VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden–Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. In 1968, the Virginia General Assembly merged MCV with the Richmond Professional Institute, founded in 1917, to create Virginia Commonwealth University. Today, more than 31,000 students pursue 222 degree and certificate programs through VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health System supports the university’s health care education, research and patient care mission.
With a record $256 million in sponsored research funding in the fiscal year 2011, VCU is designated as a research university with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. A broad array of university-approved centers and institutes of excellence, involving faculty from multiple disciplines in public policy, biotechnology and health care discoveries, supports the university’s research mission. Twenty-eight graduate and first-professional programs are ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the best in the country.