Pharmacy program adjusts to growing trends in program

Charles Maricle

Charles Maricle

The College of Pharmacy has changed its terms for students enrolled in the professional program.

Instead of simply being referred to as third, fourth, fifth and sixth year students, they will be known as first, second, third and fourth professional year students.

“Many colleges of pharmacy already use the P1 through P4 terminology. So it’s a logical move and the students have already started using it on campus,” Dr. Joel Houglum, coordinator of the student affairs for the College of Pharmacy.

The designation clarifies the difference between students who have been selected for the professional program and those still in the pre-professional phase.

“I think it’s much better than, ‘Oh, you’re a fourth year’. No, I’m P2, professional second year,” Kristie Stangl a P2 student said.

“We divide the curriculum into two components the pre-pharmacy phase and the professional phase,” Houglum said.

The pre-professional program is the initial two years in the six year curriculum of the College of Pharmacy. The program requires students to take 28 math and science credits plus the university requirement already set. The majority of students admitted into the professional come from the SDSU pre-pharmacy phase.

“For the professional program, what we do is select who we feel are the best 60 students from the applicant pool,” Houglum said.

Each fall 60 students are admitted into the professional program. Several determinants including GPA, ACT scores, communication skills and math and science aptitude are considered.

A bachelor of science degree is viewed as an advantage. However, a degree does not mean all the pre-requisites have been met. The only thing a student with a bachelor’s degree must be aware of the required pre-pharmacy courses they might not have taken.

At the end of the third professional year, the clerkship rotations begin. This 44 week block of time is divided into various rotations. One group of rotations is required. The student is then give a choice of which rotation electives he or she wants to take.

“That is where to some extent we are different from other colleges of pharmacy. Some colleges of pharmacy just have a lottery system to determine which student is going to which rotation.

The six years, two in the pre-pharmacy program and four in the professional program, lead to a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. But it is not always fun and games.

“In any major you have have the classes you don’t like, so it’s just suffering through the ones you don’t like and getting to the others,” Jessie Boehm said.

Many look to the future. The average salary for the SDSU graduating class of 2001 was $70,500, plus a signing bonus.

“Our pharmacy program has earned an outstanding reputation for excellence of the education we provide, as well as for the excellence of our faculty, staff and students,” Dean Danny Lattin says in his on-line message.