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DVM/PhD Program

Combined DVM/PhD Degree Program

Mission and Overview

The goal of the Combined DVM/PhD Program is to address the critical need for veterinary researchers and academic clinicians. The Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-College program that will provide the clinical and research training and financial support necessary to produce the leaders of the next generation of veterinary clinician scientists. The focus of the program is flexibility and integration, emphasizing seamless transition between the veterinary school and graduate school while promoting integration between the two curricula.

The College of Veterinary Medicine emphasizes basic and clinical research using an array of in vitro approaches and animal models of veterinary and human disease. The research environment relies on collaborations between clinician scientists and basic scientists. This team approach will include outstanding individuals selected to join our Combined DVM/PhD Program, producing researchers destined to expand the frontiers of veterinary and human medicine.

Research at NC State and the College of Veterinary Medicine

North Carolina State University is a leading research institution with particular strengths biomedical research and veterinary medicine. The College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the top 3 Veterinary Schools in the nation, in part because of the quality of the research programs at the college. Faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine participate in the multi-disciplinary graduate program currently available for combined DVM/PhD students, Comparative Biomedical Sciences. The College is also home to the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research and the Center for Chemical Toxicology Research and Pharmacokinetics.

The College of Veterinary Medicine anchors the Centennial Biomedical Campus, part of the North Carolina State University Centennial Campus consisting of multi-disciplinary R&D neighborhoods, with university, corporate, and government facilities intertwined. The Centennial Biomedical Campus neighborhood focuses on biomedical applications, both to animals and human.

North Carolina State University is strategically located within a 20 miles radius of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University, homes to two premier medical schools, and the Research Triangle Park, home to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Hamner Institute for Health Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency RTP campus. The research Triangle is also home to many biomedical companies forming one of the hottest biomedical research regions in the United States. The College of Veterinary Medicine has numerous collaborations with these agencies and universities from which multi-institutional research projects arise and from which to draw world-renowned scientists and students to participate in Combined Degree Program activities and seminars.

Graduate Program Offered

The Combined DVM/PhD Program is currently accepting applications to the Comparative Biomedical Sciences graduate program only. The Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is a multidisciplinary graduate program with faculty who are employing state-of-the-art techniques to address a number of interesting scientific problems in the basic and applied biomedical sciences. Students have the opportunity to select from one of six concentration areas for their graduate research: Cell Biology, Infectious Diseases, Immunology, Pharmacology, Pathology, and Population Medicine. The faculty in these areas offers a flexible program with many interdisciplinary opportunities which can be adapted to meet the needs of an individual student. Please explore the Comparative Biomedical Sciences program website for more information.

The Curriculum and Timeline

The Curriculum for the DVM and graduate programs will be integrated as much as possible for individual students. The timeline outlined below is a template that we expect most students to follow. The timeline can be modified to best suit the student’s needs, with approval of the Director of the Combined DVM/PhD Program, the Director of the chosen Graduate Program and the student’s major advisor. We expect most students to complete the program in 7-8 years, but this may vary depending on circumstances.

Students will enter Year 1 in graduate school to begin taking graduate courses, complete laboratory rotations (2-3), and choose a thesis lab.

The summer after Year 1 will be spent in their thesis lab doing research

In Year 2, students will enter the DVM curriculum for the first 2 years of veterinary school.

The summer after Year 2 will be spent in their thesis lab doing research.

In Year 4, the student will re-enter graduate school to finish graduate school classwork and to complete his or her thesis research.

The final 2 years of the DVM curriculum will be completed once the student has defended his or her thesis.

Schematic Timeline

The Clinician Scientist Focus Area

The College of Veterinary Medicine has created a Clinician Scientist Focus Area to provide veterinary students with research opportunities that combine clinical and basic science. This focus area allows students time to do significant research during the DVM. The students in the DVM/PhD program will be encouraged to choose this focus area to allow more time for research and graduate school coursework during the DVM curriculum, particularly if the student chooses Option B.


Students will have two assigned mentors, a clinician in the area of clinical interest and the major graduate advisor (these duties may end up being shared by the same mentor). The Director of the Combined DVM/PhD Program will also serve as a mentor to ensure that the student makes good choices and navigates the combined program efficiently and productively.

Programmatic Activities

Financial Support

Students will receive support throughout the program as long as they remain in good academic standing. A stipend (currently $22,000) plus tuition and health insurance will be provided by the College of Veterinary Medicine during the first year of the program in the graduate program. During all four years in veterinary school, the College will provide up to $10,000 from college resources each academic year. For the years in graduate school after the first year, the student’s mentor will provide a stipend, tuition, and health insurance, usually from a research grant or a training program grant.

Qualifications and Eligibility

The Combined DVM/PhD Program is seeking outstanding individuals with a commitment to a career in veterinary or biomedical research. These individuals will have strong academic records, excellent GRE scores, and significant research experience. The research experience should be emphasized in the letter of intent, supplemental application, and the letters of reference. Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible.

How to apply to the Combined DVM/PhD Program

Undergraduates satisfying the prerequisites for veterinary school and the graduate program of their choice may apply. Students already enrolled in veterinary school or graduate school may also apply. Please contact the program director for application instructions if already enrolled in veterinary school or graduate school.

Three steps are required:

  1. Complete the electronic application for veterinary students available through Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS). See DVM Admissions for deadlines.
  2. Complete the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine supplemental application, including the section for Combined DVM/PhD applicants. See DVM Admissions for deadlines. Submission of the supplemental application should be submitted online. In addition to the DVM supplemental application questions, all applicants to the combined DVM/PhD program must complete the following questions:

3. Candidates selected for interviews will be required to complete an application for the graduate program you are interested in joining.  Application materials and instructions for all graduate programs are located at the Graduate School web page. The graduate school application will appear redundant, but must be completed to be admitted to the graduate program you choose.  Transcripts and letters of reference, for example, must be submitted with each application.

For more Information please contact:

Dr. Samuel L. Jones, DVM, PhD
Director, Combined DVM/PhD Program
1060 William Moore Drive, Box 8401
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-513-7722


Johnna Frierson, PhD
Coordinator, CVM Graduate Programs and Research Training

1060 William Moore Drive, Box 8401
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-513-6357