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Pre-pharmacy is the course of study you take to prepare for admission to pharmacy school. Pharmacists dispense medications prescribed by physicians as well as educate physicians and the public about proper drug usage. Not a major, per se, pre-pharmacy is rather a guiding principle for your education designed to increase your chances for admission to pharmacy school. If you are interested in applying to pharmacy school, meet with your pre-pharmacy advisor early in your freshman year.


While biology remains a popular pre-pharmacy major (because it allows you to easily fill pharmacy school prerequisites), you do not have to major in biology to gain acceptance to pharmacy school. Understanding that pharmacists need a broad understanding of science, business, and communication, pharmacy schools look for students with diverse educational experiences. Pharmacy schools do, however, require certain courses for admission. You will need at least one year of general biology with labs, one year of organic chemistry with labs, one year of inorganic chemistry with labs, one year of general physics with labs, one quarter of statistics, one quarter microbiology, and calculus. Be sure and check with the pharmacy school you want to attend to find out their individual requirements for admission.


If you major in biology, here are some ideas of what you can do besides attend pharmacy school:

Most individuals use an undergraduate degree in biology for a background to further their education for health careers in medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, dentistry, and optometry, to name a few. A bachelor's degree in biology with a teaching certification qualifies you to teach at the middle school and high school levels. Many undergraduates are employed as lab technicians for hospitals, medical schools, and pharmaceutical companies. At the local, state, and federal levels, governments hire biology majors for positions with the forest service, fish and wildlife divisions, and the Bureau of Land Management. In addition, private industries employ biology majors to monitor environment concerns, such as factory locations and waste disposal.

For students who go on to pursue a Pharm.D., there is sweeping demand for qualified pharmacists in the retail sector, manufacturing, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and more.

Reeves, D./Bradbury, M., MAJORS EXPLORATION: A Search and Find Guide for College & Career Direction, c. 1999

Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.


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Don Munce