Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer advice on their safe use.

Careers within the pharmaceutical field are diverse and provide many opportunities for challenging and rewarding service. There are eight specialty areas:

  • Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
  • Critical Care Pharmacy
  • Nuclear Pharmacy
  • Nutrition Support Pharmacy
  • Oncology Pharmacy
  • Pediatric Pharmacy
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychiatric Pharmacy

Admission Requirements for Pharmacy School

The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree requires the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited school of pharmacy. Some Pharm.D. graduates obtain further training through 1-year or 2-year residency programs or fellowships. All states require pharmacists to be licensed.

Education and Training

Pharm.D. programs generally take 4 years to complete. The courses offered are designed to teach you about all aspects of drug therapy. In addition to receiving classroom instruction, you will spend time working with licensed pharmacists in a variety of practice settings.

College Major

You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a pharmacy program.  In selecting a college major, consider how you will satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated pharmacy program(s). In addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements. Work with your academic and/or pre-pharmacy advisor to plan your course schedule.​

You have the option to choose from a wide variety of undergraduate majors to prepare you for a pharmacy program.  Suggested undergraduate majors include Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology​, Psychology, and Neuroscience.


Most programs look for a minimum undergraduate cumulative 2.5 GPA but the average GPA for matriculates is a 3.5 cumulative and a 3.6 in the sciences. Keep in mind these numbers are averages and various schools can have their own averages that are higher or lower. Also, these averages are climbing higher each year and admission to pharmacy schools is more competitive than ever. Be sure you take your studies seriously and put in the proper time for reading, studying, and review for each course.

PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test)

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) endorses the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) as the official preferred admissions test for entrance to pharmacy school. Approximately 85% of U.S. colleges and schools of pharmacy require the PCAT for admission. You should aim to have a score in the 70th percentile in order to stay competitive.

Most students take this exam the summer before their senior year. In order to register for the PCAT you will need to complete the following:

Quick Look at the PCAT

Section Content CMU courses with relevant content
(1 essay, 30 minutes)

Problem Solving
Conventions of Language

ENG 101
ENG 201
Verbal Ability 
(40 questions,
25 minutes)

Sentence Completion

ENG 101
ENG 201
(48 questions,
35 minutes)
General Biology

BIO 110, 324, 326
BIO 208
HSC 214, 211 or BIO 337
HSC 215 or BIO 392

(48 questions,
35 minutes)
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Basic Biochemistry

CHM 131, 132
CHM 345, 346
CHM 425 or CHM 521 & 522

Reading Comprehension (48 questions, 
50 minutes)

Quantitative Ability 
(48 questions,
45 minutes)
Basic Math

MTH 105
MTH 107
STA 282, 382 or BIO 500
MTH 130
MTH 132, 133


Where is the PCAT administered?

In several locations throughout Michigan.

What is the cost of the PCAT?


How should you prepare for the PCAT?

  • Begin at least 3 months before your test date
  • Questions emphasize problem-solving abilities, not rote memorization
  • Essential to obtain practice tests

​Experience in Pharmacy

All applicants need to be aware that the Admissions Committee also views one’s knowledge of the profession of pharmacy to be of importance. You should consider shadowing a pharmacist to learn the daily objectives of the field. This will help you discover if this is truly the path for you. Having strong career experiences and life accomplishments will allow you to validate your professionalism and maturity, which are strongly considered in the application process.

Other qualifications. You should have scientific aptitude, good interpersonal skills and a desire to help others if you want to be a pharmacist. You also must be conscientious and pay close attention to detail, because the decisions you'll make affect human lives.

Michigan Pharmacy Schools

Applying to Pharmacy Schools

There is now a centralized application process for pharmacy school. You may file one application and send it to multiple pharmacy programs. Most Pharmacy Schools use the PharmCAS (Pharmacy Centralized Application Service) site as a centralized application site.

Course Requirements

The choice of an undergraduate major while preparing for pharmacy school is not especially critical for successful admission, but the selection of certain coursework and the right combination of sciences, social and behavioral sciences and electives is important.

The requirements for each PharmD. program will be significantly different. To be admitted to a PharmD. program, you must have completed at least 3 years of specific professional study. this requirement generally includes courses in: 

  • Mathematics and natural sciences, such as chemistry, biology and physics
  • Courses in the humanities and social sciences

Most applicants have completed 3 or more years of college before moving on to a Pharm.D. program, although this is not specifically required.

Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before you can be accepted to pharmacy school. This is a GUIDE only. Students must consult with their advisors AND the appropriate pharmacy schools on a regular basis for revisions to course requirements and to identify and ensure completion of all required courses. These requirements include:

  • 1 year General Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 1 year Anatomy & Physiology
  • 1 year Physics with labs
  • 1 year Biology with labs
  • 1 semester Genetics
  • 1 semester Calculus & 1 semester of Statistics
  • 1 semester English
  • 1 semester Communication
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry
  • 1 semester of Economics

Below are the CMU courses we recommend to meet these requirements:

Subjects Course Numbers Credits
Anatomy & PhysiologyHSC 214 & 215 or BIO 337 & 3928 credits
​Biochemistry​CHM 425 or CHM 521 & CHM 522​3-6 credits
General ChemistryCHM 131 & CHM 1328 credits
Organic ChemistryCHM 345, CHM 346 & CHM 3498 credits
PhysicsPHY 130, PHY 131, PHY 170, PHY 171
or PHY 145, PHY 146, PHY 175, PHY 176
8 credits
BiologyBIO 110 & BIO 2087 credits
MathematicsMTH 132 & STA 282, 382 or BIO 5007 credits
MicrobiologyBIO 2083 credits
CommunicationCOM 3573 credits
​Genetics​BIO 326​4 credits
​Economics​ECO 201 or ECO 202​3 credits
​English​ENG 101​​3 credits

Some pharmacy schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the admission requirements of the pharmacy schools you plan on applying in advance.

All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy regarding AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs.

Additional Courses

To further strengthen you application and your ability to succeed in pharmacy school, here are some additional CMU courses you could take:

Subjects Course Numbers
EnglishENG 201
PsychologyPSY 100
HumanitiesVarious Courses are Acceptable


Job Outlook

Pharmacists held about 286,400 jobs in 2012. Pharmacists work in pharmacies, including those in grocery and drug stores. They also work in hospitals and clinics. 

Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow by 14 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing numbers of middle-aged and elderly people and scientific advances that lead to new drug products will continue to spur demand for pharmacists. Job prospects should be excellent.



Median annual wages of pharmacists in May 2012 were $116,670.


Online Resources

For information on pharmacy as a career and programs offered by colleges of pharmacy:

Additional career information is available from:

Information on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) is available from:



Pre-Health Professions Academic Advisor

Lisa E. Snider
Emmons Hall 136B
(989) 774-2711

Biology Faculty Advisor

Michelle Steinhilb
Brooks Hall 206A

Chemistry Faculty Advisor

Choon Lee
Dow Science Complex 343
(989) 774-3289​​