A combined program that issues Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees allows you to combine the research aspects of pharmacy with the professional and practicing side of the pharmaceutical industry. Although these programs can be found at many pharmacy schools, the admissions process can be very strict and selective.
Overview of PharmD/PhD Dual Degree Programs
A dual PharmD and PhD degree program typically takes at least eight years to finish. You'll complete regular courses as well as fulfill clinical and research obligations in a specific timeline, usually starting with the PharmD courses before moving on to the PhD program (which is typically pharmaceutical sciences or a related area). Depending on the school, you might earn the PharmD before starting the PhD program, though in some cases, you'll receive both degrees once all of your academic commitments are fulfilled. Sometimes, the first few years are dedicated to PharmD courses while you choose PhD electives. You'll be eligible to apply for a full pharmacy license upon graduating the PharmD program.
Admissions Requirements for PharmD/PhD Dual Degree Programs
If you plan to pursue a PharmD/PhD dual degree, you should apply to the school's pharmacy college. Most of the time, you'll already enroll in the PharmD program before you apply to the PhD portion, and application acceptance is extremely limited. You'll need to complete a statement of purpose that explains why you want to obtain both degrees and submit transcripts of all your previous college coursework.
You won't be admitted to any pharmacy program without a bachelor's degree, although it doesn't necessarily have to be in the same field. General GRE scores should be included with your application, although you may be able to gain conditional admission without the test, provided you agree to take it by the end of your first semester. Your GPA as an undergraduate should be at least a 3.0 in all previous coursework.
PharmD vs. PhD
A dual degree brings together two different aspects of pharmacy work. It's important to understand the meaning of each doctorate and how they complement each other in this program.
Doctor of Pharmacy
The PharmD provides you with all-encompassing knowledge of pharmacy practice and an understanding of the medicines you will distribute to a wide variety of patients. As a practicing pharmacist, you'll counsel and answer questions for patients who have been prescribed medication by their doctors. In this program, you may spend time in seminars and lab settings to discuss your research findings and compare results with your fellow PharmD candidates. Some of the course topics you may encounter during the PharmD degree include pharmacy law, aging patients, and pharmacotherapy.
PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences
A PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences gives you the research background necessary to contribute to the scientific community and teach pharmacy classes at the college level. Your research could cover several different areas, including therapeutic bioengineering or quantitative systems and pharmacology. You can present new hypotheses to the field and use data to demonstrate your understanding of an always evolving field of research. During your PhD courses, you can cover subjects like differential equations, cellular drug transport, and biopharmaceutics.
You can earn a dual PharmD/PhD in pharmacy and prepare to consult patients while also performing research. In this program, you can gain both pharmaceutical clinicial knowledge as well as learn about the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics research.