What is the doctor of pharmacy?

The doctor of pharmacy, or Pharm.D., is the professional degree for pharmacists similar to the M.D. for physicians or D.D.S. for dentists. Earning a Pharm.D. and successfully passing a licensure exam make you eligible to practice as a pharmacist.

What is the difference between a Pharm.D. and a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences?

The Ph.D. program is designed for those interested in a research career in academia or industry. It is not a degree for someone who wants to treat patients. The Pharm.D. program is for practicing pharmacists although some people with Pharm.D.’s choose careers in clinical research.

How long does it take to complete the Pharm.D. program?

Four years. Prerequisite coursework can be completed in two to three years.

Is there an accelerated or bridge program for people with a related degree?


Do you offer a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences?

The School does not offer a standalone bachelor’s degree program.

What is the grade point average of admitted students?

The average GPA of admitted students is 3.5 (on a 4.00 scale). The lowest GPA we will consider is a 2.5.

Do you accept out-of-state students into your program?

Yes, approximately 40 to 50 percent of each entering class is from out of state.

How many students apply to the Pharm.D. program? How many are accepted?

We receive between 400-600 applications each year. We accept between 150-160 students into the program for each entering class.

Does the School offer printed applications or a paper-based application process?

No, all applications must be made online through PharmCAS and the School’s supplemental application.

Can I request a brochure, catalog, or other printed piece describing the School?

The School does not print viewbooks or similar publications.

May I make an appointment to speak with someone from the admissions office?

Due to staffing limitations, we cannot offer appointments for individuals. Consider attending one of our Pharmacy Fridays or Open Houses. You may also contact us at pharmacy_admissions@unc.edu or on Facebook.

What factors are considered in a student’s admission to the Pharm.D. program?

Each applicant is considered as a whole, including factors such as:

  • Academic performance, PCAT exam scores, extracurricular activities, community service, leadership experiences, work experiences/shadowing, and your personal statement.
  • Prior pharmacy or health-care experience is not required, but it is highly recommended. We also prefer that you have experience in undergraduate or professional research or in other forms of scientific inquiry or innovation.

The School considers all written information you submit as part of your application.

Do I have to have worked in a pharmacy to be accepted to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?

No. Applicants who have substantial pharmacy or health-care experience typically fare better during the interview sessions because they know more about the profession. If you do not have any pharmacy experience, consider volunteering, shadowing a pharmacist, or speaking extensively with a variety of health-care providers before your interview session.

Do you have a satellite campus?

We have one satellite campus in Asheville.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy offers one Pharm.D. program, and students have the option of completing the program on the Chapel Hill or Asheville campus.

  • Admission criteria and curricular requirements are the same for students on both campuses.
  • All students pay the same amount in tuition and fees. Chapel Hill­– and Asheville-based students pay all of their tuition and fees to UNC-Chapel Hill. Financial aid comes from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Some students prefer the vibrant downtown community of Asheville, the western North Carolina location in the Blue Ridge Mountains with its many outdoor activities and/or smaller class size that Asheville students experience (25 to 30 students versus 125 to 130 students at Chapel Hill).

The Pharm.D. program at Asheville is the only program in the nation to offer a Rural Health Certificate Program.

Asheville is the home of an award winning, internationally recognized model for providing disease management for patients with chronic illnesses.

Can you complete the program online or part-time?

No, all students must complete the program in person either at the Chapel Hill or Asheville campus, and all students must be fully enrolled in the program.

Do you offer a non-traditional or accelerated program for practicing pharmacists?

No, we only offer the traditional 4-year program.

Can I transfer into the PharmD program from another pharmacy school?

No, all students must apply as an entry-level applicant and complete all 4 years i our program. We do not accept the transfer of pharmacy courses or credit from other PharmD programs.

Do you have an assured admissions program?

Yes, we offer assured admissions through the Excel@Carolina Program.

Does it matter at what school I take my prerequisite coursework?

Prerequisites can be taken at any accredited university or college in the United States or Canada. We do consider the rigor of the institution where the courses were completed, along with the number of courses taken at the same time. Check our prerequisite course evaluation tab to make sure that you are taking the correct courses.

Does it matter what size academic load I carry during my prepharmacy coursework?

We recommend that applicants carry a full academic load (15 or 16 credit hours) per semester and suggest taking a minimum of three science courses each term. This gives you a chance to preview what is in store for you in pharmacy school, which is a full course load that cannot be taken part time. At the same time, this gives us a better opportunity to evaluate your chances of success in pharmacy school.

If I have credit from a foreign college or university, how can I have this coursework evaluated?

“Have your foreign coursework evaluated by World Education Service. PharmCAS only accepts foreign evaluations from World Education Services for the 2017-18 application cycle. Please request a course-by-course transcript evaluation. You can request a WES evaluation directly through the PharmCAS application.”

What if I have a D or F in a math or science prerequisite course?

Grades below C minus are not acceptable, and you should repeat the course with a goal of achieving at least a B.

Must I complete all required prerequisite courses before I apply?

No, but you must complete all math and science prerequisites before you can enroll at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. All math and science courses and general education courses should be complete by the spring semester before enrolling (in other words, not in summer school).

If I take courses after submitting my application, how will the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy know it?

Update your PharmCAS application during the Academic Update period. The information will then be forwarded to us.

If I already have a baccalaureate degree, do I need to fulfill the general-education prerequisites?

No. Just make sure you completed the math and science prerequisites with a grade of C minus or better.

Does UNC accept my AP, IB, or CLEP scores for prerequisites?

Yes, for some courses. Check Test and Placement Credit to see what scores UNC-Chapel Hill will accept.

My school does not have anatomy and physiology together in a one-semester course. Instead they are divided into a two semester anatomy and physiology course sequence or between areas of the body. Which courses should I take?

Take both courses. The course content should cover all areas/systems of the body.

Will a vertebrate anatomy course meet the human anatomy and physiology requirement?

No, you must take human anatomy and physiology with lab to meet the requirement.

I have already completed physiology with lab. Will that satisfy the anatomy and physiology requirement?

A physiology course with lab will not fulfill the anatomy and physiology prerequisite. You must take a human anatomy and physiology course with lab, OR, if you have already taken a physiology course with lab, you may take an anatomy course to fulfill the anatomy and physiology prerequisite. If you have taken an anatomy course with lab, you may take a physiology course to fulfill the anatomy and physiology prerequisite. Check the UNC transfer course equivalencies website for information on specific courses.

Can I take a calculus course other than an equivalent of Math 231 or 241 in order to fulfill the calculus prerequisite?

No. We can only accept a course that is equivalent to Math 231 or 241.

Do courses other than the equivalents to Statistics 151 or 155 fulfill the statistics prerequisite?

Any pure statistics class may be used, including statistics for the behavioral sciences. You cannot use a course other than a statistics course even if it has a strong statistics component.

My institution does not offer lab sections for some of the lower-level science courses. What should I do?

Lab sections are required for courses with a lab on our prerequisite list so you will have to find somewhere to take them. You may want to consider a community or technical college.

Should the physics prerequisite be algebra based or calculus based?

We prefer calculus based. If you have already taken an algebra based sequence, or if that is the sequence required for your major, you don’t need to retake the sequence as calculus based.

Can I complete my prerequisite classes online?

All prerequisite classes can be completed online except Biology 252, Microbiology 251 or 255, and all science labs sections.

Which biochemistry course (Chemistry 430) should I take?

The biochemistry course should be an introduction to fundamental principles of biochemistry. Emphasized topics should include the structures and functions of major classes of biological macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids), the chemical nature of essential cellular processes (metabolism, bioenergetics, and biochemical genetics), the primary catabolic pathways of carbohydrates (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and the Krebs cycle), and enzyme catalysis and basic kinetics. Two semesters of organic chemistry should be a prerequisite for the course.

Is the Pharmacy College Admission Test required for admission to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy PharmD program?


When should I take the PCAT?

Take the PCAT in the summer or fall of the year you apply. The latest date you can take the exam for the first time and be considered for admission is November of the year you apply.

I took the PCAT for the first time in September. Can I apply to the Pharm.D. program even though you may not receive my PCAT scores before the December 1st application deadline?

Yes.  If you are applying by December 1, 2017 for fall 2018 entry, you may still apply to the Pharm.D. program if you take the PCAT in September. We have accounted for this in our admissions schedule.  Everything else in your PharmCAS application must be complete and submitted by the December 1st deadline in order for us to accept your application.

What is the minimum acceptable PCAT score?

Applicants should strive to achieve a composite percentile rank above 70 percent and subscores above 50 percent on each section.

The average PCAT composite percentile rank score of students admitted in the past few years has been 85 to 88 percent. Many students with PCAT scores above and below have been admitted.

How long are my PCAT scores good?

We prefer scores no older than three years and will not consider scores older than five.

How many times may I take the PCAT?

Five times is the max.

How should I prepare for the PCAT?

You can download a practice test and study guide as well as an information booklet from pcatweb.info.

Commercial preparatory books are also available through most university bookstores. If you have a previously identified weakness in one or more of the five test areas (reading comprehension, verbal ability, chemistry, biology, and mathematics), you should concentrate on improving your skills before taking the test.

Kerr Hall

What are the health requirements for Pharm.D. students?

You can find our health requirements here. 

Why must Pharm.D. students have the extra vaccinations?

Pharmacy students are health-care workers and must be immunized to protect them from communicable diseases. No students will be allowed to begin classes in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy unless they provide verification that they meet the vaccination and immunity requirements of our program.

Do I have to have a college degree to apply to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC?

No. You may enter our program after successfully completing both the general education and math & science prerequisite courses.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you are not required to complete the general education prerequisites. You are only required to successfully complete the math & science prerequisite courses.

Do most applicants have a degree?

Yes, approximately 80-90 percent of students admitted over the past few years held a four-year degree.

When do I apply to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?

The first step, the PharmCAS application, will be available in mid-July 2017. PharmCAS requires four to six weeks to verify an application before it is forwarded to individual schools of pharmacy.

  • The application deadline for entry in fall 2017 is December 1, 2017.
  • Submit your application as soon as possible to ensure earlier review by the Admissions Committee. We encourage you to apply by October 1

The second step, the supplemental application, will be available in mid-July 2017. After you have completed step 1 (submitting your PharmCAS application), PharmCAS will process and verify your application. When PharmCAS completes the verification and releases your application to the School, you will receive an email within one week with instructions to begin your online supplemental application for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. You must submit both the PharmCAS application and the supplemental application to be considered for admission. You will have until January 15, 2018 to complete your supplemental application.

PharmCAS applications submitted after December 1, 2017, will not be accepted. There are no exceptions.

How will I know that my application has been received and is complete?

  • PharmCAS application: Log in to your PharmCAS application and check the Status menu option.
  • Supplemental application: You will receive a confirmation email after submitting payment for your supplemental application, which will serve as confirmation that your application was received.

Do I have to apply to Undergraduate Admissions as well as the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?

No. All applicants first submit an application through PharmCAS and then a supplemental application through the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

When will I be notified of acceptance?

After your application is complete and you have been interviewed, the Admissions Committee makes its decision. Admission decisions cannot be made without PCAT scores. All offers are conditional based on completion of your remaining prerequisite science and math courses with scores of C minus or better. You must also provide the required health documentation. Applicants are usually notified of our admissions decision no later than mid-March.

If admitted, can I defer my admission?

No, we do not allow students to defer their admission. If you do not enroll in the program you may re-apply in the future.

Is there a maximum number of times I can apply to the PharmD program?

Students can apply a maximum of 3 times.

Is an interview required for admission into the pharmacy program?

Yes, interviews are scheduled November through February and are a very important part of the admission process. Students seeking admission to the Asheville campus will interview there and students seeking admission to the Chapel Hill campus will interview there. Applicants who submit their application earlier will increase their chance of being invited for an interview earlier in the admission process.

What form will the interview take?

Each candidate will participate in a multiple mini-interview (MMI) session.

The MMI is a series of seven interview stations consisting of timed (eight-minute) interview scenarios. Applicants rotate through the stations, each with its own interviewer and scenario, over the course of an hour. The MMI does not test knowledge but will assess characteristics and attributes which the Admissions Committee feel are important for success as a pharmacist.

How should I dress for the interview?

Professional attire is recommended.

Do you offer Skype, online or phone interviews?

No, all students must interview in person on campus.

Should I submit letters of recommendation to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy when I apply?

No. The School does not accept separate letters of recommendation. You will, however, submit two statements of recommendation using PharmCAS, which the Admissions Committee will review.

Who would be the best person to ask for a recommendation?

The best person to write a statement of recommendation for you is someone who knows you very well and can comment on the characteristics that will make you a good pharmacist.

  • Academic professors, research lab supervisors, and employers (especially as it relates to pharmacy) are an excellent source of recommendations.
  • Political figures and alumni will not impress the Admissions Committee unless they know you well.
  • We do not accept recommendations from family members or students currently in the Pharm.D. program.

If I submit more than the maximum number of letters of recommendation for my Pharm.D. application, will all of them be reviewed?

No. The maximum number of references PharmCAS will accept is four. Do not submit additional letters of recommendation directly to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. We only require two letters of recommendation but if you submit four through PharmCAS we will read them all.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, through both the School and UNC-Chapel Hill.

What financial aid is available through UNC-Chapel Hill?

Visit the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid for full details and links to financial aid resources.

What financial assistance can the School provide?

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy offers approximately $860,000 in competitive awards each year for students. Students are eligible for these awards once they complete their first year in the Pharm.D. program.

How do I apply for financial aid?

All students apply for financial aid through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. The priority deadline is March 1 of each year and you may apply for financial aid prior to receiving your admission decision. Information can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Does the campus I attend matter when applying for financial aid?

All financial aid for students on all campuses originates from UNC-Chapel Hill. Students should designate UNC Chapel Hill as the institution they are attending when completing FAFSA, not UNC Asheville. Requesting aid through UNC-Asheville won’t work and will slow or disqualify you from aid at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Can international students qualify for financial aid?

Students who hold a United States Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 or a green card, as it is also known) can be considered for need-based federal and institutional funds.

All other international students are required by law to certify at the time of admission that they can pay for their education.

When is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

Financial aid applications are available beginning in October and you do not have to wait to be admitted to apply for financial aid. The recommended deadline to apply for financial aid is March 1.

Will I complete my pharmacy practice experiences (clerkships) in the Chapel Hill area?

All students will be placed in one of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) across the stalina for eleven months of professional experience also known as experiential education. Although you will have some input into this process, most students must leave the Chapel Hill area for the entire last year of study.

Where will I complete my pharmacy practice experiences (clerkships)?

Based on preceptor and site availability, PharmD students can be placed across the state of North Carolina for pharmacy practice experiences – both early immersion and advanced practice experiences. AHEC housing may be an option for students who are placed away from their home campus for pharmacy practice experiences.”

Is a laptop computer required in the Pharm.D. program?

Yes, a laptop is required for the program. You can find hardware and software specifications here.

Should I work while I am in the Pharm.D. program?

We recommend that students do not work for the first year while adjusting to our program. If you must, try to work no more than ten to fifteen hours a week. Our curriculum is very challenging, and you will be taking at least two classes with labs every semester.

How do I establish North Carolina residency for tuition purposes?

The UNC registrar’s office offers information on establishing residency and is responsible for classifying students as residents or nonresidents.

Are drug tests and background checks required upon admission?

Yes, all students are required to complete a drug test and background check using Certiphi, which is PharmCAS’ preferred vendor.

How do I contact the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy regarding questions about admission into the PharmD program?