The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has launched a new Master of Science (MS) in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) to provide students with the advanced education and cutting-edge training needed to obtain high-level research and leadership positions in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as in the federal government. The 16-month, full-time program is based at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., and integrates basic and applied pharmaceutical sciences with hands-on laboratory research experience.
“The School of Pharmacy is incredibly excited to offer the new MS in PSC,” says Sarah Michel, PhD, professor in PSC and director of the PSC Graduate Program. “We believe this degree fills a critical gap that many students encounter after completing a bachelor’s degree. While students might know that they want to pursue a career in research, they are not sure if a career in an industry, government, or academic setting is the best fit for them. Our program allows students to ‘test the waters,’ and equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in the biopharmaceutical industry or federal government labs, or to take the next step in their education by completing a doctoral degree.”
Setting the Standard for Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Education
The MS in PSC is a full-time academic program designed for students who are interested in pursuing careers in scientific research. It builds on the School of Pharmacy’s more than 175-year reputation of advancing scientific knowledge across the spectrum of drug discovery and development, allowing students the opportunity to learn from faculty and other researchers who are widely recognized for their contributions to the field of pharmaceutical sciences, as well as pursue research in the areas of chemical and biology discovery, translational therapeutics, and pharmacometrics.
A hallmark of the MS in PSC is the completion of a biopharmaceutical research internship — an experience facilitated by the program’s prime location at the Universities at Shady Grove, which is just a short drive from several premier pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, research laboratories, and federal agencies that offer potential internships for students.
“The completion of a biopharmaceutical research internship truly sets apart the School of Pharmacy’s MS in PSC from other programs across the country,” Michel says. “Students are able to take the lead in designing and developing a unique research project, which they complete during their internship with a local pharmaceutical company, government agency, or faculty member at the school. This internship not only provides students with hands-on experience in a real laboratory setting, but also helps them better understand what to expect if they choose to pursue a career in that particular setting.
“This experience also helps students begin to build their professional network by introducing them to potential future employers.”
Preparing Students for Success Outside of the Classroom
The MS in PSC does not require the completion of a thesis. Instead, students complete and present a capstone project based on the research conducted during their biopharmaceutical research internship.
“The MS in PSC is a holistic program that provides students with the tools to both design a research project and disseminate the results of that projects,” Michel says. “We want to ensure that our graduates have all of the skills they will need to be successful pharmaceutical scientists.”
The MS in PSC welcomes students with degrees in a variety of different science disciplines, including chemistry, biology, and engineering. Students whose degrees are not in a scientific discipline, but who have completed specific prerequisite science classes are also invited to apply.
— Malissa Carroll