Program Structure and Description of the Professional Degree

The mission of the curriculum is to prepare students to optimize pharmaceutical care at the level of a pharmacotherapy generalist. The curriculum prepares pharmacists as health care providers to work collaboratively with others to achieve effective use of medicines and other interventions to mitigate disease and maximize health and well-being of patients and of society as a whole. The curriculum fosters professionalism and civic involvement while encouraging advancement of the profession and the individual through life-long learning.

Science and practice are integrated throughout our curriculum. Course instructors introduce basic scientific principles and concepts that students use to solve problems and analyze cases. Scientific concepts are reinforced throughout the curriculum and the complexity of the curriculum builds over the four years. Through early and advanced practice experiences, students apply what they have learned to the care of patients. Students are expected to be able to use their knowledge and skills to solve drug-related problems in practice and case simulations. A variety of teaching assessment strategies are employed to evaluate performance. Verbal presentations and written assignments are utilized throughout the curriculum to emphasize the importance of educating patients and health care practitioners about drug-related problems. Graduates of the program are expected to be self-directed learners and general practitioners capable of providing pharmaceutical care to their patients.

In the first professional year, students are introduced to the importance of basic and clinical research. Students interested in exploring research careers are encouraged to work with faculty members who conduct research in variety of settings. From basic research in drug discovery to clinical trials to outcomes research, faculty members are nationally recognized for their scientific expertise.

The School of Pharmacy is a leader in service learning. Working with their preceptors, student pharmacists provide community services throughout the Pittsburgh region and learn to interact with underserved communities, assess community health care needs, and communicate with diverse populations.


Teaching innovations such as simulation-based learning are encouraged. The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy and the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER) have collaborated since 2004 to integrate simulation base learning utilizing human patient simulators into the School fo Pharmacy professional curriculum and University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy Residency Programs. Human Patient Simulation (HPS) technology is a type of simulation-based learning that provides a unique opportunity for students to apply knowledge of medications and learned principles of pharmacodynamics in a context that realistically mimics patient care, while providing a safe, controlled learning environment. It is an interactive program where students can observe the pharmacodynamics of medications in simulated patients to enhance development of their problem solving critical thinking skills. The simulator center is used in the Pharmacotherapy of Cardiovascular Disease course (P2 year) and the Acute Care Course in the P3 year as well as in graduate courses such as Teach Me to Teach You