Dual Track DVM/PhD Program

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.

This Dual Track DVM-PhD program involves a competitive selection process for first- or second-year DVM students. It includes the following milestones: 

  1. Successfully complete the first year of veterinary school and in the Spring, semester apply to the LSU Graduate Program;
  2. Complete the first summer at least two or three 4 – 5 week rotations, as a graduate student, in a laboratory of choice within the SVM and then choose one of these LSU Vet Med laboratories for PhD training;
  3. Attend the second and third year of veterinary school while keeping engaged with the chosen PhD laboratory; 
  4. Conduct research the summer between the second and third year of veterinary school in their chosen PhD laboratory as a graduate student;
  5. Enter the PhD program full time in the third summer and fulfill the requirements of the PhD program and Graduate School; during the Ph.D program student will be given a stipend which is currently $30,667/year;
  6. Defend the PhD dissertation after 3 years with the option to petition for a 4th year of training if necessary; and
  7. After receiving the PhD, re-enter the DVM program and complete the fourth year of clinical training.

Upon successful completion of the DVM program, the awardee will receive a scholarship equivalent to the third- and fourth-year DVM Tuition and Fees. 

If you are interested in the LSU dual degree program, please send the following dual degree application materials: 

  1. Research Statement which describes your research experience (1-2 pages). Please describe the goal of your research, results, and conclusions. Please include whether you presented your research at a meeting or whether you were an author on a research article.  
  2. Personal Statement which describes your future research interests and goals (1 page). How has your research experience shaped your interest in pursuing veterinary medical research?  
  3. Provide a Reference Letter from a Research Mentor. 
  4. Please email your Research Statement, Personal Statement, and Reference letter to Dr. Juan Martinez, director of graduate education, at jmartinez@lsu.edu. These materials will be added to your DVM application packet and will be used for admission consideration into the LSU DVM/PhD program. The applicants for the dual degree program will be notified to schedule interviews. We encourage all students interested in research to participate in the Summer Scholars Program. As a last bit of information to consider, LSU Vet Med is now ranked 9th out of the 33 veterinary schools in NIH funding and biomedical research.