melonld

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Here is my situation and I need your valuable suggestions:
I am in the fourth year of a biochemistry PhD program and thinking of switching field— pharmD. I currently have two options: 1. I can quit with a MS this summer and prepare for pharmD application (not taking PCAT yet). 2. I can wait until next year for application and finish a phd before I start pharmD (if I can get an offer). If I wait until next year, I will be better prepared. However, I am not sure whether a phd will contribute to my application or do the reverse way. And I don’t know whether a biochemistry phd will do me any good in my future career as a pharmacist. :confused:

Thanks a lot!
 

rxlynn

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Nov 16, 2005
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melonld said:
Here is my situation and I need your valuable suggestions:
I am in the fourth year of a biochemistry PhD program and thinking of switching field— pharmD. I currently have two options: 1. I can quit with a MS this summer and prepare for pharmD application (not taking PCAT yet). 2. I can wait until next year for application and finish a phd before I start pharmD (if I can get an offer). If I wait until next year, I will be better prepared. However, I am not sure whether a phd will contribute to my application or do the reverse way. And I don’t know whether a biochemistry phd will do me any good in my future career as a pharmacist. :confused:
BTW, is it really important to meet all the requirements of prerequisite courses? I haven’t taken any economics or English composition classes. Must I make up for that?
Thanks a lot!
Hi - I was once in a PhD chemistry program, and ended up leaving with a MS because I decided I really didn't want to do research. Also, I have family members with PhDs in science, so I am well acquainted with science grad school. My first question is, are you SURE that you really only have one more year to finish the PhD? Have you already passed oral exams, is your advisor giving you the feeling that you are almost through with the research he/she thinks is necessary, do you have your dissertation committee in place, etc? To me and the people I know, getting from the middle to the end of a PhD program is the hardest part - literally, it's up to your advisor and committee to say you are done or not. You already probably know a lot of this since you've been there 4 years, but it's worth thinking about.

No, in my opinion, having your PhD won't help at all with pharmacy school admission. In fact, I think there might be a lot of questions you would need to address about why you went through all that, and then decided to immediately go through 4 more years. However, I think that all the biochem you have learned would be helpful in terms of information you need in pharmacy school, particularly with medicinal chemistry and mechanism types of things.

Yes, you will have to meet all prereqs for the schools you are applying to, and every school will have a slightly different list. In some cases, you might be able to convince them to waive based on your past work experience, but I think that would be very isolated cases. So, you should go ahead and think about where you might be applying and find out what prereqs they require.

Good luck making your decision.
 

pharmacology

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GET YOUR PHD. It will really open up your options if you want to go into academia. You will not only be able to be a clinical faculty but with PhD you will certainly be able to become a basic science facutly. A number of programs unfortunately appear to be hiring PharmD's only in their basic science dept. But with your PhD ...and PharmD you would actually be capable of teaching chem/Bic in a pharmacy school.

Plus with a PhD you would have options in the pharmaceutical industry to function in both a clinical and basic science/research capacity.

GET YOUR PHD (you are so close...get the ultimate degree!)
 
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melonld

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Thanks a lot for all of your suggestions. It is really a hard decision to make. To be more specific about my situation, I have passed general exam last year and will have a 1st author paper very soon. I have discussed with my advisor about my graduation and she thought that it is reasonable for me to graduate in the summer of 2008. Thus if I apply next year, I will be able to start pharmD right after I graduate. If I quit right now, I will risk burning the relationship with my advisor whom I count on for a good LOR. I agree that the biochem backgound is very helpful to get on the track of pharmD. I realize I have to explain why I want to get a pharmD after phD. It's just that after so long in grad school, I feel I deserve a phd although I won't do research any more. And I am not clear whether in the future my career may benefit from this phd. Thanks Pharmacology for your encouragement. It's a long way to go. I wonder whether anyone has any idea about how I should explain my transition in my application. I like the nature of a pharmacist's work. I can apply my knowledge to help peple in a direct way and there are more chances to communicate with people.
 

kwizard

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melonld said:
Thanks a lot for all of your suggestions. It is really a hard decision to make. To be more specific about my situation, I have passed general exam last year and will have a 1st author paper very soon. I have discussed with my advisor about my graduation and she thought that it is reasonable for me to graduate in the summer of 2008. Thus if I apply next year, I will be able to start pharmD right after I graduate. If I quit right now, I will risk burning the relationship with my advisor whom I count on for a good LOR. I agree that the biochem backgound is very helpful to get on the track of pharmD. I realize I have to explain why I want to get a pharmD after phD. It's just that after so long in grad school, I feel I deserve a phd although I won't do research any more. And I am not clear whether in the future my career may benefit from this phd. Thanks Pharmacology for your encouragement. It's a long way to go. I wonder whether anyone has any idea about how I should explain my transition in my application. I like the nature of a pharmacist's work. I can apply my knowledge to help peple in a direct way and there are more chances to communicate with people.
Stopping now and just getting the MS does have the downside as you mentioned w/ perhaps causing some friction b/w you and your advisor, but hopefully they would be understanding enough to appreciate your rationale for going whichever path best fits you. On the other side, you have already contributed a significant amount of time to an admirable task so I could easily understand why you would want to "stick it out" and get the PhD.

However in your original post you said you only have ~1yr to go, but Summer of '08 is actually 2 yrs so you'd be looking at a Fall 08 start for pharmacy school (sounds a bit stressful w/ no downtime)? Do you know what you would ultimately like to do? Given your previous experiences I doubt you'd be happy in retail and would probably end up in a clinical position w/ a research focus or in a position in academia/ industry.

Secondly I don't see how applying to Pharmacy school after receiving the PhD would be perceived as a detriment since the PharmD/PhD are so complimentary to each other (especially in an academic, research, or industry setting). On the other hand if you really don't see yourself doing research then sticking out another 2 yrs may not be worth it as another post mentioned you probably have learned by now all you need to. That is the difficult thing w/ PhD programs in that determining an endpoint can be difficult so I hope your advisor is telling the truth about Summer 08 sounding reasonable and that the time doesn't magically turn into Spring of 09 and so forth.

Part of the reason why you still see some pharmacy schools w/ so many PharmDs in basic science departments is b/c so few have the PharmD/PhD combo so many depts have people that have one or the other PharmD or PhD. The upside of the PharmD w/ research training is that the school of pharmacy can get more "bang for the buck" assuming the PharmD can maintain competitive funding, they can also help teach therapeutics courses, or occasionally cover some of the units as a clinician and/or precept students and residents on pharmacy rotations. Obviously the person only w/ the PhD doesn't have this luxury; however, the PhD is obviously the superior degree for those in research. Have you considered just completing the PhD or does the job oppurtunity, evolving practice and career flexibility w/ pharmacy really appeal to you?
 

rxlynn

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Nov 16, 2005
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Pharmacy Student
pharmacology said:
GET YOUR PHD. It will really open up your options if you want to go into academia. You will not only be able to be a clinical faculty but with PhD you will certainly be able to become a basic science facutly. A number of programs unfortunately appear to be hiring PharmD's only in their basic science dept. But with your PhD ...and PharmD you would actually be capable of teaching chem/Bic in a pharmacy school.

Plus with a PhD you would have options in the pharmaceutical industry to function in both a clinical and basic science/research capacity.

GET YOUR PHD (you are so close...get the ultimate degree!)
This is actually a very good point that hadn't occurred to me. Particularly if you had any interest in the academia side of things, I do think it would be very beneficial to have both degrees, especially if you were able to get a position at one of the more research-oriented pharmacy schools. I guess I was more thinking in my original post that you were going to completely switch focus and become a dispensing pharmacist.
 
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