Applying to Pharmacy Programs

The role of the pharmacist can take many forms. Pharmacists counsel patients, advise doctors, perform research, prepare intravenous medications, prevent drug interactions, monitor patient health, and educate patients and future pharmacists. Pharmacists work in a range of settings including hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, academia, and drug stores. The field of pharmacy offers a wide variety of careers.

In the United States, pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from an accredited institution and pass a state licensure exam. The PharmD degree takes most students three or more calendar years to complete. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) maintains a list of pre-accredited and accredited programs. Dual PharmD/PhD and PharmD/MBA programs are options for those seeking more than one degree.

Course Requirements

Requirements vary and are summarized by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to some pharmacy schools, and it will give you an advantage when applying to many institutions.

To develop competencies in the sciences, the following courses are recommended for Sewanee pre-pharmacy students (individual pharmacy school requirements may vary). 

One Year of Biology with Laboratory + Microbiology + Human Anatomy and Physiology 
Note that BIOL 133 and BIOL 233 are non-lab courses that are pre-requisites for required or highly recommended upper-level biology lab courses.

BIOL 133 Introductory Molecular Biology and Genetics 
BIOL 233 Intermediate Cell and Molecular Biology 

Highly recommended BIOL laboratory courses that may fulfill course requirements:
BIOL 223 Genetics (Lab)
BIOL 243 Molecular Methods (Lab)

Highly recommended BIOL laboratory needed for most schools:
BIOL 270 Human Anatomy (Lab)
BIOL 314 General and Human Physiology (Lab)
BIOL 340 Microbiology (Lab)

Additional recommended BIOL courses that will enhance your core competencies in the biological sciences: 
  • BIOL 203 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (Lab)
  • BIOL 224 Genetics
  • BIOL 229 Biology of Human Reproduction
  • BIOL 232 Human Health and the Environment
  • BIOL 275 Histology and Microanatomy (Lab)
  • BIOL 280 Molecular Genetics (Lab)
  • BIOL 312 General and Human Physiology
  • BIOL 307 Mechanistic Biochemistry (Lab) 
  • BIOL 318 Molecular Revolutions in Medicine 
  • BIOL 319 Cancer Cell Biology (Lab/320 no Lab)
  • BIOL 322 Genes and Behavior
  • BIOL 323 Environment and Development
  • BIOL 300 Biology of Aging (Lab/325 no Lab)
  • BIOL 331 Immunology
  • BIOL 333 Developmental Biology (Lab/334 no Lab)
  • BIOL 389 Epigenetics (Lab/388 no Lab)

Two Years/Four Semesters of Chemistry with Laboratory - 
Note that some schools only require that you complete Chemistry through Organic regardless of semester hours, while others require the full two years.

Chemistry courses listed below are required by most pharmacy schools and are highly recommended for PCAT competencies: 
CHEM 120 General Chemistry (Lab) or CHEM 150 Advanced General Chemistry (Lab)
CHEM 201 Organic Chemistry I (Lab)
CHEM 202 Organic Chemistry II (Lab)

Additional inorganic chemistry courses that will satisfy the fourth semester of chemistry for most schools that require an additional course:
CHEM 210 Solution and Solid State Chemistry (Lab)
CHEM 308 Inorganic Chemistry (Lab)
CHEM 352 Thermodynamics and Kinetics (Lab)

One Semester of Physics with Laboratory, covering thermodynamics and electromagnetism - 
PHYS 102 and PHYS 104 fulfill the requirement, and PHYS 101 and PHYS 103 are prerequisites.

PHYS 101 General Physics I (Lab) and PHYS 102 General Physics II (Lab)
PHYS 103 Modern Mechanics (Lab) and PHYS 104 Electric and Magnetic Interactions (Lab)

One Semester of Statistics and One Semester of Calculus - 
Nearly all schools require statistics, and calculus is required by many schools.  Both courses are highly recommended for PCAT competencies:

STAT 204 Elementary Statistics
MATH 101/102 Calculus

Two Semesters of English - 
Many Sewanee students fulfill the English requirement with the courses below. (*Please note that requirements vary and HUMN XXX may not count toward the course requirement.)
  • ENGL 101 Literature and Composition + ENGL XXX (with GFWI)
  • HUMN XXX (with GFWI) + ENGL XXX (with GFWI)

One Semester of Speech/Public Speaking -
RHET 101 Public Speaking

Some schools require biochemistry - 
Only 35 schools require this course.  If you choose to take biochemistry to enhance your application, it is recommended that you take Mechanistic Biochemistry.
  • BIOL 307 Mechanistic Biochemistry

Additional Admission Requirements

Pharmacy or healthcare experience is recommended and can be required for admission. Seek out volunteer or paid experiences.

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is required by most schools. Begin preparing for this exam well in advance. The PCAT includes one writing prompt and 192 multiple choice questions covering biology, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, basic biochemistry, critical reading, basic math, algebra, precalculus, calculus, and statistics and probability. A TOEFL score may also be required if English is not your primary language.

Most schools have minimum PCAT score and GPA requirements.  

Most schools use a centralized application service known as PharmCAS (Pharmacy College Application Service). Schools may have supplemental applications, as well, so be sure to check with your school. Make sure you report required PCAT and TOEFL scores to PharmCAS. You will use the PharmCAS Transcript Request Form to request transcripts from all U.S. universities and colleges you attended. Some programs will require that you send foreign transcripts, supplemental applications, and AP, IB or other scores directly to them.  

Letters of reference will be required from up to four individuals. Some schools will require that these letters come from certain people, such as science professors, pharmacists, or advisors. Some schools will require that letters are sent directly to them, while others will require the letters to be uploaded to PharmCAS. Advise your letter writers that they will receive electronic requests from PharmCAS.  

Deadlines: PharmCAS applications open in July. Their early decision deadline is September 5, 2017. Their first regular decision deadline is November 1, 2017. All applications materials, including your transcripts and fee, must arrive before your deadline date.


Succeeding in the pre-health curriculum
The pre-health curriculum consists of a diverse array of coursework, much in the STEM fields. These courses are often extremely rigorous in order to provide students with the background skills and knowledge they need to succeed in health care fields. The Office of Medical and Health Programs (OMHP), partnering with the Sewanee Health Professions Society (SHPS), provides both leadership development opportunities for students interested in tutoring and one-on-one peer tutoring for students seeking tutoring. All peer tutors have not only succeeded in the courses in which they tutor, but they have also been shown to be good teachers and mentors.

For the academic year 2018-2019 the student leader of this program is Gil Horner.  If you have questions please refer them to Gil or Assistant Director Cynthia Gray.  

Those applying to be tutors need to fill out forms with Human Resources after being given approval from the Office of Medical and Health Programs. Time sheets also need turned in at a timely manner.

Those who have a tutor may be asked to evaluate their experience so we may provide the best mentorship and tutoring program for students. 

Apply to be a tutor.

Request a tutor.