Most aspiring pharmacists and those looking to enter the field of pharmaceuticals spend an average of eight years combined in undergraduate and professional programs.
Knowing the current state of the price of post-secondary education those eight years can be a tall task for students and their families.
A recent announcement from the SU Chemistry Department is seeking to make that path a little easier for some students.
In a press release from the university, a new dual-degree program, teamed with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s (UMES) pharmacy program, was unveiled. The outline of the program includes three years at SU in the undergraduate chemistry department, followed by three years at UMES in their professional pharmacy program. Students who complete it will obtain a bachelor’s and doctorate degree within six years.
“The whole idea is to basically smooth the path of folks who want to eventually be pharmacists or receive their doctorate in pharmacy,” Interim Dean of the Henson School of Science and Technology Dr. Michael Scott said.
The “3+3” program will be available beginning in the fall of 2018 for chemistry undergrads that meet a level of academic criteria set out by the department.
Scott outlined that criteria, including at least a 3.6 GPA from students wishing to gain admittance followed by an interview process.
“We want to see the students excelling here at Salisbury, and by doing so they are really guaranteeing their entry into that program at UMES,” Scott said. “They are likely to be extremely good quality students that are really going to up the academic profile of the university.”
UMES has allotted five spots within their pharmacy program for these SU students. The limit of spots will ensure a great deal of competition amongst those chemistry students.
This is the fourth such dual-degree program between SU and UMES, including previous agreements between environmental science and biology, sociology and social work as well as physics and engineering.
“We are excited about our partnership with Salisbury University and look forward to working with them to fully implement this agreement,” Dean of the UMES School of Pharmacy and Health Dr. Rondall E. Allen said through SU’s press release.
Both SU and UMES have shown that they value an interactive relationship and this latest agreement further exemplifies the bridge that connects them. But it is not just the history that influenced this decision by both schools, but an understanding of what each does best.
“We want to see UMES do well and they want to see us do well,” Scott said. “We want to hang our hat on high-quality, significant undergraduate education…and [UMES] on the other hand have graduate and professional programs that they really want to be known for.”
Scott sees the obvious benefits it could provide the students who are able to be chosen for one of the five spots in terms of tuition and a streamline into both a professional program and the workforce post-graduation.
While those positives are what most will be focused on, Scott sees another advantage for the university.
“We are really excited about being able to promote this to high schools and students who might be interested in becoming pharmacists,” Scott said. “SU is suddenly extremely competitive for that because we are essential shaving two years off of the process…less money out and more money in.”
That draw was addressed in the university’s press release via a statement from Wicomico High School Counselor Ashley Gosselin.
“Even in high school, students who have definite career plans, especially those that require more than four years of schooling, are very eager to learn about programs that can help cut down the number of years required of them,” Gosselin said.
As tuition rates continue to rise in the United States, many young students and their families will continue to search for different ways that will make education more affordable. That puts programs such as this at the forefront.
The program will officially begin during the fall semester of 2018, but current undergrads who show interest will be able to start making plans and preparing to try and obtain one of the five available spots.
By CHASE GORSKI
Featured photo: Hannah Wichrowski image.