Year 2 of the Curriculum – Course Work

Fall Quarter

Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular System is aimed at providing insight into the physiology of the heart and vascular system and its related pharmacology.  A basic understanding of this fascinating organ system is crucial for all those with medical and pharmacy/pharmacology careers, regardless of the ultimate field of study.   This four-week block of lectures, small groups, team-based learning, and laboratory sessions is designed to provide the student with a fundamental knowledge of the workings of the cardiovascular system and its underlying mechanisms, and how its normal state is affected by physiologic and pharmacologic alterations. 

Pulmonary System

This second physiology block is a short one, and the concepts of pulmonary physiology build quickly.  The introduction provides the anatomical and structural basis for the mechanics of moving air into and out of the lungs.  Interpretation of pulmonary function tests provides insight into conditions or disorders that modify lung mechanics.  The lectures then describe the elements of gas exchange, including partial pressures and concentrations from air to alveoli to arterial blood and the arterial blood gas measurements used clinically.  Changes in gas exchange caused by anemia, carbon monoxide, and exercise are explored, and these lectures culminate with the causes of hypoxemia and distinguishing between them.  The final lectures cover removal of particulates, pharmacology, and extreme altitude.

Gastrointestinal System and Nutrition

The course provides an overview of the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract and its appendages, i.e., liver, pancreas and salivary glands, and the processes of food digestion and absorption. The course also introduces basic physiologic and biochemical concepts of human nutrition and diseases associated with deficiencies of excesses of essential nutrients.

Principles of Pharmacology and Physiology

Topics include the pharmacology of autonomic and cardiovascular drugs, receptor pharmacology, drugs acting at cholinergic and adrenergic receptors and their applications and basic principles of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, mechanism of action and toxicities.

Winter Quarter

Laboratory Medicine

Laboratory Medicine is an introduction to fundamental laboratory biological tissue testing. Emphasis is placed on general interpretation of laboratory data, normal and abnormal, the systematic use of laboratory tests in the evaluation and management of the most common and important clinical conditions, and the anticipated changes when therapeutics are applied.

Renal System

The Renal System I course is designed to provide students with a physiologic approach to understanding how the kidney achieves homeostasis in the face of widely variable physical demands and intake. It is often said that the only reason there are ‘normal values’ for blood chemistry is there are no ‘normal values’ for urine chemistry – the kidney achieves homeostasis by creating a widely varying output! In its spare time, apart from handling water, salts, nitrogenous waste products, and acid-base balance, the kidney also produces erythropoietin and activates vitamin D, making it both an exocrine and endocrine superstar.  

Principles of Pharmacology and Physiology

Basic principles of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, mechanisms of action and toxicities of anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, anti-Parkinson and sedative-hypnotic drugs are discussed

Spring Quarter


This course combines basic immunology and immunology case studies. The combined course will juxtapose the basic principles of immunology with the clinically correlated immune disorder. Because the content will include basic and clinical immunology, the course is taught by basic scientists, physician scientists, and clinicians who are experts in their fields of immunology. 


Hematology is the study of blood, blood-forming tissues, and blood disorders. Because blood perfuses and thereby sustains EVERY organ and tissue in the body, hematology has an enormous role impacting ALL fields of medicine. In Immunology you learned the normal biology of white blood cells; here we will add the basics of normal biology and physiology of red blood cells, platelets, and the hemostatic system. We will jump quickly to studying what can go wrong with the blood and what it looks like when you evaluate a person affected by different blood disorders.  This course thus represents an inflection point in your pre-clinical curriculum, focusing primarily on pathophysiology and clinical presentations of disorders, in contrast to the normal physiology focus of preceding courses.

Endocrinology, Reproduction and Metabolism

ERM offers an integrated introduction to the physiology of the human endocrine, reproductive, and metabolic systems.  Major course objectives will be to impart an understanding of the biochemical principles underlying metabolism, the mechanisms of hormone action, and the endocrine system's role in regulating homeostasis and reproduction. The last week of the course will explore the basic function and physiology of male and female reproduction. Finally, you will learn about the female reproductive lifespan from the menstrual cycle to pregnancy and menopause given that you will encounter a (pregnant) female patient in professional or personal settings.  


This course in medical microbiology is designed so that you will learn the basic biology of microbial pathogens, the mechanisms by which they cause disease, the host's defenses against microbial infection, and the principles of antimicrobial therapy. Our objective is to help you establish a useful body of knowledge relevant to diagnosing, treating, and preventing infectious diseases and to provide a basic framework to add throughout your career.

Principles of Pharmacology and Physiology

Basic principles of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, mechanism of action and toxicities are discussed for drugs in thyroid diseases, diabetes, adrenal dysfunction, reproduction control, coagulopathies, anemia, infection and malignancy are discussed.


Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE)

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 P3 year in order to progress to fourth-year APPEs.

Co-Curricular Program

The Co-Curricular Program organizes and documents the learning environment outside the classroom to focus on activities that are student-centered, learning-focused, and intentional. The goal is to promote high-quality co-curricular activities across the student experiences that build competencies to prepare student pharmacists to be practice-ready and team-ready.

Pharm.D. Required Student Research Project

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 may  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.

Team-Based Learning (TBL) Program

The SSPPS curriculum during the second year has a significant portion of time devoted to Team-Based Learning (TBL) throughout the academic year. The TBL program is integrated into the biomedical curriculum and designed to support pharmacy students’ long-term retention of each block’s course objectives through frequent and spaced assessments of student performance. Students actively work together in teams, assimilating knowledge, solving problems, and teaching one another. This type of active learning helps students develop the critical thinking and communication skills as well as the problem-solving and professional team skills necessary to become competent pharmacists.