FAQ: Pharm.D.

How many students are admitted to the Pharm.D. Professional Program?
Enrollment for the professional program is limited to 80 students.
We have no limit for enrollment in the pre-pharmacy program.

How do you select students for the professional program?
These are the areas we look at when choosing successful applicants:

  • Grades obtained in the pre-pharmacy courses, especially for the required pre-pharmacy science and math courses
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of the profession
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Standardized test scores (e.g. ACT or PCAT)

The average GPA of the last few classes admitted to the professional program has been above 3.7 with a range of about 3.4 - 4.0.

How many students apply for the professional program?
As you can imagine, acceptance is competitive. We anticipate receiving approximately 300 applications for the 80 positions available for the Pharm.D. program.

Do you accept out-of-state or transfer students?
Yes. However, even though non-SDSU students are admitted each year to the professional program, most of the students admitted have attended SDSU for at least one semester.

Can I make it?
Our successful students are those who have shown an aptitude in the sciences by obtaining grades of A and B in high school. You can generally maintain those quality grades in college if you commit yourself to good study habits and sufficient study time. We have graduates who were in football, swimming, basketball, music, students' association, or participants in other activities. Successful students were able to manage their time wisely from the start.

What type of courses will I be taking?
Our Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) Degree is a six-year program. The first two years are considered pre-pharmacy and the next four years make up the professional component.

Most of the pre-pharmacy courses are science related, especially chemistry and biological sciences, although some math is required as well.

Examples of courses in the professional program include biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, therapeutics, drug distribution systems, biopharmaceutics, and clinical kinetics. These courses focus on the chemistry of the drugs, the effects of drugs, and drug therapy of diseases.  In addition, students participate in Introductory and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences; these experiential education opportunities allow students to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of pharmacy practice settings.

What if I'm not admitted or I change my mind about pharmacy?
Since most of our pre-pharmacy courses are required by several other science-related majors on campus, if you are not admitted to the professional program or if you decide pharmacy isn’t your interest, you can transfer to other science-related majors with minimal loss of credits or time. These majors include chemistry, biology, microbiology, nutrition & food science, nursing, dairy science, medical lab science, biotechnology, and some pre-professional programs. 

Alternatively, if you applied for the professional program and were not admitted and after discussion with a pharmacy advisor, you may decide to strengthen your application and apply the next year.

What is the cost in tuition and fees?
You can check out the latest figures for costs on this chart.

What do I need to do to apply?
Go to How to Apply.

What is your application deadline?
Our application deadline is February 1, and interviews are held October through March. We admit students for each fall semester only. Students are eligible to apply if they will finish the pre-pharmacy required courses before that next fall semester.

What’s involved with Shadowing?
Shadowing refers to an experience in which a student observes a pharmacist and/or participates in some tasks related to pharmacy practice. Shadowing helps students observe the day-to-day responsibilities of a pharmacist. We expect at least a minimum of 8 hours devoted to shadowing; more is encouraged.

Do I have to have an internship?
Yes.

What are internship requirements?
To become a registered pharmacist, a person must not only graduate from an accredited college of pharmacy but also meet the internship requirement of the state in which he or she will initially be licensed.

Almost all of our students complete the internship requirement before they graduate. There are usually sufficient summer internship opportunities nationwide, which also provide our students an opportunity to travel.

Credit for summer internship hours are easily transferred from the state of employment to the state in which a pharmacy license is being sought. Some students obtain internship positions in a community or hospital pharmacy in their hometown.

With this degree, where can I practice pharmacy?
If you graduate from any one of the more than 100 accredited colleges of pharmacy in the U.S, you can practice pharmacy anywhere in the U.S., but first, you must pass the national pharmacy licensure exam and the pharmacy law exam for the state in which you wish to practice.

What are some career options with this degree?
Many graduates pursue careers in community pharmacy positions, but the flexibility of the Doctor of Pharmacy degree also offers our graduates satisfying careers in hospital and clinical pharmacy, in the public health or regulatory arena, in the pharmaceutical industry, in government or professional association positions, and providing pharmacy services in home health care and long-term care settings, conducting clinical and laboratory research, owning an independent pharmacy, and working as a faculty members in a college of pharmacy.
 
What is the job market and starting salaries?
All of our graduates find jobs either before graduation or soon after. A shortage of pharmacists has caused the salaries for pharmacists to increase. The average starting salaries of our recent graduates is over $100,000 with a range of about $85,000 - $120,000, depending on job location and type of position.