University of Southern California
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Professional Degrees

Doctor of Pharmacy

A four-year curriculum, following appropriate college prerequisite work, leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) is offered to students admitted to the School of Pharmacy. A sample outline of the curriculum is listed in the following pages. The degree will not be conferred until the student has successfully completed all Doctor of Pharmacy degree requirements.

Application Procedure

The School of Pharmacy uses the College Application Service (PharmCAS) and a supplemental application for its admission process. Applications are available at The PharmCAS and supplemental application deadline is November 1 (subject to change).

Applications received before November 1 will have priority interview consideration when the PharmCAS and supplemental application are submitted and all necessary criteria have been met. Follow the instructions carefully for the PharmCAS application and the supplemental application for the USC School of Pharmacy.

Evaluation of official transcripts is completed by the School of Pharmacy Admission Committee and a letter of acceptance is mailed to each applicant who qualifies for entrance. All documents mailed directly to the School of Pharmacy and received from PharmCAS by the Office of Admission become the property of the university and cannot be returned or duplicated for other than university purposes.

Admission Guidelines

The Admission Committee considers several factors in making admissions decisions: strong academics; competitive performance in the interview; recommendation forms; and written comments specified in the application. The committee also considers a candidate’s motivation to pursue pharmacy, strong interpersonal skills, excellent oral and written communication skills, and leadership abilities. While the School of Pharmacy gives equal consideration to every qualified applicant, the school cannot accommodate all qualified candidates who apply for admission.

Admission of International Students

Although international students are subject to special admission procedures, which are specified in the Admission section of this catalogue, they must follow the application procedures used by domestic students.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to the School of Pharmacy requires: completion of the prerequisite college courses (90 semester or 135 quarter units) and a minimum 3.0 (A = 4.0) cumulative grade point average based on all transferable college course work.

Candidates who have received or will receive a baccalaureate degree or who have completed units in excess of the minimum required will be considered more favorably than applicants who have fulfilled only minimum requirements.

Prepharmacy Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the School of Pharmacy, students must take the required prerequisite college courses, including general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, mammalian physiology, calculus, statistics, general psychology or introduction to sociology, macroeconomics or microeconomics, interpersonal communication, English and electives from the social and behavioral sciences and humanities. These science requirements should be completed at any accredited four-year university. All other requirements may be completed at a two-year college.

Grades of pass/no pass or credit/no credit will not be accepted (unless a course is only offered on a pass/no pass basis).

Mathematics and Physical Sciences
Courses must include calculus, statistics, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. Only courses for science majors are acceptable. It is highly recommended that math and science courses be completed during the regular academic year and not during a summer term.

Calculus: one semester or two quarters of calculus are required. The course should include differential and integral calculus for science majors. The recommended course at USC is MATH 125.

Statistics: One course is required.

General chemistry: a one-year course for science majors, including laboratory, is required. The course should include inorganic chemistry and qualitative analysis. The recommended courses at USC are CHEM 105aLbL.

Organic chemistry: a one-year course for science majors, including laboratory, is required. If the school offers less than a one-year course, the student must complete the second semester at another institution. The recommended courses at USC are CHEM 322abL.

Physics: a one-year course in physics for science majors, including laboratory, is required. The recommended courses at USC are PHYS 135abL or PHYS 151L and PHYS 152L.

Biological Sciences
General biology: a one-year course for science majors is required in general biology with laboratory, for science majors (excluding courses in human anatomy, human physiology, botany and microbiology). If the school offers less than a one-year course, the student must complete the second semester at another institution. The recommended courses at USC are BISC 120L and BISC 220L.

Microbiology (with lab): one course in microbiology for science majors, including laboratory, is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 300L.

Molecular biology: one course in molecular biology for science majors is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 320L.

Biochemistry or cell biology: one course in biochemistry or cell biology for science majors is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 330L.

Mammalian physiology: one course in mammalian physiology for science majors, with laboratory, is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 307L.

Two semesters or three quarters of composition (or two quarters of composition and one quarter of literature) are required. Remedial English and English as a Second Language (ESL) are not acceptable. An English proficiency examination may be required.

One course (one semester or one quarter) in interpersonal communications is required. The course should include core theories of message production and reception in both interpersonal and public contexts. One semester or one quarter is required. The recommended courses at USC are COMM 200, COMM 304 or COMM 308.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Psychology or sociology: one course in general psychology or introduction to sociology is required. The recommended courses at USC are PSYC 100 or SOCI 200.

Economics: one course in either macroeconomics or microeconomics is required. If a one-year course is offered, both semesters may be taken and excess units may be applied to either the remainder of the unit requirements for the subject area or as elective units. The equivalent course at USC is ECON 203 or ECON 205.

Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree and meet the prerequisites described above (including general psychology or introduction to sociology and microeconomics or macroeconomics) at the time of admission will have fulfilled the requirement for social and behavioral sciences.

Students who will not have earned a baccalaureate degree at the time of admission must complete an additional two semesters or three quarters of courses in the social and behavioral sciences. Recommended areas include anthropology, psychology, psychobiology, economics, geography and sociology.

Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree and meet the prerequisites described above at the time of admission will have fulfilled the requirements for humanities.

Students who will not have earned a baccalaureate degree at the time of admission must complete an additional two semesters or three quarters of courses in literature, philosophy, history, ethics, foreign language or fine arts. Studio or performance classes in art and music are not acceptable.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Examinations

AP and IB scores are acceptable only for students entering the Pharm.D. program with a bachelor’s degree. Non-degree holders should complete the next higher level class for prepharmacy requirements. The Admission Committee recommends that applicants enroll in all of the required prepharmacy courses. For students who may have been waived out of any prepharmacy requirement, the committee generally will consider the application of higher level course work toward prepharmacy requirements. Please contact the School of Pharmacy Office of Admission for specific information.

Entrance Examination

The PCAT is not required but applicants who submit scores will be given favorable consideration in the application process. An interview is required for admission.

Transfer Students

Transfer students from other U.S. accredited colleges of pharmacy are not accepted into the Pharm.D. program.

Post-Baccalaureate Program

The School of Pharmacy accepts a limited number of applicants (if vacancies exist) who hold a recently conferred baccalaureate degree in pharmacy from a college of pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Such applicants may not be required to meet all prepharmacy requirements in order to qualify for admission and, if admitted to the Doctor of Pharmacy program, may be accepted at an advanced level for a minimum of two years (72 semester units) of full-time study.

Special Admissions Program for High School Students and USC Undergraduates

The Trojan Admission Prepharmacy (TAP) program provides guaranteed admission to the USC School of Pharmacy for USC undergraduates who meet preset performance standards. The TAP program is designed to attract highly qualified, mature high school seniors applying to USC. Admission requirements for high school applicants to the TAP program include prior admission to any USC undergraduate program. Currently enrolled USC undergraduates may apply to the TAP program with a 3.2 GPA at USC. Transfer students are not eligible for the TAP program.

Students accepted into the TAP program must take full course loads each semester (minimum of 16 units) and complete their prepharmacy requirements with at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA. All prepharmacy courses must be taken for letter grades. Pass/no pass, credit/no credit grades and grades lower than C are not acceptable.

TAP program participants who fulfill the requirements listed above will be guaranteed admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy program at USC. Participants who fulfill the prepharmacy and TAP GPA requirements and wish to complete their baccalaureate degree can do so without losing their guaranteed admission to the School of Pharmacy, provided they meet or exceed the minimum cumulative GPA required for admission into the Pharm.D. program. TAP program students receive ongoing individual advisement, access to the School of Pharmacy’s student services and the privilege of joining the student-run prepharmacy club, the USC Pharmaceutical Society. A specific listing of USC courses and a recommended program for TAP program participants can be obtained from the School of Pharmacy Office of Admission.

General Education Requirements (TAP Students Only)
The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. Click here and here for more information.

Pharm.D. Curriculum Requirements

The completion of a four-year professional curriculum is required to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The curriculum, except for the fourth year, is a “block” program. All students must enroll in 18 units each semester in courses designated for the fall or spring. Students do not have choices of courses to take nor are they permitted to drop any one course or courses during the semester. (Year III and IV students have elective course choices). Progress is permitted only when the prior semester is completed in full. Students should view the curriculum outlined here as advisory only and subject to modification. Aggregate hours must equal a minimum of 144 units to meet graduation requirements.

The pharmacist of tomorrow will provide preventive and therapeutic pharmaceutical care, provide drugs to patients, communicate in health care matters, meet the ethical and legal requirements of the practice of pharmacy and maintain professional expertise. The curriculum committee of the School of Pharmacy has developed guidelines and patient care competencies consistent with interpretations of this new role. An appropriate and dynamic educational program is needed to develop these competencies, and curriculum changes are necessary and desirable in order to meet scientific advances, population profile changes, increasing health expectations, technological advances, the increasing role of the government in health services and other influences.

Program of Courses

year I, Fall (18 units)units
PHRD 501Pharmaceutics I4
PHRD 503Biological Systems I4
PHRD 507Health Care Delivery Systems2
PHRD 509Pharmacy Practice and Experience I4
PHRD 555Biochemical and Molecular Sites of Drug Action4

year I, Spring (18 units)units
PHRD 502Pharmaceutics II3
PHRD 504Biological Systems II6
PHRD 505Molecular Genetics and Therapy3
PHRD 510Pharmacy Practice and Experience II4
PHRD 554Public Health and Epidemiology2

year II, Fall (18 units)units
PHRD 506Self Care and Non- Prescription Therapies5
PHRD 508Pharmacy Literature Analysis and Drug Information, or
PHRD 561Parenteral Therapy Externship3
PHRD 551Immunology3
PHRD 557Therapeutics I5
PHRD 559Therapeutics II2

year II, Spring (18 units)units
PHRD 552Pharmaceutics III3
PHRD 553Management within Health Care Organizations2
PHRD 560Therapeutics III6
PHRD 561LParenteral Therapy Externship, or
PHRD 508Pharmacy Literature Analysis and Drug Information3
PHRD 562Therapeutics IV4

year III, Fall (18 units)units
PHRD 601Therapeutics V6
PHRD 603Therapeutics VI3
PHRD 605Therapeutics VII4
PHRD 607Nutrition2
Elective 3

year III, Spring (18 units)units
PHRD 606Therapeutics VIII2
PHRD 608Therapeutics IX2
PHRD 610Therapeutics X3
PHRD 612Therapeutics XI2
PHRD 614Pharmaceutical Economics and Outcome Studies3
PHRD 616Pharmacy Law and Ethics3
Elective 3

Year III students must choose their electives from the following (3 units each):
PHRD 651Community Pharmacy I
PHRD 652Community Pharmacy II
PHRD 653Health Systems Pharmacy I
PHRD 654Health Systems Pharmacy II
PHRD 655Geriatric Pharmacy I
PHRD 656Geriatric Pharmacy II
PHRD 657LBasic Research Design
PHRD 658Sleep and the Pharmacologic Management of Its Disorders
PHRD 659Molecular Therapeutics: Signal Transduction
PHRD 660Disease State Management I
PHRD 661Pharmacy Practice in Women’s Health
PHRD 662Psychiatric Pharmacy Practice
PHRD 663Pharmaceutical Development
PHRD 664Clinical Problem Solving
PHRD 665Complementary/Alternative Therapeutics
PHRD 666Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
PHRD 667Drugs of Abuse
PHRD 668Computing Application
PHRD 669Health Care Needs of Special Populations
PHRD 670Marketing and Development in the Pharmaceutical Industry

year IV, Fall (18 units)
Required Clerkships
Elective Clerkships

year IV, Spring (18 units)
Required Clerkships
>Elective Clerkships

Required Clerkships (6 units each) -- four rotations:

PHRD 701Acute Care Clinical Practice Clerkship
PHRD 705Community Pharmacy Clerkship
PHRD 704Primary Care Clerkship, or
PHRD 707Outpatient Psychiatric Pharmacy Clerkship

An inpatient practice elective must be satisfied by PHRD 702 if the student selects PHRD 707 Outpatient Psychiatric Pharmacy Clerkship. If the student selects PHRD 702, the student may take elective clerkships marked * to satisfy the requirement.

Elective Clerkships -- two rotations:

PHRD 702*Inpatient Psychiatric Pharmacy Clerkship
PHRD 703Long Term Care Clerkship
PHRD 706Geriatrics Clerkship
PHRD 708*Inpatient Clinical Practice Clerkship
PHRD 709*Pediatric Drug Therapy Clerkship
PHRD 710*Surgery Clerkship
PHRD 711*Cardiovascular Drug Therapy Clerkship
PHRD 712*Applied Clinical Pharmacokinetics Clerkship
PHRD 713Drug Information Clerkship
PHRD 714Radiopharmacy Clerkship
PHRD 715*Oncology Clerkship
PHRD 716*Ob-Gyn Clerkship
PHRD 717Dermatology Clerkship
PHRD 718Hospital Pharmacy Practice Clerkship
PHRD 719Pain Management Clerkship
PHRD 720*Critical Care Clerkship
PHRD 721Drug Utilization and Evaluation Clerkship
PHRD 722Home Health Care Clerkship
PHRD 723*Nutritional Support Clerkship
PHRD 724Advanced Community Pharmacy Clerkship
PHRD 725International Pharmacy Clerkship
PHRD 726Directed Clinical Project Clerkship I
PHRD 727Directed Clinical Project Clerkship II
PHRD 728Directed Clinical Project Clerkship III
PHRD 729Directed Clinical Project Clerkship IV
PHRD 730Acute Care Geriatrics Clerkship
PHRD 731Advanced Geriatrics Clerkship
PHRD 732Pharmacy Administration Clerkship
PHRD 733*Anticoagulation Therapy Clerkship
PHRD 734*Antimicrobial Therapy Clerkship
PHRD 735Clinical Pharmacy Research Clerkship
PHRD 736*Chemical Dependency Clerkship
PHRD 737*Clinical Transplantation Clerkship
PHRD 738Pharmaceutical Industry Clerkship
PHRD 739AIDS/Immune Disorders Clerkship
PHRD 740Health Care Systems Administration Clerkship
PHRD 741Advanced Ambulatory Care Clerkship
*Acceptable for satisfying the inpatient elective requirement.

Total for Pharm.D. degree: 144 semester units.

Degree Requirements

All students in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program must meet course requirements, grade point average requirements and program residency requirements. All course requirements must be completed with a grade of “C” or better. The degree will not be conferred until the student has successfully completed all Doctor of Pharmacy degree requirements. Students are subject to the degree requirements in the USC Catalogue current for the semester of their admission into the Doctor of Pharmacy program. Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the Pharm.D. curriculum to meet graduation requirements.


Details of the School of Pharmacy registration procedure will be included in the orientation program prior to the first week of classes.

Cancellation of Registration

During the first three years of the Doctor of Pharmacy program (Years I, II and III), a student will only be permitted to withdraw from all courses enrolled in a semester and may not selectively withdraw from a single course or group of courses. During the fourth year, students must contact the School of Pharmacy Office of Admission and Student Affairs for withdrawal guidelines. Procedures for readmission into the program or make-up of incomplete courses and clerkships are included in the school’s brochure on academic policies and procedures.