(Athens, Ga.) Undergraduate chemistry and biology students at Georgia Southern University interested in a career in pharmacy now have a streamlined approach for admission into the University of Georgia Doctor of Pharmacy program.
Officials from the two University System of Georgia colleges signed an articulation agreement recently that provides Georgia Southern undergraduate students majoring in chemistry or biology with a guided pathway into UGA’s four-year pharmacy curriculum. The agreement will allow participants an earlier start to a career in this critical healthcare field, while allowing students to begin their education at either Georgia Southern’s Statesboro or Armstrong campuses.
“The College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) at Georgia Southern has an established and proud record of preparing students to study pharmacy,” said Delana Gajdosik-Nivens, dean of COSM. “This new partnership makes the pathway to the undergraduate degree and the professional degree seamless and streamlined, providing students with savings of both time and money. We look forward to the many opportunities this arrangement will bring to Georgia Southern students destined for this important career.”
Georgia Southern students in their junior year who maintain certain academic criteria and successfully fulfill all UGA College of Pharmacy requirements will receive a guaranteed admission interview. Those admitted then can complete their bachelor’s degree with transferred credits earned through the Pharm.D. program. Further, aspiring pharmacists will be eligible to receive structured guidance directly from UGA faculty, staff, and current Pharm.D. student mentors as early as their freshman year at Georgia Southern.
Pharmacy students also may choose to complete a UGA Master’s of Business Administration, a Master’s of Public Health, or Regulatory Sciences Certificate while they earn their Pharm.D.
According to Kelly Smith, dean of the UGA College of Pharmacy, the role of pharmacists is expanding. “With a population increasing in numbers, age, and diversity, the role of pharmacists is more important than ever before – especially in hospitals and clinics in which Doctors of Pharmacy are increasingly expected to provide direct patient care through comprehensive medication management. In addition, the pandemic has been a significant indicator of the value of pharmacists in helping people address their healthcare concerns. Our unique curriculum is well-suited to prepare an aspiring pharmacist for such challenges.”
Employment opportunities in pharmacy are increasing in Georgia as the state is expected to employ pharmacists at a growth rate of 12.14 percent by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the UGA College of Pharmacy is ranked 24th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and the pass rate for the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination is more than 95 percent, the highest of all Southeastern Conference Colleges of Pharmacy and well above the national average.
While the program seeks to expand pharmacy education, several former Georgia Southern students have already made the UGA transition. “I attended Georgia Southern University in 2020, and despite being in the middle of a pandemic, I was able to be introduced to all pharmacy had to offer, thanks to my amazing Georgia Southern advisors,” said Baylee Howard, a current first-year Pharm.D. student from Statesboro. “The interactions I had at Georgia Southern led me to the University of Georgia and really opened my eyes to the institution’s efforts to encourage and support pharmacy candidates. The College of Pharmacy assures their students have availability to any field of pharmacy, and while a professional degree program is more challenging than an undergraduate one, the faculty and staff care greatly and are amazing encouragers. I am extremely thankful to Georgia Southern for all they did to prepare me for this new chapter in my career journey.”
Howard is one of the beneficiaries of the College of Pharmacy’s distinctive curriculum, which allows students to give back to communities in southeast Georgia. Howard, along with many of her fellow pharmacy students, will complete their last two years of professional training at the UGA College of Pharmacy’s extended campus in Savannah. Along with continued didactic training, students participate in rotations and practical experiences at St. Joseph’s Health System, adjacent to the Savannah campus.
Georgia Southern students interested in attending UGA’s Pharm.D. program may contact Kelsey Reeves, Office of Preprofessional Advising, for more information.
University of Georgia College of Pharmacy: Founded in 1903, the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy delivers high-quality education, research opportunities, experiential programs, and service-learning in order to advance the pharmacy profession, as well as pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. As the largest and only public pharmacy school in Georgia, the College of Pharmacy offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.), one undergraduate degree, several graduate degrees, and various certificate programs.
Georgia Southern University: A public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, Georgia Southern University offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving almost 27,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville, and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship, and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders, and stewards in their communities.
Illustrated Graphic: An illustrative graphic describing the program is available here.
Mickey Y. Montevideo (UGA College of Pharmacy), 706-542-5303
Shane Pruitt, Ed.D. (UGA College of Pharmacy), 706-542-7684
Kelsey Reeves (Georgia Southern University), 912-478-3939