GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the No. 1 pharmacy school in the country, and East Carolina University have established an early assurance program (EAP).

This partnership means current and incoming ECU students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in pharmacy may be eligible for assured admission to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The program underscores a shared commitment to training the next generation of healthcare leaders.

“Our mission is to prepare leaders and innovators to solve the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges,” said Angela Kashuba, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “This partnership takes us one step closer to doing just that by creating pathways to broader academic access, opportunities and success for a new group of pharmacy students and future healthcare leaders.”

The program offers early assurance of admission into the UNC Eshelman Doctor of Pharmacy Program after a minimum of two years of undergraduate study at ECU for qualifying and selected students who maintain certain academic standards.

“There is a huge need for pharmacists in rural parts of eastern North Carolina, so we hope that by establishing this program, we will be able to select some students who will want to go back and work in their communities after they graduate,” said Elizabeth McAllister, ECU’s director of pre-professional advising. “The partnership will give them opportunities to network with and shadow current pharmacists and participate in workshops with leaders from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.”

The first cohort of ECU early assurance scholars will be selected in spring 2024 and will begin their journey toward the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy that fall. Up to 10 students will be admitted each year through the program.

“I have met many amazing ECU students who really want to become pharmacists and serve their communities in eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Betsy Sleath, regional associate dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “They have diverse interests that include health systems, industry, community pharmacy and tackling the opioid epidemic. This partnership allows them to be admitted earlier and to receive support from ECU and UNC-Chapel Hill before they come to pharmacy school.”

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 UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy also has early assurance partnerships with UNC Pembroke, Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, UNC-Asheville and UNC-Wilmington.