Curriculum: 2017 and Before

The APPE graduation requirement has been adjusted for students graduating in the Class of 2021P as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The APPE requirement for students in the Class of 2021P is 42 units; 4 blocks of required APPEs (CP 192, CP 193, CP 194, CP 195) and 2 blocks of elective APPEs (totaling 14 units; 1 of which is a direct patient care rotation). For students in the Pharm Care Pathway, 176 units are required for the PharmD degree; 190 units are required for students in the HSPR Pathway; and194 units are required for students in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Pathway.

The curriculum for students entering the PharmD degree program in 2017 and before is designed to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in pharmacy practice. All students complete a required core curriculum and select an emphasis in one of three pathways:

PharmD curricular outcomes

The UCSF Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum prepares graduates to demonstrate competence in six areas:

  • Patient and population-based care
  • Scientific and clinical foundations
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based practice

Details: PharmD Curricular Outcomes

Core curriculum

Years 1 and 2

The first and second professional years are intended to broaden the students’ knowledge in the basic biological, physical, and chemical sciences and understanding of the areas of professional emphasis in pharmacy. The emphasis in academic instruction shifts from the physical to the biological sciences to the mechanisms of drug action. Throughout the curriculum, students take elective coursework to explore their professional interests and the varied dimensions of pharmacy practice. In addition, through Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs), students gain patient care experience in a variety of practice settings.


Pathway curriculum

Year 3

The 3rd professional year is a transitional year, combining additional scientific and professional courses with a significant clinical orientation. Students take an increasing number of pathway-specific courses in the 3rd year.


Year 4

The 4th year combines experience in patient care settings with a focus on the pathway through a combination of required and elective courses. Students complete advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) in a variety of acute, ambulatory, long-term care, and community settings. The clinical curriculum focuses on applying formal classroom training to the practice of pharmacy in the total health care of patients.

Interprofessional education

PharmD students learn alongside students from UCSF programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing and physical therapy. Through the Program for Innovation in Interprofessional Education, faculty leaders across the UCSF campus create opportunities for students from different fields to interact and learn in a way that prepares them for the seamless teamwork of interprofessional, collaborative practice that successful modern patient care delivery requires. Interprofessional education represents an exciting and important dimension of pharmacy education at UCSF.


Electives may be taken in addition to our Core Curriculum.

In addition to core and pathway courses, you also have an opportunity each year to take additional elective courses. Elective courses enable you to further extend your study into the areas which interest you. And, some elective courses in other UCSF schools of medicine, dentistry, and nursing are open to creating an interdisciplinary approach to your studies. Elective courses earn credit which is applied to the requirements for your degree.

To see sample elective listings from current and past quarters, visit Class Schedules.

The Course Catalog lists all current courses. Electives offered by the School of Pharmacy are included in the listings for Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacy.