The USC School of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy program is now accepting applications from motivated students who wish to transfer to USC from a different PharmD program.
The goal of the new transfer program – launched during COVID-19 due to popular demand – is to offer an alternative opportunity for pharmacy students who are seeking a better fit or who are interested in relocating to southern California for personal or professional reasons.
“COVID-19 prompted many people to reevaluate their choices in life, and since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had a dramatic increase in requests for transfers,” said Kari Franson, associate dean of academic and student affairs, and professor of clinical pharmacy. “Many of the transfer requests are from students who want to relocate closer to family, while others are from students who want to focus on a non-traditional pharmacy pathway not offered at their institution.”
The USC PharmD program is unique in its setting in Los Angeles on a large academic medical campus, with many areas of concentration, dual-degree opportunities, and hands-on clinical practice opportunities in a wide variety of settings, locally as well as internationally. “Through our world-renowned faculty and innovative curriculum, alumni network, and worldwide connections, all of our students, including those who transfer, will have the preparation they need to be successful graduates,” said Murad Dibbini, director of enrollment management.
First-year pharmacy student Veronica Soliman is one of the School’s first PharmD transfer students.
While attending UCLA as a psychobiology major, Soliman was a volunteer in the Care Extender Program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center where she assisted health care providers in the intensive care unit. In her third year as an undergraduate, Soliman worked closely with a pharmacist at the Medical Center, which ultimately influenced her decision to enroll in pharmacy school and pursue a career as a hospital pharmacist. “I know that USC will help me achieve my career goal because we have the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center close to campus and they are known for providing hands-on learning opportunities for students,” said Soliman.
Upon arriving on campus in January 2022, Soliman immediately immersed herself in a full academic courseload and extracurricular activities. “My non-prescriptive medications class has been my favorite so far because it is tailored to be applicable to real-life scenarios,” she says. “For instance, our professor provides us with counseling tactics on how to ask patients appropriate questions about their health to assess whether the patient’s condition is appropriate for self-care or if they need to see a physician.”
Within her first month, she was offered – and accepted — an opportunity to serve as the vice president of the Class of 2025 Associated Students of the School of Pharmacy (ASSP). She also became a member of the USC California Pharmacy Student Leadership (CAPSLEAD) team, where she will have the opportunity to work with fellow students from pharmacy schools around the state on leadership initiatives and a variety of special projects.
Soliman’s smooth transition into the USC PharmD program is evidence that students don’t need to start together on the first day of classes in the fall to create bonds and be successful in the program. “Transfer students meet alumni, faculty and classmates as part of the application and interview process, to ensure they’re a fit for the rigorous program, and they receive ongoing support from the School’s Office of Student Success and Engagement as they adjust to the new environment,” Dibbini notes.
Students interested in transferring into the School’s PharmD program must have earned, at minimum, a Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA, a 3.0 GPA at their current pharmacy institution, two written recommendations, along with a letter from the dean or associate dean of their current institution indicating good standing. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
As for Soliman, she’s proud to now be a member of the Trojan family. “Being a Trojan means being determined, open-minded, motivated, selfless, and hard-working,” she says. “These are some of the admirable qualities I have seen within the Trojan network, and I strive to exhibit those characteristics in my daily life.”