Knowledge of a Pharmacist: Pharm.D. Curriculum

From medication doses to the newest article in the “New England Journal of Medicine.” From drug interactions to current guidelines for treating asthma. The knowledge required of a pharmacist is detailed, diverse, and cutting-edge.

At Concordia University Wisconsin, you’ll serve alongside physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other members of the team to provide patient-centered care. Just as your patients will trust you, you can trust that your School of Pharmacy education will provide you the knowledge you need for success-no matter which path you take as a pharmacist.

We strive to blend active learning into all of the classes we teach. From audience response systems to small group work, from case-based discussions to poster presentations, from community-based service learning to journal club sessions, active learning is integrated into every course in the curriculum.

Curriculum at a Glance Full Course Listing

Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Your successful development as a pharmacist starts with a strong foundation in biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences. Your patients deserve a pharmacist who:

  • Has an in-depth, practical knowledge of the mechanisms behind the medications used to change lives
  • Can communicate on their behalf to describe the precise nature of drug interactions, drug delivery methods advantages and disadvantages, and therapeutic alternatives to other health care providers

You can be that pharmacist-working to ensure every single medication decision will maximize benefit and minimize risk-with your training at CUW.

Our biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences curriculum at Concordia University Wisconsin can be described in the following domains:

The Foundational Biomedical Sciences domain-with the courses of Pharmacy Anatomy and Physiology; Pharmacy Biochemistry; and Pharmacy Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Biology-serves as the cornerstone of the curriculum. These courses are tailored specifically to future pharmacists, and the knowledge you’ll need to be successful later in the curriculum and as a pharmacy professional. They provide the knowledge necessary to excel specifically in the drug delivery, drug action, and therapeutics domains.

Drug delivery focuses on how drugs get into the body, how the body alters those drugs, and how the drugs are eventually eliminated from the body. Drug action focuses on what the drugs do in the body after they get in and before they’re eliminated.

The drug delivery and drug action domains are critical areas of emphasis for pharmacists, setting our professionals apart from others as the medication experts. The three-semester Pharmaceutics course series and three-semester Pharmacology course series provide knowledge and skills that transition the student from basic molecular and cellular processes to a focus on drugs’ abilities to alter these molecular and cellular processes.  This fundamental knowledge serves as the core knowledge for identification of therapeutic alternatives during subsequent therapeutic plan development.

Emphasized throughout CUW’s curriculum, applied learning in small groups with high instructor access is critical to your development and success as a future pharmacist. The pharmaceutics course series includes two teaching laboratory courses-Pharmaceutics II and Advanced Pharmaceutical Preparations-to provide the opportunities you’ll need to build your skills for success as a pharmacist.

Clinical and Administrative Sciences

While biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences courses form a critical foundation and core of the knowledge you’ll need, the clinical and administrative sciences are also important, as they comprise the knowledge, skills, and language you’ll need to bring your unique training to your patients and other members of the health care team.

There are three areas of focus within the clinical and administrative domains of our curriculum:

Therapeutics builds directly on the principle of patients as people. This area of the curriculum ties directly to medication therapy decisions that consider not just drug delivery and drug action principles, but the full scope of each patient’s clinical picture.

Therapeutics serves as the capstone area where it comes all together, taking into account all factors of real-life patients-from molecular to global influences on the success or challenges with their medication plan, and everything in between.

CUW’s therapeutics curriculum covers all of the major disease states from head to toe and all of the cutting-edge medications used to treat these conditions. You’ll learn about:

  • The latest therapies and newest guidelines
  • The challenges patients face with these therapies, from pharmacist specialists working in these therapeutic areas every day

When you learn about infectious disease, it’s from a pharmacist who saw a patient that same morning on an infectious disease service in a local hospital. When you learn about diabetes, it’s from a pharmacist who adjusted patients’ insulin doses and ordered follow-up laboratory monitoring in her ambulatory care clinic the day before. You can trust your education prepares you for success-you’ll learn from those who provide exceptional instruction to you and exceptional patient care to patients every day.

In social and administrative sciences, you’ll learn about patients’ experiences in and interaction with the health care system, including and beyond pharmacy.

You’ll investigate ways in which patients make decisions about the care providers they seek out, the therapies and medications to which they adhere, and their motivations and challenges-including interpersonal, social, cultural, legal, ethical, and economic factors. At the cornerstone of these courses is the understanding that the best medications are only valuable when they’re affordable, culturally acceptable, and practical for a patient to use within his or her daily activities.

More than any other health care profession, patients and other health care providers expect pharmacists to be the experts on drugs and, therefore, the best-trained interpreters of drug information. That’s the key word: interpreters.

Drug information is everywhere. On the Internet. In social media. On TV. But the fact that everyone can access drug information doesn’t mean that everyone can interpret what that information is saying.

CUW incorporates the skills needed to be exceptional interpreters of drug and medical literatures’ vast wealth of information. The cornerstone of this preparation comes from the two-course series Medical Literature Evaluation, where you’ll master the language of studies and guidelines that inform cutting-edge patient care.  Application of these skills comes in active learning in the curriculum, as well as in the Applied Patient Care teaching laboratories and experiential education.