Preparation for Pharmacy School

PrePharm

Academic Preparation

Academic preparation for pharmacy school requires a completion of a set of prerequisite classes, usually science, which vary from school to school. Many, but not all, Pharmacy schools also require a Bachelor’s degree in order to matriculate. For your degree, any major is appropriate. There is no preference in this regard, so study something you love!

Extracurricular Preparation

Preparation for pharmacy school involves engaging in experiences that develop and demonstrate skills in communication, leadership, community service, and familiarity with the profession. What you do outside of class is as important as what you do in class so don’t neglect these activities. Keep in mind that activities complement your coursework, but will not compensate for low grades. Both are important!

Extracurricular Activities

  • Make sure you have contact information for supervisors and physicians you work with or shadow in case you need a recommendation letter. Try to keep an open relationship with them after you discontinue activities.
  • Keep a record of all hours of service and experiences. The Prehealth Planner Spread Sheet on our website can help with this.
  • Writing reflections on each activity in a journal will be helpful when you write your personal statement.

Interacting well with sick people is one of the key indicators of a successful healthcare provider. Your experience can take a variety of forms: as a pharmacy technician, MA, CNA, EMT, or in another role.

This should be one of your first experiences as a PrePharmacy student. Observing pharmacists working in different environments in action will help you understand the profession. Shadowing also help you get to know pharmacists as many pharmacy schools require at least one recommendation letter from a pharmacist. Competitive applicants shadow pharmacists in various settings more than 50 hrs.

Tina Ellis, tina.ellis@hsc.utah.edu, at UUPT organizes group shadowing opportunities.

Because you are preparing for a humanitarian profession, it is important to have volunteer experiences that demonstrate a commitment to serving others in your community. It is suggested that this be ongoing throughout your college years prior to application for admission. Having interaction with people coming from different backgrounds than your own will strengthen your interpersonal skills and communication skills. Experiences from high school do not count.

As a pharmacist, you will be a leader and team member in many ways – with your patients, your staff, your colleagues, and in your community. Examples include offices held in organizations, committee work; leadership in church activities; coordinating a project; managing, training, supervising at work or in other activities; teaching experience of any kind; coaching; peer counseling or mentoring, etc.

PrePharmacy Coursework

This guide is designed for applying to a range of pharmacy schools. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school so applicants should look closely at what is required at the schools at which they are applying. The following list indicates the most commonly classes required or recommended by pharmacy schools in the west and the top ten schools that University of Utah graduates attend.  See a Preprofessional advisor for more information.

AP & IB CREDIT

Students with Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits in science or math should meet with a Preprofessional advisor in order to discuss AP in relation to prerequisite classes.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE CREDITS

Pharmacy schools vary on their view of prerequisite classes taken at Community Colleges. Some accept them but look on them with some disfavor, other schools readily accept them.  Students should be aware of this when planning their education.

There are a number of very good reasons for students to begin their college education at a Community College, so we have some recommendations for those who wish to do so. In general it is okay to take the following classes at the Salt Lake Community College. 

  • MATH 1050 College Algebra and anything below
  • MATH 1060 Trigonometry
  • BIOL 1610 & 1615 General Biology 1 labs in place of BIOL 1210 at the U of U
  • CHEM 1210 & 1215 General Chemistry 1 with lab
  • CHEM 1220 & 1225 General Chemistry 2 with lab
  • ENGL 1010 and 2010
  • CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study—You are required to report all of the courses and credit hours that you earned. However, those credits may not be acceptable as part of the prerequisite courses. Check each program’s requirements section online.
  • Online Courses—Depend on programs. Ask schools you consider applying to directly.
  • Withdrawals--W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect your GPA.
  • GPA Minimum requirements for Total GPA range from 2.5 - 3.0. Most schools set a minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses of C or better. Many pharmacy programs also look at prerequisite GPA separately. However competitive applicants admitted to Pharmacy programs generally have 3.5 or higher Total GPA depending on the program.
    • UUCP requires a minimum Total GPA of 3.0, and a prerequisite GPA of 2.8 with a C or higher in all prerequisites. Average Total GPA for admitted applicants is usually around 3.5
    • Roseman requires a minimum Total GPA of 2.8, and a C or higher in all science and math prerequisites, and a grade of B or higher in English Composition I and Speech.
  • Repeated Courses— PharmCAS, the central application service, will calculate all grades including repeated courses into your GPA. (This is different from the U of U’s undergraduate policy to only count the most recent attempt.)
    • At the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, UUCP, the second grade will be calculated in the GPA unless the second grade is C- or lower, regardless of how many additional times students retake the course.
  • Grade Expiration—Many programs require certain prerequisite courses to be completed within 5 to 10 years (10 years for UUCP) before matriculation to pharmacy school. Check each program’s requirements section for more information.

Science Courses

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

BIOL 1210, Principles of Biology (3 credits) Even if not required, this is the prerequisite for most Biology classes

BIOL 2325, Human Anatomy (4 credits) Prerequisite BIOL 1210

Required by UUCP

BIOL 2420 Human Physiology (4 credits) Lab 2425 (1 credit) Prerequisites BIOL 1210 and CHEM 1210

Required by UUCP

Microbiology:  Either of the following

One of these is required by UUCP and many other programs, but the lab may not be required

BIOL 3210 (3) Microbiology (3 credits) Lab 3215 (1 credit), Prerequisites: BIOL 2020 & CHEM 1210

OR

PATH 3100 Medical Microbiology (3 credits)

In order to take the proper math class, you must have ACT, SAT or math placement test scores, or successfully pass a prerequisite math course. Some students will need MATH 0980 or MATH 1010 before starting the Prepharmacy Math sequence.

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

MATH 1050 College Algebra (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 or placement

MATH 1060 Trigonometry (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050 or placement

Not always required, but these two classes are the prerequisites to Calculus. May be substituted with MATH 1080 (5 credits) Precalculus

MATH 1210 Calculus 1 (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060, 1080, or placement

Required by UUCP (Waived with AP Calc AB score 5 or BC score 4 for UUCP)

Math 1070 Statistics (3 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1010 or placement. Other Statistics classes can be accepted (for example, PSY 3000, FCS 3210 or SOC 3112

Required by UUCP

REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS

MATH 1220 Calculus II (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1210 or placement

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

CHEM 1210 General Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1050, or math placement

Lab CHEM 1215 (1 credit)

CHEM 1220 General Chemistry 2 (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1210

Lab CHEM 1225 (1 credit)

CHEM 2310 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 1220

Lab CHEM 2315 (2 credits)

REQUIRED BY SOME SCHOOLS

CHEM 2320 Organic Chemistry II (4 credits) Prerequisite CHEM 2310

Lab 2325 (2 credits)

Required by UUCP

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

1 year of Physics with labs: Students have 2 series to choose from

Algebra and Trig based Physics

PHYS 2010 General Physics I (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1060

Lab PHYS 2015 (1 credit)

PHYS 2020 General Physics II (4 credits) Prerequisite PHYS 2010

Lab PHYS 2025 (1 credit)

OR

Calculus based Physics

PHYS 2210 Physics for Scientists and EngineersI (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1210

Lab PHYS 2015 or 2215 (1 credit)

PHYS 2220 Physics for Scientists and engineers II (4 credits) Prerequisite MATH 1220 and PHYS 2210

Lab PHYS 2025 or 2225 (1 credit)

Non-Science Courses

REQUIRED BY MOST SCHOOLS

2 semesters of English Composition courses

WRTG 1010 (3 credits)

WRTG 2010 (3 credits) Prerequisite WRTG 1010

CW course (3-4 credits) If no course in your major, choose something from either Writing or English department

REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED BY SOME SCHOOLS

 Either Professional/Technical Writing (WRTG 3015) or Public Speaking (COMM1020)  UUCP requires one of these and prefers the writing class

Most medical schools require at least 1 Behavioral Science and 1 either Arts or Humanities course.

REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED BY SOME SCHOOLS

Any Psychology course

Any Sociology or Anthropology course

OPTIONAL PREPARATORY COURSES FOR MATH, CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS

  • MATH 10 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Intermediate Algebra, 1 week workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
  • MATH 15 (non credit) Math Boot Camp for Precalculus, 1 week review workshop offered the week before fall and spring semesters begin
  • CHEM 10 (non credit) Chemistry Boot Camp for General Chemistry, 5 hours per day 5 days per week for 2 weeks
  • CHEM 1200 (3 credits) Preparation for College Chemistry, Usually offered online. Check class schedule for more information
  • CHEM 1208 (1 credit) Introduction to the Periodic Table, Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks
  • CHEM 2308 (1 credit) Introduction to Organic Chemistry Offered online between semesters for 2 weeks.
  • PHYS 1500 (3 credits) Preparation for College Physics, Offered once a year. Check class schedule for more information

OPTIONAL COURSES FOR EXPLORING THE HEALTH FIELD

  • College of Health LEAP, LEAP 1100 (3 credits) and 1101 (3 credits), College of Health LEAP, 2 semester seminar course for Freshman considering health majors, http://leap.utah.edu/program-options/college-of-health/.
  • HEDU 2010 (3 credits) Introduction to Health Profession (Fall only). Explores health professions excluding medicine.

Prepare for Letters of Recommendation

Requirements for letters vary between schools, so research schools early and know what you need. Plan ahead! Get to know people from these categories so they can write excellent letters for you. Generally, you will need one letter from each of the following:

  1. Pharmacist, supervisor, or other healthcare professional
  2. Professor (Usually Science—Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math)
  • Tell professors at the beginning of the semester that you would like them to keep an eye on your performance in class. It will give them a longer observational window.
  • Visit their offices regularly
  • At the end of the semester, if you do well, ask them if they would be willing to write you an excellent letter of recommendation when you are ready to apply.
  • A key to a good letter is the establishment of a relationship between student and professor based on shared academic interests.
    • Ask thoughtful questions
    • Delve deeper into concepts presented in lectures
    • Share your academic and career goals
    • Ask for recommendations for additional reading
    • Inquire about their areas of interest and research
  • After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g. teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.

Resources

Prehealth Planner Keep Track of your activities, and your research on medical schools.
downloadable summary  

personal statement guide

 
Last Updated: 5/24/18