Jump-Starting a Pharmacy Career
Second-year MCW pharmacy students who are participating in the dual-degree program, with Founding Dean George MacKinnon, III, PhD, MS, RPh (third from left): (l-r) Matthew Bougie, Jared Landreman, Oliva Vlasin, Gina Marchetti and Morgan Carroll.
For second-year MCW pharmacy student Jessica Mickevicius, walking with her Carroll University undergraduate class at graduation was very surreal. “It was crazy to think that I had already completed a whole year of pharmacy school and was well on my way to my future career when all of the other students graduating from my class were still trying to figure out what was next for them. I feel very secure in my choices and know that I am working my way to my dream career,” shares Mickevicius.
Mickevicius is a participant in the MCW School of Pharmacy’s groundbreaking undergraduate dual-degree program, which provides an accelerated route for students to earn both a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from an undergraduate partner school and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from MCW.
The dual-degree program takes six or seven years to complete, including three to four years of undergraduate curriculum at the partner school followed by three years of PharmD curriculum at MCW. Students in the 3+3 dual-degree program who successfully complete their first year in the MCW School of Pharmacy will fulfill final requirements for their undergraduate degree through “reverse transfer” of those credits. This option alleviates some of the financial burden of school tuition for students seeking to obtain both a bachelor’s degree and PharmD degree.
“I cannot express how wonderful the dual-degree program has worked out for me. I was able to get my full Bachelor of Science in three years of undergraduate studies and then transfer back my credits from pharmacy school,” says Mickevicius.
This year, nine second-year pharmacy students from the Class of 2024 were able to earn their bachelor’s degrees as part of the 3+3 dual-degree program.
Marquette University student Morgan Carroll, one of the nine dual-degree program participants in the Class of 2024, decided she wanted to become a pharmacist during her senior year of high school. “I learned about the dual-degree program by researching pharmacy schools online when I was looking for colleges to attend in high school. I came to MCW for a tour for the first time in 2015 and enjoyed the modern features and classroom style of the campus.”
The students attended undergraduate partner institutions across the state, including Carroll University, Marquette University, Saint Norbert College and Wisconsin Lutheran College. The MCW School of Pharmacy currently partners with 13 institutions in Wisconsin for the dual-degree program. Dual-degree program students who express an interest in the program have access to open-house events, advising from faculty members, undergraduate research opportunities and invitations to professional development events at MCW. Students also have access to opportunities such as participating in MCW’s Summer Program for Undergraduate Research, attending the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin Annual Meeting and attending the MCW School of Pharmacy Discovery Day.
“Staying on track and meeting the requirements for both my undergraduate coursework and MCW prerequisites was at times a challenging workload; however, it prepared me for the rigors of the pharmacy program,” says Emma Hilgendorf, a dual-degree student from Wisconsin Lutheran College. “My goal as a pharmacist is to work in the community setting. As pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare providers in the community, I look forward to the opportunity of being a valuable resource to patients while promoting wellness.”
– Michelle Schaefer