The pharmacy master's program is a two-year, combined pharmacy administrative residency (ASHP Accredited PGY1 and PGY2) and academic degree program, which culminates in a master of science degree, emphasizing health system pharmacy management and leadership. Applicants to the pharmacy M.S. program must be eligible for licensure as a pharmacist in the State of Wisconsin. The program is designed to provide the resident/student with a solid academic foundation and experience in the administration of exemplary pharmaceutical services across an integrated health system.

The primary objective of the program is to develop health system pharmacy administrators who are trained and prepared to immediately assume administrative leadership positions within large, integrated health care delivery systems at the level of managers and assistant directors, and eventually as directors of pharmacy. These positions include oversight of pharmacy operations, clinical programs, medication safety, new business development, supply chain, and so on. Residents complete patient care and management rotations in the first year of the program, and advanced administrative and elective rotations in the second year (chosen from a variety of settings, as desired by the resident). The curriculum's flexibility allows for specialization in administrative areas that best complement the student's career goals. Resident activities are varied in scope, depending on each individual's background and areas of interest. 

A detailed program overview (including a description of rotations; program strengths; resident competency objectives; projects; presentation and teaching opportunities) is available here.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

36 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

36 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

At least half of degree coursework (19 credits out of 36 total credits) must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 3 credits of graduate or Pharm.D. coursework from other institutions (so long as the credits are earned post-baccalaureate) toward the M.S. in pharmacy. The coursework should be presented to program administrators in the first semester of enrollment for evaluation. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No coursework taken as a UW–Madison undergraduate may be used to fulfill course requirements in the M.S. degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

No coursework taken as a UW–Madison University Special student may be used to fulfill course requirements in the M.S. degree.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits (fall and spring); 12 credits summer

Program-Specific Courses Required

Completion of a set of core courses is required. A Health System Pharmacy seminar is required each semester. Other required courses include Human Resources Management, Health System Pharmacy Data Analysis and Informatics, Healthcare Operations Management, Managing Technological and Organizational Change, Health Systems Management and Policy, Advanced Health-System Pharmacy Administration, and Advanced Independent Study (Research). Contact the graduate programs coordinator for the current curriculum or consult the program website.

Further, pharmacy residency requirements are presented at this link.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required.

Other Grade Requirements

Candidates will be dropped from the program if they receive more than 7 credits of grades at the BC level or lower. This applies to formal courses, seminars, and research credits.

Probation Policy

The status of a student can be one of three options:

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status.
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

The UWHC Department of Pharmacy also has a disciplinary procedure/policy for its residents; contact the graduate programs coordinator or the UWHC Department of Pharmacy for details.

Advisor / Committee

Students/residents are regularly reviewed by the UW Health director of pharmacy and the program’s other preceptors.

Assessments and Examinations

A master’s research project is required. Contact the School of Pharmacy graduate programs coordinator or the program for more information.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Further, that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.

Applicants should submit through the standard Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS). For details on the requirements of this application process, including supplemental information required by PhORCAS, see the area regarding "pharmacy administrative residency--applying to the program" on the UW Health website. Included in these instructions are the procedures one must take to apply to the UW Graduate School.  Applications must be received by the end of the first Monday in January; the residency historically begins the third full week of June and M.S. coursework begins in early September. Applications are not reviewed at any other time during the year. Applicants to the M.S. program must be eligible for licensure as a pharmacist in Wisconsin due to the program's pharmacy residency requirements.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Thorough understanding of the organization and the components of an integrated health care system as they relate to the continuum of pharmaceutical care across the health system including acute care, ambulatory care, home care, and other settings.
  • Administration of pharmacy service networks as part of the integrated health system and the relationships of the components of the pharmacy regional health system (e.g.: inpatient care, retail and mail service pharmacy, managed care pharmacy programs, specialty pharmacy services, hospice care, home care and pharmacy consulting programs).
  • Thorough understanding of how to design, implement, manage and improve a safe and effective medication use system. This includes an understanding of information technology and other automated systems required to support comprehensive pharmacy services across the integrated health system.
  • Ability to perform technology assessment studies for new systems technology.
  • Knowledge and expertise in managing drug policy including an understanding of the importance of such a program in supporting evidence-based care throughout an integrated health system.
  • Role of pharmacy in conducting and supporting drug research as well as understanding principles of conducting research in administrative science and pharmacy practice.

Professional Conduct

  • Development of personal leadership qualities and business acumen essential to operate efficiently within a hospital and health system and advance the profession and practice of pharmacy.
  • Development of business knowledge and skills in the following areas: communication techniques, problem identification and solving, project management, decision making, productivity management, quality methodologies, organizational design and behavior, cost/benefit analysis, technology assessment and strategic planning.

Additional Learning Goals

  • Administrative skills in the principles of supply chain management, human resource management, financial management, pharmaceutical reimbursement, revenue cycle management, narcotic control, labor relations and pharmacy regulations and law.
  • Understanding the role of pharmacy in education and research as part of an academic medical center as well as the integration of education and research into practice. This involves the provision of evidence-based, patient centered medication therapy management with various members of the health care team in an interdisciplinary fashion and teaching of pharmacy students. In addition, residents will develop an understanding of the importance of public service and education in an academic medical center.
  • Ability to create, promote, and market the pharmacy's role within integrated health care systems thorough understanding of medication safety standards required to ensure a safe medication use system across the integrated health system.