Pharmacy

Overview

Pharmacists are the medication specialists in the health field.  They must know how medications exert their effects, potential side effects, and how different drugs interact.  They counsel prescribers and patients on the dosage, side effects, and proper use of medications.  To learn more about the field of pharmacy, visit the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) website or job shadow a pharmacist.

Prerequisite Coursework

The coursework required for admissions varies widely between pharmacy programs.  It is your responsibility to research the schools you are interested in and make sure that you have completed their course requirements.  Almost all pharmacy schools require applicants to have taken one year of biology, one year of physics, one year each of general and organic chemistry with labs, one biochemistry course, one microbiology course, and one calculus course, among others.  The following are resources to help you with researching individual schools:

Pharmacy School Locator

Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements (PSAR) pdf

School Prerequisites page of the PSAR

PharmCAS school-specific information

The undergraduate major you graduate with does not affect your chances of being accepted to pharmacy school if you complete all of the prerequisite coursework. 

Applying

The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) is required for admission to pharmacy schools.  It tests general biology, microbiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, math through calculus, reading comprehension, and writing ability.  The AACP publishes several resources to help you as you study for this exam, including practice tests.  After registering for the multiple choice practice tests, a PCAT Guidebook and new writing practice tests will also be available to you.

Most pharmacy schools use a centralized application service, PharmCAS to streamline the application process.  For more information on this or to begin an application, please visit their website.

Letter of recommendation requirements vary from school to school.  You are responsible for researching the letters required by the schools you are interested in.  This information is also available on through the PharmCAS.

One of the most important parts of the application is the interview.  Be sure to prepare thoroughly!

Extracurricular activities

It is important for every prehealth student to get involved in extracurricular activities that help them become well rounded individuals.  It is also important that the activities you choose to participate in help you become familiar with the field of pharmacy.