Pharmacy B Pharm Pharm D

What is a pharmacist? Pharmacists are trained drug and medication experts who are licensed to dispense regulated substances to medical patients. In this capacity, they make informed professional recommendations as to the proper dosage and administration of patient prescriptions written by physicians.

To become a pharmacist, it is necessary to first complete some postsecondary coursework, after which students acquire a 4-year "first-professional" education at the graduate level. This education leads to the entry-level degree held by all new pharmacists in the United States - the Pharm.D., or Doctor of Pharmacy.

Schools qualified to offer the Pharm.D. are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Residencies and fellowships often have their own accrediting agencies.

Degrees in Pharmacy

Bachelor Degrees

There is no major that prospective pharmacists have to declare at the undergraduate level, but specific preparatory coursework is necessary to get into pharmacy school. These prerequisites can generally be completed in 2 years.

Credits can be earned in an associate's or bachelor's program, but the latter is most common of the undergraduate pharmacy degrees due to rising competition at the best pharmacy schools, plus the fact that many students don't know what they want to do just coming into college. The majority enter pharmacy school with 3 or more years of college experience.

Most pharmacy programs want 60 to 90 pre-pharmacy semester credits, but it varies. Core prerequisites include most or all of the following:

  • General Biology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Calculus

It's further recommended that students take coursework in:

  • English Composition
  • Computer Technology
  • Economics
  • Public Speaking
  • Social & Behavioral Science
  • Statistics

In addition to these subjects, advanced coursework in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology will help prepare students for the rigorous pharmacy curriculum. Keep in mind the precise prequirements depend on the intended pharmacy school.

First-Professional Degrees

The Doctor of Pharmacy - abbreviated 'Pharm.D.' - is now the only acceptable entry-level degree for pharmacists in the United States. It is a first-professional degree that takes 4 years to complete. During pharmacy school, students develop a foundation in pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, business management, and pharmacy practice.

The recommended undergraduate prerequisites qualify students to pass the Pharmacy College Emissions Test (PCAT), which is required for entry into the top pharmacy schools. Other common qualifiers for pharmacy school include CPR certification, background checks, updated vaccinations, and pre-admission interviews.

In addition to class time, pharmacy school includes 7 to 10 rotations, most of them during the fourth year of pharmacy school. These experiences are not paid work, but contribute to class credits necessary to graduate with a Pharm.D. Rotations, which typically last 4 to 6 weeks each, take pharmacy students to a diverse selection of clinical and specialist settings, from retail pharmacies to acute care hospitals and oncology clinics.

The bulk of pharmacy jobs are open to those with a Pharm.D. These include:

  • Retail Pharmacist
  • Clinical Pharmacist Consultant
  • Director of Pharmacy

Master Degrees

Those who graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy can apply for a state license and look for work. However, there are options beyond the Pharm.D. for pharmacists interested in more advanced training. These include a master's degree, Ph.D., and residencies.

Pharmacists advance to the master's level to focus on specific clinical populations, gain policy and management insight, and learn the basics of research. Most master degree programs take about 2 years to complete, making them a shorter alternative to a full Ph.D. for those interested in research and advanced clinical work, but not academia.

As an example, an aspiring geriatric pharmacist may earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Gerontology. Pharmacists considering sales in the pharmaceutical industry may pursue an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Marketing, while someone who wants to open their own pharmacy may earn an M.B.A. after obtaining the Pharm.D.

A common choice at this level is the Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR). The coursework for an MSCR program includes:

  • Biostatistics for Clinical and Translational Research
  • Fundamentals of Bioinformatics
  • Scientific and Grant Writing

What kinds of jobs can pharmacists get with a master's degree?

  • Director of Clinical Research
  • Regulatory Affairs Project Manager
  • Pediatric and Neonatal Pharmacist

Doctoral Work


Unlike medical doctors, pharmacists who finish their 4-year training do not have to go on to a residency. However, some do for the experience and added credentials. A residency can open up high-level opportunities inaccessible to entry-level pharmacists and can be completed without earning a full Ph.D.

In some cases, residency is required or recommended. Hospital pharmacies and faculty spots at pharmacy colleges often want students to undertake a pharmacy residency. There are advanced clinical work settings that necessitate an accredited residency in a job-specific area.

Pharmacists may participate in either a generalist and specialist residency at their discretion. There are more than 400 pharmacy residency programs in the U.S. in a variety of settings.


Today, more pharmacists are pursuing Ph.D.s, especially those who plan to move up the corporate ladder, work in research or academia, or otherwise take advantage of emerging job opportunities in the field. As the pharmaceutical sciences evolve, those with a research doctorate like the Ph.D. will have the most resilient job prospects.

Common clinical research areas for Ph.D.s include Biomedical Informatics, Pharmacogenomics, and Toxicology. Toxicology programming, for instance, may include:

  • Environmental Stress Signaling & Cellular Consequences
  • Chemical Structure, Transport, Metabolism, and Drug Discovery
  • Nephrotoxicity

What kinds of jobs are accessible with a Ph.D. or clinical residency?

  • Clinical Informatics Pharmacist
  • Pediatric and Neonatal Pharmacist
  • Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

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We found 79 schools offering pharmacy degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 79 Pharmacy B Pharm Pharm D Colleges in the U.S.

Pharmacy Schools Ranked By US News and World Report

University of California - San Francisco
San Francisco, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 3517

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
The University of North Carolina - Gen Admin
Chapel Hill, NC  |  Total Enrollment: 0

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Minneapolis, MN  |  Total Enrollment: 45481

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 49996

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison, WI  |  Total Enrollment: 40658

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY  |  Total Enrollment: 23114

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Ohio State University - Main Campus
Columbus, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 47952

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Purdue University - Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN  |  Total Enrollment: 39667

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 38103

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ  |  Total Enrollment: 34488

Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 79 Colleges With Pharmacy Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Albany College of Pharmacy Albany NY 691
Auburn University Main Campus Auburn University AL 21860
Butler University Indianapolis IN 4168
Campbell University Inc Buies Creek NC 5880
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland OH 9304
Creighton University Omaha NE 6237
Drake University Des Moines IA 5126
Duquesne University Pittsburgh PA 9667
Ferris State University Big Rapids MI 9847
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee FL 12126
Howard University Washington DC 10010
Idaho State University Pocatello ID 13040
Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus Brooklyn NY 7780
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Science Boston MA 1877
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston SC 2346
Mercer University Macon GA 6908
Midwestern University Downers Grove IL 1499
North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo ND 9902
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale FL 18587
Ohio Northern University Ada OH 3227
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus OH 47952
Oregon State University Corvallis OR 16758
Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette IN 39667
Rutgers University - New Brunswick/piscataway New Brunswick NJ 35236
Samford University Birmingham AL 4379
Shenandoah University Winchester VA 2428
South Dakota State University Brookings SD 8695
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford OK 4860
St Louis College of Pharmacy Saint Louis MO 915
St. Johns University - New York Queens NY 18621
Suny at Buffalo Buffalo NY 24830
Temple University Philadelphia PA 28355
Texas Southern University Houston TX 6886
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock TX 1719
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis TN 2069
The University of Texas at Austin Austin TX 49996
The University of Texas Health Science - San Antonio San Antonio TX 2543
University of Arizona Tucson AZ 34488
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock AR 1855
University of California - San Francisco San Francisco CA 3517
University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati OH 27327
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Denver CO 2399
University of Connecticut Storrs CT 19393
University of Florida Gainesville FL 45114
University of Georgia Athens GA 31288
University of Houston Houston TX 32123
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago IL 24942
University of Iowa Iowa City IA 28311
University of Kansas Main Campus Lawrence KS 25920
University of Kentucky Lexington KY 23114
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe LA 9405
University of Maryland - Baltimore Baltimore MD 5337
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 38103
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis MN 45481
University of Mississippi Main Campus University MS 12118
University of Missouri - Kansas City Kansas City MO 12762
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha NE 2695
University of New Mexico - Main Campus Albuquerque NM 23670
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill NC 24892
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City OK 2759
University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus Pittsburgh PA 26329
University of Rhode Island Kingston RI 14362
University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia SC 23728
University of Southern California Los Angeles CA 29194
University of the Pacific Stockton CA 5609
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia Philadelphia PA 1927
University of Toledo Toledo OH 19491
University of Utah Salt Lake City UT 24948
University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle WA 36139
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison WI 40658
University of Wyoming Laramie WY 11743
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA 24066
Washington State University Pullman WA 20492
Wayne State University Detroit MI 30408
West Virginia University Morgantown WV 21987
Western University of Health Sciences Pomona CA 1471
Wilkes University Wilkes-barre PA 3570
Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans LA 3797