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Our accredited Doctor of Pharmacy program requires three years of pre-pharmacy studies followed by four years of professional education, regardless of prior degrees.

Students spend the first three years of the Doctor of Pharmacy program on the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane or the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program extension on the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences campus in Yakima.

The fourth year is a series of six Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) in assigned geographic locations across Washington and in northern California. A seventh rotation is optional. Read more about our rotations on the Office of Experiential Services webpage.

Innovation in teaching

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) takes seriously our mission to develop outstanding health care professionals. We have a long history of being committed to preparing pharmacists not only to enter the practice of pharmacy today, but to lead the changes in the practice of pharmacy that are certain to come in the future. Student pharmacists begin interacting with patients and other health care professionals in their first year, and direct patient care opportunities continue throughout the curriculum.

Competency-based education

We measure student performance based on a competency-based assessment model. What this means is our grading model is “Honors-Satisfactory-Fail” (HSF) as opposed to a GPA grading model. This emphasis on demonstration of learning and mastery of skill prepares graduates to become competent pharmacy practitioners and takes the focus off the attainment of a course grade. Within our HSF grading model nearly all student pharmacists have progressed through to the spring semester in their first year (“fall behind” rate is less than 0.5 percent). The national average is around 10 percent.

Patient care

Student pharmacists begin interacting with patients and other health care professionals in their first year, and direct patient care opportunities continue throughout the curriculum.

A better teaching model

New pharmacists are entering a world of constant change and collaboration; competent graduating pharmacists must therefore also be lifelong learners and collaborators. Our active-learning based curriculum prepares you for this environment. We flip the traditional learning model and put the focus on the successful development of the student. As the name “active” describes, you will be expected to be actively involved and take ownership in the learning process both inside and outside the classroom.

We pair this teaching model with a system of support and learning resources to ensure each student has the greatest opportunity for learning success. Student ambassadors, student mentors, student-led organizations, student services resources, free campus tutoring, alumni mentoring, and faculty advisors provide a network that contributes to student achievement.

Our active-learning and competency-based curriculum places WSU among the most progressive pharmacy programs in the country and aligns with our commitment to the best possible educational experience for all students.

This classroom model follows a clear trend in higher education toward learner-centered teaching, and is built upon sound research based educational practices. Integrating this flipped classroom with a competency-based HSF grading model equates to a learning environment that is truly innovative and effective.

Professional certificate training

As one of the first programs in the nation to offer immunization training, our college has helped spearhead public access to immunizations. Our Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery certificate program from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is nationally recognized in the US and around the world. In the second year of the Doctor of Pharmacy program, you will complete the APhA vaccination training certificate program so that you can begin working in community health clinics and gain real-world experiences during rotations. Receiving our nationally recognized training certificate not only helps you get a head start in working with patients, but also gives you vital skills for your career in pharmacy.

Concurrent degrees

At the WSU CPPS we offer a couple concurrent degree options. These programs allow students to complete multiple degrees in less time due to prerequisite overlap.

PharmD/MBA PharmD/PhD

Four professional years

Our Doctor of Pharmacy program consists of four professional years. Below is a brief description that outlines the learning objectives of each year:

Foundational biomedical & pharmaceutical sciences

Professional year 1
Key concepts include understanding the connection between how biochemistry, anatomy and physiology relates to drug therapy, the top 200 drugs, foundational physical assessment and communication skills.

Mastery of theoretical background and application

Professional year 2
Student pharmacists engage in increased peer-to-peer role-play, simulation of real world clinical scenarios, and faculty-led case discussions with constructive and helpful feedback.

Empowering interdisciplinary and interprofessional team collaboration

Professional year 3
Student pharmacists take patient assessment and evaluation skills to a higher level by working with complicated patient cases and developing confidence in building patient specific therapeutic plans.


Professional year 4
This year is split into six, 6-week advanced pharmacy practice experience rotations. Students will be in real practice settings and be involved with the care of patients under the supervision of a WSU preceptor.

Pharmacy careers

“One of the greatest aspects of my position is the variety. On any given day I may research information about a new drug for a monograph I am writing, answer questions from pharmacists and patients, and help teach a class.”
– Terri Levien, Drug Information Pharmacist & Clinical Professor

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Washington State University