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Admissions FAQ


General Information

What is the doctor of pharmacy?

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

What is the difference between a PharmD and a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences?

The PhD 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 PharmD program is for practicing pharmacists although some people with PharmD’s choose careers in clinical research.

How long does it take to complete the PharmD program?

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

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

No.

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).

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

Yes, approximately 30 to 35 percent of each entering class is from out of state.

How many students apply to the PharmD program? How many are accepted?

We received 749 applications last year. We accepted 162 students into the program for the class entering fall 2014.

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 PharmD program?

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

  • academic performance, PCAT exam scores, extracurricular activities, work experience, 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 supplemental 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 PharmD 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 all 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 may prefer the location, smaller class size at Asheville (25 to 30 students versus 135 to 140 students at Chapel Hill), or the atmosphere of a smaller campus.

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.


Prerequisite Courses

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 page 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 an approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Service. We prefer World Education Service.

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 http://www.admissions.unc.edu/Academics/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.

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, you may take anatomy with lab 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?

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.


PCAT/Admissions Testing

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

Yes.

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 PharmD program for that fall even though you may not receive my PCAT scores before the application deadline?

Yes, you may still apply to the PharmD program if you take the PCAT in September. We have accounted for this in our admissions schedule. Everything else in your Phase I and Phase II application must be complete and submitted by the 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 87 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 www.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.


Health Requirements

What are the health requirements for PharmD students?

You can find our health requirements here. 

Why must PharmD 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.

When do I need to get the Hepatitis B vaccination?

This is a three-injection series that takes six months to complete. You must start this series before you receive an admissions decision from the School. All students must have completed this series and Hep B titer by July 15th.


Applying

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 completing the prerequisite courses. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you are not required to complete the general education prerequisites although you will still have to complete any missing science or math courses.

Do most applicants have a degree?

Yes, approximately 80 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 2014. PharmCAS requires four to six weeks to verify an application before it is forwarded to individual schools of pharmacy. Applications submitted by October 1, 2014, will be guaranteed early consideration during the review process.

  • The application deadline for entry in fall 2015 is December 1, 2014.
  • Submit your application as soon as possible to ensure earlier review by the Admissions Committee.

Step two, the supplemental application, will be available in mid-July 2014. Within one week of submitting your PharmCAS application, you will receive an email with instructions to begin your supplemental application. You must complete and submit your PharmCAS application in order to access the supplemental application. You must submit both the PharmCAS application and the supplemental application to be considered for admission.

Applications submitted after December 1, 2014, 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. Also, you may log into your supplemental application account to view the status of your application. 

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.


Admissions Interviews

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. 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 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 dress is recommended.


Letters of Recommendation

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 PharmD program.

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

No. The maximum number of references PharmCAS will accept is three. Do not submit additional letters of recommendation directly to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.


Financial Aid

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 Scholarship 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 $330,000 in competitive awards each year for students. Students are eligible for these awards once they complete their first year in the PharmD 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. Students should designate UNC Chapel Hill as the institution they are attending when completing FAFSA, not UNC Asheville. Requesting aid through those schools won’t work and will slow or disqualify you for an aid package 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.


Miscellaneous and Contact Information

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 state of North Carolina for eleven months of professional experience. Although you will have some input into this process, most students must leave the Chapel Hill area for the entire last year of study.

Is a laptop computer required in the PharmD program?

No. However, we anticipate having such a requirement in the near future. We recommend all students have access to a personal computer with high-speed Internet access. UNC-Chapel Hill offers laptops, software, and service through the Carolina Computing Initiative.

Should I work while I am in the PharmD 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.

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

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