July 22, 2020

New online course preps students from anywhere for Purdue’s professional pharmacy program

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is offering an online course to prepare students to apply to Purdue’s professional pharmacy program and pique their interest in the pharmacy profession.

The course will be available beginning in August to students at colleges and universities throughout Indiana, nationally and internationally.

The asynchronous online pharmacy orientation course will familiarize students with the requirements of Purdue’s professional program, level the playing field such that all students are prepared to apply, and provide basic pharmacy knowledge and skills.

The course should make students stronger candidates when they apply to the highly competitive program at Purdue and build excitement for the pharmacy field, said Patricia Darbishire, associate dean for academic affairs and clinical professor of pharmacy practice. Darbishire will bring her real-world pharmacy experience to the course to ensure that it is practical and provides important knowledge and skills.

In addition to students from other colleges and universities who may be considering pharmacy school at Purdue, the online course is aimed at Purdue students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. There are two sections available, a one-credit-hour, pass-not-pass option for Purdue students and a noncredit certificate section for students from other schools. There is a noncredit-to-credit pathway if a student is ultimately admitted to the Purdue PharmD professional program – consistently ranked among the best in the U.S. Both the credit and certificate sections are run together as one course.

The online course has the same name as a previous face-to-face course that was offered only to second-year preprofessional pharmacy students at Purdue. However, the online course has been completely redesigned for online learning and includes new content. It is open to anyone interested in applying to Purdue’s professional program, Darbishire said.

Where the on-campus course was primarily lecture format, the online version will be built around active learning, with short videos providing assignment goals and background information that emphasizes the assignment’s importance to actual practice. For example, an exercise could involve researching and reporting on characteristics of, or differences between, popular over-the-counter and prescription medications.

The course also will feature interactive chat and online discussion boards. Students in the course will be paired with upper-level Purdue pharmacy students who will act as mentors in what Darbishire called “a wonderful learning opportunity for both students.”

In addition to learning about Purdue’s professional program and pharmacy topics, students in the online course will be exposed to skills like resume building and will participate in mock interviews, which can be important when applying to Purdue and throughout their professional careers.

Besides its value to students, Darbishire said the online course is a recruiting tool for Purdue’s College of Pharmacy that will help diversify its student body. The professional pharmacy program tends to be heavily weighted toward Purdue’s undergraduate pre-pharmacy students. Given their insights on the admissions process and the mentorship they receive from professional program students, the pre-pharmacy students, who have been at Purdue for two years when they apply, have a strong idea of what a successful application looks like.

“There’s this whole other group of phenomenal students out there, and we want them in our program,” Darbishire said. “This online course can help level the playing field for those currently outside of our college when they apply to the professional program. It should make them a stronger candidate when they apply.”

For more information on the online Pharmacy Orientation course and to register, see https://www.pharmacy.purdue.edu/pharmacy-orientation-ii.

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167, gkline@purdue.edu 

Source: Patricia Darbishire, darbishi@purdue.edu

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