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Preparation for the study of pharmacy

Important general information

Students interested in the pre-pharmacy advising track must complete the necessary prerequisites for pharmacy school (a total minimum of 90 credit hours). Many students earn a baccalaureate degree before entering the program. Students interested in pharmacy school should consult with a pre-health academic adviser to learn about requirements that are specific to the schools of pharmacy to which they hope to apply.

Admission to and completion of a pre-pharmacy program does not constitute admission to VCU’s School of Pharmacy. Students must apply separately to the pharmacy school of their choice at the appropriate time.

Students with an interest in preparing for pharmacy school must declare an academic major while also indicating a pre-pharmacy advising track. Students do not earn a pre-pharmacy degree. Students unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Pre-pharmacy students are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them.

Prerequisites for pharmacy school
Students need to complete their bachelor’s degree and the required science courses before being eligible to start the Pharm. D. program at VCU. Students are also required to complete the Pharmacy College Admission Test. The PCAT is taken prior to students applying to pharmacy school and results are weighed heavily in admissions decisions. Students preparing for the PCAT are strongly advised to take courses to build competency in these areas prior to taking the PCAT exam. It is not necessary to have completed all prerequisite course work or to have taken the PCAT prior to submitting your application to pharmacy school. However, you must complete all prerequisite courses and take the PCAT before entering VCU’s pharmacy program.

Science and non-science courses required for pharmacy school
General biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology and biochemistry are required science prerequisites for admission to pharmacy school.

English composition, calculus, statistics and speech are non-science prerequisites required for pharmacy school.

Other courses, including cell biology, genetics and immunology, human physiology lab and medical microbiology lab, though not required, are strongly recommended for pre-pharmacy students.

VCU’s School of Pharmacy also requires the completion of elective credits which can be taken as part of the general education and major requirements in the selected degree program. Due to the importance of a strong biomedical science foundation for success in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program, some or all of the courses listed below are highly recommended: genetics or molecular biology, immunology, and cell biology. Any of these three courses will count toward elective credit. Other highly recommended electives are anthropology, computer science, economics, history, foreign languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, religious studies and sociology.

The following prerequisite courses must be completed prior to admission for students entering in the fall semester. Courses earned by examination, e.g. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International Examinations or College Level Examination Program, will not be accepted to fulfill prerequisite science and math courses. However, the content area covered by the examination need not be repeated, rather electives in related areas may be substituted for the needed credits. For example, if a student has credit for IB Calculus I, the next level math course can be taken in order to fulfill the math requirement for pharmacy school, i.e., Calculus II.

Prerequisites for pharmacy school

VCU courses Credits
   
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I or BIOL 101 Biological Concepts 3
BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I or BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts Laboratory 1
BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II or BIOL 201 Human Biology 3
BIOZ 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory II or BIOZ 201 Human Biology Laboratory 1
BIOL 205 Human Anatomy 4
BIOL 209 Medical Microbiology 3
CHEM 101 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CHEM 102 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 102 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1
CHEM 301 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEZ 301 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I 2
CHEM 302 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEZ 302 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II 2
CHEM/BIOC 403 Biochemistry I 3
MATH 200 Calculus/Analytic Geometry 4
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
PHYS 201 General Physics I or PHYS 207 University Physics I* 4-5
SPCH 121 Effective Speech 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
Additional electives to total 90 credits 30-31
   
Total minimum requirement 90

*Math 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I is a prerequisite for PHYS 207

Additional electives to total 90 credits (chosen with adviser):
These courses should be selected to help fulfill the general education and major requirements of the student’s degree program. Electives should represent a well-balanced program of courses in the fine arts, humanities and social sciences. Choose anthropology, art history, economics, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, social sciences, writing and rhetoric (UNIV 200), foreign languages, literature, music appreciation or computer science. Students may not present studio or activity (physical education) courses.

Sample curriculum outline Credits
   
Fall semester, freshman year  
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I or BIOL 101 Biological Concepts 3
BIOZ 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory I or BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts Laboratory 1
CHEM 101 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
MATH 200 Calculus/Analytic Geometry 4
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
Total 15
   
Spring semester, freshman year  
BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II or BIOL 201 Human Biology 3
BIOZ 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences Laboratory II or BIOZ 201 Human Biology Laboratory 1
CHEM 102 General Chemistry 3
CHEZ 102 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
Total 14
   
Fall semester, sophomore year  
BIOL 205 Human Anatomy 4
CHEM 301 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEZ 301 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I 2
SPCH 121 Effective Speech 3
Electives or major requirements 3
Total 15
   
Spring semester, sophomore year  
CHEM 302 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEZ 302 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II 2
PHIS 206 Human Physiology 3
BIOL 209 Medical Microbiology 3
Electives or major requirements 4-5
Total 15-16
   
Fall semester, junior year  
PHYS 201 General Physics or PHYS 207 University Physics I 4-5
Electives or major requirements 11
Total 15-16
   
Spring semester, junior year  
CHEM/BIOC 403 Biochemistry I 3
Electives or major requirements 12
Total 15
   
Total minimum requirement (for admission to pharmacy school) 90
 

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Last update: 5/21/2013

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