Foundations coursework is intended to build a strong baseline of knowledge before you dive into the details of disease conditions and approaches to therapeutic treatment. You’ll continually build on Foundations topics in subsequent coursework. In Foundations, you’ll begin to develop the skills for academic and professional success.

In the first hour of Foundations, on the first day of class, you’ll meet your first patient and begin to ask and answer questions as a pharmacist. Your learning from this point forward will be rooted in patient cases.

Beginning in Foundations, you’ll discover that scientific thinking is a key element of the curriculum, underpinning all teaching and learning.

Foundations: a closer look

Foundations I

Foundations I begins at the start of year one, encompassing the study of therapeutic sciences, inquiry, and social and administrative sciences.

You’ll also explore learning strategies, the pharmacy profession, career options, and how to ensure your well-being as you build a foundation for your academic and professional success.

The topics in Foundations I refer back to patient cases as much as possible, preparing you for the Integrated Themes that follow:

Area 1: Therapeutic sciences

Topics cover the basic sciences underlying drug therapy. The topics are listed in the order they are introduced within coursework.

  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Homeostasis
  • Thermodynamics
  • Drug binding
  • Enzyme catalysis and inhibition
  • Drug diffusion and permeability
  • Drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (pharmacokinetics)
  • Drug action and effects (pharmacodynamics)
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Adaptive immunity
  • Antibodies

Area 2: Inquiry

Topics cover the basic skills to critically evaluate and interpret the evidence to make evidence-based health care decisions.

  • Drug Information
  • Epidemiology
  • Public health
  • Biostatistics
  • Study design
  • Pharmacoeconomics
  • Health equity
  • Health disparities
  • Journal Club

Area 3: Social and Administrative Sciences

Topics cover the information you’ll need to successfully navigate the changing health care environment and to develop into a pharmacy leader.

  • Formulary development
  • Health care communications
  • Health care economics
  • Health care policy
  • Insurance markets
  • Leadership development
  • Medication safety and quality
  • Pharmacy law

Foundations II

Foundations II runs over the course of two weeks, beginning in the late summer of year two. It is an integrated course that provides fundamental concepts that serve as the basis for content that will be taught in all subsequent preclinical courses in the PharmD curriculum. The content of this course varies from year to year and spans all levels of pharmacy practice including special populations, therapeutic sciences, health care policy, and evidence-based health care.

Example topics:

  • Pediatrics
  • Drugs in pregnancy & lactation
  • Geriatrics
  • LGBTQIA+ health care
  • Introduction to discovery projects and ethics in research
  • Wiki education project
  • Practical considerations for pharmacists in the acute care setting
  • Health disparities