Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) began in 1838 with the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College. In 1854 the Medical Department declared its independence from Hampden-Sydney and was renamed Medical College of Virginia. Today, VCU is the largest and fastest growing university in the state of Virginia. There are nearly 3,000 academic staff and a student body just over 32,000 with roughly 23,000 undergraduates and 9,000 postgraduates. VCU spans two campuses and a combined 143 acres in downtown Richmond. Within the next decade, the university plants to add a billion dollars-worth of new campus facilities.
In addition to the main campuses at Monroe Park and the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VCU has a branch campus in Education City, Qatar. Other learning centers included the School of Pharmacy Inova Campus, the school of Medicine Inova Campus, the School of Social Work-Northern Virginia, the Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, and the VCU Medical Center at Stony Point.
Most undergraduates study at the Monroe Park Campus, at the eastern end of the Fan district, a historic residential area full of Victorian, Edwardian, Colonial, and Craftsman architecture with many cafes, restaurants, and other amenities for students. The Medical College of Virginia campus contains the VCU Medical Center and the schools of dentistry, pharmacy, allied health, nursing, public health, and medicine. The campus is located in the Court End neighborhood of Richmond, close to the state capitol.