Curriculum

The success of WesternU’s PharmD curriculum is demonstrated
by an average first time pass rate of 98% for the past five years

The four-year PharmD curriculum offers a patient-centered approach to pharmacy clinical practice. 

Review the Course Listing in our Catalog

For more detail regarding the curriculum, please review the course descriptions (PDF) in our University catalog.

Block System

“I chose WesternU because of the block system, diverse student body, great board pass rate, and job prospects upon graduation”

-Ray Morita, PharmD Class of 2008

WesternU was one of the first to develop the highly effective block system of learning. In your second year and half of your third year, you will study one subject intensively during a period that we call a "block." During each block you will learn through: Lecture, group work/discussion, student presentations, peer learning, and teaching activities. There are a total of 16 blocks, with a two- to four-day break at the conclusion of each one. Total immersion allows you to achieve mastery in one subject before moving to the next.

Early Introduction to Clinical Work

Early clinical experiences give students a real-world understanding of what they're learning in the classroom. In the first and second years, students participate in the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience program, where they are assigned their first "rotation" in either a community or hospital pharmacy.

In addition to science courses, your first year also includes a Foundations in Clinical Practice course that focuses on: Learning individual and group skills that carry through the curriculum, small-group discussions on issues in pharmacy, lectures and workshops on over-the-counter medications, and team projects.

For more information on clinical experiences and third and fourth year rotations,
please visit the clinical experiences page.

Rotation Sites

With 350 rotations sites and 750 preceptors, we provide a wide range of rotation options to our students. Sites include: private hospitals, county hospitals, Veterans Administration hospitals, military hospitals, long-term-care facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, compounding pharmacies, managed care facilities, psychiatric facilities, children's hospitals, chain drug stores, and independently-owned pharmacies.

Although most students rotate through Southern California sites, some have had clinical experiences In Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Arizona, Utah and even Thailand.

Learning Along Side Students in Other Health Professions

WesternU's interprofessional curriculum provides a forum for you to collaborate and learn from students in eight other health-care programs. This curriculum provides an opportunity for early networking with other health professionals and ultimately prepares you to better serve your patients through interprofessional collaboration and referrals.

Faculty

Our faculty are diverse – in ethnic representation, experience and areas of expertise. Faculty members are trained in a broad spectrum of specialties.

Our faculty are experienced in practice – most practice at institutional, ambulatory or community sites and bring the richness of their experiences into the classroom.

Our faculty are engaged in scholarly activities – Faculty members:

  • Write and procure grants
  • Present abstracts at national and international meetings
  • Speak at local, regional and national forums
  • Publish the results of their research in peer-reviewed pharmacy and medical journals
  • Involve students in their research.

Our faculty are committed to students – Our faculty genuinely care about your success. They will treat you as a colleague and give you the tools you need to succeed. Faculty often participate in student organizations and service projects.

Outstanding Support Services

Not only will you receive faculty and peer support, you can also draw on the Learning Enhancement & Academic Development Office (LEAD) as a resource.  LEAD staff arrange for individual and group peer-tutoring sessions, one-on-one stress relief sessions, and workshops on topics such as time management, test-taking skills, and learning styles.

Pharmacy classroomStudent-Centered Learning

The new classrooms in the College of Pharmacy reflect an innovative design intended to foster student-centered learning, where students are actively engaged in their learning process. The large classrooms, with a capacity to seat up to 144 students, are designed with six three-leaf-shaped tables, each leaf can accommodate seating for a team of eight students. The state of the art technology in each of the classrooms allows for easy facilitation of active learning and transition between individual team activities to class-wide sharing. Large screens are strategically placed surrounding the classroom, in addition to the smaller screens at each leaf to provide multiple ergonomically comfortable viewing angles. The small screens placed at each leaf also serves to promote individual group activities by allowing customized input for each group. The podium console is placed at the center of the classrooms to minimize the physical distance between the instructor and all students.

The first year classroom is designed with a Skyfold wall that divides the class into two smaller classrooms, sound proofed, and each equipped with separate podium consoles, to facilitate the teaching strategies that need to be done when involving a smaller number of students. In addition to the three large classrooms, there are twenty individual breakout rooms that will be utilized to facilitate activities or assessments that require students or student teams to be in private rooms. All of the breakout rooms are also equipped for direct audio and visual communication with each of the classrooms.

Working with my classmates on case studies that pertain to our subject material really enhances the learning process. It helps to bring the classroom into a real-world perspective
-Danielle Dishmon, PharmD Class of 2010

Major Research Initiatives
Members of WesternU's pharmacy faculty are currently pursuing research in the areas of cardiovascular and neurological pharmacology and physiology, pharmaceutical formulation development, pharmacokinetics and immunology.

Please join us for information session where you can tour the facilities, chat with faculty and students,
and learn more about WesternU's pharmacy curriculum and admission requirements.