Regents approve new UNMC pharmacy bachelor’s degree

Dele Davies, MD, UNMC senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Keith Olsen, PharmD, Joseph D. Williams Endowed Dean, UNMC College of Pharmacy

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents on Thursday approved the establishment of a new Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) degree program at the UNMC College of Pharmacy.

The 120-credit hour BSPS degree is intended to provide a comprehensive undergraduate education for students interested in an accelerated pathway toward a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree, or other health professional degrees or graduate programs, or for entry-level careers, such as medical sales representatives or pharmaceutical research.

Pending final approval from the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, the program is expected to enroll an inaugural class of 10 new students for fall 2025, with projected incoming classes growing to 36 new students a year.

Prerequisites of 60 credit hours through the first two years of study can be attained anywhere, including through community colleges, state colleges or universities. The final two years would be completed at UNMC’s Omaha or Kearney campuses. Well-performing students would be eligible for early admission into UNMC’s PharmD program.

These students will help meet a national – and statewide – need for workforce for the pharmaceutical and agriculture industries, said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD.

“This will continue to fill a critical and unmet workforce need and advance the profession and practice of many health profession disciplines by providing a solid foundation to prepare students for many careers,” Dr. Gold said.

Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, said that exposing students at the undergraduate level to the experienced clinical faculty, as well as opportunities for practical hands-on training at the state-of-the-art facilities at the UNMC College of Pharmacy, will pay off for the state’s workforce. The program also exposes undergraduate students to unique internship opportunities with world-class pharmaceutical sciences researchers at UNMC.

“A purpose of the program is to provide a pathway of well-qualified candidates for admission to the College of Pharmacy and other professional degree programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and to build a workforce for biomedical, biochemical, agriculture scientists and technicians for the development, testing, and regulatory approval of new drugs,” Dr. Davies said. “The program also will provide a foundational education in step with projections for how the work of pharmacists, scientists and technicians will change over the next 10 years.”

“The College of Pharmacy is committed to addressing the workforce needs of Nebraska by attracting students into UNMC professional programs as well as meeting the needs of the pharmaceutical veterinary industry,” said Keith Olsen, PharmD, Joseph D. Williams Endowed Dean of the UNMC College of Pharmacy.

The new program has drawn support from across UNMC, and from pharmaceutical industry officials, Nebraska’s community colleges and universities in the NU system. Leaders note the BSPS degree program supports the university’s five-year strategic plan by fulfilling workforce needs, amplifying impact through partnerships and in providing accessible, affordable and attainable education to Nebraskans.

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