Pre-Pharmacy

Cornell College students interested in pursuing pharmacy careers are considered a part of the Pre-Pharmacy program. Pre-Pharmacy is coordinated by the Dimensions Program for Health Professions.

The Dimensions Guide to Pre-Pharmacy includes information on pharmacy school prerequisites, a sample course timeline, and other tips and resources helping you navigate your pre-pharmacy career at Cornell College.

The Co-Curricular Activity Journal is a resource aiding students in reflection and meaning making throughout their experiences leading to a healthcare career. The Dimensions Co-Curricular Activity Journal helps students keep an active record of co-curricular activities contributing to a strong application to Pharmacy school.

What is a Pharmacist?

Pharmacists dispense prescription medication to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may provide advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle, conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, and oversee the medications given to patients (Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015). 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.

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. 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). Pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree and pass board examinations in order to practice as a licensed Pharmacist. Pharmacy Technicians also work in the pharmaceutical field.

Preparing for Pharmacy School at Cornell College

After receiving a degree from Cornell, students enter a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) program. Depending on your interests, you can seek additional board certifications in the pharmaceutical field. (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.)

Choosing a Major

Most Pre-Pharmacy students at Cornell College major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) or Chemistry

Prerequisite Coursework

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist, Cornell can provide excellent preparation for pharmacy programs. Pharmacy program prerequisites often include successful undergraduate education as shown by a baccalaureate degree and GPA (competitive GPA is 3.3 or higher), 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 - three or more upper level courses are recommended), PCAT scores, pharmacy job shadowing,  and research experience. 

Admissions Examination

Pharmacy College Admission 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.

Application Process

Students applying to pharmacy school nationwide utilize the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)

Dimensions is your primary source for information when you reach the planning stage of your pharmacy application. Cornell students are expected to utilize the Health Professions Committee before the start of their intended application cycle.     

Additional Resources 

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 
ExploreHealthCareers.org