FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program
The Food and Drug Administration is one of the nation's oldest and most respected consumer protection agencies. FDA's mission is to promote and protect the public health by helping safe and effective products reach the market in a timely way, and monitoring products for continued safety after marketing.
The FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program (PSEP) provides an opportunity to learn about the FDA’s multidisciplinary processes for addressing public health issues involving drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Pharmacy students who participate in the FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities beneficial to their professional career.
Each FDA rotation site has its own list of objectives (see the links to the Office/Division that offer student rotations below). An FDA rotation allows pharmacy students to become familiar with:
- The missions, functions, and organizational structure of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS).
- FDA's organizational structure
- Other government agencies, national pharmacy organizations, and institutions in the Washington D.C. area such as:
- Laws, regulations and guidances governing drugs, biologics and devices for human use
- The drug review process within the United States
The FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program includes opportunities to attend FDA advisory committee hearings, congressional hearings, and a monthly lecture series for pharmacy students. In addition to learning about FDA operations, students interact with other pharmacy students from schools across the country and learn about pharmacist career opportunities available in government.
The FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program is part of the FDA Volunteer Program for Students (PDF - 64KB). The positions are unpaid. However, the program provides academic credit hours required for the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.
FDA does not provide housing for students. Students are responsible for securing housing during the rotations.
The FDA has office buildings located in several sites in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Most of the FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program opportunities are available in Silver Spring, MD where most parking is free and it is possible to commute by bus. However, at the other sites free parking is not guaranteed. There are FDA shuttles between many of the sites and others are accessible by Metro rail and bus systems. However, depending on the location of the rotation site, private transportation would be a definite advantage.
See our Ground Transportation webpage for more information.
Please review our FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program Manual of Policies and Procedures for a detailed list of all legal requirements.
In order to participate in this program students must:
- Be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or have an F1, J1, or B1 visa. FDA will not assist in procuring visas for foreign students.
- Be enrolled in an accredited pharmacy school.
- Have completed his or her pharmacy school’s requirements to start experiential programs.
- Apply to and be accepted into the FDA PSEP.
Students are prohibited from releasing, publishing, or disclosing non-public information, specifically any confidential commercial or trade secret information obtained while serving as an FDA student. Students will be subject to a background check in order to obtain security clearance before their rotation.
The students must complete all the forms including the following forms and mail or email them as per instructions provided in the FDA email from the FDA preceptor nine weeks prior to their rotation:
- FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program Student Volunteer Service Agreement (attachment 3 of the FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program Manual of Policies and Procedures - the attachment is only accessible using Internet Explorer).
- Pharmacy Student Experiential Program eArrive Questionnaire (attachment 4 of the FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program Manual of Policies and Procedures - the attachment is only accessible using Internet Explorer).
The students must also complete and return the following forms to FDA Security within the timeframe given in the email from FDA Security.
- The students must also complete and return the following forms to FDA Security within the timeframe given in the email from FDA Security.
- E-QIP Initiation Form (PDF - 26KB)
- Form 306 : Declaration for Federal Employment. Students must bring two forms of government issued identification (drivers license, passport, social security card, etc) to the rotation.
- FD-258: Fingerprinting form (if not living within one hundred miles of the FDA White Oak campus).
- Pharmacy students living within one hundred miles of White Oak, MD, will schedule an appointment at the White Oak badging office and perform fingerprinting in advance of the rotation start date, as directed in the email from FDA Security.
- Completes the Annual Computer Security Awareness training and emails the certificate of completion to the preceptor.
Rotations are offered only in the last year of pharmacy school. Students are encouraged to apply in the year preceding their last year of pharmacy school. Rotations are available throughout the entire year, and may last anywhere from 4-6 weeks, depending upon the school’s experiential program.
All interested applicants must submit the following through their school’s experiential coordinator via the FDA PSEP online application system:
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- One-page paper focusing on how a rotation at FDA would facilitate achievement of your career goals
Three potential time slots for your rotation, keeping in mind that flexible rotation slots will expand placement opportunities.
Rank order of top three preferred rotation sites. Rotations are available in various centers, offices and divisions within the FDA. We have provided you with a list of offices and divisions that participate in the FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program. However, this list is not comprehensive and it is possible that a student may be selected by a division/preceptor that does not appear on this list. You may pick rotations in any of the Offices or Divisions listed below:
- Office of Special Medical Programs, Office of Orphan Products Development
- Office of Global Regulatory Operations and Policy, Office of Regulatory Affairs
- Center for Biologic Evaluation and Research
- Center for Devices and Radiological Health
- Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
- CDER Drug Shortage Program
- Division of Advisory Committee and Consultant Management
- Division of Anti-Infective Products
- Division of Anti-Viral Products
- Division of Drug Information
- Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis
- Division of Metabolism & Endocrinology Products
- Division of Neurology Products
- Division of Pharmacovigilance
- Division of Psychiatry Products
- Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products
- Office of Business Informatics
- Office of the Center Director, Controlled Substance Staff
- Office of Clinical Pharmacology
- Office of Compliance
- Office of Compliance/Office of Unapproved Drugs and Labeling Compliance (OUDLC)
- Office of Executive Programs
- Office of Generic Drugs
- Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP)
- Office of Medical Policy
- Office of New Drugs
- Office of Pharmaceutical Quality
- Division of Nonprescription Drug Products
- The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP)
- Office of Program and Strategic Analysis (OPSA)
- Office of Regulatory Policy (ORP)
- Office of Biotechnology Products
- Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (OSE)
- Outreach and Communications Team, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology
- Division of Risk Management
- Division of Epidemiology
- Professional Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement
- Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Coordination Staff
- Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health
- Office of Translation Sciences
- Project Management Staff, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (OSE)/Immediate Office (IO)
- Public Information and Liaison Branch (PILB), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), NIH (Bethesda, MD)
Please contact your Experiential Coordinator for details on the application process for the 2019-2020 academic school year.
- Visit the Division of Drug Information web site at: http://www.fda.gov/AboutDDI
- Call us at: 1-855-543-3784 or 301-796-3400
- Email us at: Pharmacy.Student@fda.hhs.gov