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Looking for a fellowship?



 Definition: A pharmacy fellowship is a directed, highly individualized postgraduate training program that is usually research based and less clinically oriented than a residency program. A research fellowship is designed to prepare the participant to function as an independent investigator.

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Fellowship vs Residency

Fellowships are similar to residencies in that they are both paid, intensive, postdoctoral training programs that allow for the opportunity to build on the skills and knowledge acquired in pharmacy school. In both programs, PharmDs are generally expected to participate in a multitude of tasks involving presentations, research, critical thinking, and team communication. Even though residents and fellows are training and learning, they are fully integrated and considered equally contributing members of their practice setting. Just as there are 1-2 year residencies, there are also 1 or 2 year fellowships offered. It is up to applicants to choose the length of the program they wish to pursue, which also depends on what is being offered. There are several differentiating factors between a residency and a fellowship that could assist students in choosing one path over another. A resident assumes more of a practitioner role, involving direct patient interaction and a strong clinical focus. In contrast, fellows are based primarily in a corporate setting and interface with company employees, partners and stakeholders. PharmDs in a fellowship supply indirect care by serving patients on a larger, global scale with the development of and access to medicine. 

Prominent areas in which fellows may play a role include: 

Regulatory affairs: participation in health authority interactions and submissions related to the regulations and guidelines of the drug development process.

Clinical research and development: clinical trial planning, design, and execution, trial-related tasks such as study start-up, protocol development, medical monitoring, study closeout, and clinical study reports.

Medical affairs: translation of clinical trial information into a more concise manner to be shared with other health care professionals, review of promotional material for accurate clinical information, exposure to medical writing for medical inquiry responses.

Commercial: participation in the business and marketing side of the drug development cycle, strategic planning to bring a new drug into a competitive market.


  • What is a pharmaceutical fellowship?
    A fellowship is optional postgraduate training that is typically with a pharmaceutical company, academic institution, or a regulatory body. They are commonly 2 years in duration, however, can range anywhere from 1-3 years. Fellowships can focus on various areas including but not limited to business, clinical research, marketing, drug information, business, safety, clinical development, medical affairs and many others. You do not need any previous experience or qualifications besides your PharmD. Fellows are highly respected amongst pharma companies and have a lot of visibility. This enables fellows to secure mentors easily and connect with high level management. You also will not enter entry-level positions after your fellowship, as many fellows are marked for leadership and can secure manager roles.
  • What are the different types of pharmaceutical fellowships?
    The most typical fellowships are ones sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Fellowships can be academic-focused, regulator-focused, or industry-focused. Some encompass all three. Common areas to complete a fellowship include; Academia, Clinical/Research, Commercial (business), Health Outcomes, and Regulatory Affairs. Please refer to the list on the right hand side of this page to view all types.
  • How competitive are fellowships?
    Securing a fellowship is not an easy task. Less than 15% of applicants secure a position but the number of opportunities continues to expand each year. To put things into perspective, fellowships are expected to be approximately 4 times harder to secure than residencies.
  • What is the fellowship application timeline?
    August Begin researching programs of interest Look into maximizing your rotations to favor industry Update your CV Start preparing application materials Reach out to your LOR writers September Begin sending your CV to mentors for feedback Begin reaching out to current fellows with questions Register for PPS October Attend fellowship webinars and Q&A sessions Finalize all materials (CV, LOI and LOR) Review the list of positions available in PPS Once PPS opens, begin applying to programs November Begin preparing for the interview Update your CV Schedule your interviews Create quick guides for your interviews December Attend Midyear Schedule on-site interviews
  • What are the benefits of doing a fellowship?
    A fellowship is a bridge that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Fellowships allow you to gain the necessary experiences so you can begin an impactful career. Pharmacists in industry have had multiple roles and each role comes with a bonus, raise, and or more stock options. From a financial perspective, industry has no limits as salaries are commonly significantly higher than any salary in a retail or hospital setting.
  • How do you know if you are a good candidate?
    Right off the bat: You are qualified. Your PharmD places you on the same playing field as everyone else. Fellowship directors are looking for individuals who are ready to learn, and not so much the "know-it-all" candidates. Not having industry experience does not mean you will not be a competitive candidate. During an interview, if you don't have industry experience, do not spend time highlighting experiences you do not have. Instead, try to fill them with other experiences that demonstrate the same/similar transferable skillset. Generally, the most competitive applicants have the following experiences: -Industry or non-traditional experience (Payer/Insurance rotation, contract research organization, managed care, P&T committee focused rotation, FDA, and/or CDC) -Relevant leadership positions held within the past two years -Scientific publications or ongoing research (especially if it is relevant to the area you are applying) Lastly, fellowship directors want someone with a positive attitude.


Fellowship Webinars 

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Different fellowship roles within Pharma:

  • Clinical Design  Hub

  • Clinical Research

  • Pharmacokinetics/ Pharma-codynamics

  • Clinical Systems and Supply Planning

  • Clinical Supply Chain Management

  • Clinical Trial Commercial Supply Planning

  • Clinical Trial Development

  • Clinical Trial Project Management

  • Commercial Business Insights & Analytics

  • Drug Information

  • Field Medical Communications Specialist 

  • Global and US Labeling

  • Global Medical Digital Strategies and Capabilities

  • Global Medical Information

  • Global Patient Outcomes and Real-World Evidence

  • Global Pharmacovigilance and Epidemiology

  • Government Affairs

  • Health Outcomes

  • Immunoscience Field Medical 

  • Managed Care

  • Market Access: US Value Access & Payment

  • Marketing

  • Medical Affairs/Global Medical Affairs

  • Medical Information

  • Medical Communications

  • Medical Science Liaison

  • Medical Writing

  • Medication Safety

  • Patient Advocacy

  • Payer and Strategy

  • Product and Patient Safety

  • Project Management

  • Public Policy

  • Quality & Compliance

  • Regulatory Affairs

  • Regulatory Affairs-Drugs & Biologics

  • Regulatory Affairs --Vaccines

  • Regulatory Scientist

  • Risk Management Sourcing

  • Strategic Development: Medical

  • Regulatory Strategy

  • US Advertising and Promotion

Similarities & Differences between Fellowships and Residencies 

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