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College of Pharmacy | Academic Policies

Bulletin

Degree Completion

The maximum length of time that will be allowed for a student to complete the four year Doctor of Pharmacy program will be six consecutive academic years from the date of their original entry into the professional program.  Any student who wishes to extend the time allowed for completion of the program beyond the six year limitation will be required to submit a petition to the Scholastic Standing and Petitions Committee. The petition will be reviewed and a decision for a time extension based on the individual student circumstances.

Transfer Admission

Applications for transfer students from other accredited professional pharmacy programs into the college’s professional program will be evaluated on an individual basis. The student applying for transfer must be in good standing in their current program and a position must be available in the MUSC program for any application to be considered. Transfer credits for course work will be evaluated and considered for acceptance on an individual basis if taken within the last 5 years.

Academic Policies

The University’s Academic Standards Policy is contained in the MUSC Bulletin.

The University’s Grading System is contained in the MUSC Bulletin.

For didactic coursework merit grades are assigned on a continuous scale ranging from 0 to 4 points. If a student earns a merit grade of zero in a required course they must repeat that course. P (Pass) and NP (no pass – fail) indicate performance in courses offered as Pass - Fail. The Pass - Fail option is only used for introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experiences and elective courses which are specified as Pass - Fail. Course coordinators and course faculty will identify the specific course requirements that will be utilized to determine student performance (e.g., tests, reports, class participation, group projects, etc.). This information should be provided to students in the course syllabus at the beginning of the course. A grade of incomplete cannot be carried into the fourth professional year. Requirements to remove the incomplete and receive a final course grade must be fulfilled prior to the start of advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). Students must have no course deficiencies and must meet all progression guidelines as defined in the Scholastic Standing Policies in order to begin their APPEs at the end of the third professional year.

Honor Graduates

The University’s policy on Graduation and Honors is contained in the MUSC Bulletin.

The first and second honor graduates for the College of Pharmacy are determined based on cumulative grade point averages (GPA). If there is a tie for either first or second honor graduate, the student with the greatest number of credit hours will be selected as the honor graduate. If a tie still exists, the student with the highest GPA at the end of the third professional year will be selected as the honor graduate. If a tie still exists, the tie will be broken by vote of the college’s administrative team. Any individual eligible to receive a degree from MUSC can be the first or second honor graduate. The list of students and cumulative GPAs used to determine the honor graduates is provided by the MUSC Registrar’s Office.

Course Registration

Registration for all required courses is managed by the Dean’s Office. Students self-register for laboratory course sections and elective courses (exception: the Dean’s Office registers incoming students for their fall P1 lab section). P1s may take electives in the spring semester of their P1 year if they are in good academic and professional standing and with permission of the Dean for Student Affairs or Dean for Curriculum and Assessment. Students are responsible for referencing their respective class schedule for the semester to ensure they properly registered for all required and elective courses. The University’s Registration Policy, which includes drop/add timelines, is contained in the MUSC Bulletin.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

MUSC’s ADA policies and procedures and accommodations forms can be accessed at ADA Policies and Procedures. Requests for accommodations should be directed to \The University 504/ADA Coordinator (Basic Sciences Building Room 104; 843-792-1072). Faculty members are required by the ADA to accommodate students who have been granted an accommodation. The student is responsible for meeting with each course coordinator the first day of class each semester to determine how the accommodation will be managed throughout the semester for their course. Students receiving a new accommodation must meet with the course coordinator within two days of receiving the accommodation. The course coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the accommodation is implemented as described in the accommodation letter.

For academic accommodations, examinations will be taken during the regularly scheduled class time, if possible, depending on the accommodation. Students may elect to miss class to begin an exam early or finish an exam late.  Students may not miss a class with required attendance. If a student opts to take an exam at a time outside the usual exam time due to a class scheduling conflict, the student must be present in the class that conflicts. A student who does not attend the class that conflicts will be referred to the Student Policy and Professionalism Committee for review and possible disciplinary action. Students must take exams in the same format as the entire class unless specified otherwise in the accommodation. Faculty must ensure that students who receive extra time on exams are able to remain in one location for the entire time specified in the accommodation.

Scholastic Standing Policies

Progression:

In order to be eligible for promotion and graduation, students must obtain a merit grade of at least a 1.0 in each professional course and maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 by the end of each academic year (including the summer session for students eligible to remediate coursework). A course merit grade of zero is considered a deficiency. Students must remove any deficiencies by the beginning of the fall semester in order to be promoted to the next year. Students with two or less deficiencies may be able to remove deficiencies during the summer semester at the discretion of the course coordinator. An additional tuition charge will be billed to the student’s account to remediate the course deficiencies in the summer semester. First and second year students with deficiencies will be scheduled for their introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) during summer block 3. Third year students with deficiencies will be scheduled to begin their advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) in July. Requests to take classes outside of the college and to receive credit for these classes requires the approval of the course coordinator and the Dean for Curriculum. No student will be allowed to take more than two courses during the summer semester. If a student has a deficiency (earns a merit grade of zero) in COP 630: Pharmacy Skills Lab I:  Compounding and Applied Pharmaceutics and/or COP 632: Pharmacy Skill Lab II: Introduction to Community Pharmacy they will not be allowed to progress to COP 650: Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience – Community during the summer session. The student will be suspended from the program and required to complete these courses during the following academic year. If a student has a deficiency (earns a merit grade of zero) in COP 731: Pharmacy Skills Lab III: Introduction to Health-Systems Pharmacy and/or COP 733: Pharmacy Skills Lab IV: Applied Health-Systems Pharmacy they will not be allowed to progress to COP 750: Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience – Hospital during the summer semester. The student will be suspended from the program and required to complete these courses during the following academic year. If a student has deficiencies (earns a merit grade of zero) in more than two courses in any given academic year, he/she will NOT be allowed to make up any of those courses during the summer semester and must repeat those courses during the next academic year. If the student is on probation, he/she will be dismissed. If the student is not on probation, he/she will be suspended and placed on academic probation for one academic year at the beginning of the next fall semester. If a student has deficiencies (earns a merit grade of zero) in more than four courses during any given academic year, he/she will be dismissed from the program. No student will be allowed to take a required course (except an IPPE or APPE) for the first attempt in the summer semester. All IPPE and APPE course deficiencies must be remediated at a site determined by the experiential education office. Students who elected to complete ten APPEs must complete an eleventh APPE in the event of an APPE deficiency. If a student earns an IPPE or APPE deficiency or is dismissal from an IPPE or APPE an additional tuition charge will be billed to the student’s account to remediate the course deficiency. If a student fails to achieve a merit grade of 1.0 or better in an elective course, the student is encouraged, but not required, to re-take the elective course. However, the student must successfully complete a minimum of eight hours of electives by the end of the third professional year to progress to the fourth professional year of the program. Students with a deficiency (earning a merit grade of zero) in more than one APPE will be dismissed from the program. Students who earn a course deficiency in a fall semester course will not be allowed to hold office in any professional organization or class at the College or University level for the following spring semester. Students who earn a course deficiency in a spring semester course will not be allowed to hold office in any professional organization or class at the College or University level for the following fall semester. A current or incoming student leader who falls under either of the situations described above will be required to resign from any leadership position(s). 

Suspension:

Suspension means that a student will be prohibited from advancing in the curriculum for one calendar year. Students will be suspended if they fail to remove any deficiencies by the beginning of the fall semester. A suspended student may repeat a required course once in order to remove a deficiency. Additionally, a suspended student may take elective courses during the year they are suspended to improve their cumulative grade point average (GPA). A suspended student who meets the requirements for promotion will be removed from suspension, placed on academic probation for one academic year, and allowed to progress in the curriculum. Suspended students will not be allowed to seek or hold office in any professional organization or class at the College or University level. Failure to remove all deficiencies and attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher by the conclusion of the suspension period will result in dismissal from the College.

Academic Probation:

Students on academic probation must demonstrate their ability to consistently and satisfactorily progress in the curriculum by maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and meeting promotion requirements for one academic year. Students on academic probation will not be allowed to seek or hold office in any professional organization or class at the College or University level. Failure to satisfy the terms of probation will result in dismissal.

Dismissal:

Dismissal is the mandatory and permanent withdrawal of a student. After dismissal, the college will not accept any coursework from the student to complete the Doctor of Pharmacy program. A student will be dismissed if they fail to remove all deficiencies, fail to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher, fail to remove a deficiency after a second attempt taking a course, fail to attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher by the conclusion of a period of suspension, or fail to satisfy the terms of probation. If a student has deficiencies in more than four courses during any given academic year, he/she will be dismissed from the program. If a student has a deficiency in more than one APPE he/she will be dismissed from the program. A student may also be dismissed for lack of professionalism and/or professional misconduct.

Petitions:

Any student seeking an exception to the academic standards may petition the College’s Scholastic Standing and Petitions Committee. The student has seven calendar daysfrom the date they receive written notification of their deficiency, suspension, or dismissal to submit a petition to the Dean for Student Affairs, who serves as the administrative liaison and provides all documents to the Chair of the Scholastic Standing and Petitions Committee. A petition may be approved or denied based on the merits of the individual situation. The Scholastic Standing and Petitions Committee does not have the authority to change grades assigned by a faculty member or preceptor. Students have the right to appeal the decision of the Scholastic Standing and Petitions Committee to the Dean. Appeals must be received in writing within seven calendar days of notification of the sanction(s). The Dean’s decision is final.

The University’s Academic Review and Appeal Policy is contained in the MUSC Bulletin at the following link: http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/esl/bulletin/bulletin_policies/acad_review.html.  

Didactic Course Policies

Students are obligated to complete all assigned work promptly, to attend class regularly, and to participate in class discussions and group exercises. Attendance is expected for all classes. The course coordinator may choose to establish a specific attendance policy in an individual course. This policy, along with consequences of violating the policy, should be presented to students enrolled in the class at the beginning of the semester as part of the course syllabus. The course coordinator may choose to exact a grade penalty for excessive absences as defined in the specific attendance policy. Recordings will be available for required courses; however, there may be some portions of classroom activities that are not recorded at the discretion of the lecturer.  Recordings are not to be used as a substitute for class attendance. Students are required to attend 100 percent of laboratory course meetings.

Mobile devices may be used only for legitimate classroom purposes such as taking notes, downloading class information, or working on an in-class exercise. E-mail, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, entertainment, and surfing the internet are not considered legitimate classroom purposes. This behavior is distracting and unprofessional to other students and the lecturer. Complaints may be referred to the Student Policy and Professionalism Committee.

If a scheduled test must be missed due to unforeseen circumstances, the student must notify the course coordinator by phone and e-mail prior to the test, if possible, and the student must obtain an excuse from the Dean for Student Affairs in order to be scheduled for a make-up exam. A medical excuse or other appropriate documentation must be submitted to the Dean for Student Affairs if an absence occurs on an exam day unless preapproved through the Dean’s Office. All other class absences must be approved by the course coordinator. If an absence is excused, the student will either be given a make-up exam or the other test grades will be increased proportionately to compensate for the missing grade. This decision will be at the discretion of the course coordinator.

The course coordinator will enter grades into the university records system for each specific course. After each major examination, the course coordinator is expected to contact individual students who earned merit grades of zero on the exam and offer an opportunity to meet with them regarding their performance on the exam. The course coordinator is also expected to provide the Student Affairs and Curriculum and Assessment Deans with a list of students receiving merit grades of zero on course exams. This will allow the Dean’s office to identify students with academic problems in multiple courses. The Dean’s office will schedule academic progress conferences with students who have grade difficulties in multiple courses.

Test Scheduling Policy

A test is defined as a major examination of material in a course usually administered no more frequently than every two weeks, except during the summer semester. This policy does not apply to written report dates, scheduled oral presentations, or quizzes. Students attending professional meetings or events may be excused from tests. In these cases, the course policy for excused test absences, as defined in the course syllabus, will be applied. The course coordinator must be notified in writing at least four weeks in advance for requests to reschedule a test in order to attend a professional meeting or event.

Incoming students are required to attend education technology orientation and confirm that the appropriate software is loaded onto their laptop for electronic testing. Students are responsible for any lost time in completion of an exam due to inexperience with the process for running the security software and/or accessing the exam.

Final examinations will be scheduled in accordance with the final exam schedule. For room scheduling purposes only, a three-hour block of time will be allotted for final exams. Course coordinators will determine a reasonable length of time for completion of the final course exam. The course coordinators are not required to provide three hours for final exams if it is unreasonable given the exam structure.

This test policy may be suspended due to severe weather or natural disaster to facilitate rescheduling of missed classes and tests.

Minimum Required Examination Procedures

Examinations may be proctored by a faculty or staff member of the college. At least one proctor is required to be present in the exam room at all times.

No examination materials (including scratch paper) are to leave the room under any circumstances during the actual examination period or during an examination review.

Book bags are to be placed at the front or sides of the classroom away from all students for the duration of the examination. The only items allowed at the student’s desk are pencils, scratch paper, and a laptop. Students must provide and use a privacy screen on their computer on exam days. Failure to bring a laptop and privacy screen to a scheduled exam is considered an unexcused absence. A merit grade of zero will be recorded for an unexcused exam absence, unless the student has contacted the course coordinator regarding extenuating circumstances or the course coordinator or course syllabus has indicated an alternate policy. If a laptop is malfunctioning prior to an exam, the student is required to provide proof that his/her computer is malfunctioning. Students who are aware of a computer problem prior to the exam must contact the course coordinator at least 30 minutes prior to the exam.

Cell phones, iPods, iPads, watches and similar electronic devices are to be turned off and stored in book bags during examinations and until exiting the room. Calculators are not allowed at the student’s desk if using Exam Soft calculator for the test. Use of the Exam Soft calculator for the test is encouraged.  At the course coordinator’s discretion, only non-programmable calculators are allowed - no cell phones, watches or similar devices are to be used as calculators during exams. No additional notes or written materials may be engraved, adhered, or otherwise attached to a calculator being used during an exam.

Hats are not to be worn during examinations (exception: visors and baseball caps - or similarly brimmed caps - may be worn with the brim turned around backward).

Students will be assigned a password to access electronic exams. It is highly recommended that students use a power cord during exams. If a student forgets his/her power cord, he/she assumes responsibility for a lost exam. For a student who has technical problems in accessing or completing an electronic exam, a penalty may be given for providing him/her with a print copy. The penalty, if any, is specified in the course syllabus.

Students are expected to arrive on time for scheduled exams. Arriving late to an exam is unprofessional and is considered a violation of the professionalism policy. Grade sanctions for students arriving late to an exam are specified in each course syllabus. Students who are repeatedly late for exams will be referred to the Student Policy and Professionalism Committee. If a student is late to an exam for an extenuating circumstance, proof must be provided to the Dean for Student Affairs in order to prevent sanctions.

Questions relating to exam content are strictly prohibited during the examination. Questions regarding suspected typing errors on the test (e.g. omissions, misnumbering, defective exam pages, etc.) are permitted.

Food and/or beverages are not allowed during examinations. All food containers and beverages should be stored in book bags while in the exam classroom.

Restroom breaks are discouraged. If restroom breaks are needed during an examination, only one student at a time will be allowed to leave the exam room.

Cheating in any form is not allowed and will be considered an honor code violation with immediate referral to the Honor Council.

Students should take all personal items and exit the exam room upon completion of the exam. Students are not permitted to re-enter the exam room until all students have completed the exam.

Experiential Course Policies

Pharmacy students complete a minimum of 11 pharmacy practice experiences which represents approximately 1/3 of the total pharmacy curriculum. They are required to complete two Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs), one in community pharmacy and the other in a health-systems pharmacy. These IPPEs take place during the summers following the first and second professional years, respectively. During the fourth professional year of the program, students complete nine Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), including five required and four elective courses in a variety of practice settings.

Experiential rotations are assigned using software designed for this purpose. Students may enter preferences for physical location, rotation sites and preceptors, but preferences are not guaranteed. The Experiential Education Office will attempt to place students at a site that is within one hour driving distance each way from their permanent or temporary residence in South Carolina. All students should be prepared to arrange their own housing for IPPEs and/APPEs, if necessary, due to the limited number of rotation sites in the state.

Students must abide by all policies contained in the MUSC Bulletin, this Student Handbook, and the IPPE and APPE experiential manuals during all practice experiences.