
Typically, CERT students will apply to professional school the following June after completing the program in early May. We encourage students to submit their application early to AADSAS or AMCAS but can take the DAT or MCAT after submitting their primary application. We suggest the latest you take the admissions exam is the end of June.
It is essential that M.D. applicants apply to the VCU School of Medicine through AMCAS early so that the M.D. Admissions Office can review the application and schedule an interview for the reserved interview slots if eligible for a guaranteed interview. Applicants that apply later in the cycle will still get an interview if they meet the requirements but will be in the regular scheduling pool.
Our curriculum very closely mimics the first year of medical school or dental school regarding material and level of rigor. Many of the same professors who teach in the CERT program teach in M1 or D1 courses at VCU. Additionally, many of the professors use active learning methods in the course, which is highly recommended by the LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education).
Yes, the program administrator and coordinators will organize a time for all pre-medical and pre-dental students to hear the respective deans of admissions speak. Additionally, all pre-dental students will have a time where they meet with staff/faculty in the dental admissions office one-on-one for application counseling. Due to the close relationship between the CERT program and VCU Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, our students have the opportunity to contact each dean of admissions to schedule a time to meet and discuss their application.
Eric Lien, '20
The CERT program has allowed me to grow as a person, both academically and professionally. In addition to gaining new study skills, I was given the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds. Ultimately, the CERT program allowed me to achieve my goal of matriculating into a medical school.
Dr. Alexander Philip, '09
It was an amazing program for me and because of it, I started medical school at VCU and now am blessed to practice emergency medicine in Florida.
I was a poor undergrad student and had mediocre / less than average grades and numbers, but the program really gave me a second chance.
Zachary Morris, '21
The CERT program pushed me to my limit and forced me to critically examine my study habits; the program demands excellence and provided me with the challenge I needed. I believe the program was highly reflective of medical school in volume and timeline, and I am confident that I will excel as a medical student having completed this program.
- Program DirectorI. Scott Ramsey, Ph.D.
- Program AdvisorJudy L. Silberg, Ph.D.
- Program AdvisorMelissa J. McGinn, Ph.D.
- Program AdvisorSonali Rathore, D.D.S.
- Program AdministratorKez Wilgus
- Program CoordinatorAshley Jordan (CERT '21)
- Program CoordinatorTaylor Schaefer (CERT '21)
- Program CoordinatorDerek Smith (CERT '21)