New degree focuses on pharmaceutical industry jobs

pharmacy students work in a lab

The new program will start in the fall of 2024. 

University of the Pacific is launching a unique bachelor’s degree program to prepare students to work in the rapidly expanding pharmaceutical industry.

The Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical science at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy will prepare students for careers as scientists and specialists to help design and manufacture new drugs.

The program, approved unanimously by the Pacific Board of Regents on Friday, is the only undergraduate program of its type in California, focused on creating a new workforce for pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, diagnostic laboratories and biotech firms.

Dean Berit Gundersen said a few universities offer similar degrees, but none are focused on job placement right out of the undergraduate program. Students will have their choice of engaging in professional internships or faculty-led research.

“This new degree program is really different from the others in our focus on creating pathways for our graduates to go straight into industry jobs after four years,” the dean said, adding that students also could chose to continue to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Employment opportunities for these pharmacy-focused scientists and specialists are projected to grow 10% nationally over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The degree also will prepare students interested in jobs in pharmaceutical regulation at hospitals and across the drug industry.

Provost Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert was a major proponent of the new degree program. “The new B.S. in pharmaceutical science provides yet another pathway into this critically important and fast-growing field,” she said.

Applications are open for the new program, which starts in August. Interested students can learn more about the new major and how to apply by visiting the pharmaceutical science web page.