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College of Pharmacy

Pharmacy students with faculty member

Pharm.D. Program

Admission Requirements

At the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, we seek students who possess the academic ability to successfully complete the rigorous Pharm.D. coursework as well as the personal characteristics necessary to be a successful practitioner. 

Each application to the Pharm.D. program is carefully evaluated on multiple criteria to identify candidates who are well-rounded and can meet the demands of the profession. 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. If accepted into our program, you must also be able to meet the technical standards of a student pharmacist.

Admission to the Pharm.D. program at South Carolina is based on the following criteria:

In order to apply, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. (The cumulative GPA is calculated from all attempted undergraduate and graduate coursework.)

The pharmacy prerequisite GPA is calculated from the 66 credit hours of pharmacy prerequisite courses required to be completed prior to fall program entry. The highest earned grade for any course attempted multiple times will be used in the GPA calculation.

You are responsible for verifying that you meet the minimum GPA requirements before applying. The application fee will not be refunded if the application requirements are not met.

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.

The prerequisite courses do not need to be completed before submitting your application. The majority of applicants will submit their applications and accompanying materials while completing these courses. 

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 Public speaking and courses containing a lab component must be taken live in a classroom. Online classes will not be accepted. NOTE: Online Public Speaking and lab courses taken during the Spring 2020 through the Spring 2021 semesters will be accepted due to the transition of many classes to a virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

The USC College of Pharmacy will not require the PCAT for admission into the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program for the 2022-2023 application cycle.

Applicants can submit their PCAT scores if they feel that it would strengthen their overall application. Applicants with less than a 3.0 cumulative GPA are strongly encouraged to submit PCAT scores as part of their application.

Please reach out to our Director of Admissions who can assist you with questions and personalized admissions advising.

Pharmacy exposure can be obtained through working, volunteering or shadowing in any pharmacy setting or by interviewing pharmacists. While we do not have a minimum number of required pharmacy exposure hours, the Admissions Committee considers pharmacy exposure an important factor in your evaluation.

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.

The Admissions Committee values well-rounded applicants. Applicants are encouraged to share their participation and leadership roles in extracurricular activities, such as pharmacy or non-pharmacy related organizations, sports, or volunteer work pursued in collegiate or non-collegiate settings. Applicants are encouraged to include involvement in these activities on the PharmCAS application and in their resume or curriculum vitae.

Applicants are encouraged to share any individual honors, awards, scholarships, recognitions or achievements on the PharmCAS Application and to include them on their resume or curriculum vitae.

Applicants are encouraged to share any involvement in research, including independent study participation or faculty-driven research that may or may not have resulted in a publication, poster presentation or platform presentation, on the PharmCAS Application and include research experience on their resume or curriculum vitae.

You must submit three appropriate electronic evaluations (letters of recommendation) through the PharmCAS system. Inappropriate evaluations include those written by family members, friends, family friends or other individuals who cannot speak to the characteristics evaluated by the Admissions Committee.

To be eligible to participate in our Pharm.D. program and sit for the pharmacist licensure exam, you must possess certain cognitive, behavioral and technical skills and abilities. The Technical Standards [pdf] of the College of Pharmacy describe the essential functions you must demonstrate in order to fulfill the requirements of a general pharmacy education, and are thus prerequisites for entrance to, continuation in and graduation from the USC College of Pharmacy.

You must meet or exceed the required aptitude, abilities and skills outlined in our standards. Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems may interfere with completing your didactic studies, delivering or providing patient care or compromising patient safety and may be incompatible with pharmacy training or practice.

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.

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.

Pharm.D. Transfer Admission

Students from an accredited professional pharmacy program requesting to transfer to the USC College of Pharmacy professional Pharm.D. program will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Review the process to request a transfer.



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