Preparing for a Fellowship

A fellowship involves one or two years of postgraduate training (after graduating with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree) that provides opportunities to develop skills for entry into specific types of pharmacy careers. Fellowships typically involve extensive training in research, preparing you to become an independent researcher. 

Types of Fellowships

Fellowships can vary significantly in their focus. Review the following types of fellowships, though some programs may combine aspects of more than one type. 
  • Pharmacy industry fellowships prepare you to work in the pharmaceutical or bioparmaceutical industry in the process of drug development, marketing and the optimal use of medications.  Fellowships may focus in areas including, but not limited to, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, clinical research, pharmacovigilance or health economics and outcomes research.
  • Clinical fellowships often involve research in a specialized area of pharmacy (clinical or other, such as health outcomes) and may also include training in clinical practice.  
  • Academic fellowships prepare you for a career in academia, training in scholarly activity (clinical research, scholarship of teaching and learning), leadership, service and teaching.
  • Managed care fellowships often involve research in health care delivery, aimed at improving quality and accessibility of health care. Fellows may participate in activities such as outcomes research, population health management, health economics or formulary management.
  • Organizational leadership fellowships involve training for executive leadership and management roles in an association, corporation, government or academic institution.  
Why complete a pharmacy fellowship?
  • Prepare yourself for a career in a specialized area of pharmacy, such as the pharmaceutical industry, health outcomes research or academia, among others. 
  • Enhanced opportunities to expand your network of professional contacts.
  • Open professional pathways to careers that might otherwise only be accessible with an additional degree.
  • Receive comprehensive training in a focused area to fast track your career.

Preparing for a Fellowship

Becoming a competitive and successful fellowship candidate requires academic and professional skills, research training and leadership. The following preparation tips can help you along the way.


Students need to keep their grades up for the best chance of getting their top choice of fellowship, but grades are not everything. Still, for those who are struggling in a course, we suggest using Rho Chi Consultants or meeting with the instructor or course coordinator.


Most fellowships will require 3-4 recommendations. Do you know who will be writing your letters? Preferred reference writers are those who have observed your skills in different areas of pharmacy, such as patient care or research. This may include preceptors and research mentors. Most importantly, make sure to select reference writers who offer a positive recommendation and can speak to your knowledge, skills, and attitudes as they pertain to fellowship training.

Research Activity

Research experience is not only a good opportunity to secure a reference, but it shows fellowship programs that you have the experience and basic skills necessary to perform research at a higher level. Scholarly activity can take many forms; it doesn’t have to be a manuscript from a clinical trial. Students can be involved in the Clinical Research Program or Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Program, the Scholars Program, or even be involved in a semester-long or multi-semester PHM 598 Independent Study course.  

Organization Involvement

Getting involved in student organizations is an important way to learn advocacy for the profession of pharmacy. It is better to be highly involved in one organization than to be a non-participating member of five organizations. Our only concern is when too much involvement impacts grades. At that point, you can sit down with your advisor and determine which organizations to pull back from and in which to stay fully involved. Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO) is a great opportunity if a fellowship in the pharmaceutical industry is an interest.


Leadership stems naturally from all of the above. Being an academic, scholarly, or organizational leader will come naturally to some. Students concerned that they do not have a leadership role in an organization shouldn’t be discouraged. Leadership can be cultivated in other ways. Involvement in an organization’s activities and taking the lead on inter- or intra-organizational initiatives is one way to become a leader without holding office. Getting involved on a local, statewide, or national basis can lead to many leadership opportunities.

CV Review

SPPS offers CV preparation beginning in the Professional Development courses. In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of tools and resources offered by the UB Career Design Center. Lastly, upper level (P2 – P3) students are offered faculty-led CV and resume workshops during scheduled Pharmacy Series sessions, and a CV development program is held for P3 and P4 students each fall.  You may also ask your advisor to review your CV periodically. Remember that you should be tailoring the document, especially a resume, toward the ultimate reviewer.

Interview Skills

Students have access to Big Interview via the UB Career Design Center. Students can choose interviews based on their interest (there are several interview question sets for “general” job interviews and several for residencies) and practice completing an interview with an avatar. Afterwards, watch your interview and use pre-built rubrics to assess your performance.  You can also email the link to your advisor or other mentors for tips and feedback.  

Postgraduate Preparation Program

UB SPPS Faculty provide a Postgraduate Preparation Program for P3 and P4 students planning to pursue residency or fellowship. The program includes a series of seminars and workshops focused on:

  • CV Development and Review
  • Navigating the Residency Application Process and Residency/Fellowship Showcases
  • Letter of Intent Writing
  • Interview Skills

The program will also pair you with a residency or fellowship advisement group; this is a small group of students paired with a faculty member who will meet periodically, discuss progress, answer questions and review your application materials. 

Additional Resources

  • Post-graduate Pharmacy Fellowships: The Current State of Affairs (Elmes et al. 2023)
  • Roadmap to Postgraduate Training in Pharmacy (Bookstaver et al. 2013, available on Access Pharmacy)