Doctor of Pharmacy Frequently Asked Questions
- General Questions
- Early Consideration
- Prerequisite Courses
- Letters of Recommendation
- Financial Aid and Costs
- Facts about Doctor of Pharmacy Students
- Transfer Students
- International Students
- Health Requirements
What is the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree?
The Doctor of Pharmacy degree (often abbreviated Pharm.D. or PharmD) is required to sit for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). The NAPLEX is one component of the licensure process required to practice as a pharmacist in Oregon and other U.S. states. It is a professional degree similar to a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). As a doctorate, it represents the increasing responsibility pharmacists have in health care systems and the high trust Americans have in pharmacists. After earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and passing licensure examinations, College of Pharmacy graduates can practice pharmacy anywhere in the country.
How long does it take to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
Three to four years of undergraduate pre-professional (prerequisite) coursework, followed by four academic years in the professional program. Most pre-pharmacy students need four years to complete their prerequisite courses.
What if I already have a related graduate or professional degree, such as a M.S. in Biology?
While your previous coursework has likely helped you fulfill many of the program prerequisites, you should still expect to spend a full four years in pharmacy school.
What is the difference between the Doctor of Pharmacy program and the Graduate Research Studies program?
The Doctor of Pharmacy program is intended for people who want to practice as pharmacists. The Ph.D. graduate research studies programs are intended for people primarily interested in careers in research.
The College of Pharmacy offers a dual Pharm.D./Ph.D. degree program for students with a strong interest in research who also want to practice as pharmacists. Contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
Does OSU have a pharmacy technician program?
OSU does not offer a pharmacy technician program. Several Oregon colleges have pharmacy technician programs, including Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore.; Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Ore.; and Linn Benton Community College in Albany, Ore.
Can I visit the OSU campus?
Yes. You are welcome to visit OSU’s campus. Information on scheduling a campus visit is available from OSU’s Visitor Center.
Does OSU use PharmCAS?
Yes. The OSU College of Pharmacy will review only complete, on-time applications submitted via PharmCAS. Applicants must also submit a supplemental application.
Does OSU require a supplemental application?
Yes. In addition to completing the PharmCAS application, all applicants to OSU's Pharm.D. program are required to submit the OSU Supplemental Application.
Does OSU College of Pharmacy require the PCAT?
No. OSU does not require the PCAT. PCAT scores are not considered in the evaluation of applications.
Can I apply even though I did not major in pre-pharmacy as an undergraduate?
Definitely, as long as you will be able to complete all the prerequisite courses by next June.
Does OSU accept out-of-state students?
Yes. Non-resident students are eligible for admission to the Pharm.D. program.
Do you participate in WICHE?
Yes. Residents of Nevada and Alaska may be eligible to participate in the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Please note that the WICHE program has its own application process and deadline. Call 303-541-0214 or go to wiche.edu/psep for more information.
Is there a minimum GPA to be considered for admission?
Applications must meet the following minimum science GPA requirement:
- 2.75 for Oregon residents
- 3.0 for non-residents
The science GPA is calculated by PharmCAS based on applicants' performance in science courses and will not be recalculated by the OSU College of Pharmacy.
What is the average GPA of students admitted to the program?
The average pre-pharmacy science GPA of applicants who have been admitted to the Doctor of Pharmacy program in recent years is 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale).
What does "pre-pharmacy science GPA" mean?
When applications are received from PharmCAS they are screened by minimum Science GPA (as calculated by PharmCAS).
The pre-pharmacy science GPA is then calculated for applications meeting the minimum criteria. This GPA is not the same as PharmCAS's calculation of science GPA and includes only the science and math courses from OSU’s Pharm.D. prerequisites. Non-science requirements included in this GPA. If a course has been repeated, only the highest grade earned will be calculated into the pre-pharmacy science GPA.
When can I apply to the program?
Applications for fall 2014 admission will be available on PharmCAS in June 2013.
Can I reapply if I am not admitted?
Yes. There is no a limit on the number of times an applicant can apply to OSU’s Pharm.D. program. Applicants who are denied admission should consider meeting with an advisor to discuss the possibility of reapplying.
How many people usually apply to the Pharm.D. program?
OSU normally receives 700-1100 Pharm.D. applications each year.
How many applicants were invited for interviews?
Approximately 175-200 applicants are invited to interview each year. Interview selection is made based on several factors: pre-pharmacy science GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement and the OSU supplemental essay.
How many applicants were offered admission for fall 2013?
Approximately half of the applicants interviewed were offered admission to the Pharm.D. program.
How many places are available in the Pharm.D. program each year?
About 80 to 90 places are available in each entering class.
Is a bachelor's degree required for admission?
No. A bachelor’s degree is not required for admission to the Pharm.D. program, but one must be completed before the third year of the professional program. Approximately 70% of students admitted in recent years earned their bachelor’s degree before entering the Pharm.D. program. The College of Pharmacy strongly recommends completing a bachelor's degree before beginning the Pharm.D. program. Applicants who have earned bachelor's degrees (or who are about to earn bachelor's degrees) receive preference in our admissions process.
Is First Aid/CPR certification required at the time of application?
First Aid/CPR certification is not required at the time of application. However, all admitted applicants must have current First Aid and CPR certification prior to their first day of class in the Pharm.D. program. Entering Pharm.D. students will have the option of taking First Aid and CPR certification courses during their orientation program in September.
When will I hear back about my application?
This is the timeline for the Doctor of Pharmacy admissions process in 2013-2014:
Fall 2014 applications available on PharmCAS
August 1, 2013
Fall 2014 Early Consideration application deadline
Aug. 2013 - Dec. 2013
Early Consideration applications are reviewed. Early Consideration candidates may be invited to interview during this timeframe and may be offered admission by mid-December.
Nov. 1, 2013
Fall 2014 application deadline
Nov. 2013-Feb. 2014
Applications are screened and reviewed.
Nov. 2013-March 2014
Interviews are conducted. Invitations for interviews are sent throughout this time period.
Final decisions are made and communicated to applicants
On-campus orientation for newly admitted Pharm.D. students
|Late September 2014||
Fall term begins
Does OSU have an alternate/wait list for Pharm.D. admission?
Yes. An alternate list is created in the admission process and specific applicants are invited to be on it. In the event that an admitted applicant forfeits his or her seat, an applicant from the alternate list may be invited to join the class. Admission is not guaranteed to those on the alternate list.
The Doctor of Pharmacy program is not an open-enrollment program, and thus it is not possible to simply sign up for a place in the program through a waiting list. All interested students must apply for admission.
What does "Early Consideration" mean?
If you submit your PharmCAS application by the Early Consideration deadline of August 1, 2013, the College of Pharmacy will review your application by December 2013. You may be invited to interview by mid-December, and you may receive an offer of admission shortly after your interview.
Due to time and space limitations, not all candidates who apply by the Early Consideration deadline will be invited to interview before mid-December. If you are not invited by mid-December, your application is still being considered and you may receive an interview invitation by March 2014.
Early Consideration is different than the PharmCAS Early Decision program. Unlike Early Decision, it is not binding and you are free to apply to other Pharm.D. programs. The Early Consideration program is intended to allow applicants who are very excited about Oregon State to hear the results of their application as soon as possible.
Are any extra application materials or fees required to apply for Early Consideration?
No, just submit your PharmCAS application by August 1.
Are there any special requirements, such as a high GPA, to apply for Early Consideration?
No, all candidates who meet Oregon State's minimum criteria can apply for Early Consideration.
Does Oregon State participate in the PharmCAS Early Decision program?
No. We have participated in prior years but are not participating in this program in 2013-2014.
Does applying by the Early Consideration deadline increase my chances of admission?
It does increase the chances that you will be invited to an interview before mid-December.
Do I have to complete all of the prerequisites before I apply to the program?
You must complete all the prerequisites by June of the year in which you would enter the program. Therefore, you can apply while still having some prerequisites in progress. Generally, most students apply during the fall as they complete their final year of pre-pharmacy coursework.
For example, if you are applying for fall 2014 admission, the application deadline is November 1, 2013. You will need to complete all the prerequisites by June 2014.
Can I take the prerequisites at another university or community college?
Yes. Prerequisites can be completed at any accredited college or university.
Biochemistry MUST be completed at a four-year school at the upper-division level, and upper-division level coursework is strongly encouraged for several other prerequisites. Whether you are attending Oregon State University or another institution, it is important to plan your program of study with an academic advisor.
My college or university does not offer some of the prerequisite courses. For example, it only offers one physiology class and OSU requires a full year of physiology.
We encourage students in this situation to consult with one of our academic advisors. There may be alternative coursework that could help fulfill the prerequisites. Email email@example.com and one of our advisors will respond promptly.
I took the prerequisites outside the United States. Will they count?
Courses completed outside the U.S. may or may not fulfill OSU’s Pharm.D. prerequisites. The answer varies depending on the course content, the date completed, and the country in which the course was taken. It is extremely rare for foreign credits to fulfill all the Pharm.D. prerequisites, and it is strongly recommended that applicants in this situation plan to complete the upper-division prerequisites (organic chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology) at a U.S. university.
For specific information about foreign credits for Pharm.D. prerequisites, applicants can submit a request for transcript evaluation.
How can I find out if the courses I've taken fulfill the prerequisites?
We encourage prospective students to submit a request for a transcript evaluation to determine how your coursework applies to the Pharm.D. prerequisites.
Instructions for requesting a transcript evaluation:
Submit copies of your transcripts via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 541-737-3999 attn: Transcript Evaluation or mail (Transcript Evaluation; 203 Pharmacy Building; Corvallis, OR 97331). Unofficial transcript copies are sufficient for the informal evaluation. Include your full name and e-mail address so results can be communicated to you. Make sure your unofficial transcripts include the name of your college or university, the name and number of each course you took, and the grade you received in each course. It is also helpful if you include a link to your college or university's course catalog.
Allow four to six weeks to receive the results of your evaluation. Results will be sent by e-mail to the address you provided. Transcripts will not be returned.
Do my prerequisite courses expire after a certain amount of time?
As a general rule, upper-division science coursework should be no more than seven years old at the time of application. However, each situation is reviewed on an individual basis. Please contact the College of Pharmacy (541-737-3424) for more information.
Can I take my prerequisite courses pass/no-pass or credit/no-credit?
No, you should take them for a letter grade.
Letters of Recommendation
How many letters of recommendation are required when I apply for admission?
You must submit at least two recommendation letters with your Pharm.D. application. A maximum of four letters will be accepted. Letters must be submitted directly to PharmCAS and received by the application deadline. Visit pharmcas.org for details. Letters submitted directly to OSU will not be accepted.
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
People who know you well and can comment on the qualities that will make you a successful pharmacist. Professors, employers, and practicing pharmacists are good sources of recommendations.
Family members should not write letters of recommendation for you.
Is an interview required for admission?
Yes. Interviews are conducted in both Portland and Corvallis.
Who will interview me?
A combination of faculty members, students, and alumni participates in the interview process.
What should I wear?
Professional attire. Avoid jeans, t-shirts, short skirts, tennis shoes, and so on.
What will they ask me?
You can expect to be asked questions designed to gauge your communication abilities, leadership, integrity, intellectual curiousity, and motivation. You may also be asked to produce a writing sample about a current issue in the field of pharmacy.
Financial Aid and Costs
What scholarships and financial aid are available for students?
The College of Pharmacy awards more than $150,000 in scholarships each year. These scholarships are generally only available to Pharm.D. students after successful completion of the first year. A limited number of scholarships may be available for incoming Pharm.D. students but an application is not necessary or required.
Many Doctor of Pharmacy students receive federal financial aid through Oregon State University. Information on financial aid (grants, loans and scholarships) available through Oregon State University can be found at oregonstate.edu/admin/finaid.
Additional information about financial aid opportunities for pharmacy students is available through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy online.
Visit this part of the College of Pharmacy website for more information about aid available to Doctor of Pharmacy students.
How can I gain Oregon residency?
Information regarding Oregon residency requirements can be obtained from the OSU Office of Admissions at 1-800-291-4192.
Facts about Doctor of Pharmacy Students
How many Doctor of Pharmacy students are Oregon residents?
Approximately 75% to 80% percent are considered Oregon residents for tuition purposes.
What is the gender breakdown in the program?
Recent entering classes have been 35% to 40% male and 60% to 65% female.
What is the average age of students in the program?
The average age of students when they begin the program is 24 to 26. Many begin immediately after their undergraduate studies, but there are also many students who start the program later in their careers.
How do OSU graduates do on the NAPLEX and MPJE exams?
Quite well! Our students consistently perform at or above the national average. Read more about the success of our students here.
Can I transfer into the Pharm.D. program?
The College of Pharmacy will consider applications from students currently enrolled in another Doctor of Pharmacy program who wish to transfer to OSU. Students may only transfer at the beginning of the fall term.
Transfer applicants must submit the following materials to the Office of Student Services by March 1:
- Complete official transcripts of all college coursework (pre-professional, professional, and any other programs of study).
- A formal statement of interest in the OSU College of Pharmacy.
- A letter of support from the dean or chief academic administrator of their current School or College of Pharmacy indicating that the applicant is in good standing and eligible to continue in their current program.
Applications will not be considered from students who are not in good standing or ineligible to continue in their current program.
Applicants’ materials will be reviewed by the Office of Student Services. If an applicant is deemed to be a potentially acceptable candidate, an interview will be scheduled. The Office of Student Services will forward a recommendation regarding admission, and professional year of entry, to the College Admissions Committee for consideration, following completion of the interview and review of the applicant's supporting materials.
Transfer students admitted to the professional program by the Admissions committee will be asked to provide detailed documentation of all coursework and experiences already completed. The Director of Student Services and Executive Associate Dean will consult with course coordinators and recommend an appropriate program of study to the Academic and Professional Standards (APS) Committee. The decision of APS committee regarding required coursework will be communicated to the student prior to matriculation and is final.
Are international students admitted to the Doctor of Pharmacy program?
Yes. Like all students, international applicants to the Pharm.D. program must complete the Pharm.D. prerequisite courses to be eligible for admission. Our admissions committee strongly encourages international applicants to complete some of their prerequisite coursework in the United States.
Will my coursework in another country help me fulfill the Doctor of Pharmacy program prerequisites?
Courses completed outside the U.S. may or may not fulfill OSU’s Pharm.D. prerequisites. The answer varies depending on the course content, the date completed, and the country in which the course was taken. It is extremely rare for foreign credits to fulfill all the Pharm.D. prerequisites, and it is strongly recommended that applicants in this situation plan to complete the upper-division prerequisites (organic chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology) at a U.S. university.
For specific information about international credits for Pharm.D. prerequisites, applicants can submit a request for transcript evaluation.
I have a bachelor of pharmacy degree from another country. Can I apply to the Pharm.D. program?
All applicants to the Pharm.D. program must complete the Pharm.D. prerequisite courses to be eligible for admission. While courses completed in a foreign bachelor of pharmacy program may fulfill some of the Pharm.D. prerequisites, it is extremely uncommon for the previous coursework to fulfill all requirements. It is strongly recommended that applicants in this situation enroll at a U.S. university to complete the upper-division prerequisites (organic chemistry, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry, and anatomy).
How should I handle my international transcripts when applying?
Applicants are instructed not to list individual foreign courses on the PharmCAS application (unless they are credits from a Study Abroad program). Applicants should send transcript evaluation reports (NOT original or copies of their foreign transcripts) to PharmCAS before the application deadline.
An official, translated copy of the transcript will be required by OSU’s Office of Admissions if the applicant is admitted to the Pharm.D. program.
Do I need any immunizations or certifications before beginning the program?
Because student pharmacists work in health care settings, it's especially important that they complete immunizations to protect themselves and their patients. You can read about the College of Pharmacy's immunization requirements in the Pharm.D. Student Handbook. These requirements can generally be completed after you are admitted to the Pharm.D. program.
Do I need health insurance as a student?
Yes. Because they work in health care settings, student pharmacists are exposed to more health risks than a typical university student. Furthermore, many experiential education sites require participants to have health insurance. Therefore, all Doctor of Pharmacy students are required to have high-quality health insurance. Students must either participate in OHSU's student health insurance program or request a waiver. Waivers can be requested by students who already have health insurance (such as a parent or partner's group medical insurance plan) and whose coverage meets specific criteria. Students who anticipate requesting a waiver should carefully review the detailed information and waiver criteria on the OHSU student health insurance program website.