University of the Sciences in Philadelphia: Wikis


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University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Motto The first college of pharmacy in North America
Established 1821
Type Private
President Philip P. Gerbino, PharmD
Faculty 163
Undergraduates 2,468
Postgraduates 340
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Urban
Athletics 11 varsity teams, 17 intramural clubs
Colors Crimson and Gray
Mascot Devils, "Drake the Devil"
Affiliations Division II NCAA, CACC, ECAC

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP), located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in pharmacy and a variety of other health-related disciplines. Originally known as the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, it was the first college of pharmacy in North America. Many of the institution's graduates have gone on to play significant roles in the pharmaceutical industry. Some of today's best known pharmaceutical companies were founded by or led by these graduates.



The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) began in 1821, when 68 Philadelphia apothecaries met in Carpenters' Hall to establish improved scientific standards and to train more competent apprentices and students. A year later, they organized and incorporated the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP), the first college of pharmacy in the United States. Although matriculation was originally limited to men, the college became co-educational in 1876. The college initially emphasized the biological and chemical sciences as mainstays of the curriculum in pharmacy, but later instituted separate curricula in three other areas: bacteriology, biology, and chemistry. In 1921, the name of the institution was changed to Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, with State authorization to grant not only the baccalaureate degree but also the master's and doctorate in all four disciplines.

Primarily a commuter campus through its early days, the institution began to transform into one in which residential life and extracurricular activities played a larger role in student development. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the institution's application for university status in February 1997. In recognition of the broad spectrum of new health and science programs introduced by the institution, the college changed its name to reflect the range of academic opportunities offered to its students. On July 1, 1998, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science officially became the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Shaping the Profession of Pharmacy

William Procter, Jr., often described as "the father of American pharmacy," was a PCP professor from 1846-1874, as well as serving as an officer of the board. He was instrumental in the founding of the American Pharmaceutical Association, the national professional society of pharmacists, founded and organized in Philadelphia in 1852. It is now called the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the first established and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States. The more than 50,000 members of APhA include practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, pharmacy students, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession

In 1868, John Maisch, PCP professor (1866-1893) and dean (1879-1893) proposed the creation of a pharmaceutical board to be appointed by the governor of each state and established the term “registered pharmacist.” He shared his proposal with each governor, and by 1878 nine states had adopted pharmacy laws that licensed pharmacists. Every state now, of course, has a Board of Pharmacy which regulates the practice of pharmacy.

Started in 1820, the U.S. Pharmacopoeia laid down the standards for manufacturing drugs. For more than a hundred years, PCP faculty members were instrumental in its development, serving as editors throughout many editions.

In 1825, the first periodical in the United States devoted to the art and science of pharmacy, the American Journal of Pharmacy, was published by PCP.

PCP professors Franklin Bache and George B. Wood compiled a comprehensive commentary on drugs, the Dispensatory of the United States of America. First published in 1833, the Dispensatory was authored and edited for more than a hundred years by successive generations of faculty at the college.

In 1885, PCP professor Joseph P. Remington published the Practice of Pharmacy, which soon became established as the standard text in the field. Later renamed Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, this comprehensive reference work remains widely used throughout the world and is still compiled by the University. USP is in final preparation for the 21st edition, which is also published in Spanish.


Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy

The Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy [2] is an integral part of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The Center’s mission is to serve as an educational, cultural, and research resource for the University, pharmacy professionals, historians, and the general public through its collections of artifacts, objects, and records representative of all aspects of pharmacy, including the pharmacy college’s history. Through changing exhibitions, tours, and programs, the Center aims to deepen appreciation of the past, present, and future significance of the pharmacy industry in the broader social context and in the development of American life, especially in the City of Philadelphia and the region.

Campus Expansion Program

The university doubled the size of the campus in 1998 when it acquired an adjacent, vacant industrial site. (This site was formerly the home of the original Breyers Ice Cream factory which closed its Philadelphia operation in the early 1990s.) An Athletic and Recreation Center (ARC) opened in August 2003 and the McNeil Science and Technology Center (McNeil STC) was officially dedicated September 2006. Additional building projects are being planned for the years to come.

The McNeil Science and Technology Center houses many new classrooms, computer research rooms, and teaching laboratories as well as the undergraduate and graduate programs in biology, bioinformatics/computer science, and math/physics/statistics. The centerpiece of the center is a 400-seat auditorium equipped with modern audio/visual equipment.


University of the Sciences in Philadelphia has 23 majors for students to choose from including two recently introduced programs, Humanities and Science and Fitness and Health Management. Students will engage in the study of both Humanities and Science, with courses directed to higher studies of their choice including medical school, law school, and biomedical writing.

In the Fitness and Health Management program, students will be provided a foundation for graduate degrees or careers in athletic training, sports administration, fitness/wellness, health education and other related fields that combine health sciences with exercise physiology, kinesiology, and sports psychology. Rather than focusing on illness and pathology, the curriculum focuses on the prevention of health problems.

USP also offers a Masters program in Biomedical Writing. This is the only graduate program in the United States that is geared towards preparing and training medical writers in preclinical and clinical research, medical communications, journalism, and medical publications.

Colleges & Majors

The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy offers a Pharm.D. degree as well as B.S. degrees in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The Samson College of Health Sciences offers B.S. degrees in Fitness and Health Management, Health Science, and Medical Technology. On top of a Health Science degree, the college also offers a Master's of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.), a Doctor of Physical Therapy, (D.P.T.) and in conjunction with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, an M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies.

The Misher College of Arts & Sciences offers B.S. degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Humanities and Science, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Psychology. The school also offers an M.S. in Health Psychology, Science Teacher Certification, and courses of study in Pre-Medicine, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Pre-Dentistry.

The College of Graduate Studies offers many Post-Baccalaureate programs resulting in an M.S. (with or without a thesis), M.B.A., M.P.H., Ph.D., Pharm.D., M.O.T, or Transitional D.P.T degree or a Science Teacher Certification. The college's non-thesis M.S. programs are in Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Writing, Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Health Psychology, Health Policy, Pharmaceutics, or Pharmacy Administration. The college's (thesis) M.S. programs are in Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology and Toxicology, or Pharmacy Administration. The MBA programs include Online, Executive, and Evening programs in Pharmaceutical Business, an MPH program (Master of Public Health) and this division also offers a Health Policy Concentration. The college offers Ph.D. programs in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Health Policy, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, and Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The Mayes College of Healthcare Business & Policy offers three MBA programs in pharmaceutical business, B.S. degrees in pharmaceutical marketing and management, Long Term Care Facilities Management, Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, and Global Healthcare Leadership as well as a Ph.D. in Health Sciences Management. This College was launched in Fall 2007 with support from alumna Kate Mayes. [3]


Minors are offered in the following: Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Biophysics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Fitness and Health Management, Forensic Science, Humanities, Literature, Mathematics, Microbiology, Music, Pharmaceutical Business, Pharmaceutical Marketing, Physics, Social Sciences (Communications, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Social Sciences), Spanish, Statistics, and Writing.

Exchange Agreements

The university has an exchange agreement with the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) that allows ten students from each university to take one course a semester at the other. The university also has an agreement with the New York University Study Abroad Program that will allow USP students to study at NYU campuses in Asia, Africa, and Europe for a semester or a year.

The J.W. England Library

The Library of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia was formed in 1821 at the second meeting of the Board of Trustees. Since its beginnings the Library has been considered one of the premier collections of pharmaceutical science in the country. In 1973, the Library moved into its present quarters, the free-standing Joseph W. England Library. Small but specialized, the collection is particularly strong in pharmacy, pharmacognosy, pharmaceutics, and foreign drug compendia. Other areas of specialization include toxicology, pharmacology, and physical therapy. Contained in the Leopold Helfand Rare Book and Archives Room is a collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century botanicals, including a book once owned by Isaac Newton. Since the University and its graduates were fundamental to the building of the United States pharmaceutical industry, the University Archives are of interest to anyone researching the origins of the pharmaceutical industry.


USP has launched the careers of many innovative and pioneering individuals in the field of health care, including the founders of six of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies:

Major pharmaceuticals

Accomplished alumni

  • Martin Wilbert (1890) Pharmacy, pioneering use of X-rays.
  • Martin Buchalter (1955) Pharmacy, ultrasound gels.
  • Vincent J. Cease (1956) Pharmacy, motor oil additives.
  • Gerald P. Polli (1956) Pharmacy, advanced time-release formula.
  • Philip Needleman (1960) Pharmacology, arthritis drug.
  • Paul J. Nigrey (1970) Chemistry, rechargeable batteries.
  • Richard DeKany (1955) Founder of Pinecliff Pharmacy - Total Care Medical Systems
  • Glenn Herskowitz (1983) Pharmacy, portable infusion pump.
  • Kenneth Kinzler (1983) Pharmacology/Toxicology, colon cancer blood test.
  • Michelle Fontana (1990) Physical Therapy, knee rehab machine.

Alumni Contributions

USP alumni have also contributed to the inventions of well-known products, including:

  • Hires Root Beer extract
  • Photocopy toner and electrographic inks
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silicone-based adhesives
  • Water repellency treatments
  • Gas discharge laser development
  • Plant growth regulators
  • Personal Lubricants


  1. ^ "USP History".  
  2. ^ Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy
  3. ^ Mayes College launched
  4. ^ Building named for McNeil

Coordinates: 39°56′46″N 75°12′27″W / 39.9461°N 75.2075°W / 39.9461; -75.2075

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