I'm a recent graduate from the UCSF school of pharmacy. Initially, my chemistry major at SCU was just a steppping stone to get me into pharmacy school. But while in pharmacy school, I realized how fortunate I was to have a strong chemistry background from Santa Clara. Most of my pharmacy school classmates had backgrounds in biology or biochemistry. But a number of the 1st year courses were basic science chemistry related courses (biochemistry, adv. organic chemistry, physical chemistry...etc). I was able to waive out of most of these classes by taking a proficiency exam. In fact, I waived out of more classes during my first year than any of my classmates! Throughout the pharmacy curriculum, my chemistry background served me again and again expecially in the pharmacology/pharmacutical chemistry series. The mechanism of action of most drugs work by basic chemical and biological principles which were easily understandable with a chemistry background.
During my last year of pharmacy school, I elected to take a pharmaceutical sciences pathway in which I was able to join a lab and perform a research project in place of some of the elective clinical rotations. My research project involved drug development in which I was performing organic synthesis of potential medicinal compounds and assaying these compounds for biological activity against our target. I learned advanced organic synthesis techniques, made a few new lead compounds, and got to work in one of the premier laboratories within the UCSF pharmaceutical sciences department.
I passed the California pharmacy state board exam and am currently working for a small community pharmacy in San Francisco. I work 35 hours per week over 3.5 days and moonlight for other pharmacies on my days off. The market for pharmacists right now is strong and I can get a job anywhere or switch jobs anytime.
In the future, I plan to become a compounding pharmacist in which I would make customized medications or customized drug dosage forms to meet patients needs. I am also considering going into pharmaceutical industry in which I would get involved in the drug development of new medications. Both of these areas will not only use my pharmaceutical knowledge but also my chemistry background as well.
When thinking back to my years at SCU, if I had to do it all over again, I would not change a thing. The chemistry program was rigorous but it gave me the foundation to succeed in professional school and sparked the interest to open up many options within my career.
If you ever have any questions about pharmacy or the way you can integrate a chemistry degree within the practice of pharmacy don't hesitate to contact me.