What is a Pharmacist?

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. They advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection of dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications. Pharmacists must understand the use; clinical effects; and composition of drugs, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties.

Definition taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
Web Site:

Educational Requirements

The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is a 2+4 program. Students complete 2 years of prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university and then apply for admission to a professional school to complete 4 years of professional coursework that includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical education. Admission to professional schools is competitive and is not guaranteed by the University of Maryland (UM). In 1992 most of the colleges of pharmacy in the United States agreed that the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree would be the recognized professional degree in pharmacy. Since that time, Bachelor's of Science degrees in Pharmacy have been eliminated.

Students also have the option of completing these courses in 3 years (3+4) or as part of their Bachelors Degree (4+4). All pre-requisite courses do not have to be completed prior to applying to Pharmacy school, nevertheless, completing the vast majority of these course provides a solid foundation for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). Once a student has completed the majority of their pre-requisites, they will then apply for admission through the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS).

Some prerequisite courses usually required by most professional phase Pharm.D. programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Inorganic and Organic Chemistry General Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus
  • Public Speaking Humanities Courses Statistics
  • Physics
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology Microbiology
  • English Composition
  • Ethics or Philosophy
  • Behavioral & Social Science Courses Economics

PDF Download of General Pre-Requisites

Students are encouraged to research Pharmacy programs to which they want to apply in order to obtain the most accurate list of pre-requisite courses. 

Pharmacy Experience

It is important to gain exposure to the field of Pharmacy prior to committing to this profession.  One of the best ways of doing so is becoming a Pharmacy Technician.  In order to do so, you will need to obtain a certification.  The following website will give you more information on certification exam and requirements.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board 

Professional School Programs and Colleges of Pharmacy

To search for pharmacy programs nationally utilize this rescourse from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy:

Additonal Regional Schools: 

University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, VA

Association and Contact Information for Pharmacy

Utilize the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy for specific information about individual Pharm.D. program prerequisites.

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American College of Clinical Pharmacy

Pharmacy Prerequisites for University of Maryalnd School of Pharmacy

Pharmacy prerequisites for the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Pharmacy
20 N. Pine St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201

NOTE: Pre-Pharmacy is not a degree-granting program at University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). The prerequisites listed on the UMB School of Pharmacy website are required prior to matriculation in the professional curriculum for UM School of Pharmacy. Admission to professional schools is competitive and is not guaranteed by UMCP.

NOTE: Admission requirements vary depending upon the institution and pre-requisites are subject to change. Contact programs for most current requirements.

CreditsSubject AreaUMCP Course Equivalence
3English Composition and Literature (3 cr. Composition)ENGL 101
3-4Calculus (see note before)MATH 220 OR MATH 140
3StatisticsChoose one course from the following: STAT 100, PSYC 200, BMGT 230, BIOM 301, BIOM 401, or EDMS 451.
4General Biology w/LabBSCI 170/171 (formerly BSCI 105)
4Microbiology w/LabBSCI 223 (prerequisite is BSCI 170/171 - formerly BSCI 105)
6Human Anatomy and PhysiologyBSCI 201 and BSCI 202 (prerequisite is BSCI 105)
8Inorganic Chemistry I & II w/LabsCHEM 271/272
8Organic Chemistry I & II w/LabsCHEM231/232 and CHEM 241/242
8Physics I & II w/LabsChoose ONE of the sequences listed: PHYS 121 and PHYS 122 OR PHYS 141 and PHYS 142
18Humanities and Social Sciences (Maryland is now requiring that two of the six courses that you take to fulfull this 18 credits of humanitites and social sciences be two of the following courses: COMM 107: Public Speaking ECON 200 or ECON 201: Micro or Macro EconomicsSelect courses from the following disciplines: Afro-American Studies, American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Fine Arts (no studio courses), Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Jewish Studies, Literature, Philosophy, Political Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Speech, Women's Studies

65 credits minimum

Note: Admission requirements vary, depending upon the institution and pre-requisites are subject to change! Contact programs for must current requirements/pre-requisites and/or research school requirements on PharmCAS. 

Web Site Resources

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Pharmacists

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Pharmacists

The US Department of Labor handbook on working conditions, employment, training, qualifications and advancement, job outlook, earnings, and related occupations.