SOP and CAS partnership opens new doors for pharmacy students, degree specialization

School of Pharmacy students now have the opportunity to receive a bachelor’s degree alongside their Doctor of Pharmacy degree through the College of Arts and Sciences’ new pharmaceutical chemistry specialization.

 

Mike Shaw, distinguished research professor for the Department of Chemistry, said this program is not a backdoor into the pharmacy program as you have to be accepted into the SOP first, but rather for students who have a strong interest in chemistry or want to eventually move into the research side of pharmacy.

 

“If you really don’t want to do chemistry, then don’t,” Shaw said. “It’s not like the extra little prize that you get out of a Cracker Jack box, there is a bit of a commitment there ... but in the future, if you’re thinking about maybe … moving beyond being behind the desk at Walgreens into a little more pharmaceutical development or a pharmaceutical company, having that chemistry credential might give you that leg up.”

 

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Jingyang Fan said having a strong science foundation could help students pursue a degree beyond a doctorate of pharmacy as well.

 

“I think this degree definitely opens up more opportunities for students, whether it’s solidifying the scientific foundation as a pharmacist, they want to use the degree toward an advanced degree … or people who want to pursue a career in drug discovery or research in development or things like that,” Fan said.

 

Director of Student Services Joe Southerland said he believes the benefits of this program move even beyond the extra chemistry classes, but help students to function in the collaborative nature of the healthcare industry as well.

 

“A big part of health care is understanding stories and being able to listen to patients, and I think that’s something that’s in the tradition of the humanities big time,” Southerland said. “So, not only are we helping students get additional chemistry stuff that’s going to help on that science side of becoming a pharmacist, taking some of those extra gen-eds I think will help on the human side when it comes to interacting with patients and helping them critically think around what those needs are.”

 

To get into the SOP, Southerland said he recommends students still in high school go through their Conditional Entry Program.

 

“They need to apply by December before they start their freshman year,” Southerland said. “There’s an application that goes along with the Meridian Scholarship program and so they usually interview for the Meridian Scholarship and CEP program at the same time.”

Southerland said all other students must submit an application after completing the Pre-Pharmacy Curriculum. Pre-Pharmacy Curriculum. Coordinator of Student Services Ashley Jeffers said during this curriculum, students must keep up with the requirements of two different GPA scores.

 

“GPA-wise, you do have to have a minimum of a 2.75 on a 4.0 scale and that’s actually in two specific areas. So, that will be in your pre-pharmacy, which is every class that’s required to get into pharmacy school, and then we also specifically calculate just the math and science of those pre-pharmacy classes,” Jeffers said. “That’s kind of like the gatekeeper ... to be considered for the program. And then they submit an application, not through the graduate school or the SIUE website, but they’ll do it through a system called PharmCAS.”

 

Southerland said the PharmCAS application requires students to put in more than just a resume.

 

“They have to go in and instead of just putting in a resume, they have to fill out all of their experiences in it,” Southerland said. “In addition to sending in a transcript, they have to manually enter all the classes that they’ve ever taken and they have to have two letters of recommendation and a personal statement … and we don’t require the PCAT anymore.”

 

Pre-Pharmacy Curriculum. Coordinator of Student Services Ashley Jeffers said during this curriculum, students must keep up with the requirements of two different GPA scores.

“GPA-wise, you do have to have a minimum of a 2.75 on a 4.0 scale and that’s actually in two specific areas. So, that will be in your pre-pharmacy, which is every class that’s required to get into pharmacy school, and then we also specifically calculate just the math and science of those pre-pharmacy classes,” Jeffers said. “That’s kind of like the gatekeeper ... to be considered for the program. And then they submit an application, not through the graduate school or the SIUE website, but they’ll do it through a system called Illinois and 18 in Missouri.

 

“It’s actually pretty easy to become a pharmacy technician in the states of Illinois and Missouri,” Jeffers said. “You don’t have to have a completed associate’s degree, you don’t have to complete a program to get the technician job, but you just have to pretty much jump onto the Board of Pharmacy websites for each of the states that you’re interested in and pay the fee, fill it out and you can get your tech license and then be eligible to apply for those technician jobs in the community or hospital pharmacies.”

 

For more information about the pharmaceutical chemistry specialization, go to the SIUE Department of Chemistry website.

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