Unlike other Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs across the country, the PharmD program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy offers student pharmacists the opportunity to customize their course of study to meet their individual learning objectives.

The curriculum immerses students in six semesters of applied science and therapeutics courses and corresponding abilities labs in order to assure that students are thoroughly prepared for advanced pharmacy practice experiences in the final year, while also offering a wide selection of elective, pathway, and experiential rotation options that allow students to pursue their unique areas of interest.

Explore the links below to learn more about the different elements of the PharmD program's curriculum.


Curriculum Overview:

Download a printer-friendly outline of the PharmD curriculum here.

YearCurriculum Overview
Year 1 The first year of pharmacy school consists of intensive coursework in biomedical science, pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, principles of drug action, and immunology, as well as literature analysis, professionalism, ethics, and general patient management. After mastery of basic concepts, students apply concepts of pathophysiology and pharmacology to single disease state pharmacotherapy. Student pharmacists also participate in weekly clinical skills training and a one-week community or institutional experiential rotation at the end of the semester. There are no educational requirements during the summer following the first year.
Year 2 The second rigorous year of the doctor of pharmacy education continues with therapeutic decision making in each major system/disease state, as well as infectious disease therapeutics, pharmacokinetics, health policy, and weekly clinical skills training. Students select two introductory pharmacy practice experiences on quality and safety in community pharmacy (four weeks) and health system pharmacy (three weeks) practice settings, to be completed during the summer following the second year.
Year 3 The third year challenges students with concepts of pharmacotherapy of multiple disease states. Pharmacy practice management and leadership, pharmaceutics, pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics, public health pharmacy, and pharmacy law are also emphasized, and weekly clinical skills training continues. Student pharmacists explore personal areas of interest through a wide variety of electives, pathways, and dual degrees. Students begin advanced pharmacy practice experiential rotations during the summer following the third year.
Year 4 Upon completion of didactic requirements, student pharmacists are off-campus during the entire fourth year for advanced pharmacy practice experiences including required community, institutional/health-system, acute care/general medicine, and ambulatory care rotations, as well as patient care and non-patient care elective experiences. Individual learning and mentoring takes place through interaction with and supervision by qualified preceptors. Each graduate will have successfully developed the competencies, professional judgment, and habits of lifelong learning of an independent pharmacy practitioner.

Core Courses:

Eight Applied Science and Therapeutics (AST) courses train student pharmacists in the integration of the basic and clinical sciences in making therapeutic decisions to approach patient care. Students also explore population-based health considerations for disease states including health promotion, disease prevention and public health. Knowledge and skills developed in this course series are further emphasized in the third year pharmacotherapy courses when students will be expected to identify discriminating data and analyze patient-specific information at an advanced level, make independent therapeutic decisions, and recommend drug therapy monitoring and patient evaluation.

Six Abilities Labs courses help develop student pharmacists’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that are essential to function as an independent pharmacy practitioner in a variety of health care environments. Students progress through self-paced learning activities, lab activities, discussions, and reflection. Students observe, practice, demonstrate, and are assessed on a variety of abilities needed for contemporary pharmacy practice.


Elective Courses:

Students in the PharmD program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have the benefit of being able to tailor their PharmD training through unique electives that highlight various practice areas and provide cutting edge information to best prepare our students for practice and their future careers.

Starting in their first year, students have various elective options to personalize their experience, and these opportunities continue into their advanced experiential rotation year as P4s. Elective options include:

  • Advanced Pharmacogenomics
  • Effective Leadership and Advocacy
  • Introduction to Integrative Medicine
  • Introduction to the Poison Center
  • IPE Medication Management in Mental Health
  • Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics
  • Pharmacotherapy of Solid Organ Transplantation
  • Pharmapreneurship Seminar

To learn more about the wide selection of elective courses available to students in the PharmD program at the School of Pharmacy, please explore the Academic Catalog.


Pathways:

Pathways offer a focused course of elective study designed to enhance learning in a structured manner. Student pharmacists may apply to pursue a pathway if they have an interest in a particular area. The process is competitive and selective. Successful completion of a pathway aids students in strengthening their experiential rotations and assists them in pursuing specific career goals or further training immediately upon graduation.

The School of Pharmacy currently offers four pathway options for students:

  • Geriatrics and Palliative Care Pathway: The steady growth of the aging U.S. population has resulted in an increased prevalence of chronic conditions, and medication use in older adults. Chronic medical conditions experienced by older adults or those with advanced illness may be painful or associated with persistent non-pain symptoms. This pathway increases pharmacy students’ awareness and knowledge of medical issues associated with aging and advanced illness, and the principlesof medication management in these populations. It is designed to prepare graduates to work with a diverse population of older adults and those with advanced illnessin a variety of practice settings.This pathway will also prepare students to pursue advanced degrees (PhD, MPH) or training (fellowships, residencies) in the area of geriatrics, gerontology, or palliative care. By completing this pathway, graduates will learn essential principals to manage medication related issues as well as understand the complexities in caring for these populations.
  • Pharmacotherapy Pathway: Pharmacists are becoming increasingly involved with therapeutic decision-making activities for patients with multiple chronic and acute diseases. The pharmacotherapy pathway is designed to prepare students for acceptance into postdoctoral residency or fellowship training. The pathway will assist students in developing a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that allow them to begin to practice independently, and to provide direct patient care to those with multiple disease states. The pathway builds on the content and experience provided within the required PharmD program, and utilizes a series of elective didactic courses and experiential learning rotations to provide the skills necessary to prepare for post-doctoral training in the area of general pharmacotherapy. In addition to developing their patient care skills, students who complete the pathway will develop the necessary skills to complete a research project. Students will go through the IRB process, present their project to peers, prepare and present their research as a poster presentation at the local or national level, and complete a manuscript suitable for publication.
  • Pharmapreneurship Pathway: This pathway offers an innovation-intensive program of study that aims to provide pharmacy students the opportunity to expand their professional education and pharmapreneurial spirit. The program is designed to be a challenging experience for the student pharmapreneur. Designed for a select group of qualified and motivated PharmD students, it offers students the opportunity to pursue special interests in innovation, entrepreneurism, and creativity with a high degree of individual attention and coaching by faculty and external advisors. A priority of the pathway is to build upon existing strengths in areas of motivation, independence, and creative problem solving to develop new research study design, drug discovery, modern analytic methods, business and innovative methods in the broad areas of basic pharmaceutical sciences, clinical/translational research, pharmaceutical health services research, outcomes research, as well as create innovative clinical patient care programs and business solutions in health care. Students in the pathway will conduct original projects with faculty advisors and mentors, and receive individualized counseling about courses, internships and potential career options. Successful completion of the pathway will allow students seeking various career options to distinguish themselves from their peers, and to compete successfully in the pharmaceutical, pharmacy, clinical and business fields and to develop their skills to possibly start their own businesses.
  • Research Pathway: This pathway offers a research-intensive program of study that aims to provide pharmacy students of exceptional merit the opportunity to expand their professional education. The program is designed to be a challenging experience and serves as an integral component of an honor student’s professional program in pharmacy. Designed for a select group of highly-qualified and motivated PharmD students, it offers students the opportunity to pursue special research interests with a high degree of individual attention by faculty advisors. A priority of the pathway is to build upon existing strengths in areas of motivation, independence, and creative problem solving. Hands-on experience in applying contemporary scientific methodologies also develops advanced skills in research study design and modern analytic methods in the broad areas of basic pharmaceuticalsciences, clinical/translational research, pharmaceutical health services research and outcomes research. Students in the pathway will conduct original research projects with faculty mentorsand receive individualized counseling about courses and potential career options. Successful completion of the pathway will allow students seeking post-graduate education to distinguish themselves from their peers, and to compete successfully for admission into graduate programs.

Experiential Learning:

The PharmD program focuses on patient-centered care to maximize medication therapy outcomes and assure safe medication use. The goal of the Experiential Learning Program (ELP) 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. It provides structured educational opportunities in actual practice settings, under the supervision of and interaction with qualified preceptors- practicing pharmacists who volunteer their time to help apply the knowledge learned in the classroom to the real world.

The School has more than 700 preceptors in sites such as community pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. The curricular core practice experiences are categorized as Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE). Satisfactory completion of the required and elective experiential courses meets the experience requirements set by the board of pharmacy in order to qualify to sit for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) in the state of Maryland.

Some experiential learning sites have included:

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Community retail and independent pharmacies
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • International Experiences
  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Public Heath Service/Indian Health Service
  • University of Maryland Medical System
Take Your PharmD Degree to the Next Level

The School of Pharmacy offers a variety of dual degrees and pathways for students enrolled in the PharmD program who want to further expand their education and their career opportunities.

Learn More About Dual Degrees and Pathways