Frequently Asked Questions about the Pharmacy Residency Program

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Am I required to apply using PhORCAS?

Yes, you may only apply to the UC San Diego PGY1 Acute Care Residency Program by registering for the ASHP Match and utilizing PhORCAS, the online application portal. You may begin using PhORCAS to upload application materials beginning October 1st, and you may start sending your application materials to UC San Diego and other residency programs beginning November 1st, or as available when PhORCAS opens.

How is the residents' year organized?

Required Rotations - all residents will rotate through the following services at different times of the year.


Orientation 1 week
Training5 weeks
Medicine, Hillcrest5 weeks
Medicine, La Jolla5 weeks
Adult Intensive Care Unit 5 weeks
Ambulatory Care5 weeks
​Acute Care​5 weeks
Administration5 weeks


Elective Rotations – there will be a total of 3 electives, two of which must be patient care electives.


Elective 15 weeks
Elective 25 weeks
Elective 35 weeks


Does your residency require a second year?

No. While it is not required, many residents choose to apply to a post-graduate year two (PGY2) specialty program, either with UC San Diego or with another program. PGY2 Directors at UC San Diego may choose to offer early commitment to UC San Diego PGY1 residents, or to participate in the ASHP Match. Currently, UC San Diego offers PGY2 residency programs in Critical Care, Infectious Diseases, Oncology, Psychiatry, Transplant and Transitions of Care.

How much do residents staff?

First-year residents "staff" 20 weekends during the year. This includes two minor holidays, such as Memorial Day and one major holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's. Residents receive a generous benefit’s package which includes 20 vacation days. Residents train on several weekends, and these training weekends count as staffing weekends. Residents are trained and staff in most areas of hospital pharmacy practice, including the central dispensing area and covering medical, surgical and ICU units, increasing the residents’ comfort and confidence as well as their marketability. Staffing is essential to becoming a fully competent practitioner and every year residents provide positive feedback regarding how valuable staffing is for their professional development.

How flexible is the program with electives?

Despite choosing electives in the first month, many residents discover new areas of interest. Each year more than half of our residents make changes to their rotation schedule. The program has been very flexible in changing the residency experience to accommodate the resident's changing interests and needs. In the past, special interests have been accommodated and encouraged. With over 25 electives to choose from, the challenge is choosing which electives to take!

What have former residents gone on to do after the residency?

Graduates from UC San Diego Health Residency Programs have strong market value and have chosen many different professional paths. Many PGY1 residents match or early commit to remain at UC San Diego for PGY2 residency programs; others have stayed at UC San Diego, hired on as pharmacists in various capacities. Some areas that second-year residents and fellows have specialized in at UC San Diego are HIV/infectious diseases, managed care, drug information, pediatrics, critical care, and transplantation. Other residents have continued their education in other specialty residencies or fellowships outside the UC system. Many residents have gone on to clinical positions at other local institutions and at institutions around the United States. Still others have gone on to industry, FDA and faculty positions at various schools of pharmacy and their affiliated hospitals. Many graduate residents sit for board exams and become Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists.

How much teaching is available?

A lot! We are a teaching and research focused academic institution. Residents precept second year IPPE and fourth year APPE students from the SSPPS while on they are on rotation. Residents have been incorporated into the Therapeutics Course conferences taught at the SSPPS and are the primary preceptors/facilitators of the weekly case review Therapeutics Conferences. Collaborative teaching and information sharing occurs on a daily basis.

What about housing?

Residents may choose to live close to the Hillcrest Medical Center or close to our La Jolla Hospital campus, which is also close to the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, or anywhere in between. There are many housing atmospheres in San Diego, and residents may choose to live near the beach or inland. Rent prices vary depending on location, age and size of the unit, averaging $900-1500/month for a one or two bedroom apartment. Some residents choose to live with a significant other or to find a roommate. After the match, residents are provided with contact information for the residency class and may discuss housing. Matched residents are also paired with a current resident “buddy”. Your buddy may help you navigate the San Diego housing market and provide you with good recommendations and hints as to where to live. The Reader, a free local newspaper, may also list apartments for rent and "roommates wanted" ads:

Are all your residents from California or California schools of pharmacy?

No. UC San Diego Health and its residency programs have a long standing history of recruiting and matching with residents outside of California. We actively recruit at state and national professional meetings and we consider all residency applicants. It is common to have a mix of students from the various California pharmacy schools as well as from throughout the United States.

What are the board requirements in California?

Residents are required to take and pass the NAPLEX and the California Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (CPJE). This law exam typically contains a high percentage of clinical questions. Please start to make arrangements to take both exams as soon as you have decided to apply to residency programs in California. Many out of state applicants take the NAPLEX in their own states and then score transfer. You are required to have a valid California Intern Pharmacist license by July 1st and to have a valid California Pharmacist license by September 15th of your residency year. Contact information for the California State Board of Pharmacy may be found at:

Does the pharmacy have a good relationship with the other health care professionals at UCSD?

Yes. The pharmacy enjoys a strong, collaborative relationship with other health care professionals at UC San Diego Health. The residents are an integral part of this relationship..