VMSTP Program: Frequently Asked Questions
Requirements and Deadlines
Requirements and application deadlines are all listed on the DVM-PhD (VMSTP) application and admissions page. For consistency and clarity, deadlines are listed only on that page and in the Graduate Programs sidebar to the right of this page.
Q: What is the advantage of enrolling in the Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program versus separately acquiring the DVM and PhD degrees?
A: The goal of the VMSTP program is to increase the number of veterinarians that are trained in biomedical research. The program actively seeks to enroll academically talented veterinary and preveterinary students who have discovered a passion for research and have decided to seek a career in biomedical research.
In addition to providing financial support during the DVM portion of the training, the VMSTP program provides an avenue for students to focus on research training. This program is not appropriate for students who have little research experience or for those who have not already decided to pursue research training.
It does not significantly reduce the amount of time needed to acquire the two degrees but it does allow a student to structure his/her veterinary program of study to allow a stronger focus on biomedical research.
Q: How long does it take to acquire the DVM and PhD degrees?
A: The DVM curriculum consists of 9 semesters of study while a PhD degree traditionally requires 3 to 6 years of intensive research training depending on the research area of study. Typically the dual DVM-PhD program takes at least 7 years to complete both degrees.
The ideal program of study for a new VMSTP student begins with 2-4 years of graduate training. This allows the student to complete graduate coursework and be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. During this time the student should also acquire extensive experience with research protocols that will be used to obtain data for research publications and the doctoral dissertation. The student will enter the veterinary curriculum the first fall semester after admission to doctoral candidacy.
However, during the summers and for some elective periods, the student will return to the research laboratory in order to continue their doctoral research. Completion of the research project and dissertation defense can occur during this time or after completing the DVM curriculum.
Q: Can I apply to the VMSTP program if I am already enrolled in a veterinary or graduate program?
A: Yes. Applicants who are enrolled in graduate school may apply for the VMSTP program during DVM training but may not be eligible for assistantships from the Graduate School. Please contact the Coordinator for more information about available financial aid.
Q: What graduate programs should I consider when I prepare my application?
A: The Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program seeks to train the next generation of biomedical scientists therefore nearly every discipline is involved in biomedical research. This includes all programs in the CVM as well as computer science, statistics, biological sciences, cellular biology, toxicology, psychology, pharmacology, genetics, biochemistry, ecology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, policy, and others.
However, the VMSTP program may not be compatible with some UGA graduate programs. Contact the Graduate Coordinator of your grad program of interest and inquire about their willingness to accept a dual program student. You can also request that the VMSTP Coordinator confer with the Graduate Coordinator.
Q: How do I apply to the program?
A: Eligibility for consideration for the Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program consists of a completed application, for the following year’s Fall semester, to all of the following entities: UGA graduate school (unless you are already enrolled), UGA veterinary school (unless you are already enrolled), and the VMSTP. Visit the DVM-PhD (VMSTP) application page for full details on the required applications and their respective deadlines.
Q: How do I verify the status of my application?
A: You must verify that all three applications are completed. See www.grad.uga.edu for more information about confirming the status of your graduate application. You can verify the status of your veterinary application by emailing CVM Admissions. To verify the status of your VMSTP application, e-mail the Coordinator.
Q: What if I miss a deadline for the graduate school or veterinary school application?
A: You will not be eligible for admission to the VMSTP program until the following year.
Q: What should I include in my personal statement?
A: We are most interested in your academic and research background, research interests and professional plans. You should describe why you are interested in biomedical research and why the program is a good fit for your interests and background.
Q: What kind of recommendations should I get?
A: Your references (at least three) should fill out the recommendation form required by the Graduate School. The references — not you — should mail copies of the letter directly to the VMSTP office. You should get letters from professors who have taught you and know you well. Their letters should describe your academic work in detail so that the VMSTP Advisory Committee can be assured that you can complete a rigorous graduate program.
The committee will expect a letter from the professor who supervised your research. Letters from work supervisors may be of value to document your work ethic.
Q: Are there minimum requirements for the GPA or GRE?
A: Applicants who have a GPA of 3.5 or more, GRE (Verbal + Quantitative) of 300 combined or more may be considered very competitive for the program.
Q: How is financial aid awarded?
A: Support may be available for up to 2 new scholarships for $15,000 for each year in the DVM program. This stipend will be awarded as a scholarship grant. VMSTP fellows will also be eligible for support of PhD stipend and fees through graduate assistantships supported through a variety of mechanisms including a veterinary graduate assistantship from the College of Veterinary Medicine, university-wide, departmental, training grant, individual graduate research or teaching assistantships, or mentor research support.
For Graduate School assistantships, the Advisory committee will evaluate the applicants and assign scores to applicants. Those whose applications are exceptional will be nominated for assistantships funded by the Graduate School.
Q: What if I do not receive financial aid?
A: There are a limited number of assistantships available and you may be accepted in to the program without receiving financial aid. If so, you will be responsible for the cost of tuition and your room and board.
Q: How do I find a major professor?
A: Each professor’s research interest can be found on his/her department’s website. If you want more information about their published research, do a search on PubMed using their last name and initials (example: Lee MD). You can click on each publication to verify whether the research was done at UGA. The Coordinator of the VMSTP program will also offer assistance to aid in selecting a major professor and project.
Q: What is holding up my VMSTP application - why have I not heard back yet?
A: The Coordinator will periodically email the applicant with an update on the status of the application. However, because of privacy laws, the Coordinator may not be able to verify the status of the applicant’s graduate application if the application is made to a department that is not in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The applicant is responsible for verifying that the graduate school and veterinary application are complete. Applications can be stalled if one of the letters of reference, transcripts, GRE scores, or personal statement has not been received OR if the application to the graduate school or veterinary school is incomplete. Applications may also be delayed in the department evaluation.
If you have not received any confirmation of your application, you should contact the department to which you applied. Copy all e-mails to the Coordinator.