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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

School of Pharmacy

 Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Program
 PhD and MS Programs


Chartered in 1878, the School of Pharmacy has a tradition of developing leaders and innovators that drive the future of pharmacy. We investigate, discover, and create ways to improve patient health and, through partnerships, change practice and improve efficiency of care.  We also use computational and bench research methods to discover and develop drugs and drug delivery systems, and optimize drug therapy. The School of Pharmacy leads the way in education, personalizing education and getting students to expert faster. The School of Pharmacy is among the oldest pharmacy schools in the country. Pitt Pharmacy is in the top tier of schools of pharmacy in US News & World Report rankings and NIH-funded research.

The School of Pharmacy is committed to improving health through excellence, innovation, and leadership in education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, in research and scholarship, in care of patients, and in service to our communities.

To be an outstanding school of pharmacy renowned for excellence in discovery and advancement of science-based use of medicines and other interventions to enhance the vitality and quality of life.

Integrity guides our daily work. We foster:
Passion, commitment, and diligence
Creativity and personal growth
Collaboration and teamwork
A culture of respect for the individual.

Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Program

The professional curriculum is composed of a course of study requiring two years (62 credits) of pre-professional study followed by four years of professional courses. The four-year professional curriculum emphasizes problem solving and critical thinking, blending classroom and laboratory learning with experiential learning in practice. The required component of experiential learning is designed to facilitate progress from initial stages of making meaningful connections with patients to caring for complex patients with acute and chronic diseases. Experiences include patient care in communities, in hospitals, and during transitions of care. This experiential education begins in the first weeks of the P1 year.

Through our commitment to personalizing education, PittPharmacy inspires students to use their unique interests and talents to improve the lives of people through the safe, effective, and responsible use of medications and other interventions.

The PharmD program prepares students to be practitioners who advance the profession by fostering innovation, leadership, interprofessional collaboration, civic engagement, advocacy, life-long learning, and a professional attitude of inclusion.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, 135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 4100, Chicago, IL 60503, 312/664-3575; FAX 312/664-4652, web site

Contact Information

School of Pharmacy
Admissions: 412-383-9000

Special Academic Opportunities

PittPharmacy provides opportunities to personalize students’ education and get them to expert faster.

Areas of Concentration 
Areas of Concentration (ARCO’s) provide ways to tailor education to explore personal and professional interests. During pharmacy school, students can pursue an area of pharmacy in depth through specialized courses and experiences, mentoring, and a scholarly project. Students may apply for an ARCO during their second professional year of PharmD training. Each ARCO has specific requirements.

  • Community Leadership, Innovation, and Practice
  • Geriatrics and Palliative Care
  • Global Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacoanalytics
  • Pharmacotherapy Scholars
  • Pharmacy Business Administration
  • Research

International Pharmacy Travel
Pitt student pharmacists have the opportunity to gain exposure to diverse practices of pharmacy and global cultures through international experiences.

Student-Driven Independent Study 
Students work directly with a faculty member to design a unique one-on-one learning experience in the community, hospital, or laboratory. Unlike traditional electives, students play an active role in establishing the goals and parameters of the project.  Check out videos by faculty who offer electives and special topic opportunities

PharmD/PhD Combined Program 
If students are committed to extending their research education, we offer a Doctor of Pharmacy/Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences (PharmD/PhD) degree program that awards both degrees through a combined curriculum.

Selecting Experiential Rotations 
Students can design an individualized combination of core and elective rotations that are unique to their professional interests, talents, and goals. Students are able to choose from over 700 rotations in a wide range of pharmacy careers locally, nationally, and internationally.


The School of Pharmacy admits students to its programs under one of two pathways-guarantee or open. Those two admission pathways are detailed below:

Pharmacy Guarantee Freshman Admission

All students should first submit an application to the University of Pittsburgh, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. The School offers a guaranteed acceptance to a limited number of high school seniors who enroll at one of the University of Pittsburgh campuses. The number of guaranteed offers is limited and offered on a rolling basis. Students who have demonstrated academic success in high school, score 1360 or higher on the SAT I (Math and Critical Reading sections), with a minimum of 690 in the Math section, and specify Pharmacy on the application will be offered the guaranteed admission, if available.

Students who receive the guaranteed admission are expected to perform well in their pre-professional courses. In order to secure a place in the PharmD Program, students must earn:

  • a letter grade of a C or better in all pre-professional courses with no repeat of pre-professional courses
  • a 3.25 or greater overall GPA in pre-professional courses
  • a 3.25 or greater GPA in the required Math and Science courses
  • Note: Required Math and Science courses must be taken at the University of Pittsburgh (AP credits are acceptable)

To exercise the guaranteed admission, all applicants, must:

  • Submit the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores
  • Submit a completed PharmCAS application and fee
  • Participate in a satisfactory interview prior to School of Pharmacy Admission

Students who meet these performance criteria will be admitted into the PharmD Program.

Open Admission

Students admitted to the program through open admission compete for remaining spaces in the class. The requirements to be considered a competitive applicant for the School of Pharmacy’s professional program are:

  • completion of the pre-professional requirements
  • science GPA of at least 3.0
  • submission of the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores
  • submit a completed PharmCAS application and fee
  • selected applicants will be required to participate in a satisfactory interview (interviews are by invitation only)

More information about PharmCAS and deadlines for application can be found at

Students applying for admission must apply through PharmCAS, the Web-based Pharmacy College Application Service.

Visit the School of Pharmacy Web site at

Application Procedures and Deadlines

All applicants must file an application through PharmCAS, a Web-based Pharmacy College Application Service, by January 7, 2019.

The application process, application deadlines, and other admission requirements are summarized on the School of Pharmacy Web site.

Throughout the application process, it is the student’s responsibility to follow all instructions and meet all deadlines. Failure to do so might result in their application being canceled. It is highly recommended that students apply early to ensure that all application materials are received by the January deadline.

Preparing to Complete the Application

The School of Pharmacy recommends that students thoroughly review the application process before entering data or filling out forms so that they are aware of all the information they will need to gather and how much time the entire process will take. Visit the PharmCAS Web site at and review the “Preparing to Apply” tab. Then review the Checklist, PharmCAS Instructions, and the Applicant Code of Conduct links. Review the time line for the application process: Admissions Calendar

Complete Pre-professional Courses and Minimum Eligibility Requirements: Math & Science course requirements must be completed by the end of spring term of year of admission and all other courses must be completed before the fall term. NOTE:  Early Decision applicants must have all of the pre-professional required course work completed and letter grades recorded on official transcripts by the PharmCAS Early Decision deadline of September 4, 2018.

Register to take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test): Visit the PCAT web site for registration deadlines for test dates and register as early as possible since the test sites have a limited number of examinee seats for each exam date. Register to take the PCAT (recommended test dates include July and/or September, October/November) and have your scores sent to PharmCAS, code 104. Applications are not complete until PCAT scores are received. Only completed applications are considered for an interview invitation. NOTE: Since the January PCAT scores will not be received until after interviews are offered, the Admissions Committee recommends an earlier PCAT testing date.

Completing the Application Process

The application process consists of one application.

PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Service): This service enables students to generate one primary application that can be submitted to multiple PharmD degree programs. For the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, the application must be electronically submitted on or before midnight Eastern Standard Time on January 7, 2019.

To eliminate any unforeseen problems, it is recommended that students submit their application early; i.e., November 1, 2018. This will ensure eligibility to update fall grades and, if issues arise, they can be investigated and resolved before the December deadline.

After electronically submitting the PharmCAS application and fee for the PharmD program, there are follow-up steps that applicants must address to be certain that all the required documents (such as transcripts to PharmCAS) have been received on time.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students should investigate their eligibility for federal and state programs by calling the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 412-624-PITT or e-mail

The University’s financial advisors are the best source of information about local grants or scholarships that extend beyond federal and state programs. Students are encouraged to look outside of the health professions for additional support. Students may be able to compete successfully for economically or academically awarded scholarships from private groups and associations.

In addition, the School of Pharmacy has a number of general scholarships provided through the generosity of the School’s alumni and friends. These are described in detail on the school’s Web site at

Tuition Rates and Fees can be found on the school’s Web site at

Academic and Professional Standards

Academic Integrity

School of Pharmacy students are responsible for upholding the standards of behavior outlined in the University’s Guidelines on Academic Integrity, the University’s policy on sexual harassment, and other policies related to student behavior. 

Enrollment in the School of Pharmacy carries with it obligations of conduct within and outside of the classroom. Professional students are expected to maintain the highest standards of personal integrity and conduct themselves in a manner that is a credit to themselves, the school, and the profession.

Each year, students will be asked to sign a copy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Code of Conduct that reaffirms their commitment to ethical and professional behavior. Details of the Code are outlined on the school’s Web site.

Grading System

Doctor of Pharmacy students are subject to the provisions of the Guidelines and Regulations for the Promotion of Students in force at the time. All students will be given a copy of these guidelines and regulations upon entry into the program.

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.

It is the responsibility of students to monitor their academic progress and become familiar with the program degree requirements and academic regulations.

Clearance and Immunization Policy

The Office of Experiential Learning manages learning experiences in communities and professional practice environments that are embedded across all four years of the PharmD program. Because these experiences involve direct patient contact, the practice sites where students are placed require proof of immunization to communicable diseases, fingerprinting, background checks, and drug screens. Students who fail to complete these prerequisites no later than two weeks prior to the start of classes will not be able to fulfill their experiential learning requirements. PittPharmacy works with CastleBranch, a background screening and compliance tracking solutions company, to collect and manage the documentation of all such prerequisites. Each student has access to his or her information through the secure CastleBranch web site both as a student and after graduation. CastleBranch maintains a secure site to which only the Office of Experiential Learning Office and the student have access.

A positive criminal history and/or positive drug screen may disqualify a student from completing required experiential learning and may prevent successful completion of the PharmD program. Many of the sites used for experiential learning require students to meet certain prerequisites. These prerequisites may include showing proof of immunization to communicable diseases, undergoing criminal background checks, and drug screening.  Failure to meet these prerequisites can result in students being unable to complete their experiential learning requirements.

Additionally, in order to become a licensed pharmacist, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of any misdemeanor, felony, or any illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse. A criminal history may delay or prevent licensure.

PhD or MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences

The School of Pharmacy offers graduate level training to highly motivated individuals. Our mission is to train the next generation of leaders and decision makers seeking to improve the health of the community through outstanding basic and clinical research. Major strengths include highly accomplished, well-funded research faculty, multidisciplinary training opportunities, and cutting-edge technologies.

Training consists of required core courses, elective courses, journal clubs, research presentations, and an original faculty-advised research project leading to a final thesis or dissertation. Students may select to enroll in one of five Primary Tracks: medicinal chemistry, biochemical pharmacology, pharmaceutics, clinical pharmaceutical sciences, or health outcomes and policy research.

Contact Information

Lori Altenbaugh
Graduate Program Coordinator
University of Pittsburgh
School of Pharmacy
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Application Process

Applications must be submitted electronically at the Pharmacy College Application Service for Graduate Programs (PharmGrad). Application to our program requires a $50.00 fee that cannot be waived.

Applications for the fall term must be submitted no later than January 4, 2019. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis so it is wise to apply as early as possible. Applications for spring term admission are not accepted.

The School of Pharmacy highly recommends that applicants to the PhD program have research experience and that students mention specific faculty with whom they would like to work in their Personal Statement.

When complete, student applications are reviewed. No preliminary assessments are made on individuals applying to the program until all application requirements are complete. The GRE is required in order to submit your application. Subject-specific tests are not required. GRE scores are good for five years; the ETS will not release GRE scores after 5 years from the date of the exam. We do not state a minimum GRE or GPA as we prefer to look at the entire representation of the applicant. The average GRE score for those students admitted for 2017 verbal is 152 (56th percentile), quantitative is 162 (81st percentile) and analytical writing is 3.5.

We require three references that MUST be submitted online.  Written references are not accepted.

IMPORTANT: WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY DOCUMENTS SENT VIA MAIL TO OUR DEPARTMENT. You will be notified if your application is reviewed and you are invited for an interview. At that time, you will need to supply an official transcript.

International Students

For the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum result of 100 on the iBT (Internet-based test) is required.  For IELTS the minimum acceptable score is 7.0. You must submit GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS) scores to the University of Pittsburgh, institution code is 2927. You do not need a department code. TOEFL scores are good for two years; the ETS will not release TOEFL scores after 2 years from the date of the exam. If you have graduated from a U.S. institution OR if English is the official language of your country then proof of English proficiency is not required.

Financial Assistance and Tuition

Most students accepted to our PhD program are offered full tuition scholarship plus a teaching assistant stipend. Teaching assistant experience is not necessary as you will be trained upon acceptance into the program.

For the 2017-2018 academic year we granted scholarships and TA positions to 6 new admissions from a pool of approximately 74 applications. No financial assistance is available to MS students. Tuition Rates and Fees can be found on the school’s Web site at NOTE: Health insurance is REQUIRED for all students.

All fees are the same for those students who are not offered a scholarship.

Length of Programs

The PhD Program requires a minimum of 72 credits. Most students complete the PhD degree within five years. The statute of limitations for completion of the PhD degree is ten years. (See Statute of Limitation/Leaves of Absence in the University catalog for more information.)

The MS (thesis-based) program requires a minimum of 30 credits. Most students complete the MS degree in two academic years. The statute of limitations for completing the MS degree is four consecutive calendar years from the first term of registration.

The Non-Thesis MS program requires a minimum of 34 credits and is usually completed within one calendar year (three semesters). The statute of limitations for completing the MS degree is four consecutive calendar years from the first term of registration.

Academic Standards

School of Pharmacy students are responsible for upholding the standards of behavior outlined in the University’s Guidelines on Academic Integrity, the University’s policy on sexual harassment, and other policies related to student behavior.

MS Pharmacy Business Administration

The 12-month executive style Master of Science in Pharmacy Business Administration (MSPBA) program consists of 36 credits that build critical skills and expertise for pharmacy professionals seeking to substantially increase their business acumen and marketability.

Contact Information

Bridget T. Regan, MBA,RPh
Director of Pharmacy Business Programs and Assistant Professor
University of Pittsburgh
School of Pharmacy
Pittsburgh, PA  15261

Amy Giles
Program Coordinator
University of Pittsburgh
School of Pharmacy
Pittsburgh, PA  15261

Application and Requirements

  • Two years of professional experience is recommended
  • Candidates with a PharmD or BS in Pharmacy will receive preferential admission
To apply to the program, you must complete the following requirements:
  • Completed Application Form (Application PDF)
  • Résumé or CV
  • One self-nomination letter describing:
    • Current job responsibilities and assignments
    • Finest achievements and greatest disappointments
    • Challenges met within current organization
    • Civic and community activities and any offices held
    • Reasons and motivations for entering the MSPBA program
    • Professional and personal goals and plans
  • Two letters of professional reference
  • College or university transcripts
  • Graduate school admission exam scores (recommended)
  • GMAT
  • TOEFL or the IELTS examination (for anyone who speaks English as a second language)
  • In-person interview with MSPBA program representatives

Applicants will be contacted for scheduling of an on-site interview following receipt of complete packet of information

Tuition and Financial Aid


Tuition Rates and Fees can be found on the school’s Web site at Tuition is paid in equal parts per term for three terms.

All students, including students traveling from out of town, are responsible for all travel expenses.

The MSPBA program will provie a list of hotels that offer University rates from which students can select and reserve rooms.

Financial Aid

Federal Stafford loans are available to U.S. citizens for up to $20,500 per academic year. Refer to the University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid for information on how to apply. U.S. citizens who are funding the degree in full, in part, or whose employer reimburses only after the end of a term, may consider financing. Furthermore, students may also finance their costs through standard loans.

Tuition Includes
  • All books, cases, and simulations; meals during class sessions
  • Microsoft Windows and Program Bundle software packages
  • Access to all University of Pittsburgh student resources such as libraries, fitness facilities, and public transportation while on campus

School of Pharmacy Faculty

School of Pharmacy Faculty  


Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Doctor of Pharmacy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, 135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 4100, Chicago, IL 60503, 312/664-3575; FAX 312/664-4652, web site 

Program and Course Offerings

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