A recent collaboration between UGA’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Engineering will allow students interested in a career as a biopharmaceutical engineer to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biochemical Engineering / Master of Science in Pharmacy dual degree.
This partnership paved the way for the creation of a new Double Dawgs program, launching in fall 2021. Students enrolled in the program will gain an understanding of drug development and regulatory sciences, as well as have increased opportunities for practical learning experiences.
Students in the College of Engineering’s Biochemical Engineering undergraduate program will be eligible for the new degree, which has a 166-hour curriculum that can be completed in five years, including one summer semester. All classes will be taught on the Athens campus.
“This new Double-Dawg degree is distinct in its offerings – there is not any other program like it in the U.S.,” said Dr. Scott Pegan, Interim Associate Department Head of CoP’s Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department and Director of the College of Pharmacy Center for Drug Discovery, who helped champion the effort. “We were privileged to work with our colleagues at the College of Engineering in developing this unique opportunity.”
A highly specialized and regulated industry, biopharmaceuticals is the future of the drug and biological products field. However, there has not been a training program that teaches students the entire process – from drug and biological product discovery, to manufacturing and distribution, to governance and regulation.
“Our program’s curriculum will address all of these processes, deemed critical by biopharmaceutical industry leaders,” said Dr. Singh Rekhi, CoP Director of the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences program, who is leading efforts to develop the curriculum. “Simply put, the biopharmaceutical engineers who emerge from this program will be positioned to be leaders in their field because of their holistic training and viewpoint. Further, we will meet a critical workforce need in our state and nation.”
“This is an ideal program for any student interested in a career in the biopharmaceutical industry,” said James Warnock, Chair of the School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering. “As an undergraduate, students will receive a solid foundation in engineering and life science fundamentals, which will be complemented by the industry relevant courses in pharmacy that they will take during their Master’s program. There are very few, if any, other programs in the U.S. that will produce such well-rounded graduates who are prepared for industry careers in this way.”
Based on overwhelming requests from students, consideration is being given to future Double Dawgs opportunities with the College of Engineering, including a BS in Biological Engineering combined with a MS in Pharmacy. The potential start date for this program is fall, 2022.