Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
The standard education for someone pursuing a career as a pharmacist is a Doctor of Pharmacy, or PharmD, degree. This degree typically takes four years to complete. To gain acceptance into a PharmD program, several prerequisite courses must first be completed. Many students take these prerequisites as part of an undergraduate degree program in a field such as chemistry or biology; there are also two-year pre-pharmacy programs that do not award a bachelor's degree. Once accepted into a PharmD program, students take courses covering all aspects of pharmacy practice and participate in a variety of clinical experiences to gain practical training in pharmacy tools and techniques. Before beginning clinical training, pharmacy students may need to obtain an intern license with the state.
Pharmacy Schools in California
The California universities highlighted in this article offer accredited programs that prepare students to become licensed pharmacists through professional Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs. Other pharmacy degree options are also available. Some schools also offer master's and doctoral degrees in related areas, such as pharmaceutical sciences or pharmacology. Another option is a dual degree program, which combines a Doctor of Pharmacy with a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field, such as chemistry or public health. Some students may choose to pursue a dual PharmD and Ph.D. program, which takes about eight years to complete.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University in Loma Linda offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program through its School of Pharmacy. The PharmD program focuses on integrating the mental, physical, spiritual and social aspects of health to conform to the school's Christian philosophy. Applicants for this program are strongly encouraged to obtain pharmacy work or volunteer experience before applying.
Touro University California
Touro University California in Vallejo offers a concentration in pharmaceutical studies within its master's program in medical health sciences. It also offers a 4-year PharmD program as well as a combined master's degree in public health and PharmD program. The Doctor of Pharmacy program requires a 2-year pharmacy practicum or clerkship. The 10-month master's degree program is designed for students interested in research and academic activities within the field. Students in this program who achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 are guaranteed an interview for the school's PharmD program. The dual-degree pharmacy program prepares students to become advocates for clinical pharmacy services with an emphasis on public health issues, such as health policy and health demographics.
University of California - San Diego
The University of California - San Diego in La Jolla offers a 4-year PharmD program that prepares students to work as pharmacists in a variety of settings. Incoming freshmen may consider the university's 7-year combined program that leads to both a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a PharmD. Individuals interested in government, academic or research work in the pharmaceutical industry may pursue the university's PharmD/Ph.D. program, which takes an average of eight years to complete.
University of California - San Francisco
The University of California - San Francisco, located in San Francisco, offers a 4-year PharmD program that is highly competitive. Students receive individualized attention from faculty and nearly all pass the licensing exams for pharmacists following graduation. The university also offers a Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics that focuses on developing effective drug therapies for patients. This multidisciplinary program also teaches students how to apply genomics and genetics to drug development.
University of the Pacific
Stockton is home to the University of the Pacific, which offers various graduate programs in the pharmaceutical field. The university's Doctor of Pharmacy program is an 8-semester program that covers the clinical, administrative, behavioral, pharmaceutical and social aspects of this industry. The school also offers a pharmaceutical and chemical sciences program with tracks leading to a master's degree, a Ph.D. or a dual PharmD/Ph.D. The university also provides freshmen ways to earn guaranteed admission into the Doctor of Pharmacy program through its Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program.
University of Southern California
Located at University Park in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California (USC) offers several graduate programs in pharmaceutical studies. USC's 4-year Doctor of Pharmacy is offered as a stand-alone program or as a dual-degree program with other doctoral or master's degree programs. PharmD students must obtain a state intern license in their first year of study and meet state requirements to practice pharmacy. Additionally, there are master's degrees and Ph.D. programs in molecular pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences. There's also a pre-pharmacy program for undergraduates who want a chance for priority admission into USC's PharmD program.
Western University of Health Sciences
Located in Pomona, Western University of Health Sciences offers a PharmD program as well as a master's degree program in pharmaceutical sciences. The master's program provides students with strong research skills and prepares them for careers in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and other areas. The PharmD program is a 4-year program that requires students to become licensed interns with the state before they can begin their clinical experience. The school also offers an international post-baccalaureate PharmD program that admits American and foreign-trained pharmacists as second-year PharmD students. Students in this program earn the same PharmD degree that students in the traditional program do.
Pharmacists are required to earn licensure. In California, this means having at least a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), completing at least 1,500 hours of pharmacy intern experience, and passing two licensing exams (the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination and the California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists exam). All of the Doctor of Pharmacy programs at the profiled schools qualify graduates for the state and national licensure exams.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Pharmacy Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Loma Linda University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Doctor of Pharmacy|| $29,372 (graduate tuition and fees)*
$49,400 (PharmD tuition and fees) 2019-2020**
|Touro University California||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences with an Emphasis on Pharmaceutical Studies,
Doctor of Pharmacy,
Master of Public Health/Doctor of Pharmacy
| $27,788 (graduate tuition and fees)*
$26,500, for 30 units (PharmD tuition)**
|University of California - San Diego||4-year, public; large city||Combined Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Doctor of Pharmacy,
Doctor of Pharmacy,
Doctor of Pharmacy/Doctor of Philosophy
| $13,397 in-state; $28,499 out-of-state (graduate tuition and fees)*
$17,405 in-state, $32,507 out-of-state (School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences tuition & fees)**
|University of California - San Francisco||4-year, public; large city|| Doctor of Pharmacy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics
| $12,933 in-state; $28,035 out-of-state (graduate tuition and fees)*,
$50,981 in-state, $63,226 out-of-state (School of Pharmacy tuition and fees)**
|University of the Pacific||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Master of Science in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences,
Doctor of Pharmacy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences,
Doctor of Pharmacy/Doctor of Philosophy
| $47,952 (graduate tuition and fees)*,
$98,445, 1st and 2nd years; $65,748, 3rd year (PharmD tuition and fees 2019-2020)**
|University of Southern California||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Master of Science in Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology,
Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Doctor of Pharmacy with options for various dual degrees,
Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology,
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences
| $45,561 (graduate tuition and fees)*,
$58,836 (PharmD tuition and fees)**
|Western University of Health Sciences||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Doctor of Pharmacy
| $22,529 (graduate tuition and fees)*
$49,725 (PharmD tuition & fees)**
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **School website