Academic Programs

Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum

The purpose of the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum is to prepare students to be leaders in the profession of pharmacy and to provide them with the tools to effectively practice in a wide variety of currently existing and potential future roles in hospitals and medical centers, community pharmacy settings, academia, government and the pharmaceutical industry. It is expected that the emerging fields of pharmacogenomics and bioinformatics will have a profound influence on the future practice of pharmacy. Graduates of the UCSD School of Pharmacy are in an excellent position to bring these advances to the patient care setting.

The curriculum is dynamic and under frequent revision. Presently, the four-year Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum is as follows:

Year 1 includes courses in anatomy, histology, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutics, bioinformatics, law and ethics and an introduction to the practice of pharmacy.

Year 2 is devoted to pre-clinical biomedical and biological subjects. Pharmacy students are enrolled in courses with first year medical students. These courses include foundations of human biology, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrinology, reproduction, metabolism, microbiology, immunology and hematology. Supplementary courses specific to the needs of pharmacy students, such as additional coursework in pharmacology and physiology, laboratory medicine, drug study design, health policy and drug information are also offered.

Year 3 builds on the integrated sciences provided in Year 2 with courses in microbiology and infectious diseases, human disease, neurology, pharmacogenomics, pharmacology and pharmacoeconomics. A course series in therapeutics begins the process of applying the knowledge gained in the basic and integrated sciences to the clinical management of patients.

Students are expected to engage in IPPEs in the areas of community pharmacy, institutional health-system pharmacy, health-related service learning, and simulated activities during the first three years of the pharmacy curriculum. These experiences are intended to serve as a bridge between didactic courses and fourth-year Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE). Students must complete 300 IPPE hours by the end of the Winter Quarter of the P-3 year in order to progress to fourth-year APPEs.

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs)

Year 4 is devoted entirely to clinical clerkships where students learn to apply the skills and knowledge obtained in the curriculum in a variety of clinical settings. Many of these clerkship experiences take place at UCSD-affiliated medical centers, such as UCSD Medical Center - Hillcrest, UCSD Medical Center - La Jolla, The Veteran's Administration Medical Center in La Jolla, and Rady Children's Hospital. In addition, many other facilities throughout the region are utilized and clerkship experiences in the biotechnology companies and research facilities adjacent to the UCSD campus are being implemented.

Completing a research project is required of all students and is a prerequisite for graduation. Students are encouraged to consider potential projects beginning in their first year. Students will be allowed to complete their research project in any academic year. For Pharm.D./Ph.D. program students, completion of the Ph.D. thesis project will satisfy this graduation project requirement.

Pharm.D. Required Student Research Project

The common required and elective coursework taken by pharmacy and medical students and clerkship experiences where medical and pharmacy students work closely together have been created to foster the development of cooperation between the professions as well as develop an appreciation for the unique roles that each provides to the care of patients.

Seven-Year B.S. Chemistry/Doctor of Pharmacy Program

This program is available to students who entered UCSD as normal freshman in the Fall of 2014, and are a declared Pharmacological Chemistry major in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. (Students who were enrolled at UCSD prior to Fall 2014 and transfer students are not eligible for this program.)

Upon completion of the second undergraduate year at UCSD, and the required mathematics and science courses, students may apply for admission to the combined BS/PharmD program. Applications for admission in the Fall of 2017 will be accepted beginning July 15, 2015. Applicants must complete a PharmCAS application no later than September 1, 2016 (see the admissions section of the website for information on PharmCAS). In addition, a UCSD Seven-Year BS/PharmD Application page and a UCSD PharmD Program Supplemental Application must be completed and submitted no later than September 1, 2016. The application page and supplemental application will be available on-line on the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences website starting July 15, 2016. Interviews will be conducted during the fall quarter of 2016. Decisions will be provided to the applicants by the start of the winter quarter 2017. Students who are not admitted through this special program are urged to apply through the regular process for admission.

Admission to the program and to the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will be conditional, requiring continued strong academic performance in the third year of required undergraduate courses. The fourth year of a student's undergraduate work will overlap with the first year of pharmacy school. At the end of the fourth year the student will receive the BS Degree. Only a small number of slots in the entering PharmD class are set aside for students from this program. The limited number of students admitted through this program are expected to demonstrate outstanding academic performance and strong potential for leadership.

Students anticipating applying for this program should seek counseling early in their undergraduate education at UCSD. A list of Frequently Asked Questions has been created for this program. If, however, you need additional information regarding this program, please contact an advisor in Chemistry & Biochemistry at

We recommend you monitor this website for updates regarding the program.

Seven-Year B.S. Chemistry/Doctor of Pharmacy application

Dual Pharm.D./ Ph.D. Program

Information for Prospective Students

The purpose of the Pharm.D. / Ph.D. Program is to prepare students for positions in academia, government and the pharmaceutical industry that will require experience and knowledge in the conduct of original investigation related to the pharmaceutical sciences. Students who complete this program will be uniquely suited to perform basic and clinical research and to translate the results of the research to clinical practice. The course of study will prepare graduates for careers as faculty members in Schools and Colleges of Pharmacy or other health professions where they will engage in academic instruction and research or to serve as leaders in drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry. The program is a joint program between the SSPPS and the Biomedical Science Graduate Program on the UCSD Health Science Campus. A distinction between the Pharm.D./Ph.D. and other joint doctoral programs is that training for the Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree is envisioned to be closely aligned with the drug development process as well as therapeutic practices and outcomes.

Students are selected from first and second year students who are currently enrolled in the SSPPS, although it is encouraged for prospective students to indicate their potential interest in dual degree training as early as the application and recruitment process.

Students admitted to the program complete all required coursework in the first two years of the Pharm.D. curriculum. During elective opportunities in the second year of the curriculum (Spring Quarter), students are encouraged to explore graduate coursework relevant to their area of research concentration. During the summer between the first and second year, students will explore research opportunities through laboratory rotations at UCSD and at adjacent research institutes (Salk Institute, Scripps Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute) with faculty that hold a primary affiliation with the UCSD Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. Stipends and/or fellowships may be available to support the summer research experiences. By the end of the second year of the curriculum, students select a graduate program and laboratory/mentor for thesis studies.

Important Note: Students with excellent prior research experience and commitment to dual degree training may arrange a first laboratory research rotation during the summer prior to matriculation into the PharmD curriculum.

Following successful completion of the second year of the Pharm.D. curriculum, students devote full-time to research for their Ph.D. thesis project. Once they have completed all of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree, students return to complete the third (preclinical) and fourth (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences) years for the Pharm.D. degree. Following successful completion of all of the requirements, the candidate will be awarded both the Pharm.D. and the Ph.D. degree. It is anticipated that the program will take, on average, 7 or 8 years to complete the requirements for the joint degrees.

Applicants must be highly motivated and committed to improving health care through the conduct of research, as demonstrated by their ability to perform and aptitude for conducting research.

Admission Procedures: Applicants who are currently enrolled in the Pharm.D. Program must complete the attached Pharm.D./Ph.D application by the fall quarter of the second year.

Following receipt of the application materials and excellent performance in the required research rotations, the Pharm.D./Ph.D. Admissions Committee will review applications and conduct interviews. Following the interviews, highly qualified applicants may be offered admission to the Pharm.D./Ph.D. Program.

For more information about this program please contact us at

Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Development Program

Click here for more information regarding this program.

Master’s Degree in Drug Development & Product Management

Additional PharmD/PhD Program Information