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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

China Scholarship Council inks first-of-its-kind agreement with UNC pharmacy school


The China Scholarship Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to provide financial assistance for Chinese students studying pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences.

In a ceremony at the Carolina Inn on March 27, representatives of the China Scholarship Council (CSC) agreed to provide support to Chinese students who are accepted into the doctor of pharmacy and the doctoral pharmaceutical sciences program at the pharmacy school. In 2016, the CSC provided financial assistance to approximately 110,000 Chinese citizens pursuing study abroad and to foreign citizens studying in China.

“We have 300 different agreements in place with various universities and businesses around the world,” said Jinghui Liu, secretary-general of the CSC. “This is our first MOU with a school of pharmacy, and it will create a special model for education in pharmacy teaching, research and practice.”

china-scholarship-council-cscOver the first five years of this agreement, the CSC will provide support for up to 35 students admitted to the doctor of pharmacy program. It will also provide financial assistance for up to 25 students admitted to the doctoral program at the pharmacy school during this same period. The spots occupied by these students will be in addition to the school’s normal enrollment. These students must meet the same rigorous admission standards as all other students.

“Thanks to these important MOUs between the China Scholarship Council and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC’s boundaries don’t end at the North Carolina state line — they wrap around the globe,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “The two MOUs we sign today will support stipends for Chinese students enrolled in the school’s Pharm.D. and Ph.D. programs. Perhaps on a grander scale, our partnership will create new opportunities to expand cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.”

The doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) is the professional degree needed to practice as a pharmacist in the United States. It requires four years to complete preceded typically by an undergraduate degree and focuses heavily on providing care to patients. The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is the top pharmacy program in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

“This agreement builds a bridge between China and the U.S. for students who will be pioneers, fundamentally changing health care for 1.4 billion people by doing what pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists do best: increasing the value of health care while driving down the cost,” said Robert Blouin, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

In China, students interested in studying pharmacy can earn a bachelor’s degree or other advanced degrees. Unfortunately, those programs have little focus on patient care, said Stephen Eckel, associate dean for global engagement and a clinical associate professor at the School of Pharmacy. Many graduates of those programs go on to pursue doctoral degrees and careers in pharmaceutical research, Eckel said, which means there is an opportunity for those entering a Pharm.D. at Carolina to return to China and work to improve pharmacy care.