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Pre-Pharmacy Coursework

Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing and dispensing drugs. It is a health profession that links health sciences with chemical sciences and aims to ensure the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs.

SMSU provides the required pre-professional coursework for students who intend to enroll in a Pharm.D. program. You are not required to have a bachelor's degree to start a Pharm.D. program. However, applicants with a BS or BA are given preference, and the vast majority of admitted students have a bachelor's degree. Undergraduate students do not have to major in one of the sciences. However, much of the pre-professional coursework is science focused and so most students major in one of the science areas. We encourage students to pursue a major that they find interesting so they will be successful.

In addition to academic course work, students must take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). The PCAT measures general ability and comprehension of scientific information through five subtests covering biological processes, chemical processes, critical reading, quantitative reasoning, and writing. More information regarding the PCAT can be found at

Acceptance to pharmacy school is highly competitive. High GPA, high PCAT scores, an impressive personal statement, and good recommendations are critical. Good applicants also have research experience, have experience through job shadowing or work as a pharmacy technician, and participate in university/community service.

Science Department Office

SM 178
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258

Course Guidelines

Due to variation in each school’s curriculum, the following is merely a guideline of typical requirements. To determine the exact requirements for each program, the student should work with their academic advisor to review each school to which he/she is applying.

Typical Course Requirements
SMSU Course Number Pre-Requisite courses for Program Semester Credit Hours
Biol 200 Introduction to cellular biology with lab 4
Biol 303 Microbiology with Lab 5
Biol 305/306 Anatomy and Physiology I and II with Lab 8
Biol XXX At least one additional upper level biology course.
Genetics, Immunology, or Biochemistry are recommended
Chem 231/232 General Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Chem 351/352 Organic Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Phys 141/142 College Physics I and II 8
Math 140 or 150 Calculus a short course OR Calculus I 3 or 5
Math 200 Statistics 3
Eng 151 Academic Writing 4
Eng 251 Writing in the Professions 3
Spch 110 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 3
Behavioral or Social sciences Minimum of two courses from Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, economics, political science, or history 6+


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

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  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

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Last Modified: 8/21/23 5:09 PM | Website Feedback