Fall 2011 marks the beginning of a new dual degree for pharmacy students interested in doing research. The new doctor of pharmacy/master’s in pharmaceutical sciences dual degree allows pharmacy students in Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) to complete requirements for a thesis-based master of science degree in pharmaceutical sciences in the same time-frame as the solitary Pharm.D. degree – six years.
Bruce Clayton, associate dean for COPHS, said the new program will be attractive to students. “When the Pharm. D. degree program increased from 5 years to 6 years in 2000, more and more students nationwide became less interested in pursuing graduate degrees in research because of the additional 2-3 years it would take to complete it,” he said. “Our program provides students with an efficient way – financially and in terms of time – to meet their educational goals.”
The idea for the new dual degree came about two years ago when the College added an alternative pathway to the Pharm.D. degree called a Research Track. With high student interest in this track, it was a natural fit to combine the Pharm.D. with the master’s in pharmaceutical sciences –a program that has been a part of COPHS for over 20 years.
“The program really evolved out of a genuine interest from faculty wanting to do more research with students who have a pharmacy background, and students wanting to do more research in general,” said Clayton.
One of those students is Levi Smith ’13. Smith is the first student to enroll in the new dual-degree program.
Smith began doing cancer-related research with Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Alexandre Erkine and other COPHS faculty two years ago. They are designing a high throughput screen that will be used to identify chemical compounds which inhibit the expression of a particular gene that is over-expressed in cancer cells.
Smith said the new degree program is an excellent opportunity to showcase the quality programs of the College. “Creating this type of program shows the forward-thinking nature of Butler University and COPHS faculty,” he said. “Butler recognizes the unique skills that are obtained in the Pharm.D. curriculum and has chosen to optimize those skills and knowledge by coupling the curriculum with a research-intensive program.”
The doctor of pharmacy/master’s in pharmaceutical sciences degree is the second dual-degree program to be introduced by COPHS. They launched the doctor of pharmacy/master’s in business administration (MBA) with Butler’s College of Business in 2003.
Media contact: Courtney Tuell