Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy Western University of Health Sciences
College of Pharmacy

PharmD Curriculum

The Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum

To obtain the PharmD degree the student pharmacist will complete a curriculum made up of four components: (1) the didactic curriculum, (2) experiential education curriculum, (3) the interprofessional curriculum, and (4) the professionalism curriculum.  Visit the course catalog for more detailed information.

 

The Didactic Curriculum Component

In the core didactic component of the program, the student pharmacist will learn about biological systems, about drugs and their effect on the body, and about how the body treats the drug. During the first year of the didactic curriculum, student pharmacists will take courses in areas such as pharmacology (integrated with medicinal chemistry), immunology, pharmaceutics, pharmacogenomics and pharmacokinetics and learn how to apply this knowledge to pharmacy practice. Student pharmacists will also acquire knowledge and skills in over-the counter medications, communication skills, patient counseling, pharmacy practice laws and regulations, health care systems, physical assessment and evaluation of the medical literature. During the second year and first-half of the third year, student pharmacists will focus on pharmacotherapy courses learning to apply the knowledge gained in the first year to provide patient specific management of diseases. The third year includes courses in pharmacy administration and pharmacoeconomics, which prepare student pharmacists to practice in a variety of settings and to learn how to select the most cost effective drug therapy. Sprinkled throughout the second and third year are integration blocks in which information from previous courses are integrated in a comprehensive case study format in order to ensure reinforcement of knowledge and skills.

 

The Experiential Education Curriculum Component

The pharmacy practice experiential education curriculum begins with the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiential (IPPE-1) courses, which run throughout the first year of study.  Each of the first year clerkship courses run for 4 weeks that expose the student pharmacist to community pharmacy practice.  The second year IPPE course is scheduled during the summer between the second and third years and exposes student pharmacists to institutional pharmacy practice.

During the third and fourth years, under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist faculty member, student pharmacistswill assess and counsel patients and monitor their drug therapies. Student pharmacists will spend a total of 36 weeks in these training sessions, called advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE). Such pharmacy practice experiences will take place in hospitals as well as in clinics, community pharmacies and other settings where pharmacists practice.

After the APPE is completed, student pharmacists undergo a 16-week Advanced Elective (AE).  This is a 4-month rotation/research experience that allows student pharmacists to develop more skills and insight in a specific practice area.  The 16-week AE program is designed to provide a capstone experience in the student pharmacist’s chosen area of interest (e.g., infectious disease, internal medicine, cardiology, renal, oncology, ICU, ambulatory care, community practice, compounding, etc.).

 

The Interprofessional Curriculum Component

Student pharmacists in their first and second professional years are required to participate in a series of Interprofessional Education (IPE) seminar courses.  These courses prepare health professions students to practice health care services through a team approach.  The IPE courses instill non-technical competencies including communication, collaborative practice, and scope of practice.  Working in small interprofessional teams, student pharmacists apply these competencies as they jointly explore cases or activities presenting common clinical scenarios or conditions with other health professions students.  These cases and activities integrate elements common to all professions, including ethical, behavior, social and psychological issues.

 

The Professionalism Curriculum Component

The College of Pharmacy values professionalism and expects all graduates to acquire and maintain the highest level of professional attitudes and behaviors.  To promulgate this belief, student must participate in at least five professional activities during an academic year.  These activities may be selected from five categories: (1) professional education, (2) professional service, (3) legislative advocacy, (4) interprofessional service and leadership, and (5) healthcare related community service and philanthropy.

 

For additional information please review the PharmD prospective students page.