Beyond the UCSF PharmD

The UCSF PharmD curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for further advanced specialized training in pharmacy or other fields. Why? Because the opportunities are limitless for leadership roles for the UCSF PharmD graduate who combines the skills and knowledge gained at UCSF with additional training in pharmacy specialties and subspecialties, research, science, business, public policy, global health, education, law, and more.

The pharmacy profession is entering a new frontier of expanded pharmacy practice.

Pharmacists are helping to meet the nation’s primary care needs. Pharmacists with advanced training are moving into fields—such as clinical and translational science, drug development and regulation, health policy, and pharmacoeconomics—where their expanded expertise has tremendous potential to benefit patient care and health outcomes in unprecedented ways.

To encourage you to assume these roles, the curriculum is intentionally designed to create a path for you to pursue advanced training past the UCSF PharmD degree: a pharmacy residency, fellowship, or an advanced degree program in another field (PhD, MPH, JD, MS).

In some instances, our graduates unite the advanced degrees they hold upon entering the PharmD program with their newly earned UCSF PharmD degrees, but most pursue advanced training after graduation.

PharmD residencies

A postgraduate residency provides you with an opportunity to expand and strengthen your clinical skills. Residencies prepare PharmD graduates for advanced roles in patient care and position graduates for clinical leadership roles.

The focus of a postgraduate residency is primarily on supervised, direct patient care experiences, often combined with a clinical research project, and, depending on the institution, clinical teaching responsibilities.

Residency programs vary in their emphasis and length. There are residencies in acute (inpatient) and ambulatory (outpatient) care, academia, managed care, and community pharmacy practice; the list is extensive.

A first-year residency is referred to as a PGY1 (postgraduate year one). If your interest lies in clinical specializations such as infectious disease, cardiology, oncology, and pediatrics, or in related areas such as informatics or hospital administration, you would also complete a second-year residency, referred to as a PGY2 (postgraduate year two).

Learn more

Advanced practice pharmacist

The Advanced Practice Pharmacist (APP) designation was created by California Senate Bill (SB) 493 in 2013.

APP-licensed pharmacists enjoy a broader scope of practice than California-licensed pharmacists without APP status. They may perform patient assessments, order and interpret all drug-therapy-related tests, refer patients to other providers, and collaborate with other providers to evaluate and manage diseases and health conditions.

Additionally, APP-licensed pharmacists may initiate, adjust/modify, and discontinue drug therapy pursuant to an order by a patient’s treating prescriber and in accordance with established protocols.

Learn more

Board certification

PharmDs from across the nation are increasingly pursuing certification through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) in specific specialty practice areas. The BPS currently recognizes eight specialty practice areas: ambulatory care pharmacy, critical care pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, nutrition support pharmacy, oncology pharmacy, pediatric pharmacy, pharmacotherapy, and psychiatric pharmacy.

Learn more

Fellowships

A fellowship is postgraduate training focused more specifically on research and/or on preparing you for roles in the pharmaceutical industry, managed care, health policy, population science, and academia.

Fellowships might or might not include additional clinical training. A variety of programs are available and continue to expand as the opportunities for research-trained and research-focused pharmacists grows.

Sponsoring organizations for fellowships span a wide spectrum; some are based in universities and schools of pharmacy, while others are in industry and nonprofit organizations. The length of a fellowship varies as well, but the majority are two years.

While information on fellowships is not centralized as it is for residencies, the opportunities are varied. We’ll help point you in the right directions.

Learn more

Additional Degrees

UCSF PharmD graduates are also encouraged to build upon their pharmacy education through additional degrees.

Because the UCSF PharmD curriculum is distinguished by a steady application of scientific thinking across all coursework, some students decide to combine the UCSF PharmD with a UCSF PhD, to translate basic science to clinical application for careers in academia and industry.

The UCSF PharmD/PhD combined degree program offers you the opportunity to apply to the renowned graduate programs at UCSF. The majority of our PharmD graduates who have pursued or are currently pursuing PhDs have trained in the Pharmacogenomics and Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSPG) graduate degree program. But we encourage our PharmD students interested in PhD-level training to consider other UCSF PhD degree programs in biomedical sciences as well as the social and population sciences.

You might also choose to pursue post-PharmD degrees in other areas of interest through programs at UCSF and beyond, including: UCSF Master’s Degree Program in Clinical Research, MBA and MPH degrees, specialized programs such as the UCSF Masters in Global Health Sciences, or programs through the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy and the UCSF–UC Berkeley Masters in Translational Medicine Program.