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What does it mean to be a pre-pharmacy student?

Pre-Pharmacy students have the desire to become a pharmacist and are exploring the field through employment or observation at a pharmacy, in various settings. They are excelling in pre-requisite coursework and investigating admissions expectations of various colleges of pharmacy. Students are are active in campus life and community service.

What are the admissions requirements?

Common prerequisites for health professions programs

*NOTE: Some health professions schools will not accept prerequisites taken online. All prerequisite courses are recommended to be taken in-person.

Pre-Pharmacy coursework at the University of Cincinnati consists of the prerequites for admission to UC's James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. Students who wish to apply to this program must complete these courses. 

Generally, these courses satisfy prerequisite requirements of most pharmacy schools, however there may be specific requirements for different programs. Students should speak with a PPAC advisor and consult the admissions literature for the specific requirements  at each school in which you are interested.

Competitive pre-pharmacy students also possess these important qualities: competitive metricsstrong personal attributes and have meaningful pre-pharmacy and other professional experiencesVisit this webpage for more information about these critical components of your application and meet often with a Pre-Professional advisor.

What major should I select?

Everyone's path to pharmacy school is unique. We encourage students to explore the options for achieving their goal of gaining admission to pharmacy school. 

  • The Health Sciences-Pre-Pharmacy major in the University of Cincinnati College of Allied Health Sciences specifically prepares you for entry into Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs.
  • Early Assurance Program at University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy - Some academically strong students may be admitted to the Connections to Pharmacy: Early Assurance Program, at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. This program is open to incoming freshman as well as current UC students.
  • Chemistry-Associate of Arts(AA) - The AA chemistry program is a two-year associate of arts degree at UC Blue Ash, designed for students who wish to apply to the PharmD program at the UC College of Pharmacy. 
  • Pre-Pharmacy track at UC Clermont campus - This non-degree program is designed for students planning to apply to the  PharmD program at the UC College of Pharmacy. 

What is the PCAT and when do I take it?

The Pharmacy College Admission Test is a *specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges. It measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education. The PCAT is constructed specifically for colleges of pharmacy. Also visit our PCAT sub-page for additional information. * Taken from

Since the Pre-Pharmacy major curriculum is two years in length, students generally apply to pharmacy school before or during their sophomorr year. Therefore, students will take the PCAT the summer after their freshman year. This can vary according to the application cycle and the year you wish to begin pharmacy school.  

What do pharmacy schools consider when evaluating applicants?

The criteria for admission varies from school to school, but usually include academic record (GPA), PCAT, letters of recommendation, demonstrated knowledge and commitment to the profession through experience and personal attributes, and a personal interview.

Personal characteristcs such as integrity and maturity are considered. Early in your college career you should consider exploring the pharmacy field through volunteering, employment or shadowing.

What GPA do I need to get into pharmacy school?

This varies from school to school. The average GPA of students accepted into pharmacy school is 3.30. (Source: Enrollment data reported in the Fall 2019 Profile of Pharmacy Students from aacp.prg). It is particularly important that you perform well in your science courses. It is important for those considering professional school to be realistic about the extent to which performance meets admissions expectations.

Is it all over if I have a bad semester?

Admission committees look at the "big picture" as they evaluate applicants. They realize that every student does not hit the ground running when they enter college. Admission committees expect an excellent academic record, but may make some allowances for a problem semesters, slow start or rough spot. If academic problems arise, you must bounce back and perform better than ever to show that the problem was an exception, rather than the rule. Use resources such as professor and T.A. office hours, the Learning Commons and other Academic Excellence & Support Services offices.

Will I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. Most schools require two to three letters of recommendation. Professors, supervisors, pharmacists whom students have shadowed or worked with, and other professionals who know students best are suggested letter writers. 

Is financial aid available?

The cost of your education as well as the amounts and types of aid varies by institution. You should investigate the costs early in your undergraduate career. Knowing that you will likely incur substantial loan debt for pharmacy school may affect the way that you borrow for your undergraduate education. Most applicants are eligible for government originated aid; apply during January of your application cycle, even if you are still waiting to find out whether or not you have been accepted. Apply for aid at Scholarship availability and criteria varies by institution.

How can the Pre-Professional Advising Center (PPAC) help me?

Preparing for admission to pharmacy school requires careful long-range planning and accurate information. The PPAC specializes in providing you with necessary information and helping you develop good planning skills. The staff of the PPAC provides you with help through each step of the way. PPAC provides services including course selection, career exploration, time management tips, information on individual schools, admissions test preparation advice, managing letters of recommendation and links to ways to get experience in health care settings.