Pharmacy, Natural & Health Sciences

Pharmacogenomics

FAQs

 

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General Questions

What is pharmacogenomics?

The field of pharmacogenomics involves the study of the relationship between an individual’s genetic makeup and his or her response to a drug. Pharmacogenetics, a component of pharmacogenomics, is the study of the relationship between a single gene and its response to a drug.

How can physicians and other clinicians use pharmacogenomics to help treat their patients?

Pharmacogenomics can help physicians and other clinicians identify the optimal drug and the optimum dose with maximum efficiency and ideally no adverse effects.

How will pharmacogenomics affect the development of new medicines?

Pharmacogenomic knowledge will enable pharmaceutical companies to design, develop, and market drugs for people with specific genetic profiles. Testing a drug only in those likely to benefit from it could streamline its development and maximize its therapeutic benefit.

How will pharmacogenomics affect the quality of health care?

Pharmacogenomics will increasingly enable physicians and other clinicians to prescribe the right dose of the right medicine the first time for everyone. This would mean that patients would receive medicines that are safer and more effective, leading to better health care overall. In addition, if scientists can identify the genetic basis for certain adverse drug reaction, drugs can be prescribed only to those who are not genetically at risk for those reactions. This could maintain the availability of potentially lifesaving medications that might otherwise be taken off the market.

What challenges face the field of pharmacogenomics?

As with most new medical advances, there will be barriers to overcome. Physicians and other clinicians will unlikely be able to rely on the information provided by pharmacogenomics alone. There are other factors that will remain important when implementing therapy such as the patient’s diet, weight, lifestyle and other medicines. It may also take time for pharmacogenomics to enter the mainstream because most medicines work well for most people. The number and complexity of interactions between a drug and the body’s biological molecules is another challenge. The field could involve intricate and time-consuming scientific work. Pharmacogenomics is an exciting industry with world-changing potential.

Who is this program for?

This unique opportunity is for individuals looking for a specialized field of health care and science poised for exciting growth and world-changing potential. It is a graduate program, a science degree (e.g., chemistry, biology, medical technician, etc.) or a professional degree (e.g., medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, master of science in genetic counseling, etc.) is required.

What will I be able to do with this degree?

When you complete this degree, you will be able to pursue several options. You can seek employment as an applied scientist in the genetic testing or pharmaceutical industries. You can pursue a Ph.D. or a professional degree in fields such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and genetic counseling. You can expand your current professional role. Some of our recent graduates have accepted positions at the following companies: Veritas Genetics, Assurex Health, Genemarkers, Translational Software, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, & Lutheran Hospital. 
 
I already have a professional degree - why should I pursue an MS degree in PGx?

Our MS in PGx program provides an in-depth scientific exploration of drug-gene relationships as a component of precision medicine.  Our core courses in human genetics, bioinformatics, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and molecular biology provide the foundational scientific knowledge that our students apply in our pharmacogenomics-specific courses.  Upon completion of our MS in PGx, graduates will have a complete picture of the role PGx plays in precision medicine as well as snapshot into the future of precision medicine.  The MS in PGx will equip graduates to understand and apply pharmacogenomics leading to improved patient outcomes.

I currently have a PharmD, what opportunities do you expect pharmacists to have with the MS in PGx degree?

Pharmacists are now being hired in laboratories to be the translational individuals connecting the science to the clinic. Examples include Genelex/YouScript, OneOme and there will be others. Labs will be expanding and need these translational individuals. Additionally health systems (e.g., Cleveland Clinic) are hiring pharmacists.

Why should I pursue a Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics verses completing a Pharmacogenomics certificate program?

A MS degree will give the graduate extensive training in PGx and will provide a more scientific background than a certificate program.  The certificate programs largely focus on patient care, but don’t delve into the basic sciences that are important for a complete understanding of PGx and personalized medicine.Currently the certificate training program are largely available to pharmacists and while there are components of basic science, the depth and breadth of molecular biology, genetics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics related to pharmacogenomics is cursory and not to the depth and breadth as that in an MS program.

What is the difference between the curriculum for the online program and the on-campus program?

Our online and on-campus curriculums only differ by 5 credit hours worth of classes (the total degree is 34 credit hours). For the on-campus program, the 5 credit hours is dedicated to laboratory training, which we can't adequately do in the online format. Therefore, our online students take 5 credit hours of a didactic/seminar style course called Pharmacogenomics in Practice. The on-campus program is really geared towards preparing students to work in laboratories, whereas the online track has most emphasis on using pharmacogenomics in a patient-centered way (they create business plans to implement pharmacogenomics in practice sites and they discuss patient cases). We wouldn't say that one delivery method is more-suited towards one set of students versus another, we believe it mostly depends on what students want to do with the degree after completing the program.

How can I go on a campus tour?

Campus tours can be arranged through the Office of Student and Alumni Experience. Please call 260-470-2678 or email PGx@manchester.edu for more information.

Do I need to take the GRE for admissions into the program?

No - we do not require students to take the GRE to be considered for the MS in PGx program at Manchester University!

What sort of references are preferred?

Professional, such as professors, or supervisors from related work/efforts.

Can a student transfer in credits?

We do not accept transfer credits.  However, course substitutions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Does Manchester University provide housing to graduate students?

No, Manchester University does not provide housing to graduate students. Click here to view local housing resources.

What is the timeline to apply? Is it best to apply early, or is it OK to apply at the deadline?

Applications for admission are accepted September 20 through June 15 each year. Application materials are to be submitted though the Pharmacy Graduate Application Service (PharmGRAD) found HERE.

The annual admission cycle for the on-campus program is as follows:

  • September 20 - PharmGRAD application becomes available
  • April 15 - Application deadline for the on-campus program (May start)

The annual admission cycle for the online program is as follows:

  • September 20 - PharmGRAD application becomes available
  • December 15 - Application deadline for Spring semester (January start)
  • June 15 - Application deadline for Fall semester (August start)

 What are the application requirements?

 To be considered for admission to the online or on-campus program, candidates must:

  • Possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (chemistry, biology, medical technician, etc.); or a professional degree (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc.); or a master of science degree (genetic counseling, etc.); or a master of arts degree
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required (3.0 is preferred) on a 4.0 scale
  • A minimum science GPA of a 2.7 is preferred on a 4.0 scale

Is there a fee to apply?
Yes. The application fee to PharmGRAD is $75.

Where can I find instructions and FAQs regarding my PharmGRAD application?
You may view PharmGRAD application instructions and FAQ here!

Who can I contact with questions about the program?

  • You can contact the Office of Student and Alumni Experience at 260-470-2703 or PGx@manchester.edu


Online Program Questions

How many credit hour are required for the online MS in PGx degree?

Students must complete 34 credits for the online program to receive a Master of Science in PGx.

What is the cost per credit hour for the online program?

As of spring 2017, the cost of the online program is $880 per credit hour, and additional fees apply. See Tuition and Fees

Are international students eligible to enroll in the online program?

Yes, we are currently accepting applications from international students for the online program.

Can I complete the online program part-time?

Yes, in fact, we recommend that the online program is completed at a part-time pace with students averaging 6-8 credit hours a semester.  The online program is designed for students that have additional obligations in their life (i.e. – work, family, etc.), that make a full-time degree difficult.  The part-time nature of the degree allows our students to continue their lives while advancing their education.

Am I able to take a break from the online program if I need to?

Yes, we will work with you to create a timetable to degree.  It is common for online learners to need a break in the traditional process, and we will work with you to ensure that you continue to move towards the completion of your degree with any necessary breaks.

Does the program have to be completed within a certain timeframe?

Technology in PGx changes rapidly and we want to ensure that our graduates have received the most up-to-date training at the point of graduation.  In order to ensure that our graduates are prepared, we require all course work to be completed within 5 years of the student’s start date.

What is the lecture format? Do the courses have video or audio lectures, or other interactive pieces?

Most of our courses have short videos that feature faculty members discussing topics or drawing concepts.  We also have assignments that include reading literature and problem solving.  The assignments will be assessed using an online submission system or discussion boards in our learning management system (LMS).  Some faculty may hold live review sessions or discussions as well.  Manchester University will be using Canvas for our LMS. 

Do courses need to be completed in a certain order?

Some courses do have pre-requisites, therefore certain courses will need to be taken in order.  We will work with you individually to ensure that all of your course work is completed properly and in a timely manner.

Do students have to log in at specific times of the day?

Most courses will not require a log in at a specific time, although certain faculty may want to include an all-class discussion board that would require a synchronous log in.  If a log-in is required at a specific time, this will be included in the syllabus and communicated to the student in a timely manner.

How quickly can students expect faculty members to reply with questions?

Manchester faculty are committed to creating an engaging and successful academic career for our students, consistent communication is key to achieving this goal.  Faculty will respond to student questions within 24 business hours, unless otherwise directed by the faculty member.

What academic support is available if I am struggling in a class? 

The best support can be found by contacting your faculty member or teaching assistant for the course, they will be able to provide specific instructions for improvement.  Additionally, Manchester University has a Student Success Center that provides academic resources that empower students to overcome challenges, improve skills and gain a competitive edge.  Online students will have access to Student Success resources via online interactions (i.e. video chat, email, etc.).

Will online students be assigned a faculty advisor/mentor?

Yes, online students will have a faculty advisor.  We anticipate that our online learners will use their faculty mentors less than an on-campus student, but it will depend on the student.  The purpose of the advisors is to provide career and professional advice, and we believe that most of our online learners will already have a strong background in those areas.  The faculty advisors will also be responsible for contacting students that may be performing poorly in a course and creating a plan to help the student.  The faculty advisor will also serve as a guide to navigating Manchester’s policies and procedures as needed.

How many hours per week will I spend on coursework?

This is based on the credit hours of the course and the 7 week timeline we have for the courses.  For every credit hour there should be 2 “contact hours,” a contact hour can take the form of watching videos, or posting in discussion boards, or taking assessments.  For example, a 3 credit hour course would have 6 contact hours a week.  Although, it should be stressed that at times you may have more or less work depending on the class and the subject.

Does Manchester University offer technical support for online students?

Students can request assistance via several mechanisms.  The Manchester University ITS Help Desk is available M-F, 8AM-5PM EST and can be reached at 260-470-5454.  Outside of business hours, requests can be submitted using an online form found at: https://service.manchester.edu/welcome.portal.  Our learning management system, Canvas, provides 24/7 support. All students can use the Manchester University Canvas support line at 877-227-9487 or use Canvas' live chat option.

What are your online learning center platforms?

We use the learning management system, Canvas, to administer all coursework.


On-Campus Program

How many credit hour are required for the on-campus MS in PGx degree?

Students must complete 34 credits for the online program to receive a Master of Science in PGx.

What is the cost of tuition and fees for the on-campus program?

As of spring 2017, Tuition for the program is $27,700. A one-time facility and lab fee of $2,800 covers program laptop, support, infrastructure and access to online textbook resources, for a total of $30,000 for tuition and fees. See Tuition and Fees

Are international students eligible to enroll in the on-campus program?

Yes, we are currently accepting applications from international students for the on-campus program.

Does the on-campus program have to be completed within a certain timeframe?

Technology in PGx changes rapidly and we want to ensure that our graduates have received the most up-to-date training at the point of graduation.  In order to ensure that our graduates are prepared, we require all course work to be completed within 3 years of the student’s start date.

What does the curricular structure look like?

The curriculum consists of three four-month semesters for the on-campus program. Each semester consists of 11-12 credit hours of coursework for a program total of 34 credit hours. Additionally, there is a program-long project required that allows students to apply their knowledge in realistic scenarios. You may review the curriculum by clicking here.

How many hours per week will I spend on coursework?

For the on-campus program, in the semester format, roughly 14 to 18 hours per week in class. The question of “spend on coursework” is a good question when considering individual student effort beyond the classroom. You can match or double the in class time for a range.

Where do classes and labs take place?

Classes and labs for the on-campus program will take place at Manchester University’s Fort Wayne Campus. Maps and directions

How often will I meet with an advisor? How available and supportive is the program staff? 

Program staff, including the program director who serves as the primary advisor to the program’s students, will meet with enrolled students on a regular basis to assist in each student’s progression.

How would you describe the class environment?

The class sizes are small. The on-campus program’s goal is to remain small to ensure that there is significant interaction, collaboration and teamwork among all faculty and students.

What academic support is available if I am struggling in a class? 

All instructing faculty hold office hours where students can meet with them to ask questions

Are graduate assistantships available?

At this time, there are no graduate assistantships available for this program.

Are there internships or jobs available?

This is a full-time program, and in the best interests of the students, working during the program is not recommended.

Can I take other courses at the same time as I am enrolled?

This program is a full course load in an accelerated format. We advise that you do not take courses outside of the program.