The College of Pharmacy now offers students interested in a career in pharmacy the opportunity to combine a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). This program, one of the first Double Dawgs pathways to provide a professional degree to UGA students, will allow students to complete the program in seven years.
“The College is committed to the expansion of educational opportunities through new undergraduate and professional offerings in order to meet the workforce and healthcare needs in Georgia and across the nation,” said Kelly Smith, Dean of the College. “This Double Dawgs program blends the drug development and manufacturing focus of the undergraduate degree with the translational and patient care provider skills taught in our professional PharmD program. In the end, patients will be the beneficiaries of this ‘double-dose’ of pharmacy education.”
This unique pathway will prepare students for the practice of pharmacy with enhanced knowledge in drug development, drug analysis, formulation, and manufacturing. Dr. Deborah Elder, Interim Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate and Professional Education in the College’s Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department, explained how “…the program reduces the time required to earn two separate, four-year degrees – from eight years to seven. In addition, it lowers the overall cost of the dual pharmacy education and allows the graduate to earn a salary one year sooner than anticipated. This option also increases the likelihood that top UGA undergraduates will continue their professional degree work here because of the compressed timeline to earn both degrees. Finally, it will provide UGA with an unparalleled competitive advantage in recruiting, training, and graduating high quality, practice-ready pharmacists. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
The program is perfectly suited for students such as Niyah Brown, a sophomore from Warner Robins, who has been interested in a career in pharmacy since she was in high school. “I am so excited to apply to UGA’s new Double Dawgs program! I love my major and the career I have chosen, and I am eager to develop a deeper understanding of the science that is pharmacy,” said Brown. “UGA is unique in its programs they offer, such as Double Dawgs, that help students like me who have an appetite for knowledge. Double Dawgs is giving me the ability to complete my PharmD degree while receiving my BS at an accelerated pace while still giving me all the necessary tools to be successful. I can’t wait!”
Brown is a 2019 graduate of the College’s Dean Stuart Feldman Summer Science Institute, which provides an introduction and overview of the many career opportunities available in the pharmacy profession to rising high school juniors and seniors. In preparation for her career, she is a member of the Pre-Pharmacy Society of UGA and the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, which has as its goal to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students statewide who complete undergraduate and advanced degrees, as well as have thriving careers in STEM fields. An active volunteer at UGA and in the community, Brown is a pharmacy technician at her local pharmacy, which contains a compounding and sterile lab.
Interested students will apply to the Pharmaceutical Sciences BS/PharmD Double Dawgs pathway during the spring semester of their second year in the BS program. Students must have, at minimum, a cumulative GPA of 2.5 to apply. In the fall semester of their third year, students will begin the application and interview process for admission into the PharmD program. If accepted, students will start the PharmD program during their fourth year. The BS degree will be earned in their fifth year, and the PharmD program will be completed in the students’ seventh year.
“The Double Dawgs program will develop pharmacists who possess a deeper understanding of the pharmaceutical sciences in order enhance their ability to be part of the emerging healthcare team model,” said Dr. Gurvinder Singh Rekhi, the Director of the Pharmaceutical Sciences program at the College. “This offering assures that UGA will continue to be a leader in the health profession of pharmacy by educating students who are qualified for key roles in government, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology jobs.”
A top 25 USA Today College of Pharmacy, UGA’s College of Pharmacy offers three of the more than 100 Double Dawgs programs at UGA; these include the new Pharmaceutical Sciences BS/PharmD program, a Bachelor of Science in Biochemical Engineering/Master’s of Science in Pharmacy, and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences/Master’s of Science in Pharmacy.