Pharmacy Student at Commencement

KGI Doctor of Pharmacy Graduates Excel on California Professional Licensure Exam

California’s qualifying test for pharmacy practice is considered one of the most difficult in the country. Yet the first class to graduate from the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS) at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is excelling on the California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists (CPJE).

As of October, approximately 95.7 percent of those in KGI’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Class of 2018 who have taken the exam have passed. Only graduates of one other pharmacy program in California—the University of Southern California (USC), with a 97.7 percent passage rate—performed better. The average for the state’s 13 programs is 89.7 percent.

KGI’s results exceed even the expectations of SPHS Founding Dean and Professor Kathy Webster, who came to KGI in 2012 to develop its new PharmD program.

“The passage rate is the ultimate assessment that says our program is spot on and provides students with what they need to succeed as pharmacists.”

Webster points to a board review course for fourth-year students, a rigorous admission process, and an up-to-date curriculum as factors contributing to KGI’s high passage rate on the CPJE. She also attributes it to the active learning, interprofessional education, and exposure to a wide variety of potential careers for pharmacists that KGI offers students.

The dean believes the success of the Class of 2018 will also has an impact on classes that follow them. She explains, “It’s a point of pride for students currently in the program that our charter class did so well, and for us as we recruit new students.” 

Robert Stein, professor of practice for pharmacy law and ethics and healthcare information technology at KGI, was at the California State Board of Pharmacy meeting in Sacramento at which the passage rates were announced. He says, “I was so proud. It’s very impressive. For a school that’s been in existence for four years, we’re doing amazingly well.”

He believes everyone involved deserves credit for the positive outcome. Stein says, “It’s a wonderful testament to the quality of the students we had in the class. We are also grateful for KGI’s clinical faculty as well as the preceptors and adjunct faculty who work with our students.”

To date, all but 18 of the 65 members of the Class of 2018 have taken the CPJE. Given the passage rate so far, says Stein, “I think we can expect similar results for the remaining students.”