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FAQ: Pharm.D.

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment for the professional program is limited to 65 students. We have no limit for enrollment in the pre-pharmacy program.

These are the areas we look at when choosing successful applicants:

  • Grades obtained in the pre-pharmacy courses, especially in 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 around 3.7 with a range of 3.2-4.0.

Typically, we receive approximately 150 applications every year.

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.

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 and other activities.  Successful students were able to manage their time wisely from the start.

Our Student Services Staff provide advising services to pre-professional and Pharm.D. students in the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. Each student is assigned to one of our advisors right from the start of their academic career. All pharmacy faculty are available by phone or e-mail for career advising or to assist the student. The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions also provides free academic support (tutoring and supplemental instruction) for classes within the professional program. The academic support team consists of current student pharmacists. 

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, biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics. These courses focus on the chemistry of drugs, the effects of drugs and drug therapy of diseases. 

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 and food science, nursing, dairy and food 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 again the next year.

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.

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 a minimum of 8 hours devoted to shadowing; more is encouraged.

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.

If you graduate from an accredited doctor of pharmacy program 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.

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, the public health or regulatory arena, the pharmaceutical industry, 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.

All of our graduates find jobs either before graduation or soon after. The average starting salaries of our recent graduates are over $115,000 with a range of about $105,000 - $130,000, depending on job location and type of position.