Embarking on a career in pharmacy requires careful planning and preparation. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps, from understanding the required and recommended coursework to navigating the pharmacy school application process and beyond.

Students should visit the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) School Directory for program-specific details. The student’s responsibility is to ensure they are taking the correct coursework for admission.

Each of the following sciences is generally required, and the number of credits needed varies by program.

  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • English Composition/Communication
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Physics
  • General psychology
  • Math: Calculus (non-business)
  • Statistics

How the Exam Is Structured

  • Writing
  • Biological Processes
  • Chemical Processes
  • Critical Reading
  • Quantitative Reasoning

When should I take the PCAT?

Students should take the PCAT after completing general biology, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and math, as these subjects are covered on the PCAT. Learn more: https://www.pearsonassessments.com/content/dam/school/global/clinical/us/assets/pcat/pcat-test-development-and-structure.pdf

Check to see if the program you are interested in requires the PCAT. Some programs do not consider or require the PCAT, while others require it as part of admission.

Create a study plan for the PCAT:

Step 1: Gather information about PCAT

Step 2: Take a practice test

Step 3: Gather study materials

Step 4: Make a study calendar

Step 5: Study!

Step 6: Prepare for test day

How many times should I take the PCAT?

Ideally, you should only take the PCAT one time. However, the PCAT can be taken up to five times.

How long are PCAT scores valid?

Generally, the scores are kept up to five years from your original test date. It is recommended that you check the admissions policy of each school to which you plan to apply regarding if your PCAT score is still valid.

Is the exam expensive?

The PCAT exam cost is $210. Students can designate up to three schools to send their scores to for free when registering for the exam. There is a $20 cost for each additional score report you send.

The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) admissions cycle begins in mid-July. Applicants may start and submit the application as soon as it is available. 

Applicants should pay attention to the deadlines for each program to ensure there is enough time to complete, submit, and have PharmCAS verify the application. It is best for schools that offer rolling admission to apply early, by mid-August and September. Most schools set a priority deadline, and once a cohort is full, they will stop reviewing applications.

Students should review instructions on starting, submitting, and completing their PharmCAS application.

You can major in anything! Most students choose a biology or chemistry degree because the required science coursework fits well within their degree plan. However, students can major in art, psychology, criminal justice, etc., and still apply to pharmacy school if they meet the admissions requirements.


  • Sign up on the pre-health listserv.
  • Ensure you register for the correct science courses (general biology and general chemistry your first year).
  • Join the Pre-Health Club on campus.
  • Focus on your grades and develop good time management and study skills to help you start successfully.
  • Start researching the admissions requirements for medical schools you wish to attend.


  • Continue to focus on grades.
  • Think about why pharmacy interests you and gain experience through part-time employment, job shadowing, research, and/or volunteering. Make the experience meaningful to you, not simply because you think it looks good.
  • Get to know faculty to ask for letters of recommendation when you are ready to apply.
  • Attend admissions fairs, open houses, or events at the schools you are interested in to learn about the different programs and become familiar with each school’s admissions process.


  • Continue to focus on grades.
  • Make a study plan and begin reviewing for the PCAT.
  • Ensure that you have met or are meeting the requirements for admissions to the different programs you are interested in.
  • Register and take the PCAT.
  • Create a profile on the and begin work on your PharmCAS application. 
  • Take your time on the application so you do not make mistakes and delay acceptance of your application.
  • Certify and submit your PharmCAS application.


  • Continue to focus on grades.
  • Complete and return secondary applications to schools.
  • Verify that all materials have been submitted to each pharmacy school.
  • Respond to interview requests promptly and professionally.
  • Make a final decision about the offers received as soon as possible. Once you have chosen a program, send in required documents and fees that may be required to formally accept an offer of admission.
  • Email prehealth@seattleu.edu of your final decision.
  • Send thank you cards as a courtesy to everyone who assisted you.
  • Complete the FAFSA for the medical school you plan to attend.