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Pharmacy degree - which path is better?

Discussion in 'hSDN' started by mmiles, Jul 21, 2008.

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  1. mmiles

    mmiles

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    Is it better to take the 0-6 path or to get an undergrad degree first before going to pharmacy school?

    On one hand, if I take the 0-6 path, I will have no degree other than one in pharmacy. Will my future employers be deterred by that?
  2. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Daisy the Dog

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    While I'm not all that familiar with pharm. stuff, I would encourage you to keep your opportunities as broad as possible unless you're positive that you wanting to go into pharm. If you know, without a doubt, that you want to go into pharmacy, then I think getting your degree(s) as soon as possible would be the best plan.

    I don't think employers will care about your undergrad degree (whatever it may be in) all that much, unless you intend to go into some kind of research.
  3. Bacchus

    Bacchus PGY Too-many-expectations Moderator

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  4. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst Lowest common denominator Moderator Emeritus

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    It really doesn't matter whether you go 0-6 or 2+4 until after your 2nd year. Most schools have you doing the basic science prereqs your first 2 years anyway. If you decide to switch career paths, your credits should transfer to most 4 year schools, where you could pursue a 4 year degree in the field of your choosing. That would be the case for most public and many of the private schools out there. Some of the newer pharm schools popping up that are just pharmacy schools without any other established programs may not have that luxury, but most of the more established schools should give you few, if any, problems. If the job market stays as it is (speculative statement) the PharmD degree with no BS/BA won't be a deterrent. Even in a down market, the doctorate level degree with a residency or a few years of experience will put you over many of the competing recent grads allowing you a little breathing room. Getting a 4 year degree may allow you a little time to "experience" college and give you an edge over some of your peers in terms of developing study habits, time management skills, etc, but it all depends on your life and any other factors you may be considering.

    I hope that wasn't too much of a ramble.
  5. FFwannabeMD

    FFwannabeMD

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    I would say not to lock yourself into any specific field at your age. In my opinion, this applies to any combined undergrad/professional program. The majority of 17-18 year olds just haven't been exposed to the a) the coursework at a difficulty level appropriate to the professional field or b) the every day reality of the career. Early college is the optimal time to explore your options.

    If you happen to already have exposure to upper level chemistry classes (AP chem, organic chemistry, biochemistry) and biology classes and feel confident in pharmacy, I don't see a problem going into a combined program as long as you have the option of dropping back into a more generalized pool should you change your mind a year or two in.
  6. engineeredout

    engineeredout Lightning Ballseeker

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    You certainly might be interested in waiting until you get the chance to take some upper level pharmacology classes. You could always go into college as a pharmacology undergrad and see how much you like it. The kind of course requirements for them will not only prepare you for premed as well, but several other science related majors.
  7. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Future employers will typically not care whether you have a degree outside of pharmacy. The most important thing to them will be are you licensed and able to work.

    If you know that pharmacy is what you want, by all means go straight to it. If you aren't sure, you might start the prereqs and see how you feel after a year.
  8. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Pharmacology is just one of several subjects studied in pharmacy school. If you like it, great. But, what seems to make it or break it for most people is how they feel after taking organic chemistry. If you like O-chem, you will probably like MedChem. If you hate O-chem and never want to see another molecular structure, you are probably not going to want to spend 1-2 years learning about structure activity relationships and drug design in MedChem.
  9. mmiles

    mmiles

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    Thanks for all the replies! I was thinking of going to UT Austin fall of '09 and spend 3-4 years getting a degree in Biochemistry, then going to UT's pharmacy school.

    Those of you that have been through this, which route did you take? If you got your degree before going to pharmacy school, was the extra expenses justifiable? My main concern about the 4 years undergrad + 4 years pharm school would be the extra 2 years paying tuition when I could be working full time.
  10. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    I got my degree first. But, I didn't have any idea I wanted to do pharmacy until I got a job in a pharmacy my senior year of college. If I had the foresight to know I wanted to do pharmacy, I think i would have applied and tried for 2+4.

    The downside of applying after 4 is that if you don't get in you spend a year out of school. That happened to me. I had only applied to one place though. The year after that I got into the same school. My first interview stunk.

    You could apply for 2+4 and if you don't get in you could keep going and try to improve your app and apply to more than one school the next year. Or, you could apply to more than one school to start with. About 40% of people apply to just one school. The thing is, with competitive admissions, sometimes great candidates get into some schools but not others. It's not a bad idea to apply multiple places if you are open to moving. But if you want to stay put you might choose to apply to UT one year and to other places the next year if you feel you need to.
  11. Bacchus

    Bacchus PGY Too-many-expectations Moderator

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    mmiles I go to a 6 year direct entry school. Pharmacy is our #1 major. A majority of my friends that are in the program are especially grateful. They know as long as they make academic progress they cannot be removed from the program. Talking with them and working with the admissions process in my undergrad I feel that the direct entry program relieves a great deal of stress. They will not have to take the PCAT or apply to pharmacy schools in their second year. They also, if they choose to, do not have to gun for A's and A+'s. I naturally hangout with people that are more serious with their studies but there are a lot of people here that are getting by, doing average, and have no regrets and a great social life. The only problem is that when everyone gets to fifth year there is no guarantee they will pass. Fifth year is the hardest year at our institution (P 'n T) but the curriculum has changed to alleviate this stress. If they fail a block, they have to repeat the year and only one repeat is allowed. If you are deadset on getting your PharmD I don't think there is any reason to not go to a direct entry program. If there is any hesitation then you should find a direct entry program that offers a conditional, granted degree after the fourth year incase you do not graduate and/or get licensed so you have a fall back plan. The other option is to go 2+4. Best of luck. If you have any questions about the school I mentioned above (not specific program questions) contact me via PM.
  12. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Tuition would be a possible reason not to go 0-6 (vs 2+4) if someone was going to have to pay 30K/year out of state or private vs 10-15K/year in-state. UT Austin has a sort of 0-6 program that he can try for if he wants to do some coursework at a branch campus. I don't know how they handle those who want to start on the main campus though.

    http://www.utexas.edu/pharmacy/edutrain/coop/overview.html
  13. mmiles

    mmiles

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    Thanks bananaface for the link. I have stumbled on it before and it seems that that would require me to UT El Paso or UT-Pan American for my undergrad studies, which I'm not too excited about. Yep, you hit the tuition thing too-- in-state is another reason why I'm choosing UT.

    After reading the suggestions posted and thinking things over, it has led me to reconsider whether I want to get the Biochemistry degree first. Right now my new plan is to take the PCAT my sophomore year, then depending on how well I do, either go to pharmacy school or continue my undergrad career.

    Do you think it is do-able to take the PCAT after 2 years and get a high percentage? And how competitive is UT's pharmacy admission?

    Thanks for the replies! Keep them coming!
  14. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst Lowest common denominator Moderator Emeritus

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    I'd suggest reading through the UT thread in pre-pharm and look at a few of the stats of those that ended up getting rejected. It should give you an idea. I know of one user who had decent stats that didn't get in, but he seemed a little unsure of his interview. One thing you may wish to do also is look into interiewing skills. I'm not sure the best place to do so, but researching that can save you from a bad interview and resulting rejection. My old employer had a class in panel interviewing and some schools may have something similar. Just a thought.
  15. 117296

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    I don't know anything about UT, but I think I can answer some other things.
    Yes, it is doable to do well on the PCAT taking it your second year, but it is highly dependent on the person. I took it in October of my second year, but I had taken Organic over the summer.

    Here's where I think I could offer some advice.

    I was in the same boat a few years ago as you seem to be now.

    When I graduated from HS in '05...my plan was to do 2 years and go on to pharmacy school...and that's exactly what one of my best friends did. I, on the other hand, changed my plans when I got to college. I found out that the more time I spent there, the more personal interest classes I got to take, the more people I got to meet, and more activities I got to do.

    I found a pharmacy school which I think is the perfect fit for me, and looking back there's no way I could have known that going in.

    That is why I urge you NOT to do an 0+6. There's no way to know if you will like your school or not.

    It sounds like you're leaning towards a state university for your undergrad. Believe me, there will be plenty of things to do.

    Take your time and enjoy college. In the scheme of things, an extra year's worth of tuition will be nothing to you years down the road.

    Also: People talk about the horrors of the application process to pharmacy school...and most of the stories are grossly overrated.

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