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Pre-Pharmacy is NOT a major and there is no "correct" major to pursue Pharmacy School. While most students major in a science area like biology, chemistry, or math, a major in science is not required. In fact, many Pharmacy programs do not require a student to have completed their Bachelor's degree before beginning Pharmacy School. However, in that situation we still advise you to declare a major just in case.

Every Pharmacy School has different pre-requisite course requirements. Since these requirements can vary quite a bit, it's incredibly important that you identify the schools that you may be interested in. That will help you and your advisor identify which courses you'll need to take. As an example, these are the courses required by Purdue School of Pharmacy:

  • 8 hours of General Biology with laboratory (Biol 141, Biol 151, &amp Biol 152)
  • 8 hours of General Chemistry with laboratory (Chem 261 & Chem 262)
  • 8 hours of Organic Chemistry with laboratory (Chem 353 & Chem 354)
  • 4 hours of Physics with laboratory (Phys 175 OR Phys 205)
  • 4 hours of Microbiology with Lab (Biol 375/376 OR Biol 272)
  • 3 hours of Biochemistry (Biol 434 OR Chem 431)
  • 3 hours of Immunology or Cell Biology or Genetics (Biol 442 OR Biol 334 OR Biol 382)
  • 6 hours of Anatomy & Physiology (Biol 121 &amp 122)
  • 3 hours of Calculus (Math 230)
  • 3 hours of Statistics (Stat 241)
  • 3 hours of English (Eng 101)
  • 3 hours of Economics (Econ 208 OR 209)
  • 3 hours of Speech (Cmst 101)

In addition to the required courses above, there are several courses to consider which will prepare you for the coursework you will encounter in Pharmacy School. Courses to consider include animal physiology, genetics, and histology.    

The grade point average (GPA) is an important component of the requirements for admission to Pharmacy School. It is not necessary to have a 4.0. Instead, it is probably better to have a solid GPA in the 3.80-4.00 range (on a 4 point scale) and participation in extracurricular activities to demonstrate interests beyond academics. Most programs require a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA for application, but you need more like a 3.5 cumulative GPA to be competitive. Further, many programs require a C- or higher in all pre-requisite courses.

Throughout your undergraduate career, it is important that you keep track of your application GPA. You can find details on how that is calculated here

Since Pharmacy Schools do not require a Bachelors degree, some students begin application in their Sophomore year of undergraduate. However many students wait until their Junior year of undergraduate so that they have successfully completed all of their prerequisite courses. The application process is managed by PharmCAS, which is hosted by AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy). This online system will manage your application, your transcript submissions, and your letters of recommendation.   

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized exam that is required by some, but not all Pharmacy Schools. Though not required, this can be a way to show that you are academically strong not just in the classroom but on exams as well.

The PCAT is a computer-based exam. The PCAT is best taken in the spring prior to application. When preparing, you should plan to to study for 6-12 months prior to your exam. The exam is around 4 hours long and covers five content areas:

  • Writing
  • Biological Processes
  • Chemical Processes
  • Critical Reading
  • Quantitative Reasoning

Shadowing experiences are an important part of your pre-pharmacy training. You should research the schools that you're interested in to find out how their requirements regarding shadowing vary.  Many pre-pharmacy students earn their pharmacy technician qualification and work in that role to gain experience. Shadowing different types of pharmacists (e.g. retail versus hospital) will broaden the experience you have.  Spend time researching all you can find about the pharmacy profession and consider how the demands of the career fit with your lifestyle. Occasional volunteer activities or summer work is another meaningful way to learn about the profession. While the importance of these types of activities varies with different pharmacy schools, the experience you gain cannot be measured.   

  • Be sure all of the information you enter on your PharmCas application is accurate. This includes the grades of every course taken at the college level and any courses in which you plan to enroll within the year.
  • Request a transcript from all of your academic institutions and allow plenty of time for the institutions to process your request. All transcripts must be sent to PharmCas.
  • The personal statement on the PharmCas is important. This is your chance to begin to portray who you are and to distinguish yourself from the thousands of applications each institution will review.
  • Begin the process early! Many schools have rolling admission policies, which means slots are filled beginning in October, until the slots are filled. If you wait until October or November to complete your application, you have missed opportunities for several slots.
  • Give careful consideration before asking individuals to write letters of evaluation. Then allow plenty of time for them to write the letters so you aren't waiting until the deadline to receive them. When you ask for letters of recommendation, provide a C.V. or resume so the person writing the letter can reference what you have done outside of their contact with you.
  • Knowing the specific requirements of the pharmacy school(s) to which you plan to apply is also very important. Pharmacy schools profess that they want well-rounded individuals, not just one-dimensional students. That means get involved, balance school with other activities, because it is true that all work and no play makes you a dull individual!