After nearly a year and a half of planning, Fairleigh Dickinson University has announced that the Becton College School of Pharmacy will accept its first class in Fall 2012. Upon the program’s introduction, FDU will be one of only two New Jersey institutions to offer a four-year doctoral program in pharmacy.
Dean of Becton College Geoffrey Weinman noted that the high demand for a pharmaceutical program in New Jersey would attract exceptional undergraduate and graduate students to Fairleigh Dickinson. The first admitted class would contain about 85 students.
“Since Rutgers can only take about 200 students into its school of pharmacy, demand is high. Plus, the introduction of this program at FDU will help to keep New Jersey students in New Jersey,” said Weinman.
Though approved by the state in June 2009, the Becton College School of Pharmacy must go through a formal accreditation process before it can accept its first class. “The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education will make preliminary visits, plans, and follow-up visits over the next two years,” said Weinman.
Formal acceptance requirements are still being finalized, but students will come into the program with a four-year undergraduate degree and a concentration in the sciences. Because of high demand and limited openings, the program will undoubtedly be highly competitive.
Weinman noted that FDU’s program will stand out from the rest. “Graduates of the program will leave the school with two degrees, a doctorate in pharmacy and a master’s degree,” he said. “Students will be able to choose from one of five master’s degrees: business administration, public administration, pharmaceutical chemistry, regulatory affairs, or clinical trials management.”
The program’s rigorous curriculum consists heavily of “experiential education,” allowing students to work on site at hospitals, retail pharmacies, pharmaceutical corporations, and government sites. Time spent working at these sites will allow students to gain valuable on-the-job experience, as well as begin to establish themselves in the world of pharmacy as they obtain their degrees.
Weinman noted that the university is in the process of creating agreements with well-known sites such as St. Barnabas, Duane Reade, and other companies.
Weinman stated that an upcoming meeting with Wakefern, which is ShopRite’s group, and other major chains will help to establish more relationships with sites.
These opportunities to work with outside sources will continue to grow, as one of the main responsibilities of the founding dean will be to foster relationships with healthcare companies, Weinman said.
The introduction of the pharmacy program will also change the physical dynamic of the FDU campus. Due to Florham Park and Madison building regulations, the University is leaning toward leasing off-campus real estate in which to house the pharmacy program. The new building would be near the campus, most likely on Madison or Park Avenue.
“If we do lease off-campus space, we would make certain students and faculty have easy access to the main campus,” said Weinman. “These plans aren’t finalized yet, but that’s really the direction we’re going in.”
The university is currently seeking a founding dean for the program, but additional hires will be made in 2011 and 2012 before the program officially begins.