Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

Read about Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) programs, which can prepare you to become a licensed pharmacist. Learn about program requirements and prerequisites, course topics and licensing criteria here. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) Programs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) from an accredited program is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a licensed, professional pharmacist ( The programs typically take four years to complete and include coursework in chemistry, medical ethics and pharmacology, as well as supervised practical experiences in clinical or retail settings.

If you are interested in a career as a clinical pharmacist or researcher, you'll also have to participate in a residency, which requires an additional 1-2-year commitment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were at least 125 public and private not-for-profit schools in the United States that offered pharmacy programs leading to advanced degrees as of 2016.

Program OverviewTakes 4 years to complete; clinical practical experience required; can become a clinical pharmacist or researcher with an additional 1- to 2-year residency
PrerequisitesPCAT scores; bachelor's degree and/or undergraduate coursework in chemistry, anatomy, biology and calculus; health insurance, proof of immunization and background check
Course TopicsMedicinal chemistry, biopharmaceutical science, clinical pharmacology, toxic drug interactions, infectious diseases
Licensing RequirementsState license required, which requires passage of exams and completion of a Pharm. D. program
Median Salary (2018)$126,120* (for pharmacists)
Job Outlook (2016-26)6%* (for all pharmacists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

Admission requirements for a Doctor of Pharmacy program typically include a criminal background check and proof of immunization. Individual schools might also require health insurance. Although a bachelor's degree is not always a required prerequisite, schools offering Pharm.D. programs may give preference to applicants who have an undergraduate degree. Prerequisites also include significant undergraduate coursework in general and organic chemistry, anatomy, biology and calculus. You may also have to take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Course Topics

A typical Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum includes courses in biopharmaceutical science, clinical pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and pharmacy practices. Medical ethics and the relationship between health systems and patient care may also be covered. In particular, you'll learn about drug dosages and delivery, as well as how medications are absorbed and eliminated. You'll also find out how to recognize toxic drug interactions.

Some programs offer specific courses in chemotherapy, infectious diseases, immunology and non-prescription drugs. You may also have the opportunity to study disease management in relationship to cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology and neurology.

In addition to coursework, you'll have to participate in a number of pharmacy practical experiences. These may take place at ambulatory, critical or long-term care facilities, hospitals or retail pharmacies, among other settings.

Licensing Requirements

All pharmacists must have a state license, and requirements include successful completion of a Pharm. D. program. You'll also have to pass two exams, which will test your knowledge of medications, pharmacy procedures and state pharmacy laws.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Xavier University of Louisiana

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: New Orleans
  • Wingate University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Wingate
  • Western University of Health Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Pomona
  • West Virginia University

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Morgantown
  • University of Toledo

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Toledo
  • University of the Sciences

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • University of the Pacific

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stockton
  • University of the Incarnate Word

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: San Antonio
  • University of Saint Joseph

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: West Hartford
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Chapel Hill