pills scattered from a pill bottle

Download Pharmacy School Admissions Guide as a printable PDF

Pharmacy is the branch of health sciences that deals with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of drugs. A pharmacist is a health care professional who is licensed to prepare and sell or dispose of drugs and compounds and can make up prescriptions. Most pharmacy schools do not require you to complete an undergraduate major, though you may be more competitive for admission with a degree. Each school varies in its expectations of successful applicants, so the best places to check for the latest information are the websites of the schools in which you are most interested, and the admissions officers at those schools. The UA Health Professions Advising Office can assist you as well.

Prerequisites

It is critical to be aware of the pharmacy school admission requirements early on in college so that you can arrange your coursework appropriately. Unlike many other health professional schools, each pharmacy school varies considerably in what courses it expects of its applicants. The undergraduate requirements at the two Alabama pharmacy schools, The McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University and the Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn University, for example:

Samford University

Subject Area Recommended Courses
General Chemistry CH 101 and CH 102 or honors
equivalent
Organic Chemistry CH 231, CH 232, and CH 237 (lab)
Anatomy and Physiology BSC 215 and BSC 216 (or BSC 400,
424, and 425 if majoring in biology)
Microbiology BSC 242 (or BSC 310 and BSC 312)
Statistics PY 211, BSC 380, or CHS 425
History HY 101 or HY 102
Mathematics MATH 125
Public Speaking COM 123
Literature EN 205, EN 206, EN 209, or EN 210
(choose one)
Social and Behavioral Science PY 101 or SOC 101
English EN 101 and EN 102
Physical Education KIN 199 or any two activity courses
Additional Liberal Arts 9 hours additional hours in any of
these categories- political science,
history, foreign language, philosophy,
psychology, sociology, geography,
economics or 1 class in either art,
music, or drama APPRECIATION.
Total Hours: 66 minimum hours

Auburn University

Subject Area Recommended Courses
General Chemistry CH 101 and CH 102 or honors
equivalent
Organic Chemistry CH 231, CH 232, and CH 237 (lab)
Anatomy and Physiology BSC 215 and BSC 216 (or BSC 400,
424, and 425 if majoring in biology)
General Biology BSC 114 and BSC 115
Microbiology BSC 310 and BSC 312
Upper-Level Biology Courses BSC 450 Biochemistry
BSC 435 Immunology
BSC 424/425 Human Physiology and
Lab
BSC 315 Genetics
Physics PH 101 or PH 105
History HY 101: HY 106 or honors equivalent
Mathematics MATH 125
Statistics PY 211, BSC 380, or CHS 425
Literature EN 205, EN 210 or honors equivalent
English Composition EN 101 and EN 102
Other General Education Requirements Humanities (3 hours)
Social and Behavioral Sciences (6
hours)
Fine Arts (3 hours)
Ethics and Health Sciences
Total Hours: 89 minimum hours

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a standardized examination that consists of 240 multiple choice items and two writing topics that measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the entrance into a Pharmacy program. It is required by all of the American Pharmacy schools. Typically, students take the PCAT about one calendar year prior to their intended date of matriculation to professional school. A PCAT score is good for three years at most schools, so taking the test in the spring of junior year does not necessarily mean that you must enter Pharmacy school right after college graduation. For purposes of admission, most Pharmacy schools will look at your percentile rank.

40%—Not looked on favorably
<60%—Looked on favorably

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Minimum GPA requirements vary from program to program, but MOST programs have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement but competitive GPA’s are closer to a 3.3 GPA.

Timeline

Freshman Year

  • Connect with the Health Professions Advising Office. Make an appointment
  • Start taking basic sciences (See chart above)
  • Decide if you are degree-seeking or if you will pursue a 4-year degree here at UA
  • Begin getting involved with volunteer opportunities on campus and in community
  • Start pharmacy-related experience (pharmacy tech, shadowing, etc.)
  • Join some student organizations (PrePharmacy Society)

Sophomore Year

  • Continue with next sequence of courses
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (medical, volunteer, etc.). Become an officer
  • Visit Health Professions Office to begin to assess competitiveness
  • Decide if you are degree-seeking or if you will pursue a 4-year degree here at UA
  • Identify pharmacy programs that you want to apply to. Develop PCAT preparation plan.
  • Take PCAT if applying without undergraduate degree (Summer)
  • Complete Mock Interview at HPAO office

Junior Year

  • Apply to Pharmacy programs if not getting undergraduate degree
  • Talk to Health Professions Advising Office about competitiveness
  • Register, study for, and take PCAT (Summer)
  • Identify 3 individuals to write letters of recommendation for you (Spring)
  • Complete PHARMCAS

Senior Year

  • Submit Application PHARMCAS if you haven’t already (Fall)
  • Wait to be contacted for interview
  • Finish degree requirements
  • Continue with activities
  • Talk with HPAO about Plan B if necessary
  • Graduate