February 21, 2018

Three new certificate programs in the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy are open to all undergraduate students in the university who want to pursue careers related to the pharmaceutical sciences upon graduation.

Each of three new 16-semester-hour certificate programs offer advanced coursework to UI undergraduate students who are majoring in non-pharmacy fields. Students might be working towards a degree in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, biomedical or chemical and biochemical engineering, or another field. Programs in Drug Delivery, Drug Discovery, and Drug Disposition and Metabolism are the first certificate-level educational opportunities in the College of Pharmacy to be available to UI undergraduate students.

Maureen D Donovan
Maureen Donovan
Associate Dean for
Undergraduate Education

There is a significant need in the pharmaceutical employment sector for individuals with undergraduate education in STEM fields who also have education in areas directly relevant to drug development.

“There is a significant need in the pharmaceutical employment sector for individuals with undergraduate education in STEM fields who also have education in areas directly relevant to drug development,” said Maureen Donovan, associate dean for undergraduate education. “Yet most of the current, high-quality programs that educate students in the techniques of drug design, chemical and biochemically-mediated synthesis, drug metabolism and toxicology have been focused on education at the graduate level. We wanted to offer all Iowa undergraduates the chance to gain an edge in their education for these high-need areas.”

Certificate programs seem to be on the rise across campus, said Lon Moeller, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College. “During the last three years we have approved several certificate proposals,” Moeller said. “The reasons for the offering of certificate programs is based on collegiate interest in better preparing graduates for the workforce or graduate school by offering specialized, and frequently interdisciplinary, certificate options.”

Although the College of Pharmacy’s undergraduate certificate programs are just beginning, a chemistry student at the UI—Lindsey Floryance—will have taken four of the program courses as electives by the time she graduates with her bachelor’s degree in May. The courses have helped her find a niche that combines chemistry and pharmacy in a unique way. In the pharmacy courses, she enjoyed being encouraged to think independently and problem-solve collaboratively.

“As a chemistry student, if you’re not going into a chemistry graduate program, you only get small snippets of the answer to the question, ‘how applicable is some of this stuff?’ So I electively took courses in the radiation sciences program, and these pharmaceutics courses, to prepare myself for a career in something I know I want to do,” said Floryance.

She worked in several labs as an undergraduate, and is now conducting basic research in the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Nuclear Medicine laboratory of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Her work could potentially be developed into drugs one day. She is applying to graduate schools that will help her further advance in the same area.

“I would love to become the head of a radioactive drug development program someday,” said Floryance. “I was always fascinated with radioactive elements, and the elective courses I took in pharmacy opened my eyes to a whole new world of medicine. I was really fascinated by them.”

Enrollment into the undergraduate certificate programs began this semester. To learn more about the new undergraduate certificate programs and how to apply, visit our certificate program webpage. To find out more, please contact Maureen Donovan or Rita Schneider in the Office of Undergraduate Education, or email pharmacy-undergrad@uiowa.edu.