Like other health professions, the practice of pharmacy is regulated by law. In the United States, the various state laws limit practice to those who have been duly licensed by the state. Qualifications for licensure are graduating from an accredited college of pharmacy, completing a required internship program, and passing examinations conducted by the board of pharmacy within the state.
A degree in another field does not qualify the graduate for admission to the licensure examination. While those having degrees in other fields may receive credit for courses applicable to pharmacy, in no event may they qualify for an entry-level degree in pharmacy in less than four years of resident study or the equivalent. Since state internship requirements are not uniform, pharmacy candidates should acquaint themselves with the requirements in the state or states in which they wish to qualify to practice and with the steps necessary to fulfill these requirements.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy allows up to 750 hours of credit toward internship requirements for experience gained in Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations within the pharmacy curriculum, provided the student is registered with the board prior to entering the APPE rotations. Other states also may allow credit toward internship requirements. Students should contact the particular state board of pharmacy to determine specific requirements for obtaining such credit if granted.
At Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the education of the pharmacist is built upon a thorough knowledge of the chemical, physical, biological, and social sciences and the liberal arts. During the first two years of study, students acquire general education and basic skills and concepts as well as knowledge in the biological, chemical, physical, and social sciences. During the professional years, this knowledge base is integrated with professional courses and the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE).
Students are admitted into the doctor of pharmacy program in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy when admitted to the University as freshmen. In addition to meeting entrance criteria for the doctor of pharmacy program, starting in fall 2013 admitted students must also meet and acknowledge understanding of the technical standards that define the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains needed as a student pharmacist and future pharmacy professional. These are elaborated in the PCP handbook available to all PCP students online (in the PCP Central Repository) and also available from the dean’s office. Students remaining in good academic standing after completing the pre-professional years (U1–U2) of the program and, for students entering in Catalog Year 2010 and later a required interview, will automatically progress to the professional years (P1–P4) of the doctor of pharmacy program. Internal change of major and transfer students are accepted in the P1 (first professional) year of the doctor of pharmacy program on a competitive basis, if space is available after progression of previously enrolled students into P1. Admission into the P1 year of the doctor of pharmacy program is handled by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy; the process and requirements are different from freshman admission.
Clinical instruction is accomplished through a coordinated experiential program throughout the professional (P1–P4) years, utilizing the extensive community, institutional, and industrial pharmacy facilities available in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
Our vision is to create and foster dedicated pharmacists who will have a moral commitment to improve the quality of life of individual patients and have a positive impact on society by being an integral part of the healthcare team. Our graduates will be compassionate, innovative, highly sought after, and respected leaders of the pharmacy profession. They will be able to adapt to the dynamic nature of the healthcare system and changing technology and serve as positive role models in the community. Our program will foster these ideals by providing a strong scientific education and promoting communication, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills through lifelong learning.
The goal of the PharmD program is to prepare a graduate who will be capable of providing patient care, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical care, as a means of achieving optimal patient outcomes. The graduate will be capable of:
- Independent, analytical thinking and problem solving.
- Demonstrating proficiency in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the basic and applied pharmaceutical sciences.
- Communicating effectively with patients, caregivers, and members of the healthcare community.
- Functioning confidently as an integral member of a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
- Effecting and adapting to change through lifelong learning.
- Accepting leadership and management responsibilities.
- Functioning in a manner consistent with professional and ethical standards of practice.
- Promoting healthcare and the optimal use of medications.
Students must complete 207 credits to qualify for the doctor of pharmacy degree.
Students must complete the general education curriculum. Students entering the PharmD program directly from high school must enroll for a minimum of 12 credits hours each semester and be enrolled at the University for at least four semesters of pre-professional education. During the P1–P3 years of the PharmD program, students must be enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours per semester) for a minimum of an additional six semesters, plus a final year (P4) of 38 credits of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPEs) distributed over a calendar year.
Progression in the doctor of pharmacy program is defined as the year-to-year advancement in the program, based on satisfactory completion of all coursework, achievement of minimum academic and program-specific grade point averages, and meeting any additional academic requirements, including proficiencies, in a timely manner.
For entry-level doctor of pharmacy students admitted into the classes of 2014 and later (Catalog Year 2008 and later), progression from U2 (second undergraduate year) into P1 (first professional year) is automatic when the following criteria are met: all required coursework since matriculation is taken at University of the Sciences; all required first- and second-year coursework is successfully completed by the end of spring semester of second year; and both a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a natural science/math GPA of 2.50 are achieved by the end of spring semester of second year. Students who do not meet all three criteria will be withdrawn from the program; if their cumulative GPA is above 2.50, these students will be reviewed for readmission into P1 of the program on a competitive basis, space permitting. If not readmitted, students may apply to other programs. Students admitted into the classes of 2016 and later (Catalog Years 2010 and later) must successfully complete an interview prior to progression into the first professional year (P1) of the program.
Students entering the University as undergraduates or who transfer into the first professional year (P1) of the PharmD program without a previous baccalaureate degree will be eligible to earn the BS in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Studies (BS PHHCS) at the completion of their second professional year (P2). In order to earn this degree, students must meet all University requirements for the BS PHHCS degree and must be in good academic standing.
In the professional years of the PharmD program (i.e., P1–P4, years 3–6), students who achieve below a semester GPA of 2.30 will receive program probation. Students who exceed two program probations or do not complete program requirements within the maximum number of years of residence in the program will be withdrawn from the program. Students must achieve a minimum grade of “C-” (“P” if taking pass/fail election) for satisfactory completion of all nonelective required courses with the prefix PA, PC, PH, or PP and must adhere to the appropriate course sequencing as indicated by prerequisites, corequisites, and program year. Students who achieve a grade of less than “C-” upon repetition of the same nonelective required course with the prefix PA, PC, PH, or PP will be dropped from the program. The Office of the Dean of PCP monitors compliance with all academic standards as well as student progression through the program. For greater detail, please see the PCP handbook available to all PCP students online (in the PCP Central Repository) and also available from the dean’s office.
Passing the writing proficiency examination is a graduation requirement for students who entered in Catalog Year 2008 or earlier (see Catalog Year for Degree Requirements). Students who have failed the examination are urged to seek assistance from the Writing Center. Students admitted into the graduating class of 2014 (Catalog Year 2008) must complete the writing proficiency exam prior to entering the second professional year (P2).
Students must be certified in First Aid/CPR in accordance with the American Red Cross standards prior to beginning their experiential training. Competence in pharmaceutical calculations must be completed in their final didactic semester on campus prior to progressing to the fourth professional year (P4). Students are also required to undergo criminal background checks throughout the professional years to participate in the IPPE and APPE components of the curriculum.
Completing the entry-level doctor of pharmacy program at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy requires full-time (i.e., 12 credits/semester or greater) enrollment from the time the student is admitted. Students admitted into the first professional year of the program must be enrolled for at least four years (i.e., eight semesters of at least 12 credits/semester) in residency at the college, regardless of the nature or extent of previous academic experience. Such students, however, will receive credit in those basic sciences and general education subjects that are considered equivalent in content and semester-hour credit with similar courses included in the pharmacy curriculum at this University and in which they earned a grade of “C” or better.
The doctor of pharmacy degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). The ACPE is an autonomous and independent national agency whose board of directors (the decision- and policy-making body) includes pharmacy educators, pharmacy practitioners, state board of pharmacy members/executives, and a public representative. A three-member public interest panel also provides public perspectives in the policy- and decision-making processes of accreditation. ACPE offices are located at 20 North Clark Street, Suite 2500, Chicago, IL 60602-5109, 312.664.3575, www.acpe-accredit.org. Accreditation status is available at the website.
Student Comments and Complaints
ACPE requires that colleges of pharmacy respond to any written complaints by pharmacy students relating to adherence to the standards, policies, and procedures of ACPE. Students should submit a written comment or complaint to the Office of the Dean of Pharmacy (GH-216). All comments or complaints will be evaluated, and a written response will be provided. Students are also encouraged to visit the ACPE website at www.acpe-accredit.org.
Student Participation in Experiential Education
Students and the University must satisfy requirements imposed by training sites as a condition of student participation in experiential education, starting with Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPEs) in the first professional year (P1) and continuing through P2 and P3, and furthered in the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPEs) in the final year of the program. Additionally, prior to being permitted to begin or continue rotations at off-campus training sites, students may be required to:
- Provide a Social Security number.
- Provide a medical history including immunity to infectious diseases by documented history of infectious diseases (e.g., measles, rubella, hepatitis B) and/or vaccinations, including titers for certain agents.
- Have a negative PPD or chest x-ray if indicated.
- Complete a physical examination.
- Submit to a criminal background check and other background checks with disclosure to site of any convictions consistent with their criteria.
- Submit to a drug screen with disclosure to site of any positive findings for drugs that are taken without medical supervision.
- Provide evidence of and maintain personal medical insurance coverage at all times while at off-campus training sites.
- Provide First Aid, CPR, and other clinical training certifications that are required by site.
Depending on the requirements of the affiliation agreement between the site and the University, the documentation requested may be coordinated by or at the training site or facilitated by the University using campus-based programs or by an external agency. In all cases, the student is ultimately responsible for ensuring the requirements have been satisfied, with documentation submitted in a timely manner per deadlines. Placement in experiential sites will depend on timely completion of prerequisites and student identification of preferences but may be subject to a lottery system if supply and demand are mismatched. Students may be required to obtain their own transportation and to assume associated costs for their own automobile or public transportation to and from experiential sites.
If a student is unable to satisfy the requirements listed above, the University may be unable to place the student in an experiential education setting. As a result, the student may be unable to complete the graduation requirements outlined by the major and may be unable to obtain licensure. Specific licensure requirements for each state’s board of pharmacy and licensure examination pass rates for graduates can be found at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website (www.nabp.net).
Doctor of pharmacy students are expected to agree and comply with the conditions of the Pharmacy Practice Professionalism Agreement during pharmacy practice experiential coursework. A student unable to comply with the agreement may be removed from a rotation, may fail a rotation, or may be administratively withdrawn from the doctor of pharmacy program.