The PharmD curriculum is a four-year combination of required and elective courses. Students are generally enrolled in 11-19 units each semester. The sample curriculum outlined below provides an overview of the current PharmD curriculum.

Foundational courses in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, social-administrative and clinical sciences comprise the first three years of the program. Students complete Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) along with classroom-based courses. The end of the third year and final (fourth) year of the program includes the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE), which are set in healthcare setting throughout the greater Los Angeles area, along with a capstone course.

The School of Pharmacy’s Curriculum Committee continuously reviews and enhances the curriculum to ensure students develop the competencies essential to the pharmacist’s expanding role as a health care provider. Curriculum changes also reflect scientific advances, population profile changes, increasing health expectations, technological advances, the increasing role of the government in health services and other influences.

View the PharmD Student Handbook

Sample Student Program (view a sample Four-Year PharmD Course Plan)

Areas of Concentration

The USC School of Pharmacy is pleased to offer six areas of concentration within the PharmD curriculum:

Comprehensive Medication Management and High-Risk Populations

Didactic Courses (6 units):

Specialized knowledge and skills in geriatric pharmacy, pharmacology of aging, and unique functions of health care team providing care to the elderly patient.

Specialized knowledge and skills in gerontology and geriatric pharmacy including the pathophysiology of selected cardiovascular, endocrine, genitourinary gastrointestinal disorders, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

The purpose of this longitudinal course is to provide student pharmacists with knowledge, skills and experiences to develop them into collaborative interprofessional practitioners. USC student pharmacists will work in teams with Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine (KPSOM) medical students and Western University of Health Sciences nursing students in a total of 8 interprofessional sessions and IPC service learning opportunities over the course of two years.

Medical and recreational Cannabis has been legalized by over 36 states. The focus of this course is on Cannabis user safety. Cannabis users frequently turn to health care providers to seek answers to their questions about the efficacy and safety of various Cannabis products as well as the potential use for various health conditions. This course will provide a holistic perspective of Cannabis to help pharmacy and pharmaceutical science experts participate in both the wise use and study of Cannabis. In this course, participants will gain an evidence-based approach to discern through the clutter of Cannabis information.

 

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Directed projects/practical experience in geriatric drug therapy.

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a health care setting.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in Comprehensive Medication Management and High-Risk Populations, please e-mail faculty liaisons Michelle Chu (lee118@usc.edu) and Tatyana Gurvich (gurvich@usc.edu).

Education

Education

Understanding and application of learning theory and teaching methodology, small group teaching, active learning, student motivation, basic assessment methods, and general online teaching tools.

Continuation of Pharmacy Education I.

An advanced seminar course with a focus on educational methods, teaching skills, and hands-on training through teaching pharmacy technician students in the Los Angeles area.

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a non-traditional or emerging setting.

Note: As part of the fourth year advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) program, Pharm.D students are required to complete six total rotations. A non-traditional advanced pharmacy elective in education can be taken in partial fulfillment of this concentration. Examples of previous educational APPEs have included projects related to teaching, research, practice, and community service.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in Education, please e-mail faculty liaisons Maryann Wu (maryann@usc.edu) and Rebecca Romero (rromero@usc.edu).

Health Systems and Care Management

Didactic Courses (6 units):

Understanding formal and informal organizations in institutions, managed care, disease management, health care policy and financing, patients chart organization, and clinical monitoring parameters.

This course will cover basic and advanced strategies for marketing and development of new compounds or indication in the pharmaceutical industry.

Nexus of pharmacology and toxicology, therapeutic use and toxicology of common drugs, and prescribing these drugs in clinical practice.

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a health care setting.

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a non-traditional or emerging setting.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in Health Systems and Care Management, please e-mail faculty liaisons Paul Beringer (beringer@usc.edu), Kevin Forrester (kforrest@usc.edu) and Vinson Lee (vclee99@gmail.com).

Pharmaceutical Industry

Didactic Courses (6 units):

Examination of pharmaceutical product development process including discovery, preclinical/clinical studies, regulatory-legal issues and marketing.

This course will cover basic and advanced strategies for marketing and development of new compounds or indication in the pharmaceutical industry.

Introduction to regulatory environments surrounding medical product development, manufacturing and marketing; operation of federal, state and international regulatory bodies.

Ensuring safety and effectiveness of new drugs and biologics; marketing and monitoring approved pharmaceutical/biological products; management of genetically engineering products.

Introduction to insurance payer types, functions, actuarial pricing methods, network design and business operations impacting the provision of health benefits and reimbursement for medical products and services.

Basic overview focused on the coverage, payment, reimbursement and access to healthcare and pharmaceuticals across a global landscape including the US, EU, and the big five countries of Asia-Pacific.

Basic introduction focused on the pathways and principles for managing new health technology discovery, funding, development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, and commercial market launch.

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Practical experience within a pharmaceutical company may include: clinical affairs, drug development, research, and/or marketing process.

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a non-traditional or emerging setting.

Note: As part of the fourth year advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) program, Pharm.D. students are required to complete six total rotations. If available, one rotation may be a pharmaceutical industry APPE in partial fulfillment of the pharmaceutical industry area of concentration. Previous sites have included Allergan, Amgen, Inc., Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Emmaus Life Sciences, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Procter & Gamble Company, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Please note there is no guarantee of placement in a pharmaceutical industry APPE. This will be based on the number of sites available in a given year.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in the Pharmaceutical Industry, please e-mail faculty liaisons Patrick Gless (pgless@healthpolicy.usc.edu) and Frances Richmond (fjr@usc.edu).

Pharmacy Entrepreneurship

Didactic Courses (6 units):

Development of specialized knowledge and skills in community pharmacy practice involving location analysis, pharmacy management principles, and introduction to business law concepts.

A continuation of PHRD 651 highlighting the subspecialties available in independent pharmacy including but not limited to specialty pharmacy, 340B pharmacy, DME, compounding, LTC and infusion.

Examination of pharmaceutical product development process including discovery, preclinical/clinical studies, regulatory-legal issues and marketing.

Practical Spanish for pharmacists, including basic conversation of commonly prescribed drugs.

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a health care setting.

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a non-traditional or emerging setting.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in Pharmacy Entrepreneurship, please e-mail faculty liaisons Raffi Svadjian (svadjian@usc.edu) and Fred Weissman (weissman@usc.edu).

Research

Didactic Courses (6 units):

Research experience to integrate research into Doctor of Pharmacy program. Research focuses on industrial, academic, or governmental issues.

Experiential Courses (6 units):

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a health care setting.

Pharmacy practice experience (internship) course in a non-traditional or emerging setting.

TOTAL: 12 UNITS

For any questions about the Area of Concentration in Research, please e-mail faculty liaisons James Adams (jadams@usc.edu) and Tien Ng (tienng@usc.edu).

Twelve units will be required for each area of concentration and can be completed as part of the regular PharmD curriculum.  

For any questions about our areas of concentration, please e-mail Edith Mirzaian (emirzakh@usc.edu).