Georgia College collaborates with three universities for students to pursue pharmacy school

Georgia College collaborates with three universities for students to pursue pharmacy school

Chemistry lab
Chemistry lab
W ith demand expected to increase for pharmacists in Southern healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics—Georgia College is pleased to announce a new accelerated Pathways Program for chemistry majors to transfer to one of three Doctor of Pharmacy schools in the United States. 

Agreements were recently signed with the University of Georgia (UGA), Auburn University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). Students who meet criteria can utilize these pathways—giving them an early start, streamlined admission and guided route into the field of pharmacy. 

Georgia College is committed to providing our students with an outstanding education as well as opportunities to expand their careers.Our new Pharm.D. partnerships are just some of the ways we can provide more opportunities for our students to be successful.
– Dr. Costas Spirou
“Georgia College is committed to providing our students with an outstanding education as well as opportunities to expand their careers,” said Dr. Costas Spirou, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Our new Pharm.D. partnerships are just some of the ways we can provide more opportunities for our students to be successful.”

These new Pathways give chemistry students a chance to earn their Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from Georgia College and a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from UGA, Auburn or PCOM. Students admitted into pharmacy school under a “3+4” agreement complete three years of chemistry at Georgia College, then four years at pharmacy school. In their first or second year of pharmacy, students receive their B.S. from Georgia College with transferred credits earned in the Pharm. D. program.

This helps students save on tuition, while beginning their careers early—completing both degrees in seven years, instead of eight. 

This means our chemistry majors will have even greater options ahead of them, including the ability to earn a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in less time in what is a high-demand field.
– Dr. Eric Tenbus
“I’m very pleased that the chemistry program has taken the initiative to develop these innovative Pharm.D. Pathways,” said Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia College.

“This means our chemistry majors will have even greater options ahead of them,” he said, “including the ability to earn a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in less time in what is a high-demand field. In addition, this is a positive recruitment, retention and graduation initiative for our university.”

Planning for these Pathways began more than a year ago. Administrators hope this effort attracts a diverse group of aspiring pharmacists to respond to market demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook handbook, employment of pharmacists is projected to decline 3 percent from 2019 to 2029. However, demand for pharmacists in hospitals and clinics is projected to increase, particularly in rural areas such as those found in Georgia, Alabama and other neighboring states. 

About 21 percent of Georgia College chemistry majors declare a concentration in pre-pharmacy. This year, Georgia College is experiencing a three-year peak at 24 percent, said Dr. Chavonda Mills, chair of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy. 

“We’re excited to introduce these accelerated Pathways for our students,” she said. “By reducing the total time required for the B.S. and Pharm.D. degrees, our students will be able to save both time and tuition dollars and begin their careers earlier.” 

Dr. Chavonda Mills in lab with a chemistry student.
Dr. Chavonda Mills in lab with a chemistry student.
UGA, Auburn and PCOM were “strategically” identified to help attract a broad audience of prospective students to Georgia College, Mills said, while ensuring chemistry students multiple pathways to pharmacy school. The three programs represent a varied choice for students, giving them a wide selection of curriculum, reputation of school, location and cost.

Freshman year, chemistry majors declaring a pre-pharmacy concentration will receive structured guidance from their pre-pharmacy coordinator at Georgia College and a representative from their Pharm.D. program of interest. They’ll discuss the admission process and requirements for pre-requisite courses, grade point average and the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test). 

Junior year, students apply for admissions to their chosen Pharm.D. program. Following completion of their first or second year pharmacy school, their credits transfer back to Georgia College for a B.S. in Chemistry. Students then complete their Pharm.D. degree.

Georgia College’s liberal arts curriculum teaches students to think critically, become skilled communicators and mature into service-orientated professionals dedicated to excellence. It is my hope that the partnering of a liberal arts education with professional pharmacy schools will produce 21st-century pharmacists dedicated to serving all members of the community and that some of these students will return to rural Georgia to practice pharmacy.
– Dr. Chavonda Mills