Pharmacy - Preliminary Information

Undergraduate Coursework ~ Standardized Tests ~ Recommended Extracurriculars

Undergraduate Coursework

The required undergraduate coursework for pharmacy school is very lengthy and specific for each school. You will need to research which schools you wish to apply to in advance to ensure you can complete all of your requirements. Almost all require a full year of the following courses:

  • 2 Semesters Biology with Lab
  • 2 Semesters Chemistry with Lab
  • 2 Semesters Physics with Lab
  • 2 Semesters Organic Chemistry with Lab
  • 2 Semesters English (sometimes a composition/writing intensive course is required)

Other courses that are commonly required or strongly recommended (sometimes with lab) include:

  • Anatomy/Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Economics
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Public Speaking
Click this link to the AACP, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, there is a link to a document containing a list of specific requirements for each school.

Standardized Tests

To apply to pharmacy school, you will need to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). The PCAT is composed of 240 multiple choice questions and 2 writing assignments. It is divided into seven subtests, issued in the following order:

  • Writing (part I)
  • Verbal Ability
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Writing (part II)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Ability.

When should I take the PCAT?

Courses in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry and physics are required prior to taking the PCAT. Most students elect to complete two or more years of college prior to taking the exam. For more information about the exam, follow the link provided here: http://www.aacp.org/resources/student/pharmacyforyou/admissions/Pages/PCAT.aspx

Recommended Extracurriculars

Currently, no schools require pharmacy experience as a condition of acceptance. However, this can give you unique insights into the field and increase the competitiveness of your pharmacy school application. We suggest looking into volunteering in a hospital pharmacy, a non-profit organization who provides basic medication, go on a medical mission or participate in a mobile clinic, or get your pharmacy tech certificate so you can gain experience in a commercial pharmacy.

Additionally, all volunteer work, especially in a clinical setting, is encouraged. Visit our Volunteer page for ideas and lists of opportunities.