The USC School of Pharmacy launched a new bachelor’s of science degree in pharmacology and drug development starting this semester.
The major primarily focuses on clinical pharmacology and will teach students about the basic receptor targets in the human body, how pharmaceutical drugs act on those targets and how one should think about a patient.
The major was developed by Daryl Davies, a professor at the School of Pharmacy, and will make USC one of only five universities nationwide to offer an undergraduate program in pharmacology.
Davies says that although many students are thoroughly prepared in the fields of biology, chemistry and biochemistry, they do not understand how to utilize all of these sciences when considering a patient.
“We didn’t have a solid major that trained students how drugs worked in the body, why we need prescription drugs, why a particular dose works well in one person, but not well in another, why we have side effects and why is it that thousands of people die every year from drug-drug interactions and improperly prescribed drugs,” Davies said.
The pharmacology degree intends to arm its students with the necessary skills for a future in their desired field.
“The new major is designed to prepare USC undergraduates for advanced clinical training in health-related fields including pharmacy, medicine and dentistry,” said Michele Keller, the director of communications for the School of Pharmacy, in an e-mail to the Daily Trojan. “It will also lead to new opportunities for students who are considering careers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.”
Some undergraduates students have already taken the opportunity to switch into the new major. Annie Xie, a sophomore who recently switched into the pharmacology program from biology, believes that the program is suitable for students with a wide variety of aspirations.
“I think USC students might be interested to know that the pharmacology and drug development major is not exclusive to pre-pharmacy students,” Xie said. “I think that all future clinicians — doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists — could benefit from the classes offered in this major.”
After graduation, Xie hopes to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy at USC, and she believes her major will thoroughly prepare her for the next step in her career.
The new program also offers a number of new courses designed specifically for non-science majors, such as “Pharmacology and Sociology of Drug Abuse” and “21st Century Medical Issues and the Law.”