There are two key course series at the heart of the University of Maryland Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum.
Applied Science and Therapeutics (AST): These courses introduce and reinforce the integration of the basic and clinical sciences in therapeutic decision-making. This integration is further emphasized in complex disease cases in the pharmacotherapy courses in the third year.
Abilities Lab: A series of six courses that occur each semester during the first three years of the curriculum. Self-paced activities include pre-lab readings and study in pharmaceutical calculations, medical terminology, and drug knowledge. Live exercises include participating in lab sessions, discussions, reflective journaling, and self-development assignments. This course series is designed to introduce and reinforce contemporary pharmacy practice skills necessary for advanced rotations in the fourth professional year.
The first year of pharmacy school consists of intensive biomedical science curriculum, pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, and principles of drug action and immunology, as well as instruction on professionalism, ethics, and the health care system. After mastery of basic concepts, students embark on the study of therapeutic decision making through integrated concepts of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and single disease state pharmacotherapy. Student pharmacists also participate in weekly clinical skills training and one-week community or institutional experiential rotations at the end of the semester. There are no educational requirements during the summer following the first year.
The second year continues with pathophysiology, pharmacology and therapeutic decision making in each major system/disease state, as well as microbiology, pharmaceutics, and literature analysis. Weekly training continues in clinical skills, and student pharmacists participate in a longitudinal patient care experience. Students also select two three-week introductory pharmacy practice experiential rotations on quality and safety in community and health system practice settings, to be completed during the summer following the second year.
The third year focuses on pharmacotherapy of multiple disease states and applied pharmaceutical sciences. Concepts of pharmacy practice management, health system and population pharmacy, and pharmacy law are also emphasized. Student pharmacists also explore personal areas of interest through a wide variety of electives, pathways, and dual degrees. Weekly clinical skills training continues. Students begin advanced pharmacy practice experiential rotations during the summer following the third year.
Upon completion of didactic requirements, student pharmacists are off-campus during the entire fourth year for advanced pharmacy practice experiences including required community, institutional and ambulatory care rotations, as well as patient and non-patient care elective experiences. Learning takes place through interaction with and supervision by qualified preceptors. The goal is to develop in each student pharmacist the professional judgment and competencies needed to skillfully perform the functions and meet the responsibilities of a pharmacist in a wide range of practice environments.
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