UNCP, UNC-Chapel Hill establish assured admission program with UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz (left) signs the MOU agreement with UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz (left) sign a MOU agreement with UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings

Current and incoming UNC Pembroke students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in pharmacy may be eligible for guaranteed admission to UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the nation’s top-ranked pharmacy program.  

UNCP and UNC-Chapel Hill have established an Early Assurance Program partnership with UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, creating a seamless pathway for pre-pharmacy students.  

“Expanding academic opportunities through collaboration is a major focus for UNCP. We want our students to understand no matter their goal in life, they can get there from UNCP,” said Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.  

 The partnership aligns with both universities’ mission to build and maintain a diverse workforce. 

“One of the greatest strengths we have as a UNC System is the collaboration between our schools, and it’s a privilege to work together in our common mission of service,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “This partnership with UNC Pembroke is an important step to increase access to the students of our state and enhance our ability to prepare the next generation of leaders in our Eshelman School of Pharmacy.” 

The program offers early assurance of admission into the UNC Eshelman Doctor of Pharmacy Program after the sophomore year of undergraduate study at UNCP, and begins upon completion of the Bachelor of Science.

“Not only does this collaboration create a new and exciting educational pathway for UNCP students in a highly competitive field, but it will likely lead to a healthier southeastern North Carolina,” Cummings said. “This partnership is yet another example of our state’s universities leveraging their power to meet the needs of our regions.”  

Throughout the EAP program, participating students will be required to: 

• Participate in pre-pharmacy advising at least once each semester prior to beginning the Pharm.D. program; 

• Participate in a program seminar series; and 

• Meet prerequisite coursework/grade requirements. 

The Eshelman partnership is the latest of a long list of academic pathways UNCP has in place with high-profile programs in the UNC System and across the country, including ECU Brody School of Medicine, the College of Engineering and the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C. State University, Methodist University’s Physician Assistant program and the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine.  

These pathway programs ensure students receive a high-quality, affordable education on an NC Promise campus which offers tuition at $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students. 

Taylor Felton, a Robeson County native and a pharmacy resident at Cape Fear Valley Health, was excited to learn about the partnership. Felton, a UNCP alumna, earned a doctoral degree in pharmacy from Eshelman last May.  

“I think this program will be very beneficial, especially for undergraduates from the southeast. We need more representation from UNCP at Eshelman,” Felton said. “Having this partnership will help promote the pharmacy field throughout the southeast. I wish it had been in place when I was a student.”  

Malerie Leviner, Kathryn Ryan and Justin Villanueva represent UNCP alumni who recently matriculated to Eshelman. Another UNCP connection is the recent appointment of Dr. Cherry Beasley to the Eastern NC Advisory Board for Eshelman. She serves as associate dean of the College of Health Sciences at UNCP.   

The signing comes just 10 months after a delegation from Eshelman visited UNCP’s campus.  

“Last November, I had the privilege of traveling to UNCP to meet members of their leadership team, faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Angela Kashuba, dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “At that time, we identified multiple ways to partner with UNC Pembroke on educational initiatives. I’m delighted to see this assured admissions agreement move forward, as it was identified as a priority. We look forward to welcoming more UNCP students into our program.”  

The first cohort of UNCP early assurance scholars will begin their journey in fall 2023. Up to five students will be admitted each year. 

Dr. Joanna Hersey, associate dean of Student Success and Curriculum at UNCP, said the program offers peer-to-peer mentoring, facilitates networking and allows for collaboration across our campuses. 

“The establishment of this pathway is such a wonderful opportunity for UNCP students to rise in their chosen pharmacy profession,” Hersey said. “Students will gain the necessary credentials while staying close to home earning their Bachelor of Science degree from UNCP and bring their expertise to the region upon graduation from UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.”