Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy student perceptions of the entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy degree: A qualitative study

Thomas Brownlee, Anan Ahmed, Kerry Mansell, Holly Mansell


Background: Canadian academic pharmacy institutions are undergoing a credential shift from a baccalaureate degree to an entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy (ELPD).

Objective: To characterise how Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) students perceive this transition.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight randomly-selected students from each BSP class in 2017-18. Thematic analysis was performed using NVivo qualitative analysis software.

Results: Students’ opinions on the impact of the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) varied (n=24). Six themes emerged: positive academic and social experiences, perceptions of the Pharm.D. programme, insecurities of BSP students, impact on future employment, mixed plans to pursue Pharm.D., and suggestions for improvement. Participants were concerned about Pharm.D. graduates being preferentially hired for hospital pharmacy jobs.

Conclusion: Increased dialogue between faculty and students is necessary to provide reassurance. The credential shift to Pharm.D. should not deter BSP graduates’ desire to work in a specific practice setting.


Entry Level Pharm.D.; Pharmacy Students; Bachelor of Pharmacy; Perceptions

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