Practice Rotations

Woman in medical clinic talking with two health professions students
Susan Merrell, UCSF

Your Pharmacy Practice Experiences, commonly known as rotations, will be in clinical settings where you’ll participate in activities that reflect the situations and challenges you’ll face as a practicing pharmacist.

Your experiences will gradually increase in complexity over time, from introductory to advanced. They’re planned to complement your other coursework in real time, and to add value to patient care at your practice sites.

Throughout these experiences, you’ll learn under the guidance of seasoned pharmacist preceptors and by serving richly diverse patient populations. You’ll continually hone your scientific thinking, communication, and clinical skills.

Practice experience overview



Assignment locations


Year 1 IPPEs

Community pharmacies

San Francisco Bay Area

1 day/ week, 8 hours/day (approx.) through year 1

Year 2 Concentrated IPPEs

Health systems

San Francisco Bay Area and locations throughout California

5 days/week, 8 hours/day (approx.) for 2 weeks during summer between years 1 and 2

Year 2 Longitudinal IPPEs

Health systems

San Francisco

1 day/week, 8 hours/day (approx.) through an 8 week block

Year 3 APPEs

  • Community pharmacies
  • Medical centers and hospitals
  • Ambulatory care clinics
  • Managed care
  • Industry

Locations through one of five APPE programs:

  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • North Bay
  • Greater Sacramento
  • Fresno
  • Southern California

Full-time immersion: 6 weeks/rotation in late year 2 and through year 3

  • Some experiences fall outside the 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday.
  • Some responsibilities to patients may occur on weekends or evenings.

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences: a closer look

Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) run throughout the first year and most of the second year of the curriculum, exposing you to contemporary pharmacy practice in community pharmacies in year one, and in health systems in year two.

Year-one IPPEs

All year-one IPPEs are in San Francisco Bay Area community pharmacy sites, where you’ll assume specific roles that support or improve patient care. Year-one IPPE site partners include:

  • CVS
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Safeway
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Walgreens

Year-two IPPEs

Your year-two IPPEs are designed to give you experience, over an extended period of time, in specific pharmacy service pathways that relate to general pharmacy activities, clinical activities, and/or quality improvement projects in health systems.

Examples of pharmacy service pathways include:

  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Cardiology
  • 48-hour discharge
  • General surgery
  • HIV Primary care
  • Intensive care
  • Neuro-spinal
  • Neurosurgery
  • Organ transplant
  • Oral medicine clinic
  • Orthopedic pre-op clinic
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Quality improvement
  • Transition of care

Concentrated experience

Between your first and second year, you’ll complete a concentrated immersion IPPE at one of several health system sites in California. These concentrated experiences may occur in medical centers or hospitals, including:

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
  • Children’s Hospital, Oakland
  • El Camino Hospital, Sunnyvale
  • Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco
  • Kaweah Health, Visalia
  • Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fresno
  • Petaluma Valley Hospital, Petaluma
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Palo Alto
  • San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco
  • UC Davis Medical Center, Davis
  • UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
  • UC Irvine Medical Center, Irvine

Longitudinal experience

You’ll continue your year-two IPPE (in a different service pathway) at one of several health system sites, including:

  • Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco
  • San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco
  • UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences: a closer look

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) begin during late spring of your second year and continue through your third year in medical centers and hospitals, outpatient facilities, and community clinics at one of five APPE programs located throughout California:

  • map of practice locations
    Year 3 APPE locations: 1) San Francisco Bay Area; 2) North Bay; 3) Sacramento; 4) Fresno; 5) Los Angeles and Orange County
    San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco and areas immediately south and east)
  • North Bay (areas north of San Francisco Bay)
  • Greater Sacramento (northern portion of the California Central Valley)
  • Fresno (southern portion of the California Central Valley)
  • Southern California (Los Angeles and Orange Counties)

APPE Rotations

An APPE rotation is a six-week, full-time clinical experience at a medical center, hospital, or clinic setting that provides real-world pharmacy experience. You’ll have eight six-week, full-time APPE experiences in the UCSF PharmD program.

All students will take four core APPEs.

The remaining APPEs are elective opportunities, two of which must be in direct patient care settings. Two elective APPEs may be taken in non-direct patient care settings.

Four core APPE rotations

  • Hospital pharmacy systems and practice experience
  • Community pharmacy systems and practice experience
  • Acute care experience
  • Ambulatory care experience

Elective APPE rotations

Direct patient care APPE elective examples:

  • Cardiology
  • Clinical pharmacokinetics
  • Compounding
  • Community pharmacy
  • Critical care
  • Emergency medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Hematology/oncology
  • HIV Primary care
  • Home care
  • Hospice care
  • Infectious diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Nutrition
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics (including PICU/NICU settings)
  • Poison control
  • Psychiatry
  • Pulmonology
  • Surgery
  • Transitional care
  • Transplant

Non-direct patient care APPE elective examples:

  • Administration
  • Automation/informational technology
  • Clinical informatics
  • Compounding
  • Consulting
  • Drug information
  • Industry
  • Managed care
  • Nuclear pharmacy
  • Veterinary medicine

Program directors and preceptors

Each of the five APPE programs is managed by a School faculty member who serves as program director. At each APPE rotation, you’ll be under the direct supervision of a preceptor who provides patient-oriented pharmaceutical services at the site, research activities in the pharmaceutical industry, or pharmacy expertise within the organization.