There has never been a better time to consider a career in pharmacy. The demand for trained pharmacy professionals has dramatically increased in recent years due to the rapid growth of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. The number of pharmacists in healthcare services is also increasing as pharmacists become more actively involved in decision-making for drug therapy and more knowledgeable of various insurance payment plans.

Mortar and Pestle

Pharmacists work in a variety of healthcare settings including community pharmacies, hospitals, managed care organizations, professional trade organizations, federal and state governments, and the pharmaceutical industry. 


In 2007, 103 colleges and schools of pharmacy were recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Pharmacy programs grant the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), which requires at least 6 years of post-secondary study and passing the State licensure exam.  The PharmD is a 4-year program that requires at least 2 years of college study prior to admittance. However, the majority of pharmacy students enter these programs with 3 or more years of college.

In 2007, 65 colleges of pharmacy awarded either the master of science degree or the Ph.D. degree. Both of these degrees are awarded after completion of a Pharm.D. degree and are designed for those who want more research and laboratory experience.  Advanced degrees help prepare one to work in research for a drug company or for teaching at a college or university.

Pharmacy graduates who want additional training may also complete a 1- or 2-year residency program or fellowship. Pharmacy residencies are postgraduate training programs in pharmacy practice. Pharmacy fellowships are highly individualized programs which prepare participants for work in research laboratories. Some pharmacists managing their own pharmacy also obtain a master's degree in business administration (MBA).

Cornell Courses and Other Requirements

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist, Cornell can provide excellent preparation for pharmacy programs. Pharmacy program prerequisites often include the following:

  1. Successful undergraduate education as shown by a baccalaureate degree and GPA. Competitive GPA is 3.3 or higher. Many pre-Pharmacy students major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or Chemistry.
  2. Introductory and advanced courses in the sciences including but not limited to: principles of chemistry, organic chemistry, general statistics, biochemistry, biology, human anatomy, exercise physiology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, and cell biology.
  3. Three or more upper level courses are recommended.
  4. PCAT scores.
  5. Pharmacy job shadowing and research experience.

Click here to see a sample Cornell College course timeline.

Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) endorses the PCAT as the official preferred admission test for entrance to pharmacy school.  The PCAT consists of 240 multiple-choice items and two writing topics which must be completed in four hours.

Additional information: 

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

Pharmacy College Admissions Test

Application: Pharmacy College Application Service