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DVM/PhD Dual Degree Program

Program overview

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 DVM students to purse a dual PhD program. The DVM/PhD dual degree program provides veterinary students with research training and encourages them to pursue academic, government, or corporate careers.

Applying to the program

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

  • During the DVM supplemental application stage, qualified applicants are provided with information regarding the DVM/PhD dual degree program and are asked to indicate on the application if they are interested in the dual degree program.
  • Students must meet the criteria of both DVM and Virginia Tech Graduate School admissions to be considered.
  • Currently, a maximum of two positions are available each year; therefore, only the best-qualified applicants are considered for the DVM/PhD dual degree program.

Financial support

DVM/PhD dual degree students are provided with a full stipend (approximately $19,000) and tuition waiver during the:

  • first two years of the PhD program;
  • first summer semesters of the PhD program; and
  • final year of the PhD program after completing the DVM.

Program timeline

The total length of the dual degree program is approximately seven years.

First two years of PhD curriculum
  • A student enrolls in the summer and spends the first two years in the PhD program, deferring the start of the DVM program.
  • Based upon the student's research interest, the DVM/PhD Dual Degree Committee assists the student in identifying a suitable faculty mentor to serve as the studentís major professor for PhD. This must be a mutually agreeable arrangement between the student and the major professor.
  • The mentor and the student appoint a 4-member faculty committee for the studentís PhD program.
  • The research project of the DVM/PhD dual degree student follows the same requirements as the regular PhD student.
Subsequent four years of DVM curriculum
  • The student begins the DVM curriculum at the start of their third year and participates in DVM courses during the Spring and Fall semesters.
  • During the first two summer semesters of the DVM curriculum, the student returns to the laboratory to continue work on the PhD project.
Completion of PhD
  • After earning the DVM degree at the end of the sixth year, the student returns to the laboratory to complete the PhD program.
  • The student is expected to complete the PhD within one year after completion of the DVM degree.


Students are expected to participate in the DVM curriculum and complete all required courses for DVM.

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

  • a minimum of 30 credits for research;
  • a minimum of 27 credits for courses above 5000 level;
  • 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 (which can be waived at the discretion of the studentís PhD committee); and
  • four BMVS seminars.

In general, the DVM/PhD dual degree student follows 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.