Pharmacists distribute prescription drugs to individuals. They also advise their patients, as well as physicians and other health practitioners, on the selection, dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications. Pharmacists monitor the health and progress of patients to ensure the safe and effective use of medication. Compounding—the actual mixing of ingredients to form medications—is a small part of a pharmacist’s practice, because most medicines are produced by pharmaceutical companies in a standard dosage and drug delivery form. Most pharmacists work in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore, or in a health care facility. ( 2008-05-08)

Tips for students interested in pursuing a pharmaceutical career:

  • Most schools offer a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm D.) degree in a 2+4 format. The degree requires 6 years to complete, the first two of which are spent pursuing pre-pharmacy general education requirements; the last 4 years encompass pharmacy courses and professional preparation taken in residence at a pharmacy school.
  • Become familiar with the Pharmacy College Application Service (PCAS) site. While this site is designed for first-time college students, it is useful in gathering information on pharmacy schools requirements for admission. If you are entering as a transfer student from UAF, then you will typically apply directly to the school(s) of choice.
  • Admission to a pharmacy school is competitive, so take advantage of any coursework or experience that may give you an added advantage. A minimum GPA is required by some schools, but attaining the minimum does not guarantee admission. Keep your grades high, but do not panic if your GPA is not a 4.0. Schools look at a variety of factors when considering students for admission including PCAT skills, health care experience, and interpersonal skills.
  • Consider who you will ask to write letters of reference. Most schools want representation from professionals as well as professors, instructors and advisors who can speak to your ambition, ability and experience in the field.
  • Pursue an undergraduate curriculum that includes many of the courses listed below. Schools do not require that students complete a specific major, but do require specific courses be completed in order for students to be considered for admission.

Courses required for admission by most pharmacy schools**:

UAF Course(s)
General chemistry with lab


Chem 105X, 106X
Organic chemistry9Chem 321, 322 and 324


Phys 103X & 104X or Phys 211X & 212X
Mathematics, typically through calculus


Math 107X, 108, 200X, and/or 201X
English composition


Engl 111X, Engl 211X or 213X

Courses RECOMMENDED by many schools (varies by school):

General biology with lab


Biol 115X, 116X
Additional biology such as human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry


Biol 111X, 112X, 303, 342, 362
Psychology and sociology courses


Psy 101, 240, 245; Soc 100X, 101
World history or western civilization courses3-6Hist 100X, 101, 102
Public speaking


Comm 131X or 141X
Humanities/social sciences


UAF core courses

Other suggested electives:

Business courses such as accounting and economics3-9BA 151; Acct 261, 262; Econ 100X, 200

**Admission requirements vary by school. This chart was compiled by researching a number of pharmacy schools. It is important to check for the admission requirements of the specific school you are interested in to be sure that you will meet all of the pre-requisites required by that school. A course listed as recommended here may be required by your school of choice.

While the completion of a bachelor's degree is not required for admission to many pharmacy school, it is often recommended in order to be a competitive applicant. While a specific major is not required, many of the requirements for admission mirror the requirements for UAF degrees in Biological Sciences or Chemistry (see the degree worksheets). Students can choose whether to major in one of these areas or pursue prerequisite coursework in General Studies. Contact the Academic Advising Center for additional information regarding your preparations for pharmacy school.

Attending Health Care Programs Outside of Alaska

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