Virginia Commonwealth University actually opened in 1838 as a branch of another college. It offered a range of medical programs designed for future doctors. This small branch of a larger institution later became a popular medical school. These two schools taught hundreds of doctors how to work with and operate on patients of all ages. The Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute operated independently of each other for a number of years before merging in the 1960s to form VCU. This new school expanded beyond traditional medical programs to offer programs designed to help students perform other jobs in their local communities.
Though it has its flagship campus in Richmond, VCU actually operates two different campuses in the city. One has more than 80 acres of space and features some of the oldest buildings associated with the university. The other is a small campus that includes a hospital and facilities that allow students to work with patients. VSU also operate a separate campus in Qatar. This foreign campus lets students spend a semester of more studying abroad. Both Forbes and ARWU included VCU on their lists of the best colleges in the country, and ARWU and QS called it one of the best colleges in the world. Its health care administration program also ranks as one of the top in the United States.
Virginia Commonwealth University Accreditation Details
The main form of accreditation that Virginia Commonwealth University has comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Also known as the SACS, this organization does routine audits of the university at least once every 10 years to ensure that it continues helping its students. This type of accreditation also gives students the right to complete the FAFSA and get financial help from the government and other organizations. Though VCU started life as a medical school, it has accreditation for some of its more traditional programs too. Its biomedical, computer, mechanical and other types of engineering programs have accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET). Some of the other accreditation obtained by VCU over the last few decades include those from:
- Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences
- Council on Social Work Education Office of Social work Accreditation
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.
- Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
- American Psychological Association
- American Dental Association
- Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
- Planning Accreditation Board
- Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
Virginia Commonwealth University Application Requirements
The Common Application is an online application system that a number of colleges now use instead of creating their own applications. Students applying to VCU will need to visit the website of the Common Application, create a new account, verify the account and then log back into the site. They can then search for VCU and find out what the university requires of new students. Students using this website can also apply to other colleges at the same time. Every student applying must take a certain number of classes before enrolling. Those courses include four units of English, three units of math classes like geometry and algebra, three units of history or social studies, three science units and either three electives or two units of a foreign language.
After submitting the online application, students will need to send a high school transcript that shows they took the necessary classes. Those who submit a transcript that has a minimum GPA of 3.3 or higher can apply without submitting test scores, but those with a lower GPA will need to take and submit scores from the SAT or ACT. Certain programs have different admissions requirements. Those entering one of the engineering must score higher on a standardized test, and those applying to one of the art programs may need to audition or submit a portfolio.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time students enrolled at VCU take a minimum of 15 credit hours of classes each semester. Virginia residents attending full-time pay around $12,800 a year for their tuition, but students from outside of Virginia pay a higher tuition rate of around $31,500 a year. Those enrolled in business, engineering and select other programs will need to pay an additional fee based on the number of classes they take. Room and board adds around $9,000 a year to this figure.
VCU offers financial aid for all types of students. Those interested in applying for financial aid must complete the FAFSA by the end of February or beginning of March. VCU will also look at a student’s grades and other factors to determine if that individual qualifies for any scholarships. Those who receive merit scholarships must take a minimum of 28 credit hours each year and maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher. Those who qualify for scholarships will receive word of the amount they will receive by the end of May before they start at the university. VCU also offers packages for those with a higher amount of need that include multiple grants and loans. Students who qualify for the work-study program can apply for jobs before or after arriving on campus.
The student experience at VCU is fairly unique because the university requires that students take part in experiences outside of their classes. Nearly every program on campus offers some type of internship or independent study project. VCU offers more than 100 majors and minors, including concentrations that are available in select programs and degree programs at the undergraduate or graduate level. The art history major, for example, gives students the option of choosing a concentration in historical art or architectural art. The architectural art concentration focuses more on the preservation and restoration of historic structures.
Students interested in medicine and helping others may enroll in the business administration program and select a concentration in health care management. VCU is also one of the only colleges in the state that has a creative writing program. Students can minor in creative writing at the undergraduate level or enroll in the MFA program with a concentration in creative writing. Virginia Commonwealth University encourages its students to pick and choose from classes that better meet their needs and future career goals to fulfill the requirements of all its degree programs.