Pharmacy – Explore

Explore Pharmacy

Pharmacy Programs in Hawai’i: UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

Field Description

Pharmacists specialize in the composition and interaction of drugs, including their physiological effects on humans. Traditionally, pharmacists dispense medications, but as the primary source of information on both prescription and over-the-counter medications, they also serve as a link between physician and patient. Pharmacists often decide on the form of medication, check for drug interactions, verify appropriate drug dosages and schedules, and advise patients in the proper use of medications. The ability to communicate effectively is critical, as pharmacists must be able to communicate with physicians in professional, scientific language as well as with patients in lay terms.

Work Setting

Pharmacists are employed in a multitude of public and private settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), government agencies, pharmaceutical corporations, and forensic medical labs.

Related Careers

Pharmacy technician or assistant, pharmaceutical research.

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Years of Schooling to Become a Pharmacist:

6-10 years of education

  • Undergraduate Preparation (~2-4 years);
  • Pharmacy School (~4 years);
  • Residency (1-2 years, optional).

Pharmacy schools require a minimum of 2 years of undergraduate prerequisite coursework. Although it is possible to start pharmacy school after only two years of undergraduate preparation, completing a bachelor’s degree is recommended. Admission to pharmacy schools is highly competitive, and a bachelor’s degree strengthens a student’s application and provides students with greater options for advancement and career opportunities. For help choosing a major, please see the “Choosing a Major for Professional Schools in Health” webpage.

Degree Conferred

Upon graduation from pharmacy school, students are awarded the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD).

Admissions Cycle Matriculation Statistics

ApplicantsAccepted/MatriculatedPercentage of Applicants who were
National16,45415,790 Accepted95.96%
UH Mānoa 5650 Matriculated89%
National15,88613,139 Accepted83%
UH Mānoa 6452 Matriculated81%

Based on data acquired by the Pharmacy College Application Service.

Gap Year

Students may choose to take a gap year after they graduate with their undergraduate degree. A “gap year” is the period of time between the end of your undergraduate education and the start of your professional school. A gap year might be a year or more depending on each person’s particular circumstances. Students may choose to participate in longer term engagement activities during their gap year. Taking a gap year would change when to apply to professional school, please see a PAC peer advisor to help you plan in when to apply and fit in a gap year experience. When deciding to take a gap year, see our Taking a Gap Year page.

Post-Baccalaureate and Special Masters Programs

There are a large number of Post-Baccalaureate and Special Masters Programs offered across the nation. Although these programs vary greatly in terms of degree offerings, course curriculum, and program duration, they are all geared to help students in preparation for professional school by taking relevant graduate level courses or to meet the necessary  prerequisites courses for their intended program. For more information, please visit our Post-Baccalaureate and Specials Masters Programs page.

Pharmacy Graduate Programs

Graduate programs for pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences are offered to students interested in developing, analyzing, and/or studying drugs. There are many graduate program specialties offered, and upon graduating from pharmacy school, students are either awarded the Master of Science (MS) or Doctorate (PhD) Degree. For a listing of select graduate degrees within pharmacy colleges and schools, please click here.

Combined Degree Programs

Many pharmacy schools offer combined degree programs: PharmD/PhD to combine pharmacy with research or teaching; PharmD/JD to combine pharmacy with law; PharmD/MPH to combine pharmacy with public health; PharmD/MBA to combine pharmacy with business administration; and so on. A PharmD/MBA is particularly helpful for those planning to open their own pharmacies. Combined degrees can be offered concurrently, sequentially, or in combination, and often extend the number of years in pharmacy school.

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What to Expect in Pharmacy School

The four-year PharmD program typically consists of three years of course work and one year of clinical internship, which is followed by licensing exams. Accelerated three-calendar year PharmD programs are offered to students who have completed all college-level prerequisites for admission.

After graduating from pharmacy school, increasing numbers of students are seeking residency training in institutional or community practice or other specialty areas. Residency is sometimes a requirement for employment in hospitals or as clinical faculty at pharmacy schools. Some residencies are offered in conjunction with a graduate degree, such as a MS, MBA, or MPH.

The Licensing Examination(s)

Graduates of accredited pharmacy schools are eligible to sit for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), a national exam for pharmacy licensure in the United States. Pharmacy licensure is regulated at the state level, and students may need to pass other exams such as the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) or satisfy other requirements, depending on the state in which they intend to practice. All pharmacists must be licensed in order to practice!

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Reserve your seat in the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP)!

DKICP and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) have developed a special Pre-Pharmacy Scholar Admissions Program (PPSAP) that grant qualified UHM students to have preferred enrollment into the DKICP Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Program each academic year.

Students must complete this application with at least two years remaining of their undergraduate education. PPSAP applicants must have a science and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students enrolled in this program may not enroll in another PharmD early assurance/preferred acceptance program or apply to another school/college of pharmacy.

Students can apply to one of two tracks once they are accepted into UHM:

1) Prerequisite Coursework: Complete prerequisite coursework prior to completion of baccalaureate degree requirements but complete 3 years of undergraduate education at UHM. Must maintain cumulative UHM science and prerequisite coursework GPAs of 3.2 or higher. If admitted to the DKICP PharmD program, all students who successfully complete the first two years of PharmD curriculum are eligible and may receive the Bachelor of Arts in Pharmacy Studies.

2) Baccalaureate Degree (with prerequisite coursework): Earn a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree prior to matriculating into DKICP. Must maintain UHM cumulative and science GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

Students must also be earning their first baccalaureate degree, be enrolled full-time at UHM and be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

To apply: Submit completed PPSAP Application Form (Fillable), which includes a personal statement and two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts to DKICP by June 1st for the fall semester.

Once accepted: Complete prerequisites below by the end of the summer term prior to matriculation at DKICP and with a grade of “C” or better. Credit for Pass/Fail courses will not be accepted. DKICP will only accept AP credits for the English and Behavioral Science courses and only if the student earned a 4 or 5 on the AP exam.

Please note that one course may be used toward only one requirement.

BIOL 171/171L and 172/172LIntroduction to Biology I and II8 cr.
CHEM 161/161L and 162/162LGeneral Chemistry I and II*8 cr.
CHEM 272/272L and 273/273LOrganic Chemistry I and II10 cr.
COMG 151 or 251Personal and Public Speaking or Public Speaking3 cr.
ECON 130 or 131Economics3 cr.
ENG 100 and higherComposition I and higher6 cr.
ART, COM, DNCE, ENG, ES, HIST, HWST, LING, MUS, PHIL, REL, THEA, and/or foreign languageHumanities6 cr.
ANTH, HIST, ECON, GEOG, POLS, PSY, SOC, WS, etc.Social/Behavioral Sciences6 cr.
ANTH 152, GEOG 102, HIST 151 or 152, REL 150, etc.World Cultures3 cr.
MATH 215, 241, or 251ACalculus I *4 cr.
MICR 130/140L
(or MICR 351/351L**)
General Microbiology
(or Biology of Microorganisms)
5 cr.
PHYL 141/141L and 142/142L
(or PHYL 301/L and 302/L)
Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II8 or 10 cr.

*If you are planning on taking a chemistry or math course for the first time, please make sure to fulfill the placement exam requirement prior to registration. Information on the chemistry placement exam can be found here, and information on the math placement exam can be found here.

**Please note that the prerequisites for MICR 351/L are BIOL 171 and CHEM 272/L. BIOL 275/L are recommended for MICR 351.

Click here for prerequisite course equivalencies for UH Mānoa.

Click here for the Prerequisite Coursework Track Sample Plan.

Click here for the Baccalaureate Degree Track Sample Plan.


Lyssa Sakamoto
Pre-Pharmacy Advisor
Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
University of Hawaiʻi – Hilo
(808) 932-7790

Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
2425 Campus Road, Sinclair Library 108
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-8646