The University of Sciences in Philadelphia announced Tuesday the launch of a Master of Business Administration option for students looking for opportunities in the cannabis industry.

“We’ve seen rapid growth in an industry that needs business leaders,” said Andrew Peterson, executive director of the USciences Substance Use Disorders Institute. “Our MBA is concentrated on the pharmaceutical and health care industries, where medical cannabis fits very nicely.”

Though many schools across the nation offer courses that touch on the burgeoning marijuana trade, USciences’ MBA is believed to be the first of its kind with a focus is on the commerce of cannabis, hemp, and dispensary operations.

The school already has a working relationship with Franklin Biosciences, a large grower based in Denver which operates Beyond/Hello dispensaries in Pennsylvania, to develop a cannabis education program for pharmacists, physicians, and students planning on entering the health professions.

Four separate courses will be offered online, with the first beginning Aug. 26, as part of an MBA in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business Curriculum. Registration for the first class, Introduction to the Medical Cannabis Industry, ends Aug. 1. Additional courses will include the Finance and Regulation of the Cannabis Industry, Cannabis Marketing and Sales, and a team project that may involve writing a business plan or launching a product and require student visits to USciences’ West Philadelphia campus. Each two-credit course will cost about $2,000.

“We’ve already gotten interest from existing students,” Peterson said. “I don’t think we’ll get hundreds enrolling at the start, but we’ll get a good class. We usually enroll about 15 to 20 people in these classes. I think we’ll hit that target.”

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