Sustainable Medicines in Africa

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Sustainable Medicines in Africa: Enhance SSA Regulatory Framework and Local Manufacturing via Pharmaceutical Workforce Development and GMP Training

A similar version of the BIRS-US program is also available in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a hybrid program that requires face-to-face attendance with two-week sessions, twice annually (March and September) in Tanzania, Africa. Assignments, readings, and lectures are conducted through the course management site between face-to-face sessions, while the on-site activities provide opportunities to apply the program concepts learned.

BIRS established a BIRS certificate in Africa with previous support from the Merck Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It takes one to two years to complete. These credits can then be applied to the MS hybrid program once certain requirements are met. Review and complete the following checklist to receive consideration for the BIRS MS program:

  • Complete Survey to be placed on a waitlist for the program
  • Complete Post-baccalaureate Certificate when instructed to do so
  • Apply to the MS program upon invitation


Complete Survey

There is a high demand for this program. You must complete the survey in order to be added to the wait list. Only those on the waitlist will receive an invitation to complete the post-baccalaureate certificate. Completion of the post-baccalaureate certificate is a necessary step for entry into the degree program.

Begin the survey here. It will take thirty minutes to complete.


Complete Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

The persons on the waitlist will be notified when it is possible to enroll in the post-baccalaureate certificate program. This will occur when a new intake begins. New intakes typically take place in May or June, dependent on funding availability.

The post-baccalaureate certificate is a hybrid program that requires face-to-face attendance with two-week sessions, twice annually (typically in March and September), in Tanzania, Africa. It will take a one to two years to complete. Participation and successful completion of the certificate are required to receive an invitation to apply for the hybrid MS.  

The post-baccalaureate certificate program includes these four foundation courses:

  • Drug Development
  • Good Regulatory Practices
  • Quality Management, Audits and Inspections
  • Molecular Basis of Manufacturing

Upon successful completion of all four courses, you will earn a certificate of completion from Purdue University and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) equivalent to 12 credit hours of coursework applicable to the MS hybrid upon admission to the program.


Apply to the MS program

Once funding and resources have been determined, those that successfully completed the post-baccalaureate certificate could be invited to apply for the MS hybrid program. Admission to the BIRS MS program has a limited number of spaces and admission will be a competitive process.

Applications will be reviewed holistically with the following guidelines for consideration:

  • Previous academic performance (based on previous academic performance, as well as the post-baccalaureate certificate)
  • Research Project Proposal (emphasis on process/continuous improvement)
  • Previous professional work experience (recommended minimum of 2 years in relevant field) or preparation

Admission requirements and application instructions can be found here.  Applications will only be considered if the applicant has been on the waitlist, completed the post-baccalaureate certificate, and received an invitation to apply. An invitation to apply does not mean automatic acceptance into the program.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss this program with their employer in advance of submitting an application. Students admitted to the program are required to attend onsite for 2 weeks of instruction, annually (typically in March and September). Employer’s commitment is necessary to obtain support for the absence from work and to also discuss financial resources the employer can offer.



Thank you to the Merck and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations for past and current funding opportunities for this sub-Saharan Africa program. It is through their financial support that this program is made possible.

The currently available funding covers credit-hour university costs; however, additional costs incurred will be the responsibility of the student. Here is a sample of additional costs you may incur:

  • Application fees
  • Mailing expenses of documents
  • Travel to onsite learning sessions
  • Housing/food while onsite
  • Additional university fees (Example: late registration fees, degree only fees, etc.)

The BIRS Center invites participants from sub-Saharan Africa to apply to the MS hybrid program once resources and funding have been obtained. This is reviewed on a two- to four-year cycle.