The school offers the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as a professional degree program. Students must complete a minimum of three years of prerequisite course work prior to admission. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree is awarded after four years of study.
Student learning outcomes
Pharm.D. students will demonstrate competencies in appropriate medication use and quality improvement; communication abilities; critical-thinking; decision-making; evidence-based practice; inter-professional collaborative practice; medication distribution and control systems management; patient-centered care; patient pharmacotherapy assessment; pharmacotherapy planning and decision-making; pharmacotherapy practice management; professionalism; responsible use of values; ethical principles; self-direction; lifelong learning; social awareness and responsibility; and appropriate NAPLEX scores.
Accreditation and Complainant policy
The Doctor of Pharmacy degree program at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), 20 N. Clark St., Suite 2500, Chicago, IL 60602-5109. Accreditation standards are available in the school’s Office of Admissions and Student Services and via the ACPE website at acpe-accredit.org. Additionally, the school is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
ACPE has an obligation to assure itself that any institution that seeks accreditation status for its professional degree program conducts its affairs with honesty and frankness. Students who have complaints about the school’s ability to meet accreditation standards or adhere to ACPE policies and procedures shall be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services, VCU School of Pharmacy, 410 N. 12th St., Room 500, Richmond, VA 23298-0581. The complainant is welcome to make an appointment to meet with school administrators to discuss his or her complaints and options for resolution. If they are not satisfied with the response by the school’s representative/s, then complainants may contact ACPE at 135 S. LaSalle St., Suite 4100, Chicago, IL 60603 or acpe-accredit.org/complaints with a complaint. A record of written complaints about the school’s adherence to ACPE accreditation standards or policies and procedures will be maintained for ACPE to review at the time of an accreditation site visit.
Licensing and reciprocity
The Virginia Board of Pharmacy holds qualifying examinations for licensure on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Applicants for the examination must present evidence that their first professional degree was granted by a school of pharmacy recognized by the board. This school is among those recognized. Applicants must also present evidence of completion of 1,500 hours of practical experience. Completion of the school’s Pharm.D. program satisfies this requirement. APPE rotations completed outside of the United States may not be counted toward the 1,500–hour requirement.
Those students who intend to be licensed in Virginia should contact the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, 9960 Mayland Dr., Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23233-1463.
Matriculation in the School of Pharmacy implies a willingness on the part of students to comply with university rules and regulations and to conduct themselves in a manner befitting members of the profession the students seek to enter. The program of study and regulations regarding courses of study, student conduct, etc. are subject to modification without notice. All rules and regulations set forth in this bulletin, as well as other statements issued by administrative officers of the university, apply until further notice.
Students may be placed on probation by either the Admissions Committee or the Academic Performance Committee. Probation is a status indicating that the student’s scholarship is deficient and is expected to be improved to a level considered to be satisfactory by the faculty. Students who fail to meet probationary stipulations may expect to have their normal progress through school interrupted. They may be required to repeat a year or to withdraw. Students on probation during the first three years of the professional program are neither allowed to hold an elected office in a student association nor be eligible for nomination as an officer in a student association. Students are not permitted to represent the school in extracurricular activities (e.g., representation at a local, regional or national association meeting, or other professional event). Students are expected to discontinue any outside employment during the academic year. Students are not eligible to pledge a professional fraternity. Students are encouraged to avail themselves of special tutoring and counseling services for improving their academic performance. Additionally, students during the fourth year of the professional program must complete all required and elective advanced pharmacy practice experiential rotations at sites within the VCU School of Pharmacy system and the preceptor must have a current faculty appointment. Students are expected to discontinue any outside employment while completing advanced pharmacy practice experiential rotations. Expiration of probationary status occurs following the equivalent of an academic year (i.e., two consecutive semesters of successful academic performance during the first three professional years and upon the successful completion of all advanced pharmacy practice experiential rotations in the fourth year.
In general, the faculty believes that students should give first priority to their school work. Students able to maintain academic standing are not restricted with respect to outside employment. Students in academic difficulty will be advised to cease or drastically curtail any outside employment.
All students are governed by the honor code and regulations of the VCU Honor System. The VCU Honor System is based on the foundation that Virginia Commonwealth University recognizes that honesty, truth and integrity are values central to its mission as an institution of higher education. In a community devoted to learning, a foundation of honor must exist if that community is to thrive with respect and harmony. Therefore, members of the academic community are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. Additional information is available at students.vcu.edu/studentconduct/students/honor-system.
Students in the School of Pharmacy seek assistance with academic and personal problems through the school’s Office of Admissions and Student Services. Students are provided with information about accessing resources within the school, university and professional community. Also, faculty members serve as mentors to students throughout the four year curriculum.
There is a faculty adviser to the Interfraternity Council as well as an adviser for each of the professional pharmacy fraternities. Each of the student chapters of professional pharmacy organizations within the school also has a designated faculty adviser.
The following regulations apply specifically to students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy program in all of their required and elective courses offered by departments in the School of Pharmacy.
- The faculty considers class attendance at lectures to be an important component in the successful acquisition of knowledge and skills required of the Doctor of Pharmacy candidate. Students are strongly encouraged to attend all classes and conferences. An individual faculty member may require attendance in his or her course and establish penalties for those who are absent without an excuse from the dean’s office.
- Attendance at laboratory and prelaboratory classes is mandatory. Students must complete all laboratory assignments before a passing grade can be assigned. An excused absence from the dean’s office is required for missing a laboratory or prelaboratory class with the ability to make up the work with credit. Students without an approved absence are still required to make up the work but will not receive credit toward their course grade.
- Students must take tests (e.g., quizzes, laboratory practicals, examinations) and complete all other assignments at the time designated by the course coordinator. Students must recognize that faculty may give unannounced tests at any time during a course, consistent with documentation in a course syllabus. Students who miss any test in any course without an excused absence from the dean’s office will receive a grade of zero for the specific test.
- Attendance during each assigned clerkship period is mandatory. If a student is unable to attend to required clerkship responsibilities because of illness or other exceptional circumstances, the preceptor must be notified immediately. It is the responsibility of the student to also notify the clerkship director concerning a plan to make up the absence, with the approval of the preceptor. Documentation of the absence and approval to make up the absent time will be maintained in the student’s record.
- Absences may be excused under certain conditions. Requests for excuses for unavoidable absences must be submitted to the dean’s office electronically within 24 hours of returning to the School of Pharmacy. The student must complete the Absence Record form with an explanation for the absence. Further explanation, if necessary, may be provided to the associate dean for admissions and student services. It is a violation of the honor code to make false or misleading statements on the Absence Record form. In the event of an unexcused absence, the student is responsible for all work missed.
- A guiding principle in determining whether or not an absence will be excused is that the absence is caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control. The following are considered valid excuses for being absent from a class or clerkship.
- Illness, a medical emergency, a dental emergency. The school normally accepts the student’s judgment that the condition was serious enough to justify the absence from class; however, the school reserves the right to require a medical opinion, particularly if the period of absence is prolonged or is repetitive. The school will require a written medical opinion when a student is absent from taking a scheduled test or final examination. If the absence is a result of a medical emergency, the student will be required to sign a written release for the school to obtain documentation from their physician describing the exact nature of the illness or emergency. This record will be submitted to the associate dean for admissions and student services as a confidential document.
- Death of a relative or friend. Students will be excused from class to attend funerals. Absence beyond the day of the funeral will be excused for periods of mourning required by a student’s religious or cultural tradition, or when a student is too grief-stricken to return immediately to class.
- Mandatory court appearance.
- Mandatory religious observances. Students who anticipate absences from class because of religious obligations should submit a list of their anticipated absences at the beginning of each semester to the dean’s office.
- Failure of private, public or university transportation. Students are expected to take reasonable precautions to assure that the transportation method used is fully functional (e.g., maintaining personal automobile, avoiding the last possible return airline flight to Richmond). Proof of transportation failure will be required.
- Attendance at professional meetings. Students in good academic standing may receive an excused absence from class to attend a meeting of a professional pharmacy organization. The student must complete an Absence Record form in advance of attending a professional meeting. A policy statement containing eligibility criteria is distributed to all students.
Tardiness is a form of absence that also may be excused using the criteria mentioned above. Students arriving late for a test may be given the test without an excused absence but will not be allowed extra time beyond the scheduled termination of the test. Once any student has completed the test and left the room, late-arriving students will not be permitted to take the test unless the absence is excused.
Absences that are not reported within 24 hours after the student returns to school will be considered unexcused. It is not the responsibility of a faculty member to determine whether an absence is excused. This determination will be made by the dean’s office.
Students are expected to make every effort to keep abreast of their assignments during an absence. They should also be prepared to take tests upon their return to the school or at the discretion of the faculty member after considering the student’s academic schedule. If, in the opinion of the dean’s office, the nature of a student’s absence made it impossible for that student to prepare for a test, the student will be granted an extension for taking the test.
A faculty member should not give a make-up test before confirming that a student’s absence has been excused. The faculty member usually provides an equivalent make-up test within a reasonable period of time. The type and format of the make-up exam will be determined by the faculty member. Within the framework of the honor code, it may be possible to administer the same examination no more than 48 to 72 hours after the originally scheduled examination. Any make-up examination should be scheduled as soon as possible to avoid impeding the student’s academic progress.
Attending pharmacy school is not a right acquired simply by conforming with the entrance requirements and paying tuition and fees. For this reason the dean and the Academic Performance Committee require that marginal or failing performance be improved or that the student withdraw from school. D grades are indicative of marginal performance. Careful consideration is given during the promotions process not only to the student’s grades but also to his or her probity, industry and scholastic ability.
These guidelines delineate the course of action to be taken by the committee. Decisions regarding individual students will be made in accordance with these guidelines. Consideration will be given to pertinent information and extenuating circumstances for individual cases. The following statements present the prominent features of the promotions process.
- Students are evaluated for progress at the end of each semester. The Academic Performance Committee assesses student progress for each of these periods. At the end of the fourth year the entire faculty will decide whether or not students have satisfied all requirements for graduation. Promotion decisions are based on achievement during the year under review and on the student’s overall progress.
- Students who have passed the work of an academic year with grades of C or better in all courses will ordinarily be advanced to the next higher class.
- The Academic Performance Committee thoroughly reviews the academic record of each student who fails to pass a course, receives a D grade, does not maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better for the year or semester in question, or is on probation. Following this review, the committee may recommend promotion on a probationary basis, require a repeat of all or a part of previous work, or terminate the student’s enrollment.
- Students who fail two or more courses during the program may be dismissed.
- A student who earns D grades for six credits or more of class work in any year and/or a GPA of less than 2.0 in any year will be subject to academic probation, dismissal or may be asked to repeat the year.
Students will be subject to academic probation, dismissal or may be asked to repeat the year if they earn more than one D or F grade in any one of the following sequences of related courses: basic health sciences, medicinal chemistry, pharmacy and pharmaceutics, pharmacotherapeutics, and pharmacy administration.
Students who fail to meet conditions of probation will be required to withdraw or repeat a year’s work. Students will not be allowed to repeat more than one year of the curriculum.
A student must have passed all courses from the first three years of the curriculum to qualify for entry into the final year of the program.
Students finding it necessary to withdraw from the School of Pharmacy must comply with the provisions for withdrawal set by the university.
The dean of the School of Pharmacy will not approve a request for withdrawal until the student has submitted a letter of resignation.
Students withdrawing without approval and failing to check out laboratory lockers will be assessed a fee and any charges resulting from the need to replenish the contents of the lockers.
Students seeking readmission to the School of Pharmacy will be evaluated on their total academic record. Applicants for readmission to the first professional year will not be given priority over new applicants but must compete with them on an equal basis. Readmission in advanced standing will be considered on a space-available basis.
Students are recommended and approved for the Doctor of Pharmacy degree by the faculty of the School of Pharmacy. Candidates must meet the following requirements:
- Be of good moral character
- Satisfactorily complete all the required work in a timely fashion, which will not normally exceed five years from the date of initial enrollment
- Pay all fees
- Complete the last year’s work for the degree in residence in this school
- Be present at the commencement-related exercises unless excused in writing and in advance by the dean
- Satisfactorily complete the minimum number of required advanced practice experience rotations and demonstrate the attainment of minimum competencies
See the Professional studies section of this bulletin.
Courses of instruction
Enrollment in courses included in the Doctor of Pharmacy curricula summarized on the preceding pages requires the approval of the dean of the School of Pharmacy unless the student has been admitted to the Doctor of Pharmacy Program.
Applicants for admission to the School of Pharmacy must complete, at minimum, 73 semester hours or 111 quarter hours of course work taken at a U.S.-accredited college/university and complete the specified course requirements prior to admission..
Students planning to seek a degree in pharmacy upon high school graduation should plan their high school program to meet the requirements for admission in the college where they will take the prerequisite work for admission into the VCU School of Pharmacy.
The minimal admission requirements are listed. (Meeting these requirements does not, however, guarantee acceptance into the VCU School of Pharmacy.)
Three letters of reference are required. These include a reference from a science professor, a health professional (pharmacist preferred) and an employer.
An official transcript from the student’s primary college and all colleges attended must be supplied. Applications are considered by the admissions committee only after transcripts on file show completion of no fewer than 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of college work. When offered, an acceptance is contingent upon satisfactory completion of specific work that may be in progress.
Applicants must present the required credits in the following subject areas for a minimum total of 73 semester hours.
General biology (lecture and laboratory) 8 College chemistry (lecture and laboratory) 8 Organic chemistry (lecture and laboratory) 8 Physics (lecture and laboratory) 4 Human anatomy 1 3 Human physiology 3 Microbiology 1 3 Biochemistry 3 English 2 6 Calculus 3 Statistics 3 Communications course 3 3 Biomedical science foundation and elective courses 35 Minimum 90 1
One hour of lab in these subjects also preferred
At least three semester hours of composition and rhetoric is required. Up to three semester hours can be fulfilled with documentation of a writing-intensive course.
Examples include public speaking, speech, introduction to communication, interpersonal communication skills. (Note: This course may NOT be taken online.)
Due to the importance of a strong biomedical science foundation for success in the Doctor of Pharmacy program, some or all of the courses listed below are recommended.
Genetics 3 Molecular biology 3 Immunology 3 Cell biology 3
Any of these four courses will count toward the minimum of 18 semester hours of general electives. All other general electives must be non-science or non-math. Highly recommended electives are computer science, economics, psychology and sociology.
The 18 semester hours of non-science/non-math general electives will be considered fulfilled if an applicant provides an official transcript documenting the completion of his or her baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.
- Credits earned through Advanced Placement Tests of the College Board or International Baccalaureate may be accepted for select courses. AP/IB credit may excuse a student from taking a specific non-science course such as English, but the credits must be made up through additional electives. The only science and math AP/IB courses that will be acceptable to meet prerequisite requirements are calculus and physics. Other AP/IB credits in science (e.g., biology, chemistry) may be made up with courses in kind. Generally this requirement is achieved by taking advanced-level courses in the same discipline (e.g., physical chemistry as a substitute for AP/IB credit in general chemistry).
- Dual-credit courses taken during high school may be considered acceptable for transfer credit pending review of college transcripts.
- Applicants must have earned a creditable average (C or better) overall, and in the courses specified, to meet minimum academic requirements for admission.
- Applicants for admission must apply online through PharmCAS, a centralized application service for pharmacy schools. The PharmCAS website at pharmcas.org provides further details.
- An on-campus interview is mandatory for admission consideration.
- Applicants are required to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test before admission.
- Applicants whose first language is not English and who have not lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years should submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the Test of Spoken English or other proof that their command of English is sufficient to allow successful completion of all requirements of the program.
- Students are admitted only at the start of the academic year. An applicant must complete two full years of the academic prerequisites before an application can be reviewed. The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications during September of the year preceding admission. It is to the applicant’s advantage to apply during the fall of the year before expected enrollment in the School of Pharmacy. Applicants are accepted pending satisfactory completion of all prerequisite courses. Notification usually occurs in early spring.
- Prior to enrolling, successful applicants must meet the immunization requirements set forth in the “Professional study” section of this bulletin. Prior to entering the fourth professional year, students must satisfy all university and APPE site immunization requirements.
- Applicants exercising the early decision option for admission to the VCU School of Pharmacy must submit their fee and official transcript from all postsecondary institutions ever attended to PharmCAS by the specified deadline. Applicants whose materials are not received or whose applications are incomplete by these deadlines will be ineligible for the early decision option, and they will be deferred to regular admission status. Applicants exercising the early decision option are expected to make a commitment to attend the VCU School of Pharmacy if accepted. If an acceptance offer is not made under the early decision option, the applicant is then moved to regular admission status and continues to be evaluated for admission during the remainder of the admission cycle. The applicant is then free to apply to other schools of pharmacy under the regular admission procedure.
- Applicants pursuing “regular admission” to the VCU School of Pharmacy must submit the electronic application, letters of reference and transcripts to PharmCAS by the specified deadline. Applicants who do not meet these PharmCAS deadlines will be ineligible for admission to the VCU Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.
- Applicants to the program must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
The following criteria are considered in judging applicants:
- College attended
- Academic workload carried
- College overall GPA
- Chemistry, biology and math proficiency
- Outside activities and achievements in high school and college
- PCAT scores
- Written and oral communication skills
- Extent of exposure to pharmacy practice
- Extent of exposure to other health disciplines
- Personal interview
Time demands for this full-time program are rigorous. In general, the first three years require a Monday–Friday (8 a.m.–6 p.m.) commitment for lectures, conferences, laboratories and off-campus visits to area pharmacy practice sites. The fourth year is devoted to experiential learning at sites located throughout Virginia. Students enrolling in the four-year professional degree program must agree to the possibility of being assigned to sites beyond the Richmond metropolitan area (e.g., eastern, northern or western Virginia). Candidates must assess personal obligations prior to seeking application.
VCU does not discriminate against qualified applicants for admission who have disabilities, and seeks to provide reasonable accommodation to applicants and admitted students who identify themselves as having disabilities. Academic requirements essential to the program or to directly related licensing requirements will not be substituted. Upon acceptance into the program, students in need of accommodation may contact the MCV Campus coordinator for students with disabilities at (804) 828-9782 to discuss their needs.
Further information may be obtained by writing to the Chair, Admissions Committee, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980581, Richmond, VA 23298-0581. Applicants also may call a toll-free telephone number, (800) 330-0519 for assistance.
|IPEC 501||Foundations of Interprofessional Practice||1|
|MEDC 527||Basic Pharmaceutical Principles for the Practicing Pharmacist||3|
|PCEU 501||Pharmaceutical Calculations||1|
|PCEU 507||Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics I||3|
|PHAR 509||Evidence-Based Pharmacy I: Introduction to Pharmacy Information Skills||1.5|
|PHAR 523||Foundations I||1.5|
|PHAR 545||The U.S. Health Care System||2|
|PHAR 547||Managing Professional Patient-centered Practice||1.5|
|PHAR 652||Health Promotion and Communication in Pharmacy Practice||2.5|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|MEDC 553||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry 1||1|
|PCEU 508||Pharmacokinetics 1||3|
|PCEU 509||Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics II||3|
|PHAR 513||Contemporary Pharmacy Practice||2|
|PHAR 524||Foundations II||1.5|
|PHAR 526||Community Pharmacy Practice||2|
|PHAR 529||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Introduction to Special Populations 1||2|
|PHAR 530||Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Community Practice||4|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|PHTX 606||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Introduction to Pharmacology (Pharmacy) 1||1|
|MEDC 543||Clinical Chemistry for the Pharmacist||2|
|PHAR 534||Foundations III||1|
|PHAR 541||Patient Assessment in Pharmacy Practice||2|
|PHAR 544||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Cardiovascular 1||4.5|
|PHAR 555||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Endocrinology 1||2.5|
|PHAR 565||Evidence-based Pharmacy II: Research Methods and Statistics 1||2.5|
|PHAR 603||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Respiratory/Immunology 1||3|
|PHAR 622||Epidemiology and Pharmacy Practice 1||2|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|IPEC 502||Interprofessional Quality Improvement and Patient Safety||1|
|MEDC 542||Biotechnology-derived Therapeutic Agents||1|
|PCEU 615||Applied Pharmacokinetics||2.5|
|PHAR 532||Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Hospital Practice||3|
|PHAR 535||Foundations IV||1|
|PHAR 566||Evidence-based Pharmacy III: Drug Literature Evaluation||2|
|PHAR 604||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Infectious Diseases 1||4.5|
|PHAR 606||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Nephrology/Urology 1||2|
|PHAR 661||Institutional Pharmacy Management||2|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|PHAR 540||Self-Care and Alternative and Complementary Treatments||2.5|
|PHAR 549||Pharmacogenetics 1||1|
|PHAR 550||Pharmacy Practice Research||continues|
|PHAR 556||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Neurology||4|
|PHAR 602||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Psychiatry 1||3|
|PHAR 605||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Hematology/Oncology 1||2.5|
|PHAR 640||Foundations V||1|
|PHAR 660||Community Pharmacy Practice Management II||2|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|PHAR 533||Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience: Service-learning||0.5|
|PHAR 550||Pharmacy Practice Research||3|
|PHAR 607||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Dermatology/EENT 1||2|
|PHAR 618||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Gastrointestinal/Nutrition 1||2.5|
|PHAR 619||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Women's Health/Bone 1||2|
|PHAR 620||Clinical Therapeutics Module: Critical Care/Toxicology 1||2.5|
|PHAR 645||Foundations VI||1|
|PHAR 724||Pharmacy Law||2.5|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||continues|
|P4 year (over 45 weeks)|
|PHAR 760||Acute Care Pharmacy Practice I||5|
|PHAR 761||Advanced Hospital Pharmacy Practice||5|
|PHAR 762||Geriatrics Pharmacy Practice||5|
|PHAR 763||Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice||5|
|PHAR 765||Elective I||5|
|PHAR 766||Elective II||5|
|PHAR 768||Advanced Community Pharmacy Practice||5|
|PHAR 771||Student Pharmacist Professionalism||1|
|PHAR 773||Acute Care Pharmacy Practice II||5|
Course will be taught as a module.