Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum
The Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum prepares students to be leaders in the profession of pharmacy and provides them with the tools to effectively practice in a wide variety of currently existing and potential future roles in hospitals, medical centers, community pharmacies, 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 UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 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, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutics, bioinformatics, law and ethics, health policy, study design, biostatistics, and an introduction to the practice of pharmacy.
Year 2 is focused on the COAST (caring, original, advocates share and thrive) curriculum with pharmacy students enrolled in courses along with first-year medical students including foundations of medicine, microbiology, and courses on cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, nutrition, renal, immunology, hematology, endocrinology, reproductive, and metabolic systems. Year 2 also includes additional courses in pharmacology and physiology and laboratory medicine.
Year 3 builds on the curriculum provided in Year 2 with courses in human disease, pharmacogenomics, and pharmacoeconomics. Courses series in therapeutics and advanced professional practice begin the process of applying the knowledge and skills gained in the prior courses to the clinical management of patients.
Students engage in Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) 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 additionally complete a research project, and participate in co-curricular enrichment activities throughout all four years.
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 UC San Diego-affiliated medical centers, such as UC San Diego Medical Center - Hillcrest, UC San Diego 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 San Diego and Los Angeles/Orange County regions are utilized. Clerkship experiences in biotechnology companies and research facilities adjacent to the UC San Diego campus, and at various national and international sites have been 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 are allowed to complete their research projects in any academic year. For Pharm.D./Ph.D. program students, completion of the Ph.D. thesis project will satisfy this graduation project requirement.
Co-curricular activities provide the opportunity to enhance the student’s approach to practice and care and to improve personal and professional development skills. The co-curriculum emphasizes quality over quantity, collaborative achievement, professional service and stewardship, and personal responsibility. The Co-Curricular Program encompasses experiences in five domains: 1) Leadership & Innovation/Entrepreneurship, 2) Cultural Understanding, Community Outreach and Service, 3) Personal Development and Wellness, 4) Professionalism and Career Development, and 5) Student Engagement. These domains are mapped to ACPE Standards 2016.
The program’s longitudinal format identifies activities within the first three professional years and includes required and self-selected experiences across the domains. The nature of an individual student’s co-curricular plan is intended to reflect the student’s strengths, growth areas, goals, and interests.