University of Southern California

School of Pharmacy

Professional Degrees

Doctor of Pharmacy

The USC School of Pharmacy offers a full-time, four-year course of study leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). An undergraduate B.A. or B.S. degree is required for admission to the program. A description of the curriculum is listed in the following pages. The degree will be conferred upon successful completion of all Doctor of Pharmacy degree requirements. The USC School of Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, which is the national agency that accredits professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education.

Application Procedure

The School of Pharmacy requires applicants to complete both the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) and a supplemental application for admission. The supplemental application is available at

Both the PharmCAS and the supplemental applications deadlines are November 1. Follow the instructions carefully for both the PharmCAS and supplemental applications. Applications will not be reviewed until both applications have been received by the Office of Admission and Student Affairs. An on-campus interview is required for admission. Only applicants with complete application files and are evaluated for an on-site interview and only highly qualified applicants will be granted interviews. Not all applicants will be invited for an interview. Applicants are encouraged to apply well before the November 1 deadline to allow time for file review.

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 USC’s purposes.

Admission Guidelines

The Admission Committee considers several factors in making admissions decisions: strong academic performance; the on-site interview including the writing component; letters of recommendation; and other components of the completed application. The committee also considers a candidate’s motivation to pursue pharmacy, interpersonal skills, 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

Applicants for the School of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program holding international visas should contact the USC School of Pharmacy for information.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to the School of Pharmacy requires completion of a baccalaureate degree, completion of the specified prerequisite college courses, with a grade of C or better and a minimum 3.0 (A = 4.0) grade point average and a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average.

Pre-pharmacy Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the School of Pharmacy, students must take required prerequisite college courses, including general chemistry, organic chemistry, general biology, physics, biochemistry, upper-division molecular biology or cell biology, microbiology, human physiology, calculus, statistics, a social sciences course related to human behavior, and a course in microeconomics. The science requirements should be completed at an 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). Online courses are not accepted for science courses with a laboratory requirement. Prerequisite courses are subject to change, and applicants are encouraged to check with the school prior to submitting an application.

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 in statistics (not business statistics) 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-semester (two quarters) course in physics for science majors with laboratory is required (inclusion of thermodynamics and electromagnetism is recommended). The recommended courses at USC are PHYS 135abL or PHYS 151L and PHYS 152L. Online courses may not be used for prerequisite courses requiring a laboratory.

Biological Sciences

General biology: a one-year course (two semesters, three quarters) for science majors is required in general biology with laboratory (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 120Lx and BISC 220L.

Microbiology: one course in fundamental microbiology for science majors is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 300L. Lab is recommended but not required.

Molecular or cell biology: one upper division course in molecular or cell biology for science majors is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 320L or BISC 411.

Biochemistry: one upper division course in biochemistry for science majors is required. The recommended course at USC is BISC 330L. Upper-division courses must be taken at a four-year institution and may not be taken at a community college.

Human physiology: one course in human physiology for science majors is required (courses in plant anatomy and cell physiology cannot be used to meet this requirement). A combined anatomy and physiology course is acceptable if a full academic year (two semesters or three quarters) is completed.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

One course in human behavior (psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology or related courses is required).

Economics: one course in 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.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Examinations

Applicants may use AP and IB courses to meet certain USC School of Pharmacy prerequisites with the following provisos. AP results are acceptable only with scores of 4 or 5. IB results are acceptable with a score of 5. AP or IB may be applied to a maximum of one semester/one quarter of general chemistry or general biology; they may not be used to satisfy the laboratory requirement. Applicants are advised that a maximum of 2 AP course credits will be accepted and applied to the prerequisites. Note: AP/IB courses used to meet prerequisites will be for course credit only (i.e., they will not count toward the GPA). The Admission Committee recommends that applicants enroll in all of the required pre-pharmacy courses. Please contact the School of Pharmacy Office of Admission for specific information.

Entrance Examination

An in-person interview is required for admission. The PCAT is not required at this time.

Special Admission Program for Entering Freshmen

The Trojan Admission Prepharmacy (TAP) program provides priority consideration for admission to the USC School of Pharmacy’s four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program for USC undergraduates who are accepted to the program. Students accepted into the TAP program must apply to the Doctor of Pharmacy program during their senior year and meet all regular admission criteria including a B.A./B.S. degree at USC, meeting academic performance standards and an on-site interview. Students in the TAP program are required to complete all prerequisite courses at USC and meet regularly with a TAP program adviser. The TAP program is designed to attract highly qualified, mature high school seniors applying to USC. A specific listing of USC courses and a recommended program for TAP participants can be obtained from the School of Pharmacy Office of Admission or online at

General Education Requirements (TAP Students Only)

TAP students must meet the university’s general education requirements; see The USC Core and the General Education Program for details.

Pharm.D. Curriculum Requirements

The completion of a four-year professional curriculum is required for the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. The Pharm.D. curriculum is a “block” program. All students must enroll in the specified block of courses each semester. Students do not have a choice in the course sequence. Year III and IV students have a limited number of elective course choices. Student progress is permitted only when the prior semester has been successfully completed. Students should view the curriculum outlined here as advisory only and subject to modification. A minimum of 144 units is required for graduation.

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy program are required to be licensed by the California Board of Pharmacy as an intern pharmacist for the entire length of the program. Completion of the program requires placement in health care settings for experiential learning. The School of Pharmacy has developed technical standards to inform students of the non-academic requirements of the program. Placement in health care settings may require the applicants pass criminal background screening and/or drug screening tests.

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. Therefore curriculum changes may be necessary in order to meet scientific advances, population profile changes, increasing health expectations, technological advances, or changes in health services.

Core Curriculum

Foundation courses in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, social-administrative and clinical sciences comprise the first three years of the program. Students complete Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) along with classroom-based courses. The final (fourth) year of the program includes the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE), which are set in health care setting throughout the greater Los Angeles area, and a capstone course leading to a final paper/project.

Year I Curriculum units
PHRD 501 Pharmaceutics I 4
PHRD 502 Pharmaceutics II 3
PHRD 503 Biological Systems I 4
PHRD 504 Biological Systems II 6
PHRD 505 Molecular Genetics and Therapy 3
PHRD 507 Health Care Delivery Systems 2
PHRD 509 Pharmacy Practice and Experience I 4
PHRD 510 Pharmacy Practice and Experience II 4
PHRD 554 Public Health and Epidemiology 2
PHRD 555 Biochemical and Molecular Sites of Drug Action 4
Year II Curriculum units
PHRD 506 Self Care and Non-Prescription Therapies 5
PHRD 508 Pharmacy Literature Analysis and Drug Information 3
PHRD 551 Immunology 3
PHRD 552 Pharmaceutics III 3
PHRD 553 Management Within Health Care Organizations 2
PHRD 557 Therapeutics I 4
PHRD 559 Therapeutics II 3
PHRD 560 Therapeutics III 6
PHRD 561 Pharmacy Practice and Experience III 3
PHRD 562 Therapeutics IV 4
Year III Curriculum units
PHRD 601 Therapeutics V 6
PHRD 603 Therapeutics VI 3
PHRD 605 Therapeutics VII 4
PHRD 606 Therapeutics VIII 2
PHRD 607 Nutrition 2
PHRD 608 Therapeutics IX 2
PHRD 610 Therapeutics X 3
PHRD 612 Therapeutics XI 2
PHRD 614 Pharmaceutical Economics and Outcome Studies 3
PHRD 616 Pharmacy Law and Ethics 3
Electives (two, one course per semester)*
*Students choose elective courses from courses approved by the School of Pharmacy Curriculum Committee and available during that semester. Students will be provided a list of courses approved each year.

Required APPE Courses (all five courses)

Year IV Curriculum
PHRD 701 Acute Care Clinical APPE
PHRD 704 Primary Care APPE
PHRD 705 Community Pharmacy APPE
PHRD 718 Hospital Pharmacy Practice APPE
PHRD 750 Advanced Pharmacy Practice Elective APPE

Elective APPE Course (choose one course from list):

PHRD 714 Nuclear Pharmacy APPE
PHRD 725 International Pharmacy Practice Experience
PHRD 726 Directed Clinical Project I APPE
PHRD 727 Directed Clinical Project II APPE
PHRD 731 Advanced Geriatrics APPE
PHRD 735 Clinical Pharmacy Research APPE
PHRD 738 Pharmaceutical Industry APPE
PHRD 750 Advanced Pharmacy Practice Elective (APPE) (second time)
PHRD 751 Non-traditional Advanced Pharmacy Practice Elective (APPE)
PHRD 796ab Doctor of Pharmacy Capstone (a in the fall, and b in the spring)

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 for letter graded courses and a grade of A or B quality in non-letter graded courses. 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 the entire block of 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 are included in the school’s brochure on academic policies and procedures.