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School of Pharmacy

UCSF School of Pharmacy
UCSFSchool of PharmacyPharmD Degree ProgramCurriculum Overview

Curriculum Overview

student pharmacist women reviewing paper shelves in a pharmacy student pharmacists in computer lab student pharmacist drawing at anatomy lab woman in lecture student pharmacist in thought at lab lecture student pharmacists in lecture

The Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum consists of 4 years of full-time study to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in pharmacy practice. All students complete a required core curriculum and select an emphasis in one of three pathways: Pharmaceutical Care, Health Services & Policy Research, or Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Core curriculum

Years 1 and 2

The 1st and 2nd professional years are intended to broaden the students' knowledge in the basic biological, physical, and chemical sciences and understanding of the areas of professional emphasis in pharmacy. The emphasis in academic instruction shifts from the physical to the biological sciences to the mechanisms of drug action. Throughout the curriculum, students take elective coursework to explore their professional interests and the varied dimensions of pharmacy practice. In addition, through Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs), students gain patient care experience in a variety of practice settings. See Year 1 course descriptions. See Year 2 course descriptions.

Pathway curriculum

Year 3

The 3rd professional year is a transitional year, combining additional scientific and professional courses with a significant clinical orientation. Students take an increasing number of pathway-specific courses in the 3rd year. See Year 3 course descriptions. See pathways curriculum.

Year 4

The 4th year combines experience in patient care settings with a focus on the pathway through a combination of required and elective courses. Students complete advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) in a variety of acute, ambulatory, long-term care, and community settings. The clinical curriculum focuses on applying formal classroom training to the practice of pharmacy in the total health care of patients. See pathways curriculum.

International experiences

UCSF student pharmacists have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs focused on global health. The School is currently reviewing its priorities, policies, and procedures for international experiences. See International Experiences for details.


Elective courses enable you to further extend your study into the areas which interest you.

Image credits: © David Powers, ©

Go to: PharmD Degree Program

PharmD curricular outcomes

The UCSF Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum prepares graduates to demonstrate competence in 6 areas:

  • Patient and population-based care
  • Scientific and clinical foundations
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based practice

For detailed information on the curricular outcomes, see PharmD Curricular Outcomes.

PharmD/PhD program

Students in the PharmD degree program may apply during the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year to enter a combined PharmD/PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics. Graduates of this combined PharmD/PhD degree are uniquely qualified to translate basic research into clinical applications.

Details: PharmD/PhD Program

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