Beginning December 2020, eligible students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy, will be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences was approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in January.
Currently, students admitted into most colleges of pharmacy in the nation, including UTHSC, need approximately 2-3 years of required prerequisite coursework at a regionally accredited university or college in order to apply for admission. However, these students may not have completed their bachelor’s degree prior to matriculating into pharmacy school. This newly approved opportunity allows all qualifying students at UTHSC College of Pharmacy to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences after they successfully complete three semesters of the PharmD curriculum. Students will then continue toward earning their doctorate through the four-year PharmD program.
“The College of Pharmacy is excited to offer this value-added degree,” said Dawn Havrda, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, College of Pharmacy Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “If someone knows that pharmacy is what they want to do, then they can come in and not have to forsake getting a bachelor’s degree. Without a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, it’s hard to do something else. A bachelor’s degree allows students to explore other types of graduate school opportunities, such as an MBA, which requires a bachelor’s degree. It makes them more marketable for actually having a degree in the sciences.”
Havrda stressed the importance of the program benefiting students and that it is revenue neutral. “This new degree is another academic benefit for our students who can now earn an additional degree from our top ranked institution at no additional cost to them or the college,” she said.
Juan Rodriguez, a second-year pharmacy student said attaining the Bachelor of Science degree means a lot to him as a first-generation student. “For many students, this achievement would be the first university degree attained, opening so many more career opportunities, including pursing one of the graduate dual degree programs that UTHSC College of Pharmacy offers,” Rodriguez said. “The college’s commitment to higher education accessibility and success is truly remarkable, and implementing this new degree is a testament to that commitment.”
Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST said this addition is transformational for the College of Pharmacy. “It gives everyone in our program an opportunity to have an undergraduate degree and gives our students additional credentials that may not be afforded to them prior to getting a doctor of pharmacy degree,” she said. “It’s another way we can help our students achieve success.”