May 25, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Partners with UGA Pharmacy to Meet Growing Demand for Pharmacists

Valdosta State University and University of Georgia College of Pharmacy signed a transfer articulation agreement May 25 in West Hall. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Kurt Winkelmann, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry at VSU; Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU; Dr. Andrew Darley, director of professional education at UGA College of Pharmacy; Dr. Pierre-Richard Cornely, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at VSU; and Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at VSU.



VALDOSTA —Valdosta State University students interested in a career in pharmacy now have a streamlined approach for admission into the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.

Officials from the two University System of Georgia institutions signed an articulation agreement on May 25 that provides undergraduate chemistry / pre-pharmacy students at VSU with a guided pathway into UGA’s four-year pharmacy curriculum after only three years of undergraduate study. The agreement allows VSU students an earlier start to a career in this critical healthcare field.

“Valdosta State University has an established, proud record of preparing students to study pharmacy,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, VSU president. “This new partnership makes the pathway for the undergraduate degree and the professional degree seamless and streamlined, providing students with savings of both time and money. We look forward to the many opportunities this arrangement will bring to VSU students destined for this important health care career.”

Through this agreement, aspiring pharmacists at VSU will be eligible to receive structured guidance directly from UGA faculty, staff, and current PharmD student mentors as early as their first year at Valdosta State.

“This agreement with UGA gives our students another route to achieve their academic and career goals,” said Dr. Kurt Winkelmann, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry at VSU.

VSU students who maintain certain academic criteria and successfully fulfill all of UGA College of Pharmacy entry requirements will receive a guaranteed admission interview in their junior year.

Accepted students will transfer to UGA for their senior year and complete their VSU Bachelor of Science in Chemistry while beginning their pharmacy school training.

“With a population increasing in numbers, age, and diversity, the role of the pharmacist is more important than ever before – especially in hospitals and clinics in which Doctors of Pharmacy are, now more than ever, expected to provide direct patient care through comprehensive medication management,” said Kelly Smith, dean of the UGA College of Pharmacy. “In addition, the pandemic has been a significant indicator of the value of pharmacists in helping people address their healthcare concerns. Our unique curriculum is well-suited to prepare an aspiring pharmacist for such challenges.”                                                                        

Pharmacy jobs are among the best in healthcare and one of the best paying overall, according to U.S. News and World Report’s best jobs rankings. As pharmacists are becoming a more integral part of the healthcare team, jobs for pharmacists are expanding. The state of Georgia expects an employment growth rate for pharmacists of 12.14 percent by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The UGA College of Pharmacy is ranked 24th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and the pass rate for the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination is more than 95 percent, the highest of all Southeastern Conference colleges of pharmacy and well above the national average.

While the program seeks to expand pharmacy education, several former VSU students have already made the UGA transition. Savannah Rainey of Eastman, Georgia, who attended VSU from August 2015 to December 2017, earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from UGA this spring.

“Valdosta State offered me countless opportunities to further unfold my desire to become a pharmacist through pre-pharmacy organizations as well as one-on-one advising sessions that outlined exactly what I needed to do to pursue my PharmD at UGA. The faculty and staff at VSU not only prepared me well in the classroom, but they also were excellent resources for interviews. The strong academic leadership at both institutions is why I am so excited about this affiliation. Together they molded me into the professional I am today. I am excited to pursue a career in ambulatory care pharmacy working in chronic disease management, and I know my experiences at both VSU and UGA are a large part of where I am today.”

VSU students interested in attending UGA’s PharmD program may contact Dr. Kurt Winkelmann, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry, at or (229) 333-5801.

Founded in 1903, the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy delivers high quality education, research opportunities, experiential programs, and service learning in order to advance the pharmacy profession, as well as pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. As the largest and only public pharmacy school in the state of Georgia, the College offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD), along with several graduate and certificate programs, and one undergraduate degree. UGA PharmD students also have the option of pursuing a Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, or Regulatory Sciences Certificate while they pursue their pharmacy degree.

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