Approved December 2011
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
SCHOOL OF PHARMACY
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
ACADEMIC PROGRESSION OF STUDENTS
The Academic Performance Committee (APC) is committed to ensuring that the Doctor of Pharmacy students are prepared to improve health through meeting and maintaining academic standards necessary for practice within the profession of pharmacy.
Students currently enrolled in the PharmD program were chosen by the Admissions Committee of the School of Pharmacy after much deliberation. Their past successful academic records and life experiences give the Admissions Committee every reason to believe in each student’s potential for academic success in our program. However, it is the responsibility of the APC to ensure that students meet the academic standards in all courses of the curriculum. To this end these Policies and Procedures form a framework in which decisions regarding the progression of our students can be uniformly, but individually, accomplished.
Students are required to review these Policies and Procedures upon entry into the School of Pharmacy and at the beginning of each academic year. The Policies and Procedures for the Academic Progression of Students may be found on the student portal (www.students.pharmacy.pitt.edu) and in the Student Handbook. Any situation that arises that is not specifically covered by these Policies and Procedures will be adjudicated by the dean, after consultation with the APC. These Policies and Procedures will be reviewed, and may be revised, on an annual basis. Revised Policies and Procedures will then supersede earlier editions.
Academic Performance Committee Membership
The committee is composed of seven members with at least one member representing each of the four academic years:
• The chair, appointed by the dean, is a faculty member whose primary teaching is in one of the professional years.The chair will serve a term of two years.
• The vice chair, appointed by the dean, is a faculty member whose primary teaching is in one of the professional years and has served at least one previous term on the APC. The vice chair will advance to the position of chair.
• Two additional faculty members will serve a term of two years. Terms will be staggered, and each faculty member will be eligible for re-appointment to a single consecutive term. A new member’s primary teaching responsibilities should be from the same professional year as those of a departing member.
• The assistant dean of students, who may also represent one of the professional years, the assistant dean for business and finance, and the School of Pharmacy registrar.
I. General Policies for All Students
A. Pre-professional Courses, Professional Course Load, Grading and Schedule
Pre–professional courses must be successfully completed prior to entry into the professional program; the assistant dean of students and School registrar must approve any exceptions to this policy. Students in the PharmD program are expected to carry a full course load during each term of residence, except by permission from the dean. With the exception of the experiential learning courses, all courses must be taken for a letter grade. The PharmD curriculum is intensive. Students are expected to devote full time to the academic program once enrolled. Thus, the School of Pharmacy schedule of classes, assignments, practice experiences, examinations, and other activities take precedence over outside employment or extracurricular activities. Course sessions, practice experience and examinations may be scheduled outside the usual business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
B. Course Withdrawal
Students may withdraw from professional course(s) only after written permission has been obtained from the course coordinator and the assistant dean of students. The course withdrawal must be processed through the School registrar within the time period specified by the University. Students are not permitted to “unofficially withdraw” by merely not attending classes. Under no circumstances will withdrawal from a professional course(s) be granted solely on the basis of poor performance in the professional course(s), except in the event of resignation from the program, as described in section I-C below.
C. Academic Resignation
Students may resign from the program at any time prior to two weeks before the beginning of final examinations for the term. Students who wish to resign must officially communicate this in writing to the assistant dean of students. Once approval is granted from the assistant dean of students, the School registrar will be notified to withdraw the students from all classes. Students may not “unofficially resign” by failing to attend classes. Resignation constitutes withdrawal from all courses being taken. Students who have resigned from the program must petition the assistant dean of students, who may consult with the APC, for re-admission as outlined in section III-A.
D. Leave of Absence
Students in good academic standing may, for valid reasons, petition in writing the assistant dean of students for a leave of absence from the program. In the written petition, the students must specify, the reason for the request and the length of the leave of absence. Unless special permission is granted by the assistant dean of students, the leave of absence may not exceed one academic year. Students who are granted a leave must notify the School registrar of their intent to re-enter the program at least one month before the beginning of the term for which they intend to return.Students will not receive credit for any courses taken at this or any other university or college during the leave of absence.
In the event that students are not able to return to the professional program by the agreed upon date, the students must submit, in writing, to the assistant dean of students the reason for not meeting this date of return and his or her intentions regarding returning to the professional program.
Students who do not intend to return to the professional program must submit in writing a request for academic resignation as outlined above in section I-C no later than one month prior to the agreed upon date of return.
E. Missed or Incomplete Course Work
Students who, for good and valid reasons, are unable to complete some portion of the required material in a professional course may receive, at the discretion of the instructor, a G grade if in the P1 or P2 year, or an I grade if in the P3 or P4 year. The instructor must be convinced, by appropriate documentation, that the reasons for the incomplete work are valid. The incomplete work must be made up as soon as possible, and no later than the end of the following term (spring or summer). Students who have been given a G or an I grade in a course that is a pre-requisite for another course may not take the next course in the sequence until the G or I grade has been replaced with an acceptable grade. Students cannot advance to the next professional year until all G or I grades have been resolved. If a G or an I grade is not resolved in the designated time, students will be under academic probation as outlined in section II-C below.
II. Academic Progression, Promotion and Academic Probation of PharmD Students
Promotion of students to the next professional year of the Doctor of Pharmacy program is dependent on successful completion of the current professional year. The following outlines the situations in which students would not meet the criteria for promotion.
A. Grade Point Average
Calculation of grade point average (GPA) will include all required professional courses and approved electives taken while enrolled in the PharmD program.
Cumulative GPA will be calculated at the end of each term. All PharmD students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above will be placed on academic probation and given one opportunity to repeat selected courses in order to raise their cumulative GPA above 2.00. Students failing to increase their cumulative GPA above a 2.00 during this period of academic probation will be dismissed from the PharmD program.
Term GPA will be calculated at the end of each term. Students with a term GPA under 2.00 will be placed on academic probation and must achieve a GPA of 2.00 or above during the following term. Students failing to achieve a term GPA of 2.00 or above during this period of academic probation will be dismissed from the PharmD program.
B. Course Grades
Students earning the following grades will not be eligible for promotion to the next professional year and will be placed on academic probation.
1. F grade in any required or elective course within a given term
2. Unsatisfactory (U) grade in any required or elective course that uses Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading
3. Below a C- in any two required or elective courses in a given term
4. Below a C- in both the fall and spring terms of the following sequential courses: Biochemistry 1 and 2 (PHARM 5116 and 5117); ; Infectious Disease 1 and 2 (PHARM 5214 and 5215); Professions of Pharmacy 1 and 2 (PHARM 5110 and 5111); and Professions of Pharmacy 3 and 4 (PHARM 5210 and 5211)
Students who meet any of the criteria listed in 1–4 will need to repeat the academic year of inadequate performance according to the following procedures:
For students meeting criteria B.1, B.2, or B.3 above:
If the inadequate performance occurs at the end of the fall term the students may, with the approval of the APC: 1) take no courses during the spring term and return to the School the next fall term to repeat the professional course(s) they performed inadequately in, as well as other professional courses as determined by the APC; or 2) continue into the spring term, taking professional courses as determined by the APC. The following fall term, the students would repeat the courses of inadequate performance, as well as other courses determined by the APC.
If the poor performance occurs at the end of the spring term, the students may, with the approval of the APC: 1) take no courses during the fall term and return to the School the next spring term to repeat the professional course(s) they performed inadequately in, as well as other professional courses as determined by the APC; or 2) the students may choose to return in the fall term to repeat professional courses in which they performed marginally and/or take elective courses (if prerequisites have been met). The professional course(s) they performed poorly in would be repeated the following spring term when again offered. Students will not be permitted to take courses in the next professional year.
For students meeting criteria B.4 above:
Students who receive below a C- in both sections of a sequential course will return in the fall term to repeat the professional course(s) they performed poorly in, as well as other courses as determined by the APC.
For students meeting criteria B.1, B.2, B.3 or B.4 above:
In the case of extenuating circumstances, with the agreement of the appropriate course faculty and the APC, a student may complete a faculty sanctioned remediation program during the summer semester for the course in which they had inadequate performance. If this remediation program is successfully completed by the end of the summer semester the student will be eligible for promotion to the next profession year,
C. Academic Probation
Students on academic probation who are repeating courses must earn a grade above a C- (i.e., C or better) and have a cumulative and term GPA of 2.00 or above to continue in the PharmD program. Students on academic probation who again earn an F or a U (unsatisfactory) grade in a required or elective course, a grade below C- in any two courses (required or elective), within a given term, or in the fall and spring terms of sequential course as outlined above, will be dismissed from the PharmD program and not permitted to register.
The APC may request, via phone, e-mail, or written letter, that students on academic probation appear before the APC to present his or her case prior to a final action by the committee. Similarly, students have the right to appeal the committee’s actions or appear before the committee (see Section IV).
D. Extenuating Circumstances
In highly unusual cases the APC, in consultation with the dean, may make exceptions to the above progression, promotion, and retention policies.
III. Re-admission of Dismissed Students
A. Petition for Re-admission
Students who have resigned from the program or have been dismissed (not permitted to register) from the program will not be considered for re-admission for at least six months after the date of dismissal. After this time, students may submit a petition for re-admission to the chair of the APC. If the APC determines that there are sufficient grounds for re-admission, and class space is available in that current professional year, students will be re-admitted, will follow a course of study determined by the APC, and must conform to any curricular changes that have occurred since they were last enrolled.
B. Dismissed Students, Three Years Later
Students who have been dismissed and who petition for re-admission two calendar years from the time of their dismissal are not eligible for re-admission with advanced standing. Such students must apply for re-admission as new P1 students, on a competitive basis with all other applicants for that year. Such students, if admitted, will be expected to follow the PharmD program applicable to other students admitted that year.
C. Regulations for Re-admitted Students
All re-admitted students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or greater and make satisfactory scholastic progress (i.e., not again be placed on academic probation) for all remaining terms to continue in the PharmD program. Re-admitted students will be evaluated at the end of each term, and failure to meet the requirements for continuing in the PharmD program will result in permanent dismissal.
IV. Due Process and Right of Appeal
Students will be notified in writing of their placement on academic probation or dismissal from the PharmD program, including the reason for this action. Students may appeal this action by submitting in writing to the chair of the APC, within two weeks of the date of the letter from the APC, evidence of extenuating circumstances for the APC to consider. Students may appear before the APC to further explain their particular situation prior to the committee’s making its final decision.
Students may appeal decisions of the APC to the dean by providing a written petition, within two weeks of the date of the letter from the APC, outlining the extenuating circumstances or an alternative solution to the decision made by the APC. The dean may choose to consult with the APC prior to arriving at a decision, which will be final.