The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Ph.D. Program (IMSD Ph.D.) provides Ph.D. level training in the biomedical sciences for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research. The IMSD Ph.D. Program supports students in the first and second years of Ph.D. training. IMSD students are admitted to Ph.D. training in the VCU School of Medicine and typically enter training through the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal (BSDP). 

After completing the first year of Ph.D. training in BSDP, IMSD Ph.D. students can transition into graduate programs in a variety of disciplines in the biomedical sciences or public health. 

During the BSDP year, IMSD Ph.D. students are mentored by IMSD faculty who provide: 

•Advice on course selection

•Laboratory rotation research experiences 

•Opportunities to develop oral and written communication skills through oral and poster presentations at laboratory, local, regional and national research meetings. 

In addition, IMSD Ph.D. students have unique opportunities to interact with other students in training programs run through the VCU Center on Health Disparities. 

IMSD Ph.D. students are provided with tuition and fee remission and as well as a competitive stipend (consistent with other students in the BSDP program).

IMSD Ph.D. students must first be admitted to a PhD program at VCU. Applicants typically apply through the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal in the VCU School of Medicine, but other applicants in other disciplines will also be considered. Applicants should indicate interest in the IMSD program in the personal statement. If accepted for Ph.D. training at VCU, interested students should apply for admission into the IMSD program using the online application

Potential applicants must also apply to the VCU Graduate School via the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal.

For more information, please contact

Click Here to Apply



Eligible applicants must have graduated from college before the start of program, in the fall semester. Students must be accepted into a VCU Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences or public health and must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or non-citizen nationals. Proof of citizenship status or resident status will be required before the start of the program.