Comparing Pharmacy Graduate Programs

Students in Cedarville University’s School of Pharmacy are already making their mark in healthcare, despite the program’s youth. As the first class of doctoral students graduates on May 7, who are Cedarville’s competitors in the pharmacy profession? What professional opportunities or concentrations do other graduate programs offer pharmacy students?

Cedars researched six pharmacy graduate programs at Midwest or faith-based institutions to provide a summary of Cedarville’s competition.

graphic by Grace Countryman

graphic by Grace Countryman

Ohio Northern University

Ohio Northern University’s pharmacy program began in 1884, 13 years after the university itself was founded. The Raabe College of Pharmacy at Ohio Northern has a direct entry program, meaning students are enrolled into the program their first year of college and receive their doctorate of pharmacy in six years.The Raabe College of Pharmacy said on its website that its mission is to “prepare pharmacists who improve health, serve others, lead change and advance the profession.”

Steve Martin, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said the college is located in a rural setting with an underserved population, which allows students to learn service.

“Because of our rural area and the underserved community in which we live, we prepare students to provide and care for those who are underserved,” he said.

Students serve the community through ONU Healthwise, a program run by faculty, students and other healthcare professionals. ONU Healthwise provides blood pressure screenings, vaccinations, diabetes care, and more.

Ohio Northern University, located in Ada, Ohio, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The Raabe College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Belmont University

Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy, founded in 2007, enrolls up to 85 students per year and has an 11:1 faculty to student ratio. To be accepted into Belmont’s College of Pharmacy, students must have completed 64 credit hours of other coursework, have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

The graduate pharmacy program at Belmont has five concentration areas. These areas include pharmacotherapy, information management, pharmacy management and pharmacy missions/public health.

Philip Johnston, dean of the College of Pharmacy at Belmont, said the concentration areas are like minors for pharmacy students.

In addition to simply earning a pharmacy degree, Belmont University offers a dual degree program in which students can earn both a Master of Business Administration and a doctorate in pharmacy.

Extracurricular opportunities for pharmacy students include Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy Chapter of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, the university’s chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Phi Lamda Sigma.

Belmont University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, said on its website that it is “a student-centered Christian community.” The College of Pharmacy was granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in the 2011-2012 academic year.

University of Findlay

The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy was established in 2004, and like Ohio Northern, it offers a six-year direct entry program in which college freshmen may enroll.

The first two years of the program are general education requirements. The third year includes an introduction to pharmaceutical sciences, as well as beginning supervised experience under a professional pharmacist. The fourth and fifth years allow students to learn pharmacy science more in-depth and choose from electives in other areas, such as diabetes management or pediatrics. During the third, fourth and fifth years, students shadow a practicing pharmacist.

In the sixth year, students take part in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPES), which are also known as rotations. These are practical experiences required by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education for every accredited pharmacy school.

Acceptance into the College of Pharmacy is contingent upon students having at least a 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of 23 or anSAT score of 1590.

The College of Pharmacy offers dual degree programs in which students receive a doctorate in pharmacy and a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in health informatics, a Bachelor of Science in forensic science, or an Associate of Arts in equestrian.

The University of Findlay offers extra curriculars for students, such as the Academy of Student Pharmacists, the Pharmacy Student Leadership Council and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

The University of Findlay, located in Findlay, Ohio, is affiliated with the Churches of God and accepts “individuals of all faiths,” according to its website.

The College of Pharmacy was granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in the 2010-2011 academic year.

Union University School of Pharmacy

Union University School of Pharmacy, a Christian university in Jackson, Tennessee, welcomed its first class in the fall of 2008. For eight years, Union University has strived “to develop compassionate, comprehensively trained practitioners who are equipped to meet the immediate and future demands of pharmaceutical science and patient care in an ever-changing healthcare environment,” according to the school’s website.

Before students are granted admission into the school of pharmacy, they must complete one of two pre-pharmacy tracks Union offers.

Students who complete the two-year pre-pharmacy track will follow the pre-professional coursework schedule. However, completion of this track does not guarantee acceptance into Union University’s School of Pharmacy.

The pharmacy early admission program, or PEAP, specifically targets highly qualified students for the university’s doctorate program. Any student admitted to the university is eligible for the PEAP program, as well as any student who has completed a full academic year with a minimum of 28 pharmacy prerequisites and maintained a 3.0 GPA.

Students who participate in PEAP are guaranteed admission to Union’s School of Pharmacy and are exempted from taking the PCAT. PEAP also provides students with one-on-one mentoring with the school of pharmacy staff and the opportunity to meet current pharmacy students.

Upon completion of the undergraduate program, the traditional doctorate program consists of two years – one year of residency and a second year of preceptorship or experiential education. Both the residency and the experiential education are designed to get the students engaged in the community and patient care by placing students in pharmaceutical centers, hospitals and ambulatory care. This gives students not only the opportunity to put into practice classroom concepts, but it allows students to come face-to-face with patients, learning to care for them and their needs.

In addition to the traditional doctorate program, Union offers students the option to receive a dual degree of a doctorate in pharmacy and a Master of Business Administration. The dual degree program provides students with additional skills, as well as the tools necessary to start their own clinic.

Union University students are also given the unique opportunity to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship working alongside members of the School of Pharmacy staff. Currently, Union offers two fellowship programs, one in pharmacometrics and one in medicinal chemistry. Each is a one-year program.

Union University’s pharmacy graduate program was granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy

Jessica Ward, a first-year graduate pharmacy student, works with fellow graduate students in lab class. Cedarville’s School of Pharmacy was founded in 2008 and will graduate its first class of students this May (photo: Campbell Bortel).

Jessica Ward, a first-year graduate pharmacy student, works with fellow graduate students in lab class. Cedarville’s School of Pharmacy was founded in 2008 and will graduate its first class of students this May (photo: Campbell Bortel).

The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, located in Clinton, South Carolina, was founded in 2010, and the first class graduated with 76 students in 2014. According to its website, the goal of Presbyterian College is to produce pharmacists “with an unwavering ethical foundation” who will dedicate their lives to serving their communities well.

Presbyterian College offers three different pre-pharmacy tracks to prepare students for the graduate program.

The traditional pre-pharmacy track allows students to complete their pre-pharmacy program within two-to-three years or to pursue a bachelor’s degree before entering the pharmacy graduate program. However, this track doesn’t guarantee admittance into Presbyterian’s School of Pharmacy.

The degree-plus track combines pre-pharmacy courses with requirements for either a biology or chemistry degree at Presbyterian College. Students on this track will complete three years of pre-pharmacy and four-years of the professional program to receive both a Bachelor of Science in either biology or chemistry and a doctorate of pharmacy in seven years.

The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy only accepts 80 students each year to maintain its two-to-one staff to student ratio. To distinguish the school from its competitors, students completing either the traditional or degree-plus pre-pharmacy tracks are encouraged to participate in local community service opportunities. Students get involved in the local community in both a service and pharmaceutical capacity whether through the school or a local church.

Presbyterian College also offers an early entry pre-pharmacy track, which allows select students to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in six years. This track is designed for qualified high school students who are serious about pursuing a career in pharmacy with the goal of obtaining a graduate education. This allows students to bypass the competitive admissions process, since their seats will be reserved upon completion of the two-year pre-pharmacy program.

Students also have the opportunity to work in the university’s Community Care Pharmacy. Community Care Pharmacy serves as a location for students to gain practical learning experience.

Presbyterian College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Full accreditation of the School of Pharmacy was affirmed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in the 2014-2015 academic year.

Mylan School of Pharmacy

The Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was established in 1925 with an enrollment of 50 students. Now, 91 years later, the Mylan School of Pharmacy enrolls more than 1,000 students in its six-year program with the hopes of producing students who not only advance the pharmaceutical profession, but “who improve the health outcomes of patients and their communities,” according to the school’s website.

To be considered for admission into Duquesne’s pharmacy program, students must complete a two-to-three year pre-pharmacy program. Eighty-five percent of students enrolled in the School of Pharmacy come from the undergraduate program at Duquesne. The Mylan School of Pharmacy offers a variety of programs for students to obtain both their master’s degree and Doctor of Pharmacy. Though the majority of Mylan’s students choose the traditional four-year doctoral program, Mylan also offers a post-baccalaureate Doctor of Pharmacy weekend program. This program offers year-round course instruction on Saturdays and Sundays. The program combines onsite courses and educational technologies so that students can still earn their doctorate degree in four years.

Mylan also offers students Academic Research Centers, which provide students practical, hands-on experience. A variety of pharmacy care centers are available to students, ranging in focus from working with patients to manufacturing pharmaceutical technology.

The Duquesne University Center for Pharmaceutical Technology focuses on the advancement of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Students work alongside faculty and have the chance to collaborate with them on a variety of research endeavors. These research projects all center on major issues within the field, such as regulatory concerns, validation methods and the business advantages of technology.

Students are also given the opportunity to choose from a variety of residency and fellowship programs offered through Mylan. In accordance with Mylan’s mission statement, “to develop professionals, through student-centered experiences,” these programs strive to get students involved in the community. So, the school of pharmacy has partnered with area hospitals, care centers and even the local Walgreens Pharmacy to give students a wide-range of experiences across the different areas of pharmaceutical sciences.

The Mylan School of Pharmacy is affiliated with the Catholic Church and was granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education in the 1971-1972 academic year.

Emily Day is a junior journalism major and arts & entertainment editor for Cedars. She is an avid reader, runner and is a general Disney enthusiast.

Jen Taggart is a junior journalism major and off-campus news editor for Cedars. She enjoys writing, listening to music and fueling her chocolate addiction. 

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