SIUE Adds Bachelor’s in Chemistry with Specialization in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

SIUE’s Michael Shaw, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor, and Jingyang Fan, PharmD, BCPS, clinical associate professor.

The extra qualification opens possible employment opportunities beyond the traditional pharmacy path.

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy (SOP) and College of Arts and Sciences are collaborating to add a bachelor’s in chemistry with a specialization in pharmaceutical chemistry that will be available for students in fall 2021.

Michael Shaw, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry, said they became aware of a number of excellent pharmacy students, who have fulfilled almost all the requirements for a bachelor’s in chemistry, but had no clear pathway to a bachelor’s degree. “Inquiries from PharmD students who would like to earn both a bachelor’s in chemistry and a PharmD prompted the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Chemistry to undertake a serious investigation of the potential for a new pharmaceutical chemistry specialization, which has now come to fruition,” Shaw said.

Upon further review, Shaw noted a number of factors that logically fell into place. “We found that among the courses that students can complete during their two-year pre-pharmacy curriculum and the considerable amount of chemistry content extant in the PharmD curriculum, there exists a pathway to a 4-year degree which satisfies all the hallmarks of a biochemistry-focused bachelor’s in chemistry,” Shaw said. “Furthermore, there are existing School of Pharmacy students who are clearly eligible for such a degree.”

According to Shaw, the faculty are already in place. “SOP faculty, who teach the courses which have significant chemistry content, have doctorates in chemistry and many currently hold adjunct positions in the Department of Chemistry,” Shaw said. “They also work with graduate and undergraduate researchers from our department.”

Shaw said the degree program should be attractive to students. “The extra qualification opens possible employment opportunities beyond the traditional pharmacy path,” he said. “In the rare case where a student decides not to complete the PharmD, the student can still graduate with a bachelor’s without starting over.”

“In addition to increasing our students’ marketability in the pharmaceutical industry, the PharmD plus bachelor’s in chemistry in pharmaceutical chemistry specialization program could prepare our students to pursue additional training and graduate degrees, such as a master’s or PhD in chemistry,” said Jingyang Fan, PharmD, BCPS, clinical associate professor and SOP assistant dean for academic affairs.

Students earning a degree in chemistry are prepared to pursue a variety of careers. Chemistry majors work as analysts, environmentalists, criminologists, librarians, patent examiners, production foremen, researchers, writers and teachers. Chemists also find work in sales, and for private companies that produce items such as fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, plastics and semi-conductors. Careers in the public sector can be found in local, state and federal governments, as well as hospitals, high schools, colleges and universities.

Central to SIUE’s exceptional and comprehensive education, the College of Arts and Sciences offers degree programs in the natural sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences, and communications. The College touches the lives of all SIUE students helping them explore diverse ideas and experiences, while learning to think and live as fulfilled, productive members of the global community. Study abroad, service-learning, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities better prepare SIUE students not only to succeed in our region’s workplaces, but also to become valuable leaders who make important contributions to our communities.

Today’s pharmacists improve patients’ lives through the medication and education they provide. Dedicated to developing a community of caring pharmacists, the SIUE School of Pharmacy curriculum is a model that offers students a unique combination of classroom education, research, community service and patient care. The School of Pharmacy’s areas of excellence include a drug design and discovery core; pediatric practice; chronic pain research and practice; and diabetes research and practice. As the only downstate Illinois pharmacy doctorate program, the SIUE School of Pharmacy is providing highly trained pharmacists prepared for the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

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