May 14, 2019
BSPS graduates celebrate commencement

On May 3, the U-M College of Pharmacy celebrated a milestone event – the commencement of 21 students from the recently redesigned Bachelor of Science of Pharmaceutical Science (BSPS) program.

“Although we jokingly referred to ourselves as the guinea pigs of BSPS, our hard work and feedback is leading the way for future graduates,” mentioned student speaker Katie Jaje, BSPS'19, during the commencement ceremony. “It is because of this that I have the utmost confidence that those graduating from the BSPS program will pave the way in their careers moving forward. Some of us are heading right into more schooling and others are getting involved in the work force, but I have no doubt that  in a few years I will hear about the accomplishments and accolades from this class of students.”

Pharmacy faculty voted and approved the new BSPS program in 2016, aimed at providing undergraduate students with a better path to a professional health degree, graduate research programs, or entry-level industry positions. The BSPS degree is a 4-year degree, with students joining at either the sophomore or junior year. The first cohort began in Fall 2017. The new curriculum features all new, unique coursework taught by faculty from all three departments – Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Clinical Pharmacy.

“In 2015, I accepted the role as faculty lead to develop this new BSPS program,” explained Greg Amidon, PhD, research professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “I am proud of the College’s commitment to bring new life into this undergraduate program at a time when pharmaceutical sciences and health care are evolving at an incredible pace. This degree is especially designed for students interested in any professional health program, not just pre-pharmacy, it is ideal prep for students interested in graduate research based masters and PhD programs, or direct employment in relevant fields at the bachelors level.”

The program boasts many unique features, including an optional research program and honors thesis, numerous student engagement and career development opportunities, and the opportunity to fast track to the PharmD program. For more information on the program, visit  

The College launched the BSPS Research Program to facilitate BSPS student engagement in ongoing College research efforts. Eleven students participated, including six who completed an honors thesis. The Honors students wrote a manuscript suitable for publication, presented at the College’s Research Forum, and will graduate with honors on their diploma and transcript.

“My work in Dr. Peter Scott’s Lab has been a defining part of my collegiate experience. Even as a new member of the group, I was entrusted with responsibilities I never imagined having as an undergraduate student, from generating data for laboratory publications to preparing nuclear medicine for cancer patients at the University Hospital,” said Jonathan Pham, BSPS’19.

“During the research project, I practiced skills including reading and filtering scientific literature, designing experiments and analyzing experiment data,” explained Zifeng Qu, BSPS’19. “Every discussion with my project advisor, Dr. Amidon, at each stage of the experiment gave me chances to think about the project more deeply and thoroughly. The project inspired me to reconsider the meaning of bioequivalence, which is an important concept for generic drug.”

With a foundation of relevant curriculum, the College’s 2019 BSPS graduates have their eyes set on the future of the industry. Nine of the BSPS graduates are entering the workforce, while the remainder are applying to PharmD, MD, DDS, MS, or PhD programs. “I am proud of these graduates ability to communicate key takeaways, disseminate knowledge, dig deep, and think critically,” said Dr. Amidon. “To me, that is testament to their growth as students of science.  I wish them the very best as they go out into the world and on to the next great adventure.” 

View more photos from the event on the College's Facebook page.