Explore: Pharmacy

What is a Doctor of Pharmacy?

A pharmacist (Pharm.D) is a licensed ‘medication expert’ who provides information regarding medication to consumers and health care professionals.  Pharmacists are concerned with disease state management and safe guarding the public's health in matters relating to medication distribution and use. 

Pharmacist responsibilities include a range of services from dispensing medications to monitoring patient health and progress to maximize their response to the medications. Pharmacists also educate consumers and patients on the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, and advise physicians, nurses, and other health professionals on drug decisions. Pharmacists also provide expertise about the composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties and their manufacture and use. They ensure drug purity and strength and provide added assurance that combinations of drugs that may interact harmfully are not dispensed.   A pharmacist is one member of a group of health professionals who manage patient health care so as to maximize healthy outcomes.


The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree program requires at least 2-years of specific pre-professional (undergraduate) coursework followed by 4-academic years (or 3-calendar years) of professional study. Pharmacy colleges and schools may accept students directly from high school into a pre-pharmacy curriculum followed by a pharmacy curriculum, or directly into a pharmacy curriculum after completion of pre-pharmacy requirements in a college curriculum. The majority of students enter a pharmacy program with 3 or more years of college experience. College graduates who enroll in a pharmacy program must complete the full 4-academic years (or 3-calendar) years of professional study to earn the Pharm.D degree.

There are 124 U.S.-based colleges and schools of pharmacy with accredited (including candi­date status) professional degree programs. The American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) accredits these programs.

Admissions Requirements

The classes required for admission into a pharmacy program vary significantly from one institution to the next. Due to the variations in admission requirements and procedures among the colleges and schools of pharmacy, it is advisable to research individual pharmacy programs.

The pharmacy programs will be pleased to supply details concerning admission procedures and curricula. School specific information is also available in the AACP publication, "Pharmacy School Admission Requirements" (PSAR). The on-line version of the PSAR is available for free on the AACP web site.

The following are commonly required pre-pharmacy courses:

NumberCourseUNH Course
1 yearBiology with labBIOL 411-412
1 yearChemistry with labCHEM 403-404
1 yearOrganic Chemistry with labCHEM 651/653-652/654
1-2 semestersPhysics with labPHYS 401-402
1 yearEnglish Composition 
1-2 semestersMath - CalculusMATH 424A, 424B, or 425
1 semesterEconomics 
1 semesterPublic Speaking 
 Courses in Psychology,
Humanities, Social Sciences

Approximately half of all colleges and schools of pharmacy require Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores for admission to their program.

In addition to academic preparation, you should evaluate your personal qualifications to meet pharmacy's demands for judgment, dependability, and conscientious performance.

The Application Process

The Pharmacy College Application Service, known as PharmCAS, is a service of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Applicants use a single PharmCAS application and one set of materials (e.g., transcripts) to apply to multiple Pharm.D degree programs. The PharmCAS application is available via the Web at www.pharmcas.org . AACP lists the institutions that participate in this service. Applicants to programs that do not participate in PharmCAS will apply directly to each institution using the application process and documents recommended by the institution.

Further Information 

A valuable source of information is the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Contact them at:

1426 Prince St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 739-2330

Additional Resources



Sources: Most of the information on this page was taken from AACP literature.