A pre-pharmacy student is taking coursework to provide a solid foundation in the sciences necessary to succeed in a pharmacy program. Pre-pharmacy students also use experiential-learning opportunities to gain insights into the role of a pharmacist within the healthcare field, and to help them determine if the profession is right for them.
Coursework required for most Pharmacy Schools
- One year of Inorganic Chemistry with labs
- One year of Organic Chemistry with labs
- One year of Biology with labs
- One calculus course
- One statistics course
- English composition and writing courses
- Microbiology with lab
Although this coursework will meet the requirements for many schools, students should research the prerequisites of the schools to which they hope to apply. Prerequisite information for the UW School of Pharmacy is available on their website.
Things to be aware of:
A significant number of pharmacy programs require some portion of the following courses: anatomy and physiology, physics, biochemistry, microeconomics, public speaking or interpersonal communications, and specific social science and humanities courses. You should research the requirements for all the schools you wish to attend and attempt to incorporate as many of those requirements as possible into your course schedule.
Most pharmacy programs do not require a bachelor’s degree as an admissions requirement. However, some do require the degree be either completed before beginning into the PharmD program, or be completed by a specified date after beginning the program.
Some form of pharmacy experience before you apply to a pharmacy program is desirable. Volunteer or paid positions (Pharmacy Technicians or Aides) and job shadowing are some possible ways to get this experience. Start looking for such opportunities early into your "pre-pharmacy" path.
Many, but not all pharmacy programs use the PharmCAS application service (see below).
As stated above, many pharmacy programs do not require that you complete a bachelor’s degree before entering the program. For those students who will already have an undergraduate degree, pharmacy schools do not give preference to students who have a specific "preferred" major. Choose a major that you really enjoy, and one in which you will be academically successful.
Websites to visit
- University of Washington School of Pharmacy
- Washington State University College of Pharmacy
- Pharmacy College Aptitude Test (PCAT)
- Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)
- Virtual Library – Pharmacy (includes listing for Pharmacy programs in many countries)
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
Applying to pharmacy school
Deadlines for application vary by program. For the UW School of Pharmacy, the steps are as follows:
- Take the PCAT. Make sure you sign up for the test well in advance! It is best to apply early: during summer or early fall. If you are applying at the end of fall quarter, the September testing date is the last date.
- Applications are accepted starting in July.
- Request letters of recommendation early.
- The UW School of Pharmacy uses the PHARMCAS application service, but you will also submit a UW-specific supplemental application directly to the School of Pharmacy. The application deadline varies each year, but is always in the first week of January.
- Interviews are scheduled from January through March.
- Notification letters are sent from February through May.