University of the Sciences

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University of the Sciences
University of the Sciences logo.png
MottoNosse haec omnia salus est
Motto in English
To know all this is health
Established1821; 200 years ago (1821)
Endowment$162.5 million (2019)[1]
PresidentPaul Katz
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
Athletics12 varsity teams, 17 intramural clubs
ColorsMaroon and slate    
AffiliationsDivision II NCAA, CACC, ECAC
MascotDevils, "Drake the Devil"

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (University of the Sciences or USciences), is a private university in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania. USciences offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in pharmacy and other health-related disciplines. The university was conceived in 1821, and chartered in 1822, as Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP), the first pharmacy college in the nation. Today, University of the Sciences offers more than 30 degree and certification programs across a wide range of pharmaceutical and healthcare-related disciplines. Its campus is located in the University City section of Philadelphia. USciences Online, a division of the university, offers online degree and certificate programs.


Campus entrance

First 100 Years[edit]

University of the Sciences traces its history to February 1821, when 68 apothecaries met in Philadelphia’s Carpenters' Hall to establish improved scientific standards and to develop programs to train more competent apprentices and students. They formalized their new association through a constitution, which declared their intent to establish a school of pharmacy to enhance their vocation and to "guard the drug market from the introduction of spurious, adulterated, deteriorated or otherwise mischievous articles, which are too frequently forced into it".[2] Classes began nearly immediately, making Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP) the first institution of higher learning in the United States dedicated to the field of pharmacy. [3]

In 1825, PCP began publishing the first academic journal in the United States dedicated to pharmacy. For the period, 1825–1834, the periodical was issued under the title, Journal of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. After 1834, the journal continued to be published by PCP, but under the revised title American Journal of Pharmacy.[4]

Although matriculation was originally limited to men, the college became coeducational in 1876, when Dr. Clara Marshall, later dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, began attending lectures there. In 1883, Dr. Susan Hayhurst was conferred a degree in pharmacy, thus becoming the college’s first female graduate, and the first woman in the United States to be granted a degree in pharmacy.[5] In 1889, Dr. Hayhurst applied for and received a license to operate a retail drug business. By 1898, she was serving as the director of the pharmaceutical department of the Women's Hospital of Philadelphia. Reports at the time noted she was credited with being "the first regularly graduated woman pharmacist in the world who took up the business in a practical way after graduation."[6]

In 1916, PCP substantially expanded its student enrollment and scope via a merger with another prominent Philadelphia pharmacy school. In April of that year, a series of letters among principals associated with three well-known Philadelphia medical schools—the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson Medical College, and the Medico-Chirurgical College of Philadelphia indicated they were discussing a merger.[7] By June 1916, an agreement had been reached to consolidate those schools under common management.[8]

The Medico-Chirurgical College’s assets included its schools of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, and upon completion of the merger, PCP and Penn began discussions about Penn's newly acquired department of pharmacy. After some negotiation, Penn agreed to divest, and PCP agreed to absorb, Medico-Chirurgical College's School of Pharmacy. The merger combined the student bodies of both schools under the auspices of PCP. All of PCP’s board of directors, administrators and teachers were retained, and the former dean of the Medico-Chirurgical Pharmacy School was added to the PCP staff as associate dean. PCP’s president at the time, Howard B. French, noted in his statement of 19 August 1916 announcing the consolidation, that “…after careful consideration, it was decided that it would be better, in the interest of and for promoting higher pharmaceutical education in the city of Philadelphia, that the [Medico-Chirurgical] department of pharmacy should be consolidated with Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the oldest and largest institution of its kind in the United States.”[9]

Second 100 Years[edit]

While PCP initially emphasized the biological and chemical sciences as mainstays of the curriculum in pharmacy, it later instituted separate curricula in three other areas: bacteriology, biology and chemistry. In 1920, to reflect its broader scope, the institution changed its name 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.[10]

Over the next 75 years, the college evolved and expanded, adding courses to its core curriculum, as well as courses to enhance the role of the humanities and social sciences in its science-based curricula. Primarily a commuter campus in its early days, the institution gradually transformed into one in which residential life and extracurricular activities played increasing roles in student development.

In February 1997, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the institution's application for university status. Seventeen months later, on July 1, 1998, the institution officially changed its name to University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP), to reflect the broad spectrum of new health and science programs introduced by the institution.[11]

The same year, USP doubled the size of its campus when it acquired an adjacent, vacant industrial site—the home of the original Breyers Ice Cream factory, which had closed its Philadelphia operation in the early 1990s.[12] The additional space allowed the university to add a 1,000-seat event gymnasium, recreation gymnasium, natatorium, fitness areas, and a 1/10 mile indoor track, as well as a new 3-story, 78,000 sq. ft. academic building—the McNeil Science and Technology Center. The latter, a mixed-use facility housing classrooms, lecture halls and teaching and research laboratories, was officially dedicated in September 2006. Named after alumnus Robert L. McNeil, Jr., former chairman and CEO of McNeil Laboratories (now part of Johnson & Johnson), it serves as home to the school's computer science, physics, biological sciences and bioinformatics departments.[13]

In 2010, the university adjusted its name by dropping "in Philadelphia" from common usage (though the phrase remains a part of its registered name). According to the institution's president at the time, Philip P. Gerbino, "This shorter convention helps on the web, when we communicate to our students, and when we communicate to our prospective students and their families."[14]

In addition to referencing itself simply as University of the Sciences, the university also replaced the acronym, "USP", with the abbreviation, "USciences". Not only was this a more descriptive name, but it also helped eliminate ambiguity between the school and a primary standards organization in the pharmaceutical field, United States Pharmacopeia, well-known for its USP label.[15]

Four years later, in 2014, the institution added to its campus another new 3-story building, known as the Integrated Professional Education Complex (IPEX). Housing clinical spaces, exam rooms, and simulation labs in a 57,000 sq. ft. space, the IPEX gives students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to learn in a hands-on environment as well as in the classroom. In 2019, the university opened the Living & Learning Commons, a mixed-use residence hall with classroom, retail, living, and learning spaces.

In 2020, University of the Sciences launched USciences Online, a division of the university dedicated to providing degree and certificate programs through fully online learning.

Historic contributions[edit]

First created in 1820, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) established, and has delineated since that date, the standards for manufacturing drugs across America.[16] For the first decade, it was written by medical practitioners. However, according to the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, "at the 1830 [U.S. Pharmacopeial] convention, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy presented for consideration 'a complete revised copy of the Pharmacopeia elaborated with ability and great industry, and the Committee accepted, after deliberate examination, nearly all of the suggestions' (U.S.P. IX, X); and thus was paved the way for the representation of pharmacists in all subsequent revisions."[17] PCP faculty members were instrumental in its continued development and served as editors for more than a hundred years.

Later, PCP professors Franklin Bache and George B. Wood compiled a comprehensive commentary on drugs, The Dispensatory of the United States of America, which was first published in 1833. Like the Pharmacopeia, the Dispensatory was authored and edited for more than a hundred years by successive generations of faculty at the college.[18]

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 and Daniel B. Smith were instrumental in the founding of the American Pharmaceutical Association, the national professional society of pharmacists. Founded and organized in Philadelphia on October 6 1852, it is now called the American Pharmacists Association (APhA)—the first-established and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States.[19] The more than 60,000 current members of APhA include practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, pharmacy students, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession.[20]

In 1868, John M. 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. He also established the term "registered pharmacist" to identify those who satisfied each Board's requirements. Soon after, Maisch began to share his proposal with each governor and, by 1878, nine states had adopted pharmacy laws which licensed pharmacists. The trend continued, and every state now has a Board of Pharmacy which regulates the practice of pharmacy.[21]

In 1885, PCP professor Joseph P. Remington published The Practice of Pharmacy,[22] 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. The 22nd edition was published in September 2012 jointly by Pharmaceutical Press and University of the Sciences.[23]



The university operates three colleges that offer more than 30 certificate- and degree-granting programs:

  • Philadelphia College of Pharmacy offers courses in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business, and Pharmacy Practice and Administration.[24]
  • Samson College of Health Sciences focuses its coursework on Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies.[25]
  • Misher College of Arts and Sciences provides programs for Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Humanities, and Math, Physics and Statistics.[26]

Accreditation and approved credential levels[edit]

Since 1962, University of the Sciences has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with the following credential levels currently included in its accreditation scope:[27]

  • Postsecondary award (< 1 year)
  • Bachelor's Degree or Equivalent
  • Post-baccalaureate Certificate
  • Master's Degree or Equivalent
  • Doctor's Degree - Professional Practice
  • Doctor's Degree- Research/Scholarship

In addition, a number of individual college and program offerings within USciences are offered under the auspices of specialized accrediting bodies in appropriate disciplines.[28]


The USciences campus covers approximately 24 acres of urban landscape in the section of West Philadelphia known as University City, which also encompasses the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. It is bordered on one side by Clark Park and on another by The Woodlands, an historic cemetery that now serves as a large urban park with walking and bicycle trails. The campus comprises 23 buildings, including academic halls, laboratories, mixed-use and dedicated residence halls, as well as open spaces and athletic venues.[29]

Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy[edit]

The Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy, located in Griffith Hall, houses artifacts, objects and records associated with pharmacology, pharmaceutical manufacturing and the practice of pharmacy, as well as the history of USciences.[30][31] Its permanent collection ranges from ceramic and glass apothecary jars, mortars and pestles, and tools and instruments for drug preparation, to pharmacy and drug advertising items, nursing and orthopedic equipment and paintings and sculpture. The Samson Center has also become home to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals's artifacts and archives.[32]

The J. W. England Library[edit]

The Library of University of the Sciences in Philadelphia was formed in 1821 at the second meeting of the Board of Trustees, and has been collecting significant works in pharmaceutical science since its inception. 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. In total, the library houses more than 470,000 volumes, with an annual circulation of approximately 5,680.[33]

The library is also a member of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), which is administered under the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).[34] Among its collection are the holdings of the Leopold Helfand Rare Book and Archives Room, which include seventeenth and eighteenth century botanicals, books once belonging to Benjamin Franklin and Sir Isaac Newton, as well as the theses of Dr. Eli Lilly, Sir Henry S. Wellcome and Silas M. Burroughs, written in their own hand. Since the university and its graduates were fundamental to the building of the United States pharmaceutical industry, the university archives may be of interest to anyone researching the origins of the pharmaceutical industry.[35]


Graduates of University of the Sciences include the first woman conferred a pharmacy degree in the U.S., as well as founders of, or executives at, what would become six of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies:[36]

  • John Wyeth (Class of 1854) — founder of John Wyeth and Brother, which became Wyeth LLC, now a part of Pfizer.
  • William R. Warner (Class of 1856) — founded a drugstore in Philadelphia the same year he graduated that became Warner Pharmaceuticals when he invented a tablet coating process. His company merged with Lambert Pharmaceuticals in 1955 to form Warner-Lambert, now a part of Pfizer.
  • Sir Henry Wellcome (Class of 1874) – co-founder of Burroughs Wellcome and Company in England, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline.
  • Silas M. Burroughs (Class of 1877) – co-founder of Burroughs Wellcome and Company, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline.
  • Josiah K. Lilly Sr. (Class of 1882) and his son, Eli Lilly (Class of 1907) – who served successively as president of Eli Lilly and Company, which was founded in 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly, Josiah's father and the younger Eli's grandfather.
  • Dr. Susan Hayhurst (Class of 1883) – longtime head of the pharmaceutical department at the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia and the first woman to receive a pharmacy degree in the United States[5]
  • Gerald F. Rorer (Class of 1931) — president of William H. Rorer, Inc., which was founded by his father, the company's namesake. It is now part of Sanofi.
  • Robert L. McNeil, Jr. (Class of 1938) – chairman and CEO of McNeil Laboratories Inc., now part of Johnson & Johnson. A campus building named after him was put into service in 2006.[37]


University of the Sciences (USciences) athletic teams participate within the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II, Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC),[38] competing as the USciences Devils. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, tennis and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[39]

The baseball team participates in the Bill Giles Invitational tournament for Division II teams in the Philadelphia area. In 2019, the Devils made it to the championship, losing to the Wilmington University Wildcats by a score of 7–3.[40]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "College of Apothecaries Charter". The National Gazette. 30 March 1821. p. 1; col. 3. Retrieved 23 October 2020 – via
  3. ^ "PCP Pennsylvania Historical Marker". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  4. ^ Wilder, Hans M. (1873). Index to the American Journal of Pharmacy. Philadelphia: Merrihew & Son, Printers. pp. 9–12. Retrieved 8 November 2020 – via Smithsonian Libraries.
  5. ^ a b Henderson, Metta Lou; Worthen, Dennis B. (8 March 2002). American Women Pharmacists: Contributions to the Profession. CRC Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780789010926. Retrieved 29 November 2016 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Women in This City Studying Pharmacy". The Times. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 27 February 1898. p. 17. Retrieved 20 October 2020 – via
  7. ^ "U. of P.-Jefferson Merger Likely". Philadelphia Inquirer. 8 April 1916. p. 7; col. 3. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Two Philadelphia Medical Schools Merged with Penn". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia. 2 June 1916. p. 1; col. 3. Retrieved 20 October 2020 – via
  9. ^ "Pharmacy Schools to Unite Efforts". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia. 19 August 1916. p. 2; col. 8. Retrieved 8 October 2020 – via
  10. ^ England, Joseph W. (January 1922). "History of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Vol. XI. No. 1. p198. Retrieved 10 November 2020 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "USciences History". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  12. ^ Ralph Cipriano (15 October 1997). "West Phila. college acquires Breyers site". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia. Retrieved 4 November 2020 – via
  13. ^ Loyd, Linda (15 September 2006). "McNeil Center Dedication". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  14. ^ Gerbino, Philip P. "From the President" (PDF). The Bulletin. Vol.99 No.1; p. 2. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  15. ^ Gerbino, Philip P. "From the President" (PDF). The Bulletin. Vol.99 No.1; p. 2. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  16. ^ "U.S. Pharmacopeia". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  17. ^ England, Joseph W. (January 1922). "History of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Vol. XI. No. 1. p204. Retrieved 10 November 2020 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Taylor, Alfred B. (April 1888). "Historical Sketch of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". The American Drug Clerks Journal. Vol.2. No.4. p1 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ "History of APhA". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  20. ^ "APhA Membership". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  21. ^ Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Alumni Association (October 1893). "John M. Maisch". Alumni Report. 30 (1): 5–9.
  22. ^ Taylor, Alfred B. (April 1888). "Historical Sketch of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". The American Drug Clerks Journal. Vol.2. No.4. p12 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "USP History".
  24. ^ "Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Samson College of Health Sciences". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Misher College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  27. ^ "University of the Sciences Accreditation". Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Specialized Accrediting Bodies". Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  29. ^ "University campus". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  30. ^ "A treasure trove of Philadelphia's medical heritage". 1 May 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  31. ^ "USciences Virtual Tour". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  32. ^ "Marvin Samson Center Collections and Exhibitions". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  33. ^ " Members". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  34. ^ "Network of the National Library of Medicine". Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  35. ^ Martino, John M. "A Room with a Viewpoint" (PDF). USP Bulletin. Philadelphia: University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Winter 2004, Volume 93, No. 3. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  36. ^ Taylor, Alfred B. (April 1888). "Historical Sketch of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy". The American Drug Clerks Journal. Vol.2. No.4. p9 – via Google Books.
  37. ^ Singer, Natasha. "Robert L. McNeil Jr., Chemist Who Introduced Tylenol, Dies at 94", The New York Times, June 3, 2010. Accessed 25 November 2020.
  38. ^ "NCAA Institutions List". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  39. ^ "USciences Sports". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  40. ^ "Bill Giles Invitational, 2019". Retrieved 11 November 2020.

External links[edit]

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