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Becoming a Pharmacist: Preparation for Study

Requirements and Selection Criteria for Admission into Purdue's Pharm.D. Program

Please see the Pharm.D. Program website for information on admission into Purdue's professional pharmacist program.

Preparation for Study - General Information from AACP

A balanced and comprehensive high school education is an important first step in your pursuit of a professional degree in pharmacy. You should discuss your courses carefully with your guidance counselor to assure appropriate preparation for college study. If you are considering a career in pharmacy, you should write to the pharmacy colleges of your choice (See List of Pharmacy Colleges for names and addresses) and ask for details about entrance requirements. These vary from college to college, so the best way to avoid disappointment is to make sure that high school and pre-professional college courses are carefully planned.

A sound education in math and science is an essential part of preparation for the study of pharmacy. Also, good written and verbal communication skills are important in both the study and practice of pharmacy. The pharmacy curriculum does not concentrate highly on literature, history, government, or humanities so it would be to your benefit to build a strong background in these subjects while you are in high school and during your pre-professional schooling. Contrary to popular opinion, the study of Latin in high school, while helpful in many aspects of life, is not essential for admission to pharmacy school.

High school science courses are helpful in preparing students for the many science courses studied in pharmacy school. Biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are especially desirable. Beyond this, a good student with a strong background in nonscientific college preparatory subjects will be in a favorable position for succeeding in the study of pharmacy. If you have completed high school and are now enrolled in a community or liberal arts college, you will have credits in, and exposure to, many of the courses discussed above. It is important that pre-professional students arrange their course work to meet the requirements of the college of pharmacy in which they plan to enroll. Early consultation with the dean or admissions officer is important. If your decision to study pharmacy is not yet firm, you may still have your program checked by the pharmacy school; this advice can be helpful when you do apply for admission.

Colleges of pharmacy, in considering applicants for admission, often give attention to the relative position of students within their class - near the top, in the middle group, or near the bottom. Although colleges of pharmacy are interested in enrolling students who have demonstrated exceptional work in school, they are also interested in students who demonstrate potential for contributing to the profession.

†Excerpted from a booklet entitled "Shall I study Pharmacy?" published by the American Association of the Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

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