Jan 10, 2013
32
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Hey so really quick question: I've recently decided that the PharmD isn't really what I'm trying to accomplish. I really want more of a PhD with research into Chem/Pharmacology. Part of this reason is financial (I don't want to go into debt); part is that I don't feel like PharmD's do the kind of research I want to do.

I'd really like to avoid having to wait another entire year to apply for grad school though.

I only see three possibilities, 2 of which involve waiting a year:
1) Contact labs I'm interested in, see if they would petition for me to get into a grad program (probably about a 0.05% chance of working)

2) Continue with my pharmacy application process, get in to pharmacy school, and apply to graduate programs during my first year of pharmacy school (at least then I'd be doing something instead of just waiting around to apply). The downside is that I'd take out loans that I wouldn't necessarily have needed to take out to pay for the stupid thing.

3) Work for a year, and apply like a normal human being by taking the GREs, etc. and watch another year of my life slide by as everyone around me takes one more step closer to achieving their life goals. :smuggrin:

Anyone have any advice with this? My main mistake was not doing enough research into the PharmD degree beforehand. I feel like such an idiot for wasting all this time and money trying to do something I don't want to do, especially when I've had people telling me I should just go to graduate school for years now.
 

ForumHangout

5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2013
184
2
Status
Hey so really quick question: I've recently decided that the PharmD isn't really what I'm trying to accomplish. I really want more of a PhD with research into Chem/Pharmacology. Part of this reason is financial (I don't want to go into debt); part is that I don't feel like PharmD's do the kind of research I want to do.

I'd really like to avoid having to wait another entire year to apply for grad school though.

I only see three possibilities, 2 of which involve waiting a year:
1) Contact labs I'm interested in, see if they would petition for me to get into a grad program (probably about a 0.05% chance of working)

2) Continue with my pharmacy application process, get in to pharmacy school, and apply to graduate programs during my first year of pharmacy school (at least then I'd be doing something instead of just waiting around to apply). The downside is that I'd take out loans that I wouldn't necessarily have needed to take out to pay for the stupid thing.

3) Work for a year, and apply like a normal human being by taking the GREs, etc. and watch another year of my life slide by as everyone around me takes one more step closer to achieving their life goals. :smuggrin:

Anyone have any advice with this? My main mistake was not doing enough research into the PharmD degree beforehand. I feel like such an idiot for wasting all this time and money trying to do something I don't want to do, especially when I've had people telling me I should just go to graduate school for years now.
Just out of curiousity/making sure, how SURE are you that you like basic research more than application? Can you describe you something in research that fascinate you?
 

smercer

7+ Year Member
May 7, 2012
476
149
Status
Pharmacist
Just out of curiousity/making sure, how SURE are you that you like basic research more than application? Can you describe you something in research that fascinate you?
This...

Most grad programs are going to want to see you have done a good bit of research prior. Also having a professor you researched with write a LoR would be expected. I would think that if you really want to go to grad school, then you should talk to people who were in grad school (ie all of your professors). They will be more help than anyone on these forums.
 

PocketAces5

5+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2012
97
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
I'm currently in the transition out of a PhD program in Pharmacology, 2nd year, to a PharmD program. While it was nice to have everything fully funded, plus a generous stipend on top of it and making money instead of accruing debt, you better make sure you have a passion for research. Gain as much experience as possible before applying to see if it's the right fit for you
 

rxlea

Almost a unicorn
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2009
13,248
198
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Pharmacist
Have you considered a dual degree program?
 

BonbonBoom

5+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2012
22
0
Midwest
Status
Pharmacist
I'm, somewhat, currently in your same situation. I'm in a pharmacology laboratory right now and I have been talking to a graduate student. She said that most schools are looking for people with prior research experience. I have also looked into a few schools and most seem to want three letter of recommendations. I would assume one would be from a faculty member and another from your primary investigator in whichever lab your participated in.

So far my own plan involves applying for Pharmacy school. I am an undergraduate and expected to graduate with a bachelor's in 2015, so I am applying to schools that do not require a bachelors. If I get in, I will stick with Pharmacy. I would expect to pay my debt off after working for one year by living a cheap lifestyle (I want to get into a public school with a very nice automatic scholarship and I expect my debt to be about $90,000 by the time I get my PharmD). If after a year, I do not like pharmacy (and I think I will enjoy it decently well), I will go back and obtain my PhD. I had an interview with a pharmacy school, and the administration actually said that this was common.

Also, I would like to note that the graduate schools I have looked into pay for your tuition, healthcare, and give you a decently nice stipend. So maybe you decide to get your PhD. after you get accepted into pharmacy school for a year. You can use your stipend to pay a little bit of your loan and since you're still considered a student, I don't think interest would incur (might want to make sure of that).
 
OP
P
Jan 10, 2013
32
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Just out of curiousity/making sure, how SURE are you that you like basic research more than application? Can you describe you something in research that fascinate you?
I wanted to reply to this because I think it's true that you really have to have a knack for basic science research. I do have a lot of research experience, and all of the projects I've had have been very basic questions (mechanisms, experimental methods). These have been the types of projects I've enjoyed, not the kind that involve 'dry lab' type of data and patient analysis.
 
OP
P
Jan 10, 2013
32
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Thanks for the feedback. I have considered a dual degree program, but there are only a few schools that I applied to where I think I might want to pursue this type of degree. It's encouraging to know that there are grants specifically designed for PharmD/PhD students; however, I doubt even with one of those you would make enough to do anything other than pay off some interest on your loans for pharmacy school (by the way thanks to whoever the genius was that made Stafford loans unsubsidized for grad school, way to go, really).

The other problem I have with pharmacy school, and I should have articulated this from the beginning, is that time and time again I've read that if you don't have a passion for retail pharmacy then you shouldn't pursue this degree. Granted, my employment experience has been in labs--clinical and basic science--but I'm fairly certain I know myself well enough to say that working in retail would likely be a misery for me. I feel like that's a dealbreaker, or at least there's a bias towards working in retail. To be completely honest, it seems as if the amount of money I would need to sink to get that PharmD, even if I could do research with it, would never be worth the lower salaries that PharmD research-types make.
 

rxlea

Almost a unicorn
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2009
13,248
198
Status
Pharmacist
Thanks for the feedback. I have considered a dual degree program, but there are only a few schools that I applied to where I think I might want to pursue this type of degree. It's encouraging to know that there are grants specifically designed for PharmD/PhD students; however, I doubt even with one of those you would make enough to do anything other than pay off some interest on your loans for pharmacy school (by the way thanks to whoever the genius was that made Stafford loans unsubsidized for grad school, way to go, really).

The other problem I have with pharmacy school, and I should have articulated this from the beginning, is that time and time again I've read that if you don't have a passion for retail pharmacy then you shouldn't pursue this degree. Granted, my employment experience has been in labs--clinical and basic science--but I'm fairly certain I know myself well enough to say that working in retail would likely be a misery for me. I feel like that's a dealbreaker, or at least there's a bias towards working in retail. To be completely honest, it seems as if the amount of money I would need to sink to get that PharmD, even if I could do research with it, would never be worth the lower salaries that PharmD research-types make.
Depends on the sector you're looking at. I have some colleagues being offered 150K-180K.
 
OP
P
Jan 10, 2013
32
0
Status
Pre-Pharmacy
Depends on the sector you're looking at. I have some colleagues being offered 150K-180K.
Which fields are they going into? That's great news to know there are some well-paying pathways out there (and I think anyone who goes to pharmacy school is going to need em seeing the amounts of loans people are taking out). Mind if I ask what types of things they're doing? I could see industry/trial overseeing jobs paying out like this; however, again I'm hit with the problem where if I'm spending a lot of my time outside of IPPEs/APPEs being a lab rat, then when am I ever going to get time to get an industry/otherwise internship and get my foot in the door? Biotech and Pharma companies would probably not want to hire just some dude who can do some biochem assays and knows about pharmacy practice..
 

rxlea

Almost a unicorn
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2009
13,248
198
Status
Pharmacist
Which fields are they going into? That's great news to know there are some well-paying pathways out there (and I think anyone who goes to pharmacy school is going to need em seeing the amounts of loans people are taking out). Mind if I ask what types of things they're doing? I could see industry/trial overseeing jobs paying out like this; however, again I'm hit with the problem where if I'm spending a lot of my time outside of IPPEs/APPEs being a lab rat, then when am I ever going to get time to get an industry/otherwise internship and get my foot in the door? Biotech and Pharma companies would probably not want to hire just some dude who can do some biochem assays and knows about pharmacy practice..
Pharm econ. Yes, industry seems to pay the most. But there are a couple doing consulting or working for think tanks.

There are also government jobs that pay about the same as a hospital pharmacist salary. They are very competitive though.

It's not lab work, though. Lots of stats, psychometrics, decision analysis, etc.