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College of Pharmacy

Pharmacy students with faculty member

Pharm.D. Program

Admission Requirements

At the University of South Carolina, we seek to enroll a diverse cohort of students each year to meet the needs of the patients that pharmacists serve, who are from all types of backgrounds and have a variety of experiences, thoughts and beliefs.

Each application to our Doctor of Pharmacy program is carefully evaluated on multiple criteria to identify well-rounded candidates. Student pharmacists must possess the academic ability to successfully complete the rigorous Pharm.D. coursework as well as the personal characteristics necessary to be a successful practitioner. If accepted into our program, you must adhere to the admission policies outlined in the Academic Bulletin.

Evaluation Criteria

Using a holistic approach, our Admissions Committee reviews each application for interview consideration, taking into account the following: 

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. (The cumulative GPA is calculated from all attempted undergraduate and graduate coursework.)

Include all courses - completed, in progress, and planned - in your PharmCAS application. Be sure to update your coursework in your PharmCAS application during the Academic Update window. 

In evaluating the applicant's coursework, the Admissions Committee examines the applicant's academic record including time frame and difficulty of the course schedule, progress toward completion of and performance in the prerequisite coursework as an indication of the potential to succeed in an academically rigorous pharmacy curriculum.

Applicants are expected to possess a solid academic foundation, particularly in the sciences and mathematics. Applicants who have completed prerequisite coursework more than 10 years prior to beginning the Pharm.D. program should contact our Director of Admissions.

Applicants must complete the following 66 credit hours of pharmacy prerequisite courses with a grade of C- (2.0) or higher prior to fall Pharm.D. program entry.

Applicants can apply, interview and receive an admission decision prior to completing all prerequisite courses. Applicants are expected to have completed all math and science prerequisite courses by the end of the spring term prior to enrollment. With permission, summer courses may be allowed; however, all courses must be completed with a C- or higher prior to the start of the term in mid-August.

Generally for transfer credit, USC will accept all non-remedial coursework taken at regionally-accredited institutions. You can find more information on how your transfer courses will be evaluated, as well a link to existing transfer equivalencies, from the Office of the University Registrar.

Not sure if you've met the pharmacy prerequisites? View the Transfer Credit Guide for non-USC Colleges or contact our Director of Admissions for help evaluating your transcript.

Prerequisite Courses

General Chemistry I and II - 8 credit hours  1 2

Courses must be designated for science majors and must include labs.

General Biology I and II - 8 credit hours 1 2

Courses must be designated for science majors and must include labs. With prior approval from the College of Pharmacy, the General Biology I & II sequence may be substituted with one of the following sequences:

  • Botany (4 credit hours) and Zoology (4 credit hours)
  • Cell biology (4 credit hours) and Genetics (4 credit hours)

Organic Chemistry I and II - 8 credit hours 1 2

Courses must be designated for science majors and must include labs.

General Physics I - 3 credit hours 1

Algebra or calculus-based physics will be accepted. A physics lab is not required. Course must be designated for science majors.

Anatomy & Physiology I and II -  6 credit hours 1

Courses must be designated for science majors. Labs are not required. The Anatomy and Physiology requirement may be fulfilled with one of the following sequences:

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I (3 credit hours) AND  Human Anatomy & Physiology II (3 credit hours)
  • Human Anatomy (3 credit hours) AND  Human Physiology (3 credit hours)

Microbiology - 3 credit hours 1

Courses must be designated for science majors. A microbiology lab is not required.

Calculus - 3 credit hours 1

General calculus or calculus for business / life sciences majors will be accepted.

Statistics - 3 credit hours

Introductory statistics or statistics for life sciences / business / mathematics majors will be accepted.

English Composition - 3 credit hours

Should include strategies for critically reading and analyzing literature and non-literary texts; structured, sustained practice in composing expository and analytical essays.

English Literature / Composition - 3 credit hours

Should include instruction and intensive practice in researching, analyzing and composing written arguments about academic and public issues.

Public Speaking / Verbal Skills - 3 credit hours 2

Public speaking or speech will be accepted.

Economics - 3 credit hours

Introductory economics, microeconomics, or macroeconomics will be accepted.

General Psychology - 3 credit hours

Liberal Art Electives - 9 credit hours

Courses in humanities and social sciences are accepted. Examples of humanities include: art, business, ethics, creative writing, fine arts, languages, music, religion and theater. Examples of social sciences include: anthropology, additional economic courses, child development, geography, history, management, political science, social work, sociology and women’s studies.

1The USC College of Pharmacy has a 10-year limit for math and science courses.

2 Online public speaking and lab courses may not be accepted to fulfill pharmacy prerequisite requirements. If you have specific questions, please reach out to our Director of Admissions.

3 Pass/Fail courses will be evaluated for fulfilling pharmacy prerequisite requirements if documentation is provided showing that a ‘Pass’ indication at the institution is equivalent to a C- or higher.

Prepared applicants are those that have an understanding of the pharmacy profession. Pharmacy experience can be obtained through working or volunteering in a pharmacy setting, shadowing or interviewing pharmacists, or any combination of these activities.

Applicants are encouraged to include pharmacy exposure on the PharmCAS application and to record this information on their resume or curriculum vitae, providing details related to each experience, including the setting, pharmacist(s) interacted with, date(s) attended and total number of hours spent at the site.

Well-rounded applicants are those that have a history of leadership experience and participation in extra-curricular activities such as concurrent employment, collegiate athletics, research, and philanthropic/community service activities. Applicants are encouraged to include involvement in these activities on the PharmCAS application and in their resume or curriculum vitae.

Students that have completed courses and/or exams to receive a health care certification such as pharmacy technician, certified nursing assistant, etc. are strongly encouraged to include this information in the PharmCAS application and in their resume or curriculum vitae.

Personal statements should address the prompts provided by PharmCAS including personal motivation and plans for obtaining a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Two letters of recommendation (electronic evaluations) are required to be submitted through the PharmCAS application. These individuals  providing the recommendation should be able to evaluate characteristics such as empathy, ethics, intelligent ability, judgment, oral communication and reliability. These individuals should not include family members, friends or family friends.

As a state-assisted institution, we give preference to in-state applicants, defined in the admissions context as South Carolina residents and non-South Carolina residents who are attending a South Carolina college or university. Residency determinations for tuition purposes are set by the USC Office of Legal Residency.

Applicants have the ability to include test score reports in the PharmCAS application that they would like the Admissions Committee to consider, such as PCAT, SAT, ACT, AP, MCAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.

Students from around the globe participate in our Pharm.D. program. We welcome international applicants and want to ensure you submit all the necessary application materials. With so many important arrangements to make, we recommend that you apply at least nine months before the semester in which you plan to begin your studies.

The College of Pharmacy admits international students as either individual applicants or as members of our partnership programs.

Individual International Applicant Requirements

For admission of Individual International Applicants, general admission criteria in addition to the requirements below must be met:

  1. Complete Pharmacy Prerequisite Courses
    At least 42 of the 66 Pharm.D. program prerequisite credit hours, including English language requirements, must have been completed at a college or university accredited in the United States; refer to Prerequisite Courses for additional information.
  2. Demonstrate Proficiency in English
    An international student admitted to the college must be proficient in English with a score of at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper-based exam or 77 on the internet-based TOEFL. Alternatively, we will accept a score of at least 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or a score of at least 53 on the PTE academic test.
  3. Receive a Pharmacy Intern Certificate
    You must be able to receive a Pharmacy Intern Certificate based on the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy requirements. The certificate is a requirement in order to complete the Introductory and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences portions of the Pharm.D. curriculum.
  4. WES Transcript Evaluation
    Applicants who have attended post-secondary educational institutions, colleges or universities outside of the United States are required to submit a foreign transcript professional credential evaluation of all work completed from World Education Services (WES) through the PharmCAS application
  5. University Requirements
    Accepted students must work directly the USC International Student Services Office to complete requirements necessary for enrollment at the university.  International students may not be eligible for student loans through the FAFSA process. All international students will be considered out-of-state during the admissions processes and for tuition purposes.

  6. Obtain a Proper Visa
    You are responsible for obtaining a proper visa if you are accepted to our program.

International Partnership Applicants 

The College of Pharmacy also considers a limited number of international applicants to the Doctor of Pharmacy program who have completed at least a five-year bachelor's of science degree in pharmacy and when there is a prior written agreement between the USC College of Pharmacy and an international sponsoring university, government, or agency (International Partnership Program.)

If applying as an international partnership applicant to the College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. program, you may apply only after a written agreement between the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy and the international sponsoring university, government or agency has been completed. The number of international partnership applicants admitted each year will be determined by the College of Pharmacy; a signed partnership agreement does not guarantee admission of individual applicants. International bachelor's of science degree pharmacists must meet the general admission criteria in addition to the requirements below. The College of Pharmacy may grant advanced status, depending on your academic record or practice experience. You must have graduated within 10 years of your application date.

If you are applying as an international partnership program applicant, you must meet the following requirements from above: (2) Demonstrate Proficiency in English; (3) Receive a Pharmacy Intern Certificate; (4) Submit WES Transcript Evaluation; (5) University Requirements(6) Obtain a Proper Visa.

Matriculation Requirements

Specific requirements prior to matriculation into the Doctor of Pharmacy program include:

As a participating school in the AACP Cooperative Admissions Guidelines, we adhere to deposit guidelines.

There are two non-refundable deposit payments that total $485.00.

  1. When accepted to the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, students must submit a $200 admission deposit within 2 weeks of acceptance notification.
  2. After March 1, students are required to pay the additional fee of $285.00.

If students are admitted after March 1, the $485.00 must be paid in full within 2 weeks of acceptance notification. The fee(s) will be forfeited for students not enrolling in the College of Pharmacy for the term in which they were admitted.

Refer to the Academic Bulletin regarding the background check policy for admission.

Refer to the Academic Bulletin regarding the drug screening policy for admission.

Refer to the Academic Bulletin regarding the technical standards for admission.

Refer to the Academic Bulletin regarding the pharmacy intern certificate requirement.

Pharm.D. Transfer Admission

Applications for transfer students from an accredited professional pharmacy program within the United States into the USC College of Pharmacy professional Pharm.D. program will be evaluated on an individual basis.

The student applying for transfer must be currently enrolled and in good academic and professional standing in their current Pharm.D. program. As the student must compete at least two years of study at the USC College of Pharmacy in order to be eligible for a degree from our institution, students must complete, at a minimum, their third and fourth professional years at the USC College of Pharmacy.

Review the process to request transfer admission in the Academic Bulletin.

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