March 22, 2018
By Sydney Slotkin DuPriest
OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is offering a new non-thesis track master’s program this fall, the that will focus on preparing students with a science or engineering background to work in the pharmaceutical industry.
The two-year Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in Industrial Pharmacy program is designed for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering, biology and chemistry who want to go directly into the pharmaceutical industry. By focusing mainly on the applied knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce, graduates will be better prepared to make an immediate impact on the job.
“This creates a track for people with or without a pharmacy background to either be trained in basic pharmaceutics and find a job in the industry, or continue with a Ph.D., if they want,” said Soumyajit Majumdar, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the School of Pharmacy.
“This program will increase the number and quality of graduate students in the school, as well as increase the university’s retention rate by offering another track for science graduates,” Majumdar said.
Walt Chambliss, the university’s interim associate vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, and Eman Ashour, research assistant professor of pharmaceutics and drug delivery, developed the program in response to several decades of decline in the number of pharmacy graduates going on to pursue master’s or doctoral degrees in pharmaceutics.
Many opt instead to practice pharmacy in community or academic settings immediately upon earning their Doctor of Pharmacy.
“With this targeted program, we’re preparing students to go into the industry and be immediately successful,” Chambliss said.
Students in the program will be able to specialize in regulatory affairs, product development or manufacturing. Coursework will be similar to the school’s existing Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences track but will revolve around condensed, project-based practical elements.
The university is already well-known within the pharmaceutical industry for producing high-quality Ph.D. graduates in pharmaceutical sciences, Ashour said. The program’s coordinators are building on that relationship by seeking curriculum advice from industry professionals.
“We sought insights from the pharmaceutical industry to align the new program with School of Pharmacy objectives and the university mission,” said Michel Repka, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery. “More importantly, we designed this program to position our students at the forefront of the best career opportunities, which is a primary goal for graduate education at Ole Miss.”
David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy, presented on this concept at a meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, where he outlined the school’s and the industry’s need for such a program.
“This professional degree program will lay the groundwork for a highly-trained, industry-oriented workforce with the pharmaceutical knowledge and patient awareness needed to succeed in the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.
This innovative graduate program and the school’s post-graduate training courses, such as the Hands-On Course in Tablet Technology and the Natural Products Training Laboratory, will continue to support the university’s efforts to grow pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in Mississippi.
For more information about the program, visit https://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/pharmaceutics/professional-masters-programs/. The deadline for application is April 1.