The Numbers Game

After 4 years, US News & World Report has finally updated their pharmacy school rankings:

With regards to how the top four California pharmacy schools have done:

UCSF remains #1.

USC rose from #15 to #10.

UCSD rose from #35 (I think) to #23.

UoP rose from #52 (I think) to #49.

Although I’d love to ramble on about UCSF, I’m dedicating this short post to UCSD.

I find it incredibly impressive how UCSD SSPSS has risen through the ranks in such a short amount of time. They were founded in 2000, and their first pharmacy class matriculated in 2002. That means that they have only been in full operation for 10 years.

TEN YEARS. UCSD has gone from no rank to rank 23 in 10 years. I’m older than the pharmacy program! And already, Skaggs has surpassed numerous pharmacy schools–at least, according to US News & World Report. But life is a numbers game, and numbers (somewhat) belie reputation. UCSD in general is notorious for quick ascension through rankings, as shown by the success of their undergraduate program.

Although UCSF will forever be my one true love, I respect UCSD for certain aspects of their curriculum.

One, they have a small class size. Now I know some students are turned off by the idea of only having 59 other classmates, but I think there is something wonderful about a tight-knit, cohesive class. Coming from Berkeley, where a majority of my classes have had 100+ students, I feel like a smaller group would yield stronger friendships with more of your classmates.

Two, they integrate the second year of pharmacy school with the first year of medical school. Now I know some students are turned off by the idea of having to take rigorous courses with competitive medical students, but I believe that this facet of their curriculum is the first step of many toward interprofessional healthcare. There are many incidences of miscommunication between healthcare providers, which translates into consequences for the patients. As such, why not lessen the divide by having the various professional students collaborate on their coursework? Also, I heard from a UCSD student that integrated classes allow pharmacy students to teach the medical students about our expertise in the field of medicine and drug therapy. It seems a handful of medical students are not knowledgeable about the role pharmacists play in the grand scheme of healthcare, which, without some intervention, inevitably translates into a lack of appreciation for pharmacists from physicians. I hope that UCSF will someday adopt a similar curriculum that integrates all four of their professional health programs through coursework.

Three, they have a Honors/Pass/Fail grading system. Now I know some students are turned off by the idea of not being able to differentiate yourself from your classmates (unless you’re exceptional, in which you get the H) with letter grades. But I think it would be nice to go through graduate school without worrying about letter grades, which have dictated all of my life since forever. And once those letters get converted to numbers, bam, you’re back to the numbers game.

Four, they have a 100% pass rate for the NAPLEX that aspiring pharmacists must take to get their license. Now I know some students will say that UCSD has only had 6 graduating classes that each have fewer students than most programs do, but still, that number is impressive. They also have a 97.8% pass rate for the CPJE that aspiring pharmacists must take to practice in California. It had been 100% every year until 2011, when one student didn’t pass on his/her first try. Still impressive though! (Statistics for all California schools can be found here: And once again, we find ourselves back in the numbers game.

Five, they have award-winning faculty. Well, many schools do, but apparently UCSD is notorious for stealing professors and researchers away from other schools because of the location and weather. And UCSD is proud of it! Hahaha.

And to top it off, yes, the weather in San Diego is beautiful and sunny through most of the year, unlike the torrential rain that Berkeley is currently facing.

Anyway, just thought I’d put in my two cents about a pharmacy school that is on its way to the top. I’m rooting for you UCSD, as long as you don’t surpass UCSF c;

Oh, and Happy Pi Day! You can make it YOUR game to memorize all the NUMBERS in pi 😛

Bon Appétit,


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