There are two different kinds of programs for obtaining a Pharm.D. degree – a 6-year program for students who enter in as freshmen, and a 4 + 4 program for students who have attended an undergraduate college such as College of Wooster. Some of the 4 + 4 programs do not require that applicant earn their bachelor degree as long as they have completed all of the pre-requisite courses. Northeastern Ohio College of Pharmacy (NEOCOP) is an example of this kind of program. Other 4 + 4 programs, such as The Ohio State University, require that you complete the bachelor degree.
It is very important that students wanting to apply to pharmacy school target schools of interest and make a connection early with those schools to discuss and work through course requirements/equivalents. For example, NEOCOP lists a two semester sequence in Biochemistry as a requirement. However, if you talk with someone in admissions, you would find out that they will accept Microbiology, Genetics, or Cellular and Molecular Biology for ½ of the Biochemistry sequence.
All applicants must apply through PharmCAS, the centralized application service for pharmacy schools. On the PharmCAS website, applicants can go to the “School Information” section to get a list of schools and their requirements. In addition, applicants will typically need at minimum of three individual letters of recommendation. Applicants need to follow each schools instructions for submitting letters of recommendation.
Most programs require a core of prerequisite undergraduate courses that includes:
- two semesters of biology with lab
- two semesters of general chemistry with lab
- two semesters of organic chemistry with lab
- two semesters of general physics with lab
- one semester of microbiology
- one or two semesters of calculus
- one semester of anatomy and physiology *
Additional coursework that can be required includes: Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics, Economics, Statistics, English**, one or two semesters of social sciences.
* Some schools do not require Anatomy and Physiology, but the PCAT does include questions where an understanding of anatomy and physiology would be beneficial. If it is a required course for a particular school of pharmacy, the course should be taken at an accredited university (and send the course description to the pharmacy school to make sure it meets their requirement before taking it). The College of Wooster does not offer this course. Wooster students have taken Anatomy and Physiology at Wayne College or at a college or university close to their home during the summers. If a course is not required, but a student wants to take it to help prepare for the PCAT, they also have the option of online courses.
** FYS and other writing-intensive courses can sometimes count, but policies vary from one institution to another.
These prerequisites need to be completed by the end of your college career, but do not need to be completed prior to applying. Some institutions may give preference to applicants who complete them early. Students interested in pharmacy are strongly encouraged to enroll in introductory level chemistry (CHEM 110 or 120) and biology (BIOL 200) during their first semester at Wooster. Frequent communication with your academic advisor, members of the Pre-Health Advising Committee, and Pre-Health Coordinator will be essential to make sure that you are on track with your courses.
Grade Point Average
Most Pharm.D. programs require at least a 3.0 grade point average in the sciences and/or overall. Pharmacy students entering NEOUCOP in 2007 had an average 3.35 overall GPA and 3.22 science GPA. However, it is important to investigate specific programs to get the most accurate and detailed information for your situation.
Applicants are required to take the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test), typically near the end of their junior year. Most pharmacy colleges expect a composite score in the 50th percentile. Pharmacy students entering NEOUCOP in 2007 had an average composite PCAT score in the 68th percentile.
Students considering a career in pharmacy are often required to obtain volunteer or paid experience working with patients in a pharmacy or health-related setting.