Curriculum: 2017 and Before

Image credits: © David Powers, ©

The current curriculum is designed 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:

PharmD curricular outcomes

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

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

Details: PharmD Curricular Outcomes

Core curriculum

Years 1 and 2

The first and second 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.


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.


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.

Interprofessional education

PharmD students learn alongside students from UCSF programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing and physical therapy. Through the Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education, faculty leaders across the UCSF campus create opportunities for students from different fields to interact and learn in a way that prepares them for the seamless teamwork of interprofessional, collaborative practice that successful modern patient care delivery requires. Interprofessional education represents an exciting and important dimension of pharmacy education at UCSF.


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