CofC Logo

Undergraduate Preparation

Preparing for Pharmacy School

Selecting a Major

 Students can also apply and enter Pharmacy school without completing an undergraduate degree. Even though this has been successful in the past, there are risks associated with it, and as competition increases, it is likely to affect your chances by comparison with other students.

IMPORTANT: Students are urged to plan their schedules with a specific major and general degree requirements at the College of Charleston in mind, in addition to meeting the allied health prerequisites. Students interested in all programs should select a major and work toward a degree at the College. If you are admitted into a program before you graduate, you have not "lost" anything, but if you stay here another year, you will be further along toward a degree. You should be aware that having a Baccalaureate degree weighs favorably in applying to many programs, even if it is not required. Plan your college curriculum as though you have two equal goals---(1st) meeting the allied health requirements and (2nd) earning a degree in a College of Charleston major. There is no "magic major" to insure admission into a program although some clearly provide a better academic preparation.Your major will not determine your success in applying to pharmacy school.

Pharmacy schools are interested in broadly educated students who have developed excellent writing and speaking skills, possess analytic and synthetic thinking ability, and are enthusiastic, life-long learners. Understanding of the social aspects of pharmacy is just as important as understanding the science.

Your interests should determine your choice of major. Majoring in an area that you enjoy is more likely to lead to academic success than pursuing a field for which you have little enthusiasm. Regardless of your major, it is necessary to demonstrate science ability; proficiency in other areas will not compensate for lack of science ability.

Courses

 Matriculation into pharmacy school requires completion of approximately 66 hours of prerequisites that may include microbiology, statistics, economics, psychology, and communications in addition to the basic science courses.  Information for the specific requirements for the South Carolina pharmacy program can be found below and also by going to www.musc.edu/pharmacy

If you are planning to apply to other Pharmacy Schools, you should check their specific requirements sometime during your sophomore year and discuss with your advisor.

Requirements for South Carolina School of Pharmacy

Subject

Semester Hours

General Chemistry (Qualitative Analysis): Chem 111+ lab, Chem 112 + lab

8

Organic Chemistry: Chem 231 + lab, Chem 232 +lab

8

Physics: Phys 101+ lab, Phys 102+lab OR Phys 111 + lab, Phys 112 + lab

4

Biology: Biol 111 + lab, Biol 112 + lab

8

English

6

Mathematics (Calculus and Statistics): Math 120 and either 104 or 250

6

Verbal skills: Communications

3

Economics: Econ 200 or 201

3

Psychology: PSYCH 103 (or any 3 CH psychology class)

3

Human Anatomy and Physiology: Biol 221 and 222

8

Liberal Arts Electives

6

The sciences courses should be completed no later than the year before you are planning to enter Pharmacy school so that you will be prepared for the PCAT exam during that summer/fall.

Personal Preparation

Good grades and test scores are essential factors in determining admissions, but are not the only determinants of success. Students must demonstrate that they have a true interest in their chosen professions and the personal attributes that are highly desirable in a health professional. The applicant will need to articulate to an admissions committee why this career choice is right for them. Health professions schools expect applicants to have sought opportunities in the career in which they are interested.

  • Students should shadow a pharmacist and work or volunteer in health-related environments. Dierent types of pharmacy might add to the experience; privately-owned, chain and hospital pharmacies are all good choices.
  • Since the health careers are service-related professions, students should also explore activities in people-oriented environments.
  • Steady, long term involvement is preferable to short bursts of unrelated activities.

This type of experience not only demonstrates social responsibility, but also helps to builds communication skills and teaches how to deal with a diversity of people. The insight and experiences gained through these activities will help a student compose an application essay that will convince an admissions committee of the worthiness of the applicant. In addition, these activities provide opportunities to acquire meaningful letters of evaluation from non-academic sources that will strengthen the student's application.