Chapman University School of Pharmacy


Orange County now has its very own pharmacy school: the Chapman University School of Pharmacy.

Irvine, California

Founded: 2015

Class Size: Around 80

Orange County now has its very own pharmacy school: the Chapman University School of Pharmacy (CUSP).

Students in the Golden State may be interested in CUSP’s 3 program options: the accelerated Doctor of Pharmacy program, the Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences program, and the Pre-Pharmacy Freshman Early Assurance Program (also known as FEAP).

Dean Ronald Jordan, RPh, FAPhA, told Pharmacy Times that CUSP is located in a “wonderful place to live, work, and attend college.”

The area boasts beaches and mountains, sports venues and art institutions, and vibrant housing. Irvine, California, has also been named one of the safest places to live in the country.

In 3 years, CUSP will graduate its first class, and Jordan said the school is excited to be approaching its candidate status on the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education pathway to full accreditation when that happens.

“We believe the marketplace will see our students as leaders, excellent communicators, and well-prepared, high-performing team players,” he said.

A: The vision of our school is to enhance global health delivery and the biopharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. We are molding pharmacy practitioners and scientists who possess a deep scientific foundation, a passion for human health improvement, and the caring concern needed to make a difference in people’s lives.

CUSP is located at the state-of-the-art Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in beautiful Irvine, California. From day one, students can take advantage of Chapman’s Southern California location, which blends the ease of small-city living with access to cultural experiences, internships, and job prospects in one of the world’s most exciting metropolises.

The pharmacy program at Chapman was established by the university with a $60 million dollar investment as part of a greater than $150 million dollar investment to move into health science professional education. This venture allowed us to pick the best location to build our campus and design it specifically for the needs of a new school of pharmacy, complete with the latest in lab equipment and classroom technology, allowing for the attraction of top-notch faculty and researchers.

Our investment in research facilities and faculty is highly unusual for a new school, with Chapman ranking near the top third of pharmacy schools nationwide in its first year of operation based on research funding.

Every student will engage in a discovery or research experience with our well-equipped basic science faculty or our clinical research faculty. The experience will teach students the importance of evidence-based decision making as we strive to improve health care.

We also have a strong focus on interprofessional training. The Rinker Health Science Campus of Chapman University allows pharmacy students to interact with physical therapy, physician assistant, nursing, athletic training, and communication sciences and disorders graduate students.

Our program is also built upon a very ambitious assessment program that delivers integrated examinations every 3 weeks via the ExamSoft Electronic testing platform. We believe in continuous comprehensive examination, which teaches student to study regularly instead of trying to cram for exams.

We are also the only school in the country that boasts having 2 of the current (and 1 past) American Pharmacists Association presidential officers on our leadership team.

Q: What is the teaching style or philosophy?

A: We are actively engaging students in their own learning through the use of a flipped classroom framework and a focus on team and leadership training.

Every student receives a MacBook and iPad, and the faculty curate materials that direct students to gain basic understanding and knowledge about various subjects outside of class. When we bring them to class in our uniquely designed laboratories and classrooms, students apply their knowledge to problem solving, innovation, and development of answers through teamwork and communication.

What this means is that students spend time outside of the classroom engaging in the lower tiers of the Bloom Taxonomy of Leaning so that they can prepare to work on more difficult problems and critical thinking in the classroom with faculty members.

We like to say our faculty members are not lecturing in the traditional “sage on the stage” mode. Instead, they are the “guide on the side,” helping each student personally learn at the speed appropriate for them.

Q: What are some community outreach activities or programs that the school participates in?

A: Our students have completed just 1 trimester but have already participated in an Illumination Foundation Children’s holiday program to educate and entertain children affected by homelessness. Our students also led a holiday food drive that delivered more than 400 pounds of canned goods to a local food pantry.

Students are also already out in the community giving flu immunizations and educating Orange County citizens about immunizations and good health.

Q: What opportunities do students have for internships or co-ops?

A: We have signed up hundreds of individual mentors to work with students in all typical practice areas, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry, managed care settings, and government. These opportunities are routinely posted for students to explore.

Q: What advice do you have for students who will graduate this year?

A: While our school has 3 years to go before graduating students, we always advise students to continue investing in their practice, get involved in organized pharmacy, and continuously grow their pharmacy knowledge, exposure, and network.

We believe students need to spend time thinking about how they can align what they are good at, what they are passionate about, and what the health care system needs now and will employ in the future.

While the challenges of health care are grand, students have the opportunity to choose to be part of the solution by determining what role they will play. We believe that, at its foundation, pharmacy is about being a health care entrepreneur and doing well by doing good.

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