New Graduate Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The School of Pharmacy’s MS program launches at an auspicious time for a booming industry.

The LAU School of Pharmacy (SOP) is pleased to announce the launch of its Master of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Development and Management. The program will be inaugurated in the fall of 2018.

The major can be a continuation of studies for pharmacy graduates and professionals alike who aim to gain more hands-on experience and further advance their career prospects in the field of study and the pharmaceutical industry.  

According to Imad Btaiche, dean of the School of Pharmacy, the program is meant to prepare graduates for leading roles in the rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry, whether in drug development, research, quality control, regulation or management. It offers thesis and non-thesis tracks, along with a management component that is supported by the Adnan Kassar School of Business. It will also give graduates the opportunity to pursue PhDs in related sciences, especially for those who complete the program’s thesis track.

The launch comes at an auspicious time for the industry in the Middle East. Indeed, the rapid increase in population in the Arab world has stoked demand over the past decade, from governments interested in generic drugs to large groups in need of treatments for so-called lifestyle diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as the rapid growth in biopharmaceutical development. This has attracted a plethora of multinational pharmaceutical companies to the region. The Middle East now competes with India, East Asia and Latin America in terms of projected growth in the industry.

“The new program strategically addresses the market and pharmaceutical industry needs for graduates with special skill sets in the field,” said Btaiche.

The program will accept qualifying students who have a BS in Pharmacy or PharmD, though it is also open to chemistry and biological sciences graduates, who will be required to complete some additional undergraduate courses.

One of the unique strengths of the program, according to Department Chair and Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Roy Kanbar, is its flexibility. “While its structure and core courses combine to form a strong foundation in pharmaceutical sciences, it provides the flexibility to pursue personal educational interests or professional goals through a rich pool of electives targeting different areas of expertise, such as clinical-trial design and management, regulatory affairs, and entrepreneurship.”

“The graduate program will allow pharmacy students to sharpen their knowledge, skills and expertise in pharmaceutical research and development,” said Associate Professor Aline Milane, who teaches pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, both among the main fields of pharmaceutical research. “This will give our graduates the opportunity to orient their careers toward new horizons, mainly in the pharmaceutical industry, which is in continuous expansion in Lebanon, the region and the world.”

Much creative and academic energy has gone into the program’s design. “It is the result of the extraordinary teamwork of the Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty members and insight from leaders in the Lebanese pharmaceutical industry,” Kanbar said.

The degree program was approved by both the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the New York State Education Department in 2017. Its launch adds another layer of distinction to the SOP’s offerings – the graduate PharmD program is the only one outside the US accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The school is also a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

“This is the first such program at the SOP during its 20-plus years of history, and it represents a major step forward in further putting the school on the map of graduate education,” said Btaiche. “The program also answers to the SOP’s mission and vision, as well to LAU’s Strategic Plan III.”