​​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
From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete universal application to apply to these professional schools. Pharmacy schools will review your application as a whole; you can work with your advisors to provide a competitive application.

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.
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, which 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:
Anatomy & Physiology: HSC 214 & 215, or BIO 337 & 392, 8 credits
Biochemistry: CHM 425 or CHM 521 & 522, 3-6 credits
General Chemistry: CHM 131 & 132, 8 credits
Organic Chemistry: CHM 345, 346, & 349, 8 credits
Physics: PHY 130, 131, 170, 171 or PHY 145, 146, 175, 176, 8 credits
Biology: BIO 111, 112, & 212
Mathematics: MTH 132 & STA 282, 382 or BIO 500, 7 credits
Microbiology: BIO 208 or BIO 320, 3 credits
Communication: COM 357, 3 credits
Genetics: BIO 211, 4 credits
Economics: ECO 201 or ECO 202
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:

English: ENG 201
Psychology: PSY 100
Humanities: Various courses are acceptable
Job Outlook
Pharmacists held about 297,100 jobs in 2014. 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 13 percent between 2014 and 2024, 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 2016 were $122,230.
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:

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:

A Quick Look at the PCAT
  • 1 essay
  • 30 minutes
Problem Solving Conventions of Language
  • CMU courses with relevant content
    • ENG 101 & 201
  • 48 questions
  • 40 minutes
  • General Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • CMU courses with relevant content
    • BIO 111, 112, 211, 320
    • HSC 214, 211, or BIO 337
    • HSC 215 or BIO 392
  • 48 questions
  • 40 minutes
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Basic Biochemistry
  • CMU courses with relevant content
    • CHM 131, 132, 345, 346, 425 or CHM 521 & 522
Reading Comprehension
  • 48 questions
  • 50 minutes
  • Comprehension
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
Quantitative Ability
  • 48 questions
  • 45 minutes
  • Basic Math
  • Algebra
  • Statistics
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
  • CMU courses with relevant content
    • MTH 105, 107, 130, 132, 133
    • STA 282, 382 or BIO 500
Where is the PCAT administered?
  • In several locations throughout Michigan
What is the cost of the PCAT?
  • $210
How should you prepare for the PCAT?
  • Begin at least 3 months before your test date
  • Questions emphasize problem-solving skills, not rote memorization
  • Essential to obtain practice tests
Michigan Pharmacy Schools

Applying to Pharmacy Schools
There is 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. 

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.