The practice of pharmacy is regulated by law, similar to other healthcare professions. In the United States, state laws limit pharmacy practice to those who have been duly licensed by the state. Qualifications for licensure include graduation from an accredited college of pharmacy, completion of required internship hours, and passing pharmacy practice and law examinations as determined by the board of pharmacy within the state. Only graduates with the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an ACPE-accredited school of pharmacy are eligible for licensure.
At Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the education of the student pharmacist is built upon a thorough knowledge of the chemical, physical, biological and social sciences as well as the liberal arts. During the pre-professional phase of the program, which normally takes 2 academic years, pharmacy students complete most or all of the University general education requirements and all of the pharmacy program pre-requisites. During the pre-professional years, pharmacy students have the flexibility to complete minors, double majors, and study abroad (although this may require additional years in the pre-professional program). During the first three professional years (P1, P2, P3), student pharmacists integrate, elaborate, and apply their acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes through focused and integrated competency-driven professional coursework, interprofessional education, and Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs). The final year of professional training (P4) involves Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) which allow student pharmacists to complete their personal and professional evolution to become compassionate and confident pharmacy professionals.
Most students are admitted into the PharmD program directly from high school as part of the six-year direct entry doctor of pharmacy program. Upon completing the pre-professional phase of the program, students who meet the academic standards of the program (see Progression section below) will directly progress to the professional years of the PharmD program. Students who meet the prerequisite requirements can also be admitted into the professional phase of the program (P1 year) as an external transfer or internal change of major. In addition, students who hold a baccalaureate degree and meet the professional pre-requisites may enter as a P1 student. Transfer change of major admissions are admitted on a competitive basis and may be limited by space.
Admission into the P1 year of the PharmD program is the responsibility of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Admissions Committee. The process and requirements for acceptance are distinct from direct-entry U1 admission, but similarly entail evaluation of academic capability and suitability for professional education via previous academic record and a required professional education readiness interview.
Experiential learning is accomplished through a coordinated effort between the office of experiential programs and the department of pharmacy practice / pharmacy administration. This IPPEs in P1-P3 and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences APPEs in the P4 year. The experiential program utilizes the extensive community, institutional, and industry sites available locally, nationally and internationally. As described below (see Experiential Education), additional prerequisites must be fulfilled for placement and successful completion of experiential education.
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, knowledgeable, skilled and innovative, job- ready pharmacy practitioners, who will become trusted 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 the skills and attitudes (including patient-centered focus, inter-professional and lay communication, collaborative problem-solving, and proactive critical-thinking) needed in entry-level pharmacists’ roles now and in the future.
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. As such, the PharmD program outcomes expect each graduate to demonstrate competency (and the associated knowledge, skills and attitudes) in entry-level pharmacists’ roles, as outlined below (further details can be found in the PCP Student Handbook).
Competency Driven Curriculum
The Competency Driven Curriculum was implemented for P1 students in fall 2018. The anticipated benefits of this professional curriculum are greater student retention within the program and on time progression through the professional curriculum, as well as enhanced career preparation to meet the changing needs of the pharmacy profession. The curriculum is designed that each student meets set competencies (listed below) by the end of the program.
1. Patient Safety - Accurately Dispense Medications: Demonstrate a commitment to and a valuing of patient safety by assuring accurate preparation, labeling, dispensing and distribution of prescriptions and medication orders.
2. Basic Patient Assessment: Collect record and assess subjective and objective patient data to define health and medication-related problems. Patient information must be collected in a manner demonstrating knowledge of patient educational level, the unique cultural and socioeconomic situations of patients, and comply with requirements for patient privacy.
3. Foundational knowledge: The graduate is able to develop, integrate, and apply knowledge from the foundational sciences (e.g. medication information, biomedical, pharmaceutical, social/behavioral/administrative, and clinical sciences) to evaluate the scientific literature, explain drug action, solve therapeutic problems, and advance population health and patient-centered care.
4. Identify, prevent and resolve drug related problems: Correlate drug related variables and patient related variables to identify and assess drug related problems. Evaluate how the unique characteristics of patients and patient populations impact on manifestations of drug-related problems.
5. Mathematics applied to pharmaceutical calculations, compounded medications, dose calculations, and applications of pharmacokinetic calculations: Utilize pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetics mathematics to perform accurate medication calculations. Value the importance of total accuracy in performing and applying these calculations.
6. Ethical, Professional, and Legal Behavior: In all health-care activities, demonstrate knowledge of and sensitivity towards the unique characteristics of each patient. Comply with all federal, state, and local laws related to pharmacy practice. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior in all practice activities.
7. General Communication Abilities: Demonstrate effective communication abilities in interactions with patients, their families and caregivers, and other healthcare providers. Communication should be consistent with education level, cultural issues, and be empathetic. Elicit feedback validating understanding of communication.
8. Counseling Patients: Provide effective health and medication information to patients and/or care givers and confirm patient and/or care giver understanding of the information being provided.
9. Drug Information Analysis and Literature Research: Assess information needs of patients and health providers and apply knowledge of study design and literature analysis and retrieval to provide accurate, evidence-based drug information.
10. Health and Wellness – Public Health: Know and apply principles of health and wellness in provision of individual and population-based health and wellness information. Integrate unique characteristics of individuals and populations in design of health and wellness information.
11. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Engage in innovative activities by using creative thinking to envision better ways of accomplishing professional goals.
In the competency-driven curriculum, the focus is on students developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors for confident and collaborative patient-centered care, innovation and leadership right from day one of their first professional year. The four-year professional curriculum is delivered in a modular format, utilizing leading edge pedagogical and assessment best practices, with inter-professional and experiential education fully integrated with the didactic curriculum. Crucial to the success of the new curriculum is the personalized learning support students receive, and the sequential, pre-planned assessments of competence at specific performance levels, both focused (within modules) and integrated across individual course modules.
The curriculum is comprised of a series of foundational modules in practice skills/professional behavior and communication, biomedical (biochemistry, cell biology), immunology, and pharmaceutical sciences, and health care policy and law; a series of fourteen integrated Pharmacy Sciences, Disease and Therapeutics modules; a two module series focused on Medication Use Systems; a two module sequence focused on Drug Information and Literature Evaluation; an Applied Professional Behavior and Communication module; an Entrepreneurship module; two Integrated Practice Modules; and electives. These courses are interspersed with 300 hours of Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) off campus during the P1-P3 years and brought to a practice ready level during the P4 year by a minimum of 1440 hours of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs).
For first-year undergraduate students (U1) entering fall 2019 and beyond (Catalog Year 2019), all but six credits General Education requirements must be met before entering the professional curriculum. Students in the Classes of 2022 may have their Multidisciplinary Inquiry requirement waived with the expectation that the six credits will be replaced by either a Humanities or Social Sciences course. With the exception of transfer students who already hold a BS degree, the Bachelor of Science is Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Studies (PHHCS) will be conferred at the end of the P2 year upon successful completion of general education requirements and the specific coursework for the degree. The Doctor of Pharmacy Degree will be conferred at the end of the P4 year upon successful completion of all education requirements and specific coursework (including experiential) for the degree.
For direct entry PharmD students, automatic progression from undergraduate status into P1 (first professional year) occurs when the following criteria are met:
1.Completion of all required pre-professional and undergraduate coursework resulting in a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.70 and a minimum natural science/math GPA of 2.50.
2.Successful completion of the Professional Education Readiness Competency (PERC) interview.
Students may take up to eight semesters to meet these progression standards. Students who do not meet these criteria will be withdrawn from the program; if their cumulative GPA is above 2.50, these students will be reviewed for readmission into the program on a competitive basis, space permitting. If not readmitted, students may apply to other programs.
Progression within the PharmD program is defined as the year-to-year advancement in the program, based on satisfactory completion of all required coursework, all extrinsic summative assessments and reassessments (ESARs), achievement of minimum academic and program-specific grade point averages, and meeting any additional academic requirements, including proficiencies, in a timely manner.
- 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 non-elective required courses with the prefix PA, PC, PH, PP, or RX and must adhere to the appropriate course sequencing as indicated by prerequisites, co-requisites, and program year.
- Students entering in Catalogue Year 2016 (Graduating Class of 2022 and beyond) must successfully complete all Extrinsic Summative Assessments and Reassessments (ESAR) before the start of the next academic year in order to progress to the next academic year.
- Students who achieve a grade of less than “C-” upon repetition of the same non-elective required course with the prefix PA, PC, PH, PP, or RX 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. The Office of the Dean of PCP determines the eligibility of students to take summer re-offerings of courses and how many courses may be taken on a case -by- case basis. For greater detail, please see the PCP Student Handbook.
All required professional coursework (with prefixes PA, PC, PH, PP, RX) must be completed at PCP/ USciences.
Residency and Length of Time to Complete Program of Student
Direct entry PharmD students up to 8 semesters to complete pre-professional coursework (excluding summer sessions or inter-sessions). Students admitted into the first professional year (P1) of the Doctor of Pharmacy Program must be enrolled for at least four years (i.e., 8 semesters of at least 12 credits/semester) in residency at PCP, regardless of the extent or nature of previous academic experience. Such students entering into P1 will receive transfer credit for those basic sciences and general education courses that are considered equivalent in content and semester credit to similar courses included in the pharmacy curriculum as long as they receive a grade of “C” or better.
Admitted students must 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. As students advance through the program, they are inculcated with and acknowledge the incrementally increasing level of expectations for knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors associated with becoming a healthcare professional through signing of additional agreements on a yearly basis. The technical standards are detailed in the PCP Student Handbook.
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 135 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603-4810, 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 2016). 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, where comments/complaints may be submitted.
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. As a prerequisite to being permitted to begin, or continue, rotations (IPPEs or APPEs) at off-campus training sites, students must be able to:
- Provide a Social Security number.
Provide a medical history including immunity to infectious diseases via documentation of infectious disease history (e.g., measles, rubella, hepatitis B) and/or vaccinations, including titers for certain agents, as requested by and per site or program schedule.
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 clinical training certiﬁcations (e.g. CPR or BLS) 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 an external agency. In all cases, the student is ultimately responsible for ensuring all prerequisites have been satisﬁed, with documentation submitted in a timely manner, per deadlines, and any associated costs. 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.
Doctor of Pharmacy students are expected to agree and comply with the conditions of the Pharmacy Practice Professionalism Agreement during pharmacy practice experiential coursework (IPPEs and APPEs), which can be found in the PCP Student Handbook. 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 PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) program.
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). Licensure pass rates, retention and progression data and other programmatic measures for PCP’s PharmD program are posted on the on PCP web site.