Pharmacy is a career that requires a sound educational background in math and science as well as good communication and social skills. Pharmacy programs vary from college to college, but all pharmacy schools in the nation now only offer a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree. This type of program usually requires at least two years of pre-pharmacy undergraduate study and four years of professional education in the actual pharmacy program. Some pharmacy schools might require additional coursework prior to admission, which make it necessary to do three or four years of pre-pharmacy coursework.
Most of the pharmacy schools in the Northwest U.S. reported that a significant number of their students admitted in 2011 had completed three years of coursework or received a bachelor's degree. In contrast, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana reported that in 2011, 72% of their students had no prior degree. Successful applicant profiles at most of the institutions are available on their web sites. The profile for the University of Montana can be found at their website.
The website for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is an excellent resource on educational and career opportunities in pharmacy, as well as links to the pharmacy web pages for each school.
Most students from Montana apply to the University of Montana. The Carroll courses that satisfy the UM pre-pharmacy requirements are found on our two-year plan page. A typical class schedule for students applying to the UM pharmacy program (or a similar program) is attached.
Those Carroll students who complete the pre-pharmacy requirements in two or three years typically transfer to a college of pharmacy and do not have to fulfill actual requirements for an academic major at Carroll. Academic performance in the required courses is important, and students should have a minimum GPA of 3.4 to have a good likelihood of admission. In 2011 the incoming students at UM had an average GPA of 3.55 in the required courses.
It is always a good idea to observe and visit with members of the professional community. Some schools require observing, volunteering or paid work in a practicing pharmacy or health care facility. UM requires 60 hours of such exposure. There are several pharmacies in the Helena area that are happy to host Carroll students as observers. Students may also observe in a hometown pharmacy during the summer. The following attributes of an experience are important:
Dr. Kyle Strode
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Office: FC 113
We have put together a pre-pharmacy two-year plan for the University of Montana Skaggs School of Pharmacy (where most students from Montana apply to Pharmacy School).
“If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career within the health professions, consider pharmacy. Be sure that your academic background provides a solid foundation for the pharmacy curriculum, and take the time to investigate the variety of pharmacy programs that are available to you.”
-the AACP website
A standardized test may also be required for admission to Pharmacy school. UM requires the PCAT test. The subject areas of this test are biology, chemistry, quantitative ability, reading comprehension, writing and verbal ability. The test is usually given in October, January, June and August. For information on this exam contact: