Admission to a pharmacy program is usually contingent upon successful completion of a pre- pharmacy curriculum. Many programs require their applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Applicants seeking admissions to a pharmacy program should contact those schools of interest for information on specific prerequisites and admission requirements.
Centralized Application Service: PharmCAS - Pharmacy College Application Service
Cost: $175 for first pharmacy school designation. Each additional school is $55.
When to apply: Students will apply in the summer of the year preceding their planned matriculation. PharmCAS opens in July.
Courses and Transcripts: The courses you have taken will need to be self-reported and you will also need to have official transcripts sent to the application service.
Most centralized applications will have a form to print off that will need to be attached to your transcript. You will be asked to enter information, grades and credits for every course that you have enrolled in at any U.S., U.S. Territorial, or Canadian post-secondary institution. Transcripts should be sent from the registrar’s office of all US and/or Canadian Schools attended.
You may order a transcript from the MSU registrar’s office from the registrar’s web site, https://reg.msu.edu/. There is no charge for sending transcripts. If you are taking courses during the spring semester, it is advised you wait until your spring semester grades are posted to your record as professional schools will want to see those grades.
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
Length: 4 hours
Sections: Writing, Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning. Explore individual section information by visiting our PCAT page.
Cost: The registration fee is $210 which includes the exam and scores sent PharmCAS schools. Sending scores to additional schools costs $20 each.
Scores: 200-600 composite
PCAT Prep Resources: MSU Pre-Health advisors do not endorse any specific test prep resource, but we encourage you to explore each of the different options to determine which will best fit your needs.
The personal statement is a very limited in length essay that is used as a device to get a better understanding of the applicant. It is a very important element that should be prepared well in advance to the application and should be edited thoroughly by many different people, such as but not limited to, the writing center, friends and family.
Length: 4,500 character limit for PharmCAS participating schools.
Prompt: Your Personal Essay should address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals.
What to include:
- Why you selected this field of health care
- What motivates you to learn more about health care
- Pertinent information about you not included elsewhere in the application
- Special hardships or experiences that have influenced your educational pursuits
- Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record not explained in the application.
This section gives applicants an opportunity to expand on their experiences. All of your work in leadership, clinical experiences, community service, research, publications, awards and honors are detailed in a single section.
PharmCAS requests that applicants enter their experiences among the following categories:
- Pharmacy Experience - Experiences in a pharmacy or pharmacy-related field
- Healthcare Experience - Both paid and unpaid work in a health or health related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient's care, but may still have patient interaction
- Employment: Paid or volunteer work done outside of healthcare
- Extracurricular Activities: Volunteer experience, research, club memberships, sports, etc.
PharmCAS allows up to 4 recommendation letters.
While you must pay careful attention to the guidelines of each school that requests your letters, we suggest you identify the following people to request letters of evaluation from:
- Two science faculty who taught you in a class
- One non-science faculty
- One individual working in the profession you wish to pursue (example: an osteopathic physician, dentist, physical therapist, pharmacist, etc)
- One or two additional individuals who know you well from a work, volunteer or research experience
After submitting the primary application, and secondary applications if required, students may receive an offer to interview. Pharmacy schools that offer an interview have indicated an interest in selecting you, and the interview is a critical part of the application process. Remember, you are not only preparing to answer their questions, you are preparing to ask your own. While they determine whether you are the right fit for the program, you need to determine if the program is the right fit for you.
Schools use personal interviews with applicants to assess qualities such as maturity, interpersonal skills, and ability to articulate strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to discuss why you wish to pursue a career in dentistry and the experiences that have motivated you.