Dean's Welcome

Dean Vassilios Photo

Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos

Welcome to the USC School of Pharmacy, a school rich in tradition and leadership. I encourage you to explore this website to see the many opportunities we provide our students.

Our faculty are passionate about providing exceptional education, expert clinical care, pharmaceutical and health economics research that positively influences healthcare policy, and breakthrough scientific discoveries that translate into improved human health.

To our alumni, you have so much to be proud of as members of the Trojan Family, and so many of you play a key role in that family. To our prospective PharmD students, you have so much to look forward to as you will experience a curriculum that fully engages you in advanced pharmacy experiences. To our prospective graduate students, you have such a diversity of talented faculty and training opportunities as well as a diverse network of Trojan alumni in the public and private sectors of biomedical research, healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.

Since its inception more than a century ago, the School has remained a place of innovation and excellence in pharmacy education. As the needs of society and the profession have changed, the School has pioneered and continues to develop new programs to better prepare future pharmacists for an expanded role in the healthcare profession.

USC developed the nation’s first Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1950 and we were among the first schools of pharmacy to establish a clinical curriculum, beginning in 1968. Those were radical advances at the time but are now considered foundational training for all pharmacists throughout the U.S. The School also helped transform the pharmacist’s role from a traditional dispenser of medicines to a direct provider of patient care. USC led a key pilot project in the 1970s to explore prescriptive authority for pharmacists that, in 1981, led to California being the first state to enact legislation allowing pharmacists to prescribe drug therapy in collaboration with physicians. USC then played a key role in the successful legislation in California that recognized pharmacists as healthcare providers in 2014.

Consistently the top-ranked private school of pharmacy, the School continues to be an innovative force in pharmacy education to meet the needs of a changing world, launching the nation’s first PharmD/MBA dual degree in 1990, the first PhD in pharmaceutical economics and policy in 1994, the first professional doctorate in regulatory science in 2008, and a translational science graduate program that merges science with clinical expertise.

Today the School offers numerous dual- and joint-degree programs—in such fields as law, business, public health, regulatory science, healthcare decision analysis, and gerontology— creating graduates with unique skills and knowledge who are highly sought for a variety of career options. Our location in Los Angeles and on USC’s Health Science Campus provides students an array of clinical experiential opportunities in a wide variety of settings, working with a diverse range of patients and disease states. The School leads the way nationally in promoting pharmacy practice in safety-net clinics serving the homeless and uninsured.

USC is the only private school of pharmacy on a major health sciences campus. This affords our students a unique environment of professionalism and opens the doors for clinical opportunities immediately on campus, including those at the Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, and the five pharmacies owned and operated by the School. USC School of Pharmacy students also find a rich professional and social atmosphere on the Health Sciences Campus, interacting with colleagues and faculty from various health profession schools.

This interdisciplinary environment also fosters leading-edge research and strengthens the School’s dedication to revolutionizing healthcare through discoveries and innovations that improve people’s lives. Our research enterprise has been rewarded with significant grants from the National Institutes of Health that support the School’s unique interdisciplinary approaches to drug development, targeting, delivery and discovery. Our drug research platforms are complemented by a vibrant program in health economics and policy, including a unique collaboration with the Price School of Public Policy through the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.

The USC School of Pharmacy is #1 in the nation for external research funding for private pharmacy schools. This provides an exciting and engaging environment for students pursuing MS and PhD degrees at the School. Also, the School’s Regulatory Science program, preparing the next generation of leaders for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, offers both MS and DRSc degrees. Since many of our regulatory science students are working executives, classes are offered in either a traditional or distance-learning format.

Whatever you choose to study at the USC School of Pharmacy, you will find a welcoming place where talented individuals solve complex problems by working collaboratively – with colleagues in other disciplines throughout the university and at academic institutions around the world, as well as with industry and governmental partners. We transcend traditional ways of thinking to creatively generate transformative ideas and outcomes.

The School continues to evolve and grow. What remains constant is our commitment to preparing students to be agents of change within their field, seeking to apply their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of people nationwide and around the world.

Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD, DSc (hon)
Dean, USC School of Pharmacy
John Stauffer Decanal Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences