Marian McDonnell Horton
The WSU pharmacy preparation track is a high-quality, in-demand undergraduate program on the Pullman campus. It is open to students in any major interested in applying to any of the more than 100 professional pharmacy schools in the U.S., including WSU’s own.
Through the pharmacy preparation program, professional and highly experienced advisors are on hand to help you …
- become a competitive applicant for the professional pharmacy school of your choice, including coursework and non-academic preparations. There are over 114 professional schools of pharmacy in the U.S. with varying prerequisites.
- create a plan to apply to professional school at your own desired pace and create a “back-up” plan for alternatives to pharmacy school.
- integrate pharmacy school prerequisite courses into your four-year academic plan while pursuing your major of choice.
+Pharmacy School Prerequisites
+Pursuing a Major Course of Study
Many professional pharmacy schools do not require you to obtain an undergraduate degree before gaining admission. Instead, they pay very close attention to their list of prerequisite courses, making sure each applicant has completed them all with a stated GPA. It usually takes 3 years to complete the courses found on the Prerequisites for Pharmacy School page below. Some students save themselves a full year of work and tuition money to do the “3-and-In” pace of completing the prerequisite courses. Others feel that they are close enough to getting a bachelor’s degree that they want to take a fourth year to graduate. It’s up to each student to decide; pharmacy schools do not consider one choice better than the other.If you prefer to get a bachelor’s degree in 4 years, it’s important to note that there is no one best major for those intending to become pharmacists. Spanish, psychology, biology, and biochemistry are just a few of the majors students in WSU’s pharmacy preparation program have pursued in past years.
+Professional School Requirements
Completion of prerequisite courses (check with each pharmacy school to which you plan to apply)
GPA: 3.00 + higher (again, check – this may be different at each pharmacy school)
Letters of Evaluation: 1 from a science professor, 1 from a former supervisor, 1 from a person who knows you well. Each should write about your integrity, judgement, ethics, reliability, strengths and weaknesses.
Experience: Significant time spent volunteering, evidence of leadership experience, research and shadowing pharmacists.
PCAT Scores: About half of the nation’s PharmD programs require a PCAT score. WSU does not; UW does and wants to see the chemistry score in the 60th percentile or higher. Montana requires the PCAT; Idaho State and Pacific U do not.
Compassion: Evidence of honest, forthright concern and empathy for the sick, elderly, injured, or disabled.
PharmCAS Essay: Your opportunity to make a case as to why you are an outstanding candidate. Most schools also require a supplemental application, and some of those ask additional questions that you would answer in paragraph form.
Supplemental Professional Goals Statements (if any): Answer each question fully and completely. Admissions committee faculty can tell when you are beating around the bush for an answer, or deflecting the question.
The personal interview: Evaluation of students may include one or more 20-30 minute personal interviews used to assess the applicant’s maturity, compassion, motivation, communication skills, knowledge of the profession, and desire to contribute to society during their pharmacy career. MMI’s are occasional.
Preparation: Earn high grades, A’s and B’s, especially in science courses;
Gain experience in a retail, hospital, clinical, or community pharmacy;
Get to know your teachers, employers, and pharmacists so that they would feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation for you;
Demonstrate your compassion for your fellow human beings by volunteering – see the long list of suggested volunteer opportunities on the Gaining Experience page.
For Washington residents, obtain a Pharmacy Assistant’s license to make it easier to find volunteer and paid time in a pharmacy. Earn it by attending a four-hour HIV/AIDS training course and submitting a license application to the Washington State Board of Pharmacy. HIV/AIDS courses are offered at the WSU Health and Wellness office, as well as at community centers, fire departments, and some hospitals in your home community.