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UNC's Eshelman School of Pharmacy to offer online master's program

<p>The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is offering a new online Master's degree. Photo courtesy of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.&nbsp;</p>
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The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is offering a new online Master's degree. Photo courtesy of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. 

Students looking to receive a master's degree at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy will now be able to complete their requirements remotely with a new online program. 

The Eshelman School of Pharmacy announced the new online program on Feb. 26. It will allow students to receive a master’s of science degree in pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in health system administration. 

Students will be able to remotely complete the program in 24 months without needing to fulfill the residency requirement. 

The inaugural class is set to begin in fall 2020. 

Stephen Eckel, the vice chairperson of graduate and postgraduate education, is serving as the program’s director. 

Eckel said the program was developed because numerous students requested for the residential program to be made available online. He also said the program was created in response to the greater demand of people choosing to pursue pharmacy administrator positions.

“Leaders in pharmacy have a really broad portfolio that they need to shepherd,” he said. “We are trying to lead these professionals to ensure that patients receive the best health care.”

Kathryn Morbitzer, the program’s manager and a professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, said this portfolio is integrated with the program’s curriculum.

She said the courses within the program focus on leadership development, health care finances and medication safety, among other topics. 

“The students are also, over the two-year period, going to engage in some type of research project or quality improvement project within their own institution,” she said. “That will serve as their thesis substitute in order to meet the graduation requirements.” 

Robert Granko, a professor of clinical education, said the program is ideal for the working professional. 

“We are able to share our immediate experiences,” he said. “I think that having the rich network of individuals that participate in this program, and the leadership that is currently responsible for running these courses, provides a well-positioned opportunity for folks to learn in an environment that can be done remotely.” 

Granko also said he believes the program will help to enhance the pharmacy practice. 

“The goal of the program, in my mind, is continuing to push that level of practice so that it’s contemporary and progressive," he said. “Ultimately, our patients are the beneficiaries of that.”

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