Loyola University Maryland

Pre-Health Program


image divider

The United States has more than 100 schools of pharmacy. A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree generally requires 6 years of post-secondary study and the successful completion of a licensed examination. Those who wish to continue their pharmaceutical studies may complete a master's or doctorate degree following the completion of their Pharm.D degree.

Most pharmacy school applicants have completed 3 years of college, although only 2 are required. Prior to applying, you will need to do the following: take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), obtain strong letters of recommendation, write your personal essay and submit your primary application through the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS).

Most students also interview with Loyola’s Pre-Health Committee, which drafts a committee letter to include with the student's application. Some schools will request a secondary application or an interview before making a final decision.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Prerequisite courses vary for each school of pharmacy, so check with the school(s) to which you plan to apply for their specific requirements.

Admission Examination (PCAT)

Approximately 70 percent of pharmacy schools require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). It is offered four times each year. Please check the PCAT Web site for specific dates. The exam should be taken the year before beginning pharmacy school.

Letters of Recommendation

Pharmacy schools often require 1 - 3 letters of recommendation. Loyola has a Pre-Health Committee, which submits one committee letter based off individual letters from faculty members, pharmacists you have worked with, or organizations where you have done volunteer or part-time work. It is important to provide the Committee with recommendations from both science and non-science professors who can address your ability to read, write, support your ideas, logically draw conclusions and organize your work.

The Application

Approximately half of pharmacy schools use a central application service, called the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS). This service does not make admission decisions. Their only responsibility is to process, duplicate and send your application, admission test scores and transcripts to the schools to which you apply.

The application must be completed the year prior to beginning pharmacy school. You must provide your demographic information, submit transcripts, pay the fee, write a personal statement and choose the pharmacy schools to which you want to apply.

Volunteer or Part-Time Work

It is recommended that you strengthen your application by listing any volunteer or part-time work. Some ideas are to observe a pharmacist; volunteer at a pharmacy or hospital; participate in a community activity such as Habitat for Humanity or serve as a committee member on a local club or student organization. Participating in research during the summer is also great exposure and can help you gain valuable experience.


Some pharmacy schools interview applicants. Characteristics that interviewers most commonly assess are evidence of extracurricular activities; communication skills; empathy and concern for others; social awareness and self-awareness; and judgment and problem-solving abilities. View information about how to prepare for the interview.