William Paul Briggs, head of a pharmaceutical foundation and former dean of the George Washington University School of Pharmacy, died of leukemia Tuesday at his home on Connecticut Avenue NW. He was 74.

A fourth generation Washingtonian, Dr. Briggs was educated at George Washington University, where he was graduated in 1924, and earned an advanced degree in science at the University of Maryland. He also received several honorary degrees from other colleges and universities.

Dr. Briggs joined the faculty of George Washington University in 1927, and in 1934 became dean of the School of Pharmacy, a position he held for eight years.

During World War II, he served as commander of the bureau of medicine and surgery of the U.S. Navy.

He worked for the Veterans Administration as director of pharmacy service and in 1948 became head of the pharmaceutical section of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

In 1951, he became executive director of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, which aided yound people in their schooling. He remained in that post until 1974.

Dr. Briggs was a recipient of the Remington Honor Medal, highest honor of the pharmaceutical profession. He belonged to several professional organizations, including Pharmacopeia, of which he was treasurer for 30 years.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Lois S. Briggs, of the home; a sister, Ruth B. Deidel; a neice, Patricia S. Weber and her two children, Paul and Laura Ann Weber, all of Washington.