Pharmacists are known as "medication specialists" and are healthcare providers who educate patients on medication - when and how to take it as well as its side effects. They must be detail-oriented and meticulous. Pharmacists must also communicate effectively and carefully consider the various factors that may interfere with their patients' medication such as lifestyle, age, other medication or health conditions. 45% of pharmacists work in independent or retail pharmacy.

Pharmacy Fact Sheet

NEW! Check out the Pre-Reqs from California Pharmacy Schools!

EXPLORE Pharmacy

PREPARE for Pharmacy School

Confirm your interest in pharmacy, prepare academically and develop the necessary skills and experience:

Academic Pre-Requisites

Identify Common Pre-Requisites pdf_icon and the UC San Diego classes you can take to meet them. This is a general guideline. Please check individual schools for their specific pre-requisites:
  • Biology + 4 unit lab (BILD 1, 2, 3)
  • General Chemistry + lab (Chem 6ABC, 7L)
  • Organic Chemistry (40ABC) *40AB is a pre-req for Biochem
  • Anatomy + lab (take at Extension or community college)
  • Physiology + lab (BILD 26, BIPN 100, or BIPN 102). *take human physio lab at a community college
  • Microbiology + lab (BIMM 120, BIMM 121 - lab). *BILD 1, BIBC 100 or 102 (Biochemistry)is a pre-req
  • English Composition
  • Public Speaking
  • Economics
  • Statistics (Math 11, Psych 60,etc.)


Evaluators will be asked to rate pharmacy school applicants on each of the following characteristics:

  • Oral Communication: speaks clearly with precision and accuracy, without ambiguity.
  • Written Communication: writing is precise, accurate, grammatically correct, and unambiguous.
  • Intellectual Ability: academic competence and aptitude for a pharmacy degree program.
  • Leadership: takes initiative and motivates others.
  • Ethics: displays honesty, integrity, and ethical behaviors.
  • Empathy: considerate, sensitive, and tactful in response to others.
  • Reliability: dependable, responsible, prompt, and thorough.
  • Judgment: displays critical thinking skills, common sense, and decisiveness.
  • Interpersonal Relations: able to get along well with peers and superiors.
  • Adaptability: reacts well to stress, is poised and controlled.
  • Professional Appearance: maintains good personal hygiene, appropriate attire, well-groomed.



Click to learn more about gaining experience - clinical, service, leadership, and research.

APPLY to Pharmacy School

You apply to pharmacy school in the summer, one year before you want to start the program. Identify programs that match your skills and interests and complete an application. Some steps take more time to complete than others, so plan ahead!

Schools & Programs


If required, Prepare and take the Pharmacy College Admission Test


Personal Essay

  • 4500 characters
  • Why did you select pharmacy as a career and how does it relate to your short and long-term goals?


Click here for more info and resources on your personal essay, interview tips, letters of evaluation and taking a gap year.

Student Organizations

Students are encouraged to explore any student organization of interest, not necessarily limited to pharmacy-related groups. A comprehensive list can be found at the Center for Student Involvement.

Pharmacy-related student groups include the following:

The Pre-Pharmacy Society (PPS) provides excellent opportunities to meet other pre-pharmacy students, local pharmacists, and visiting pharmacy school deans. The Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity provides members an opportunity for service in their communities. In addition, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) has several pharmacy student orgs to connect with.