Pharmacy – Prepare

Prepare for Pharmacy School

Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from school to school! You must research to create a list of all the prerequisites you will need to apply to the schools you are interested in attending.

More than 25% of the programs in this field require the following UHM courses for admission:

BIOL 171/171L and 172/172LIntroduction to Biology I and II8 cr.
BIOC or BIOLBiochemistry (Please see the Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements below for specific requirements. 400-level recommended to prepare for the PCAT)*3 to 5 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, DNCE, ENG, ES, HIST, HWST, LING, MUS, PHIL, REL, THEA, and/or foreign languageHumanities (Please see the Pharmacy School Admissions Requirements below for specific requirements)6 to 12 cr.
MATH 215 (and 216)
or MATH 241 (and 242)
Applied Calculus I (and II)
or Calculus I (and II)**
7 or 8 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.
PHYS 151/151L (and 152/152L)
or PHYS 170/170L (and 272/272L)
College Physics I (and II)
or General Physics I (and II)
8 or 9 cr.
PSY/SOCS 225 or ECON 321Statistics3 cr.

*Please note that the prerequisites for BIOL/MBBE/PEPS 402 are BIOL 275 and CHEM 273. BIOL 275L is also a prerequisite for BIOL/MBBE/PEPS 402.

**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.

Please note that if you are retaking courses because pharmacy schools may not accept Advanced Placement (AP), online, or community college credit, your financial aid and/or scholarship status may be affected.

For the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP), the following courses are also required:

ART, DNCE, ENG, ES, HIST, HWST, LING, MUS, PHIL, REL, THEA, and/or foreign languageHumanities***6 cr.
ANTH, HIST, ECON, GEOG, POLS, PSY, SOC, WS, etc.Social/Behavioral Sciences***6 cr.
ANTH 152, GEOG 102, HIST 151 or 152, REL 150, etc.Cultural Diversity***3 cr.

Click here to view the prerequisites for DKICP.

Click here to view DKICP’s course equivalencies for top feeder schools.

****Courses used to fulfill these requirements may not double-dip with other pharmacy school prerequisites.  Please check with each school for specific requirements.  DKICP does not accept double-dip courses.

Biochemistry, Calculus 2, and Physics 1 and 2 are not prerequisites for DKICP.

Additional requirements may include courses such as additional humanities and social sciences. It is also recommended that non-science majors take additional upper-division or advanced science electives beyond the prerequisites listed above.

CHEM 171/171L might not be accepted by pharmacy schools in place of CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L. Students should double check with the schools they are interested in if the schools would accept CHEM 171/171L in place of CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L.

Review the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) for the specific requirements of each school.

Click here for a four-year sample plan with the PCAT and here for a four-year sample plan without the PCAT.

Click here for a three-year sample plan with the PCAT and here for a three-year sample plan without the PCAT.

Click here for a two-year sample plan without the PCAT.

Click here for a sample general timeline.

back to top

Field Experience: 

Gaining experience in the health professional field in which you are interested is a huge benefit in figuring out if that is the field you want to work in and provides you with a deeper understanding of the field. Some professional schools want to see that you have experience in their field and some schools may require a large amount of particular experience such as hands-on, patient contact experience or experience shadowing a professional in that field.

Other Experiences:

  • Research: To ensure that you will be prepared for the research that will be included in the health professional school/program curriculum.
  • Community Service: To demonstrate your genuine interest in helping others and the larger communities.
  • Enrichment: To be more well rounded and gain experience communicating with others from different backgrounds.
  • Jobs (does not have to be related to your field of interest): Another way to be well rounded and grow personally and professionally.

Personal Development: 

Admission committees seek students who demonstrate certain qualities that will make them strong practitioners, such as empathy, compassion, a commitment to public service, high ethical and moral standards, a conscientious work ethic, and demonstrated maturity. These qualities should be gained throughout all of the previous experiences mentioned. If this is not the case, then find other experiences from which you can grow.


Networking with peers and professionals enables you to meet people with similar interests. You can find a mentor to help lead you in the right direction, or find a study buddy for your prerequisites and entrance exam! 

  • UH Connect: If you are a UH student or alumni,  you can find a professional mentor through the UH Connect website. You can use different search and matching tools to find UH alumni who are working in a field that you are interested in within the site.
  • Clubs and Organizations

Experience Log: 

When applying for professional school, you will be asked to list and describe the experiences you have gained in preparation for the profession of your interest. Rather than having to recall from memory all your experiences, having an experience log will allow you to fill out your application with more ease. Students can use their C.V. as a record of these experiences. However, an experience log can include additional beneficial information, such as your employer’s contact information and a reflection portion of what you learned. You may choose to make a personalized experience log or download our sample by clicking here.

back to top

There are currently about 151 accredited pharmacy schools in the US, each unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths. Applicants can research schools using the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) School Directory or the Pharmacy School Admission Requirements (PSAR) (physical copy available for use in PAC). Although there are resources that rank schools, the rankings are rarely pertinent for individual applicants. More important is whether there is a good match between applicant and school.

To find schools that are good a fit for you (PAC can help with this process):

  1. Assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  2. Start by considering all schools, which usually includes all 151 schools;
  3. Create your “Long List” by omitting the schools that do not match your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  4. Once you have your PCAT scores, create your “Short List” by categorizing the schools into ‘Reach’, ‘Match’, and ‘Safety’, ranking the schools by preference, and finally choosing how many schools to apply to. Be sure to apply to schools in all 3 categories (“Reach,” “Match,” and “Safety.”) and to select schools that you would really want to attend if/when accepted.
  5. Here is more information on researching and selecting schools to apply for. If possible, visit the schools to see their facilities, talk to admissions directors, and chat with students.

Admissions Cycle Application Statistics

ApplicantsApplicationsStatusAverage Number of Applications per ApplicantRange of Number of Schools Applied toPercentage of Applicants who were Accepted/Matriculated
National16,45470,75215,790 Accepted4.30N/A95.96%
UH Mānoa6032451 Matriculated4.761-3485%
National15,88651,02013,139 Accepted3.21N/A83%
UH Mānoa6415152 Matriculated2.361-881%

Based on data acquired by the Pharmacy College Application Service.

Schools UH Mānoa Students Matriculated into for the 2017-18 Admission Cycle (Ordered from Most to Least Number of Students)

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Pacific University Oregon
Washington State University
Midwestern University – Glendale Campus
University of Southern California
University of Washington
Chapman University
Creighton University
Marshall B. Ketchum University
Medical University of South Carolina
Regis University School of Pharmacy
Roseman University of Health Sciences
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The University of Oklahoma
University of California, San Francisco
University of Colorado
University of Maryland
University of the Pacific

Top 10 Schools UH Mānoa Students Applied to for 2017-2018 Admission Cycle (Ordered from Most to Least Popular)
1. University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
2. Pacific University Oregon
3. Creighton University
4. Washington State University
5. University of Washington
6. University of Southern California
7. Oregon State University
7. University of California, San Diego
7. University of California, San Francisco
8. California Health Sciences University
8. Chapman University
8. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Manchester, NH
8. Midwestern University – Glendale Campus
8. Touro University California

back to top

Many pharmacy schools require applicants to take a standardized test called the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) School Directory identifies which schools require the PCAT.

Preparation:  Your most important preparation for the PCAT is your undergraduate courses, many of which sharpen your writing and verbal reasoning skills.  Remember that your verbal scores are not only the most accurate predictor of how well you will do in pharmacy school, but also the most difficult scores to improve.

PCAT Summary:  The PCAT assesses your knowledge and skills in Biology, Chemistry, Quantitative Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Writing. The test requires ~4 hours to complete, and entails ~240 multiple choice questions and one 30-minute essay. The PCAT is administered in a computer-based format, and is offered about nine times each year, in July, September, and January. Additional test dates are offered at select locations in October and November.

PCAT Scoring:  Each of the five multiple choice sections receives a score between 200 and 600; the Writing Sample receives a score between 1 and 6. Scores are often reported as a percentile, with the median score (50th percentile) among examinees being ~400 for each of the multiple choice sections. Many schools have cut-offs for acceptable PCAT scores; students should consult the PSAR to determine the policies of the schools they are interested in applying to. The average composite score of matriculated students was in the 64th percentile.

*A few pharmacy schools require the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Testing Assessment (ACT) for admission. Check with your specific schools for information.

**UPDATE: Effective immediately, the PCAT is recommendednot required for applying to the DKICP. 

Commercial Test Preparation Companies

Scholarship Opportunities for Test Prep Materials

Here is more information on how to prepare for an entrance exam.

back to top