The Skaggs School of Pharmacy
and Pharmaceutical Sciences

The newest health sciences professional school on the UC San Diego campus is the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Approved by the UC Regents in summer 2000, the charter class of students was enrolled in fall 2002 and graduated in June 2006. The school provides an innovative curriculum dedicated to educating future pharmacy practitioners to provide the pharmaceutical care needs of our growing and increasingly diverse society. The goal of the doctor of pharmacy curriculum is to prepare students to be leaders in the pharmacy profession and to provide them with the tools to practice effectively in a wide variety of currently existing and potential roles in academia, hospitals and clinics, long-term facilities and home care, government, health policy, the pharmaceutical industry, and innovative community pharmacy practice settings. It is expected that the emerging fields of pharmacogenomics and bioinformatics will have a profound influence on the future practice of pharmacy, and that graduates of the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will be well equipped to bring these advances to the patient care setting.

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences currently enrolls sixty students in each class. The Pharmaceutical Sciences Building and Health Sciences Education Center house the administrative, teaching, and research facilities of the school.

Rather than duplicate existing departments on the UC San Diego campus and in the School of Medicine, the faculty of the school draw upon the strengths of the basic and biomedical science departments that have provided an outstanding education to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students for more than fifty years. Faculty from campus departments and the School of Medicine join Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty in teaching the preclinical courses. Clinical faculty, who are active practitioners in a variety of medical center, community, and industry locations, provide both classroom instruction as well as student guidance during advanced pharmacy practice clinical experiences.

The curriculum is dynamic and under regular review for improvements as practice needs change. Using faculty and student input, the curriculum is updated by interdisciplinary faculty committees. Presently, the four-year curriculum leading to the doctor of pharmacy degree is designed as follows:

In the first year, students are enrolled in courses in anatomy and histology, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutics, bioinformatics, drug information, law and ethics, biostatistics, clinical research design, and an introduction to the practice of pharmacy. Students gain their first exposure to patient care by working alongside medical students in UC San Diego-sponsored, student-run free medical clinics in San Diego. Students also participate in introductory pharmacy practice experiences in a variety of pharmacy settings, including community and hospital, to provide an early exposure to the many facets of pharmacy practice.

In the second year, pharmacy and first-year medical students are concurrently enrolled in courses that serve as a foundation for understanding disease and disease management. In this unique environment, pharmacy and medical students study foundations of human biology, an organ systems approach to cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastroenterology, renal, endocrine, immunology, and hematology systems, and microbiology. The combined curriculum fosters collegial relationships and provides an appreciation for acquired knowledge these health-care practitioners will have while working together in patient-care settings. The second year also contains courses specific to the needs of pharmacy students, such as a strong foundation in pharmacology, laboratory medicine, health policy, and pharmacy practice.

The third year focuses on the application of the information learned in the previous years, with additional course work in neurology, advanced pharmacology and pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacoeconomics, and pharmacogenomics. A major course sequence in drug therapeutics begins in the fall and continues through the third year. This course begins the process of applying the knowledge gained in the basic sciences to the clinical management and care of patients. The fourth year is devoted entirely to advanced pharmacy practice clinical experiences, where pharmacy students learn to apply the skills and knowledge obtained in the curriculum to a variety of patient-care settings. Many of these advanced practice experiences take place at UC San Diego–affiliated medical centers, such as UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest, UC San Diego Medical Center-La Jolla, the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System in La Jolla, and the San Diego Rady Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Many other health-care facilities throughout the region are also utilized. Not only do students participate in direct patient care in many of the most modern medical facilities in the San Diego area, they also learn to appreciate the challenges faced in providing care to some of the less advantaged citizens of the region. Both classroom elective courses and advanced practice experience electives provide flexibility for the student to explore the many facets of the profession, and provide opportunity for the curriculum to meet a particular student’s educational goals and objectives.

The San Diego region ranks third in the nation in the development of new biotechnology and the school is developing relationships with this burgeoning biotechnology industry as well as with the pharmaceutical industry on the La Jolla mesa. There are advanced practice and research experiences available to students in these exciting new areas of practice.

The common required and elective course work taken by pharmacy and medical students, and advanced practice clinical experiences, where medical and pharmacy students work closely together, have been created to foster the development of cooperation between the professions as well as to develop an appreciation for the unique roles that each professional provides in the care of patients.

Selection Factors

The admissions committee seeks a diverse pool of applicants who have demonstrated strong academic ability in both the required prerequisite course work and in their entire academic career, and who have a wide breadth of extracurricular interests and leadership roles. In addition, the committee selects applicants for matriculation who have demonstrated the personal qualities of intelligence, maturity, integrity, and dedication to the ideal of service to society, and who are best suited for meeting the educational goals of the school. The ability to express oneself clearly in both oral and written English is essential. The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is committed to admitting students with diverse cultural, economic, and social backgrounds. Although grade point average is an important factor, it is not the sole criterion for acceptance. In addition to intellectual and academic competence, the admissions committee considers communication skills, leadership ability, community service, and health-care experience. Applicants must be either United States citizens or permanent residents.

All students are enrolled in the full-time, four-year professional program leading to the doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD). No students in advanced standing, transfer students from other schools of pharmacy, or part-time students are accepted for admission. All students enter at the first-year level.

The faculty of the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has implemented a seven-year BS/PharmD program for UC San Diego undergraduates and a PharmD/PhD program. Information on each of these programs is available on the Skaggs School website.

For additional information about the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, visit the school website, write, call, or e-mail:

University of California, San Diego
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical Sciences Building
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0657
La Jolla, CA 92093-0657
(858) 822-4900
General e-mail:
Admissions Office e-mail: