General Questions

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. The Pharm.D. 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 students need four years to complete their prerequisite courses. Thus, it usually takes eight years of college study to earn a Pharm.D. and become a pharmacist.

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 Pharm.D. program and the Ph.D. program?

The Doctor of Pharmacy program is for people who want to work as pharmacists. The Ph.D. program is intended for people 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 for more details!

Does OSU have a pharmacy technician training 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. Information about the supplemental application is sent to applicants who complete a PharmCAS 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. Pharm.D. students come from a wide range of undergraduate majors.

Does OSU accept out-of-state students?


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 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

Science GPA is calculated by PharmCAS based on applicants' performance in undergraduate science courses and will not be recalculated by the College of Pharmacy. This minimum GPA requirement is firm.

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).

When can I apply to the program?

Applications for fall 2017 admission will be available on PharmCAS in July 2016.

Can I reapply if I am not admitted?

Yes. There is no a limit on the number of times an applicant can apply to Oregon State'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 600-800 Pharm.D. applications each year.

How many applicants were invited for interviews?

Approximately 150-200 applicants are invited to interview each year. Interview selection is made based on several factors: prerequisite science GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement and the OSU supplemental essay.

How many places are available in the Pharm.D. program each year?

About 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. However, 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. Approximately 99% of students admitted in recent years earned their bachelor’s degree before entering the Pharm.D. program.

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 tentative timeline for the Doctor of Pharmacy admissions process in 2015-2016:

Mid-July 2016

Fall 2017 applications available on PharmCAS.

Sept. 6, 2016

Fall 2017 Early Decision deadline.

Oct. 21, 2016

Early Decision offers of admission reported to applicants and PharmCAS

Nov. 1, 2016

Fall 2017 Priority Consideration application deadline.

Nov. 2016-Mar. 2017

Applications are screened and reviewed. Interviews are conducted throughout this timeframe and offers of admission are made on a rolling basis.

Dec. 15, 2016 - Feb. 15, 2017 Fall Academic Update window open.
January 5, 2017 Final application deadline.

Late Feb./Early March 2017

Final decisions are made and communicated to applicants

April 15, 2017 - June 24, 2017

Spring Academic Update window open.

Mid-September 2017

On-campus orientation for newly admitted Pharm.D. students

Late September 2017

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.

Does OSU use rolling admission?

Yes, we make offers of admission throughout the application cycle. While our final deadline is January 2, applicants should apply earlier to maximize their chances of admission.

Prerequisite Courses

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 prerequisite coursework.

For example, if you are applying for fall 2017 admission, the final application deadline is January 2, 2017. You will need to complete all the prerequisites by June 2017. 

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 Oregon State 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 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, 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 and a filled out copy of this worksheet with your self-assessment of the prerequisites.

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 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 participate 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 usually 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

Additional information about financial aid opportunities for pharmacy students is available through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy online.

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.

Transfer Students

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 February  2:

  • 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.

International Students

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. Contact an advisor for more information.

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.

Health Requirements

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.