Sustainable Medicines in Africa

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Sustainable Medicines in Africa

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 2 two-week sessions (fall and spring) 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 non-credit to credit model for the post-baccalaureate BIRS certificate in Africa with previous support from the Merck Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The noncredit certificate is 100% online and there is no travel required. It takes a full year 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 Noncredit Certificate when instructed to do so
  • Apply to the MS program upon invitation


Complete Survey

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

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


Complete Noncredit Certificate

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

The noncredit certificate is 100% online with no travel required. It will take a full year to complete. Participation and successful completion of the noncredit certificate are required to receive an invitation to apply for the hybrid MS.  

The noncredit 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 noncredit certificate will be invited to apply for the MS hybrid program. Applications will be reviewed holistically with the following guidelines for consideration:

  • Previous academic performance (based on previous academic performance, as well as the noncredit 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 noncredit 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, twice a year. 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 who have successfully completed the noncredit certificate to apply to the MS hybrid program once resources and funding have been obtained. This is reviewed on a two- to four-year cycle.