Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI) and Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy are developing a dual degree program that will equip students with skills that are highly regarded by the pharmaceutical industry and specialty health-care organizations.

The dual degree program will build upon and complement WesternU’s Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum with KGI’s highly successful Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree. The objective is for pharmacy students to attain a common core of knowledge in bioscience with emphasis on their ability to integrate knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.

“I think this is an extraordinary opportunity for both institutions to collaborate on a very innovative program,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “This shows what can be done when universities share their talents and expertise.”

KGI President Sheldon M. Schuster, PhD, concurred, adding, “This dual degree will open up new opportunities for students interested in combining pharmacology knowledge and business skills into a high-demand career.”

Key industry leaders are excited by the news of the new PharmD/MBS degree. Daniel M. Bradbury, president and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and a member of the KGI Board of Trustees, said, “There is growing demand for pharmacists who have clinical, business, and bioscience skills necessary to succeed in industry, and this new graduate program will help produce the kinds of qualified individuals needed by companies.”

The dual PharmD/MBS will be the first of its kind. The programs will utilize complementary courses and flexible scheduling to provide a five-year pathway to achieving both degrees.

“We expect that graduates will have exciting leadership opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry, in managed care and specialty health care organizations,” said WesternU College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD, FASHP. “Combining business, bioscience and doctor of pharmacy training is a great formula for success in dealing with the rapid growth in bioengineered pharmaceutical products.”

Within the MBS program, students will be able to select from the following tracks to personalize their educational experience:

• Business of bioscience

• Pharmaceutical discovery and development

• Bioprocessing

• Medical devices and diagnostics

• Clinical and regulatory affairs

Students must be admitted to the College of Pharmacy and must have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered for admission into the PharmD/MBS dual degree program. Students in the second year of the PharmD curriculum may apply to the PharmD/MBS program by satisfying the admission requirements for the MBS program at Keck Graduate Institute. These include:

• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

• A strong record of academic achievement as demonstrated through undergraduate transcripts, GPA in the PharmD program, and standardized graduate enrollment test scores (GMAT, GRE, MCAT, PCAT).

• Demonstrated interest as indicated by coursework, volunteer activities, work and research experience, and/or personal statement.

Second-year students in the College of Pharmacy will have an opportunity to take sample coursework at KGI during the 2009-10 academic year while applying for admission to KGI. Students admitted to the program will begin their full-time KGI experience in fall 2010.

“It is exciting to witness WesternU’s growth during these impactful economic times for our nation,” said WesternU Provost and COO Benjamin Cohen, DO. “The College of Pharmacy has established itself nationally as a leading educator in graduate pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice. Its graduates continually perform with a 100 percent passing rate in the NAPLEX national boards. This collaboration with Keck Graduate Institute will enhance the college’s existing academic programs and provide much-needed highly skilled professionals for the pharmaceutical industry and biosciences.”

James Sterling, PhD, KGI’s interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, said the PharmD/MBS degree represents the kind of forward-thinking, team-oriented efforts that are so critical today in the applied sciences and medicine. “Bringing together the best of both of our institutions will create a win-win-win outcome — for KGI, for WesternU, and most importantly for the young men and women who want to make a difference in the delivery of health care.”


Noel Brinkerhoff

Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences

Director of Communications


Rodney Tanaka

Western University of Health Sciences

Senior Communications Writer


KGI Background

Educating the future leaders of the bioscience industry, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) offers an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree program and its PhD program in Applied Life Sciences. Using team-based learning and real-world projects, KGI’s innovative curriculum seamlessly combines applied life sciences, bioengineering, bioethics and business management. KGI also has a robust research program concentrating on the translation of basic discoveries in the life sciences into applications that can benefit society. KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, located in Claremont, California.

WesternU Background

Western University of Health Sciences (, located in Pomona, Calif., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in health sciences, nursing, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and veterinary medicine. In 2009, the university will admit students to new degree programs in dentistry, optometry, podiatry and biomedical sciences.