Students enrolling in the doctor of pharmacy program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy began experiencing an enriched curriculum in the fall of 2015.
The U.S. health-care system is in need of change to improve both the quality and the delivery of patient care and to reduce health-care costs.
In response, numerous calls have emerged for reform in health-professions education to better prepare students.
We are responding to this need, and we are building on our experience as innovative pharmacy educators to better prepare our graduates to be exemplary health-care professionals in a system that seeks to be more collaborative, efficient, and effective.
At the same time, employers within and outside health care are increasingly seeking inquisitive individuals who are able to think critically, communicate clearly, adapt to change and work effectively in teams to solve complex problems. All too often, students possess great discipline-specific knowledge but lack the skills essential to survive in an increasingly competitive and global society.
As if the changes in health care and employer demands aren’t enough, the amount of information about health and medicines that aspiring health professionals must master has grown substantially. We no longer accept the outdated assumption that a professor’s job is to teach you everything you need to know. We recognize that you are a native of this highly interconnected world where information is easily available and freely accessible and technologies abound to support your learning.
In response, we have improved not only what we teach but how we teach to better position you for success.
At a time when innovation is crucial, we are building on our strengths to better prepare you with the skills you will need to improve human health and health care.
During your first year, you will focus on the foundations of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences through an active-learning approach that centers on you.
Our goal is to expose you to the underlying fundamentals and give you the chance to apply what you are learning, to solve complex problems, to think deeply and critically, and to develop the skills necessary to be a self-directed, lifelong learner.
We won’t ask you to spend months revisiting prerequisite course work you’ve already completed. Instead you start with our unique Pharmacy Bridging Course that involves six modules in the first month:
During the Pharmacy Bridging Course, you review the basic subject matter while exploring its connection and application to pharmacy-specific problems.
You’ll be ready for the challenges of the active classroom thanks to online modules that deliver the information you need to you outside of class.
Next up are seven courses exploring the following subjects that provide the foundational knowledge for patient care:
These courses have been newly designed and built from the ground up with you in mind. Rather than focusing on discipline-specific minutia, we’ll be working to reinforce the notion that there’s a patient at the end of every lesson. By engaging in deep learning, you’ll work alongside our world-class faculty to prepare for patient-care experiences.
You’ll be ready for the challenges of the active classroom thanks to online modules and pre-class readings that deliver the information you need to you outside of class.
The factual content of the courses is thoughtfully packaged and available to you for self-directed learning outside of class. Class time is devoted to faculty-student interactions and higher forms of thinking and problem solving.
Click for an overview of year one of the Pharm.D. curriculum.
An eighth course prepares you for early patient care in a real-world setting by emphasizing connections among content areas and giving you the foundational knowledge and skills needed to begin caring for patients.
In parallel with the major courses noted above, you’ll be engaged in a set of courses that allow you to practice and develop proficient skills in pharmacy. These courses include self-guided online modules in Pharmaceutical Calculations and Medical Terminology, as well as a laboratory course in Pharmaceutical Compounding. In addition, you will earn an Immunization Certificate that will allow you to immunize patients as early as your third month on campus.
There is a fundamental body of information you must learn, but you don’t have to learn all of it in the classroom. Deeper learning occurs when you retain information for a long time and when you can apply that information to new situations. The deepest learning is most likely to result from the things that you do. To take advantage of this, we are moving some classroom instruction out into the real world, where you spend a great deal of time involved in caring for patients and learning to function in complex systems as a member of an interdisciplinary health-care team.
Early Patient Care
You will begin working with patients immediately after your first year. When you learn something new, we want you to be as close to the application of that knowledge as possible.
Throughout the second and third years, you will have a total of six months of patient-care activities alternating with School-based courses and activities.
We plan to complement your experiences with self-directed online learning tools addressing contemporary therapeutics. A key advantage of this approach is that you’ll be learning things in the classroom just in time to apply them in the real world.
Alternating with your patient-care immersion experiences, you will spend blocks of time back on campus. During these School-based blocks, you will engage in problem-based learning in pharmacotherapeutic decision-making that integrates advanced clinical pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. We also set aside time for you to study emerging topics and take elective courses.
Beginning in the third semester, you will participate in a project designed to foster inquiry, critical thinking and innovation. This experience focuses on real-world problems and shows you that there is a common process for identifying and framing problems so that you can develop effective solutions.
Our goal is to train your mind to naturally seek solutions to problems you encounter in order to address society’s needs through innovation. This positions you to be a curious and creative professional, change agent and leader. These “habits of mind” and problem-solving abilities will define you as an inquisitive and scholarly practitioner ready to take on the challenges of a rapidly changing health-care world.
Think About It
Learning by doing is an incomplete proposition. What really enables you to learn is reflection. In other words, you have to do and then think about what you did.
Setting aside time to talk about what you’ve seen, done, and learned with professors, preceptors and peers is a crucial step in the learning process.
Our immersive, experiential learning opportunities are complemented by mentored reflection on patient-care and health-system experiences. In addition to reflection, your time back on campus provides opportunities for other faculty-mentored activities, including the following:
During the fourth year of the curriculum, you leave the classroom behind and immerse yourself in advanced patient care. This is your opportunity to mature in your approach to pharmacy practice and gain a variety of experiences to help you bring your intended career path into focus.
Under the guidance of a preceptor, you will find yourself serving as an integral member of many interdisciplinary teams, recommending strategies to optimize drug therapy to improve clinical outcomes and educating patients and their families about the optimal use of medications. In addition, you will gain a greater appreciation for the health-care ecosystem and the importance of building a well-coordinated and highly collaborative approach to improving health and health-care delivery. You will learn to master the use of a wide array of health information resources, to assume responsibility for medication optimization, to think critically and innovatively as you approach real-world problem solving and to uphold the highest standards of ethical decision-making and professionalism. You will likely have opportunities to work with and learn from pharmacy residents, as well as engage in the teaching and development of second- and third-year pharmacy students.
During this year, you are primarily engaged in pharmacy practice experiences beginning in the summer for a minimum duration of nine months. You will be assigned to a region of the state to complete the majority of your experiences. Pharmacy faculty based at these locations will personally guide and mentor you in your final year. You will practice in community pharmacies, health systems, outpatient primary care settings and within inpatient clinical and specialty teams applying your knowledge and skills to improve patient care and health-care delivery. In addition, opportunities exist for rotations in other areas, such as global engagement, the pharmaceutical industry, academia and government, with nearly one-third of your fourth-year experiences structured as elective opportunities to develop your interests and prepare you for your pharmacy career.
Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100.
After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department.
Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.
First-year pharmacy students do not receive School scholarships. After completing their first year, Pharm.D. students become eligible for approximately $865,000 in competitive scholarships, awards, and grants each year.