Dual Track DVM/PhD Program

Curriculum Overview 

A new professional curriculum in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine was initiated in the fall of 1997. This curriculum allows students a degree of self-direction in choosing an educational path. Accordingly, in the last 60 weeks of the curriculum, a student can choose from one of six concentrations for their final phase (II) of study. One of these concentrations is the Public Practice Concentration, which provides the flexibility for a professional student to take graduate courses. Interest of our DVM students and national needs for more DVM-PhD graduates expressed by the AVMA and NIH and the flexibility of the new curriculum prompted the initiation of this dual track program.


Historically, most schools of veterinary medicine in this country offer the DVM-PhD opportunity. The models for doing so vary between schools. In addition, the LSU Medical Center and the LSU Dental School in New Orleans have such programs. These programs are designed to provide research-training opportunities to highly qualified and strongly motivated students to pursue academic and research careers in the biomedical sciences while enrolled in professional medical curricula. The time to complete both degrees may be shortened by 1-2 years with a dual track approach rather than a sequential approach, although the length of the DVM program would still be four years. This is a great advantage to students already facing substantial educational debt loads. The number of students interested in such a program is small, generally on the order of 1-2 per year.


Program Guidelines

Students enrolled in this dual track DVM-PhD program will follow the criteria set forth in professional DVM degree program and those for the PhD degree in the graduate concentration within the Veterinary Medical Sciences program, which they choose to pursue. The following points describe the specific aspects of the program.


Eligible students must hold a baccalaureate degree, be accepted by the Graduate School, and establish a program of study in one of the SVM graduate concentrations. Preferably, during Year I, students will apply for admittance into the summer semester between Year I and II of the professional curriculum. Students could also apply for admittance into the summer semester between Year II and III of the professional curriculum during Year II.


Students currently enrolled in the Veterinary Medical Sciences PhD program may enter the program by acceptance into the DVM program. This route of admission is only available by the concurrence of the students advisory committee and the Dean.


The time to completion of the professional degree (DVM) of 4 years will remain unchanged.


Up to 32 weeks (including 8 vacation weeks) are available in Phase II (last 1.25 years of 4 year program) of the professional curriculum for students in the Public Practice (Government/Corporate) Concentration, which scheduled properly would allow in excess of a full semester of graduate study opportunity.


Students accepted into this program will have an opportunity to enroll in graduate courses in the following windows:

  • Full-time in summer between Year I and II of professional curriculum.
  • Full-time in summer between Year II and III of professional curriculum.
  • Full-time in fall semester starting Year IV of the professional curriculum, when courses can be taken as electives to satisfy the professional degree requirements.
  • Part-time in other semesters of full-time professional course work for selected course offerings with approval of the students graduate committee.
  • 7000 level graduate courses taken during Phase II (as per above) will count toward the DVM degree requirement and be reflected as such on the DVM transcript. (Approved by the SVM Courses and Curriculum Committee, 07/15/98). Graduate credit earned in excess of the DVM credit hour requirements will count toward the graduate degree.


Graduate courses taken during Phase II and credited toward the DVM degree will be waived from the graduate degree program of study. (Credit hour, and all the degree requirements of the Graduate School remain unchanged).


Following the DVM degree, full-time enrollment in the graduate program will provide the balance of degree requirements for the PhD.


Tuition would only be prorated for those semesters in which the student is enrolled in both professional and graduate course work, and otherwise (e.g., summer semesters) would be paid as per schedule.


Application Process

* One must first be accepted into the professional DVM program and can only begin the PhD program after successfully completing the first year of the DVM program.

  1. Apply to the professional DVM program (view instructions).
  2. After acceptance into the DVM program, email the SVM Admissions & Enrollment Director (svmadmissions@lsu.edu) to express interest in the joint DVM/PhD program.
  3. Contact Dr. Rhonda Cardin, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies, via email (rcardin@lsu.edu) to express interest in the PhD program. One should also contact the graduate advisor (see below) in one's respective field of interest for more information about that area of study.
  4. During Year I or Year II of the DVM program, one should apply to the LSU Graduate School for entrance into the following summer semester. (One can only apply for entrance into the summer semester for the LSU Graduate School.) Applicants will work closely with their respective graduate advisor to ensure the graduate application process is completed. 
  5. Once accepted into the LSU Graduate School, one will be considered a concurrently enrolled student and must keep in close contact with both his/her Graduate Advisor as well as the SVM Admissions & Enrollment Director.
Comparative Biomedical Sciences
J. Michael Mathis
225- 578-9758
Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Dale Paccamonti
Pathobiological Sciences
Ronald Thune
Veterinary Medicine
Rhonda Cardin


For more information on the joint DVM/PhD application process, please contact the LSU SVM's Admissions & Enrollment Director (svmadmissions@lsu.edu; 225-578-9537).