About CERT

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The Pre-medical Graduate Health Sciences Certificate (CERT) program of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is a one-year in-person, 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.

Applications for Fall 2024 admission will be accepted Feb. 1 to July 15, 2024. Applications are processed on a rolling basis until the class size limit is reached. Early submission is recommended.​

Application instructions

To apply for the CERT program, do one of the following:

Option 1: Visit this link for Liaison PostbacCAS, where you can create an​ account or login, search for VCU CERT, and submit an application.​

Sample of the application screenOption 2: Click the ‘Apply’ button above and filter your query by:

  • Start Term = your choice
  • Academic Level = Graduate Certificate
  • School/Academic Department and School of Medicine (see example image on right)

Get on Track with a Health Sciences Post-Bac

Come learn about the Post-Bac programs at VCU that can help you on your path to professional school.

Spring 2024 Session
Feb. 5th, April 1st, June 3rd, July 8th
All at 6:00 pm
Virtual / Zoom link provided with registration

Register here

Program Overview

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.

Admissions Workshops

Information sessions throughout the program explore various topics, research/clinical opportunities and interviewing skills.

Between MSB and Egyptian Building

Guaranteed Interview

Students who successfully complete the CERT program may be eligible for a guaranteed interview at the VCU School of Medicine, VCU School of Dentistry, or Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM).

VCU MCV Stock 130114_084

Advising and Mentorship

Students meet regularly with the program director, advisers and coordinators to improve their applications for professional school.

CERT classroom photo

Tailored Program

Courses are designed to mimic the rigor of first year professional school curricula. Learn directly from Medical and Dental School professors.


Supporting our students is at the core of the School of Medicine's mission. We provide a wide variety of resources to help enhance our graduate students' experience and ensure their safety, as well as resources to support our faculty.

Program Curriculum

Students in the CERT program must complete a minimum of 27 credit hours over two semesters. Alternative plans of study are available with approval of the Program Director. CERT courses may be integrated into a non-thesis Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (M.I.S.) plan that can be completed within 3 semesters; The CERT + M.I.S. option requires admission into both CERT and the M.I.S. programs and must be approved by the respective Program Directors prior to the start of study. Please contact us if you are interested in the M.I.S. degree.

CERT graduates are also eligible for admission into one of several thesis-based M.S. degree programs in VCU School of Medicine listed below that provide additional opportunities to engage in biomedical research. Credits earned in the CERT program may be applied toward M.S. degree completion requirements. The combined CERT + M.S. plan of study is typically completed in two academic years.

CERT graduates who complete CERT in 2 consecutive semesters with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better, and meet MCAT/DAT standardized test score criteria, may be eligible to earn a guaranteed interview for either the VCU School of Medicine or VCU School of Dentistry.

VCU School of Medicine thesis-based M.S. programs:

See detailed program requirements in the VCU Bulletin

Why Choose CERT?

  • Pre-Dental
  • Boost your GPA
  • Improve your DAT
  • Dental-specific electives
  • Linkage: guaranteed interview with VCU School of Dentistry D.D.S. program Admissions for qualifying CERT graduates
  • Letter of recommendation provided
  • Meet VCU School of Dentistry faculty
  • Pre-Medical
  • Take classes taught by School of Medicine faculty
  • Linkage: guaranteed interview with VCU School of Medicine M.D. program or Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) D.O. program Admissions for qualifying CERT graduates
  • Letter of recommendation provided
  • Increase your science knowledge
  • Improve your MCAT
  • Boost your GPA

Admissions Requirements

Admissions requirements for the Premedical Graduate Certificate Program can be found on the VCU Bulletin:

See detailed admissions requirements in the VCU Bulletin

A standardized test score (GRE, MCAT, or DAT) is required - see the FAQ section for additional information and guidelines. 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 premedcert@vcuhealth.org for informed feedback on your 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.

Postbac Premed Programs: What Advisors Need To Know

VCU CERT Program Director I. Scott Ramsey, Ph.D., along with colleagues J. Barton Gillum, D.Sc., M.H.S., PA-C; Alexandra Tan, Ph.D.; Julie Hall, Ph.D.; and Christian Essman, recently co-authored an article, titled, "Postbac Premed Programs: What Advisors Need To Know." The article, published in the June 2023 edition of The Advisor academic journal, provides key context and defintions, and outlines the value of post-baccalaureate pre-medicine programs for academic advisors.

Read the full article »

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