Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

The USC School of Pharmacy established the nation’s first Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in 1950, and remains a pioneer in the innovative education and preparation of tomorrow’s practicing pharmacists.

The largest degree program within the School of Pharmacy, the four-year, full-time PharmD program provides students with:

  • A unique externship program beginning the first year of study that gives students immediate and progressively challenging clinical experience
  • An extensive offering of dual degree, joint degree and certificate programs
  • The largest alumni network of pharmacists in the region, which can provide valuable career support to graduates entering the pharmaceutical profession

Graduates of USC’s PharmD program are highly sought after by employers throughout the United States for a wide range of career opportunities.

This section provides information for prospective students on the program, admission requirements and financial aid. Or if you’re ready, you can apply now.

The role of the pharmacist has evolved dramatically from a product orientation to an emphasis on patient care outcomes. As an acknowledged leader in advancing the profession toward this increasingly vital place on the health care team, the USC School of Pharmacy thoroughly prepares future pharmacists for careers in a wide variety of settings.

The School’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program combines rigorous basic science education with extensive and varied clinical experiences so that graduates will be prepared to contribute to revolutionizing the future of health care through new discoveries and innovations to improve patient lives.

In addition to continuously enhancing the curriculum with new course offerings that reflect the pharmacist’s importance as a frontline health care provider, the USC PharmD program incorporates problem-based learning, a vast range of clinical opportunities, invaluable networking opportunities and a series of electives that allow students to personalize their education to reflect their individual interests and professional goals.

Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Pharmacy

Completion of the four-year professional curriculum—along with a minimum of 1,740 hours of clinical experience—is required to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Aggregate course hours must equal a minimum of 144 units.

Students must successfully complete all required courses in the PharmD curriculum with a minimum grade of C in all letter-graded courses and CREDIT for all non-letter-graded courses where the work is equivalent to B-quality or better. A 3.0 cumulative grade point average is necessary to meet graduation requirements. Students are subject to the degree requirements in the USC Catalogue current for the semester of their admission into the PharmD program, as well as the School of Pharmacy’s Academic Policies and Procedures brochure.

Students who discontinue their enrollment with an authorized leave of absence will be subject to the degree requirements in effect for the semester of their readmission into the program. Students requesting exceptions should submit a petition to the School of Pharmacy.

Licensure as an Intern Pharmacist

Students enrolled in the USC School of Pharmacy must obtain an intern licensure with the California State Board of Pharmacy at the beginning of their first year. Applications for intern licensure are available from the Office of the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, School of Pharmacy.

Intern pharmacists may perform any of the duties of a registered pharmacist while working under the direct and personal supervision of a registered pharmacist.

Licensure as a Registered Pharmacist in California

In order to practice pharmacy in California, individuals must meet state requirements, which are currently:

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Character: Applicants must be of good moral character and of temperate habits.
  • Eligibility: To be eligible for examination, the applicant must be graduated from a school or college of pharmacy accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education or recognized by the State Board of Pharmacy, or have completed equivalent education and experience outside the United States, approved by the State Board. A minimum of 1,000 hours of practical experience must be completed prior to application deadline.
  • Experience: Pharmaceutical experience, consisting of 1,500 hours (500 additional hours over and above the examination requirement), is required before licensure may be granted. This experience must predominantly relate to the dispensing of medications, compounding of prescriptions, preparing pharmaceutical preparations, keeping records, and making reports required by state and federal statutes.
  • Reciprocity: California has no reciprocal agreement with any state.

The laws and regulations relating to pharmacy are embodied in the California Pharmacy Law which may be obtained from the California Board of Pharmacy, 1625 N. Market Blvd – Suite N219; Sacramento, California 95834.