The UCSF PharmD-PhD has many benefits.


Through careful structuring of the UCSF PharmD-PhD, it is possible for students to complete the requirements for both the PharmD and PhD degrees in a shorter time than would be expected if the two degrees were obtained separately.

  • Doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students are encouraged to complete three required research rotations during years 2 and 3 of the PharmD curriculum. This includes an Extended Discovery Project in year 2 and two additional rotations during year 3 (See Program Timeline).
  • PharmD students can also complete one required core course for PSPG (PSPG245C) and will be eligible to complete Graduate Division mini courses offered in the spring quarter of year 2 of the PharmD program.
  • Unlike the PharmD program, which has a set, three-year curriculum, the PhD is a research degree, and, as a result, the duration of the path is not fixed. Traditional PhD students typically require a minimum of 5 years to complete their degree, but efficiencies built into the PharmD-PhD are intended to shorten the time required to complete the PhD degree. It is estimated that UCSF PharmD-PhD students will be able to complete their PhD degree as early as four years after the PharmD degree.

Unparalleled preparation

UCSF PharmD-PhD graduates will be uniquely qualified to translate basic pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics research to clinical applications. For example:

  • A PharmD-PhD graduate might study the genetic variability in drug transporters at the molecular level in a pharmaceutical company and continue this research in clinical studies to determine the impact of this variability on appropriate drug selection and patient care.
  • A PharmD-PhD graduate might be involved in quantitative systems pharmacology in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, using modeling and simulation skills to design clinical trials, define the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships for new drugs, and build predictive models of drug response for special populations.
  • PharmD-PhD graduates working in academia will be prepared to pursue a breadth of research topics and have the skills to demonstrate to others the relevance of basic sciences research to professional practice.
  • Graduates of the UCSF PharmD-PhD will be well qualified to pursue careers in research and/or teaching in academia, governmental agencies, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, or in a variety of other health care settings.

Qualification for PharmD licensure

Students who complete the PharmD-PhD will meet all requirements for licensure as a pharmacist in California.