Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Pharmacy (COP) is implementing an innovative 3.5-year Doctor of Pharmacy program for its incoming PharmD class in fall 2023, the first of its kind in California.
This class, which will begin in August 2023, will complete the program in 3.5 years instead of the current four years, graduating in December 2026. This six-month head start will provide numerous advantages for this class and those that follow. Click here to apply to COP’s PharmD program.
“Graduating six months early will allow our students to take the licensure board exams and apply for job openings ahead of an estimated 1,000 students graduating the following May from other California pharmacy schools,” said COP Dean Sunil Prabhu, BPharm, PhD. “As a College known for innovative pharmacy education and high board pass rates, we are truly proud to offer the 3.5-year program to future students.”
“No other cohort of pharmacy students in this state will graduate at this time,” said COP Associate Dean and Associate Professor Donald Hsu, PharmD ’03. “We have received feedback from employers that pharmacy job openings are toughest to fill from January to April, so this incoming class will be poised to fill those openings in 2027 before their colleagues in three and four-year programs at other institutions graduate in May.”
A three-year PharmD program typically requires students to complete coursework year-round including summers. COP’s 3.5-year program allows students to keep their summers open for a much-needed break, for summer internships, or international travel to our affiliated institutions or simply conduct lab research with our pharmaceutical sciences faculty, said COP Assistant Dean for External Relations Eric Gupta, PharmD.
The students will not be shortchanged by reducing their time in the program. Instead, the new schedule represents an optimization of COP’s curriculum and holds distinct advantages for students, Gupta said.
The 16-week Advanced Elective (AE) capstone course traditionally offered above and beyond ACPE requirements in the spring semester of the fourth year will now be offered as a longitudinal AE starting in the third year. Students interested in residency positions will be able to complete their scholarly projects by December and prepare for residency program interviews in January and February.
“The completion of their research projects is sure to provide an advantage to our students seeking residency positions as they will be able to showcase their research findings thus increasing their chances of matching with the residency program of their choice.” Prabhu said. “It is important to note that in building the 3.5-year program we didn’t lose any curricular content or quality. Our faculty unanimously voted to adopt this program. Our first prospective student candidates are very excited about the 3.5-year program and see its advantages. These are exciting times for the College and for future students to be part of this pioneering program.”