The school offers the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as a professional degree program. Students must complete a minimum of 52 semester hours before admission. The Doctor of Pharmacy degree is awarded after four years of study.
Graduates will demonstrate competencies in the following areas:
Foundational knowledge: The graduate is able to develop, integrate and apply knowledge from the foundational sciences (i.e. biomedical, pharmaceutical, social/behavioral/administrative and clinical sciences) to evaluate scientific literature, explain drug action, solve therapeutic problems and advance population health and patient-centered care.
Patient-centered care: The graduate is able to provide patient-centered care as the medication expert (collect and interpret patient information; prioritize and formulate assessments and recommendations into a plan; implement, monitor and adjust plans; and document activities) to optimize health outcomes.
Medication use systems management: The graduate is able to apply professional standards to manage patient health care needs using human, financial, technological and physical resources to optimize the safety and efficacy of medication use systems.
Health and wellness: The graduate is able to implement evidence-based prevention, intervention and educational strategies for individuals and communities to improve health and wellness and manage disease.
Population-based care: The graduate is able to use population-based health data to interpret practice guidelines and evidence-based best practices to provide patient-centered care.
Problem solving: The graduate is able to identify problems; explore and prioritize potential strategies; and design, implement and evaluate a viable solution.
Education: The graduate is able to educate all audiences by determining the most effective and enduring ways to impart information and assess learning.
Patient advocacy: The graduate is able to represent the patient’s best interests by considering individual differences, values, preferences and needs when providing patient-centered care.
Interprofessional collaboration: The graduate is able to engage and actively participate in shared decision-making as a health care team member by demonstrating mutual respect, understanding and values to meet patient care needs.
Cultural sensitivity: The graduate recognizes social determinants of health care disparities in access to and delivery of quality care.
Communication: The graduate is able to effectively communicate verbally and nonverbally when interacting with individuals, groups and organizations.
Self-awareness: The graduate is able to enhance personal and professional growth through reflection on personal knowledge, skills, abilities, beliefs, biases, motivation and emotions.
Leadership: The graduate is able to demonstrate responsibility for creating and achieving shared goals, regardless of position.
Innovation and entrepreneurship: The graduate is able to engage in innovative activities by using creative thinking to envision better ways of accomplishing professional goals.
Professionalism: The graduate is able to exhibit professional behaviors, ethics and values consistent with the VCU School of Pharmacy attributes of professionalism that are consistent with the trust given to the profession by patients, other health care providers and society.
Licensing and reciprocity
Applicants for the North American Pharmacist Licensure 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 academic performance 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 have their 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 on probation 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). All students on probation are expected to discontinue any outside employment during the academic year. Students on probation 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. 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 on the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity website.
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.
- Process for academic progression
- Students are evaluated for academic progression in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program at the end of each semester by the Academic Performance Committee. 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 completed all course requirements each semester with minimum grades of C will progress to the next semester in the program.
- The Academic Performance Committee reviews the academic record of each student who fails to pass a course, receives a D grade, does not maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 or is on academic probation, at the end of the fall or spring semester. When special circumstances require a review before scheduled meetings, the chair will convene a subcommittee to act on behalf of the full committee. Following each review, the committee may recommend a warning be given, promotion on a probationary basis, a repeat of any failed courses, a repeat of an entire semester, termination from the program or some combination of these academic sanctions.
- Course-level performance criteria
- A, B, C, D and F grades will be awarded for courses with ordinal grading scales. Standardized criteria for performance scores will be A >/= 90.00; B >/= 80.00; C >/= 70.00; D >/= 65.00; F < 65.00 unless stated otherwise in the course syllabus. Students are directed to course syllabi for specific grading scales.
- P (pass), H (honors), HP (high pass) and/or F (Fail) grades will be awarded for courses with nominal grading scales. Students are directed to course syllabi for specific scales for assigning grades.
- A student who receives a grade of F (Fail) in a required course is placed on academic probation. Students must repeat the failed required course and earn a passing grade to avoid additional academic performance sanctions.
- Students who are on academic probation are deemed to be deficient in scholarship. They are neither allowed to hold an elected office in a student association nor 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 repeating all or any portion of a failed course must register to retake the failed course with the same course number, title and credit hours. A student is allowed to retake a course only once. The timing of any course retake is at the discretion of the respective course coordinator and department chair.
- A student who receives a grade of F (Fail) in an elective course is placed on academic probation. Students must repeat and pass the failed elective course to have it count toward meeting the electives requirement in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.
- If a student retakes a course at a time other than the regular course semester offering (e.g., during the summer), the criteria for academic performance and assessments must be specified in advance of the offering and acknowledged by the student. Students may be required to pay additional tuition for courses retaken during the summer.
- D grades are passing but considered indicative of marginal performance. A student receives an academic warning when achieving a grade of D in any required or elective classes. Additional grades of D or F will result in academic probation or other academic performance sanctions.
- Students must receive passing grades for all required and elective courses in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree curriculum to avoid probation or other academic performance sanctions.
- Across curriculum performance criteria
- Some courses in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree curriculum occur over more than one semester and are subject to different policies than courses that are offered for only one semester. Students are directed to course syllabi for specific grading scales.
- Students who fail a course prior to the start of an introductory pharmacy practice experience may proceed with the IPPE rotation.
- No student may start an advanced pharmacy practice experience rotation until all P1-P3 course requirements are satisfactorily fulfilled. Students who successfully retake failed courses can begin their APPEs depending on site/preceptor availability.
- Overall performance criteria
- A student may fail no more than two courses during the P1-P3 years. A student failing more than two courses in the P1-P3 years may be dismissed from the program.
- Students must have passing grades in eight APPE courses in the P4 year. A student who receives a failing APPE grade must repeat the APPE course at a site to be determined by the director of the Office of Experiential Education. Only one failing APPE course grade is permitted. A second failing APPE grade will result in dismissal.
- All failing grades will be entered and retained in the student’s transcript. Grades for courses that are repeated after failing and then passed will be added to but not replace the failing grade on the transcript. Failing grades for courses in the P1-P3 years will count in the calculation of student grade-point averages.
- A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 must be maintained by students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. A student with a GPA less than 2.0 at the end of any semester will be placed on probation.
- Students who fail to meet conditions of academic probation spelled out in the academic probation letter may be required to repeat a year in the program or may be dismissed from the program. Students will not be allowed to repeat more than one year of the curriculum.
- The sanction of academic probation is removed after students successfully meet the academic progression standards for two consecutive semesters of attendance.
- To be awarded the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, students must complete all required courses with a passing grade and achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 within seven years from the date of enrollment in 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 prior to commencement
- 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.