Application Requirements

Application Requirements

    Please note: the fall 2016 admission requirements have been changed. We no longer require the following pre-pharmacy courses: upper division molecular biology, physics, microeconomics, statistics, psychology or sociology. These courses are now recommended, but not mandatory. See below for details.

    We will begin to update our Course Equivalencies pages later this spring, removing the recommended courses. Please keep in mind that these courses are still recommended, and they will better prepare you for our PharmD program.

    Eligibility requirements

    • Bachelor’s degree completed prior to entrance in the USC PharmD program.
    • Minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in all college work and pre-pharmacy requirements at an accredited two- or four-year college or university—with all pre-pharmacy required courses preferably taken at four-year institutions. Pre-pharmacy courses from vocational or technical schools are not accepted. (See the list of pre-pharmacy course requirements below.)
    • All pre-pharmacy required courses completed with grades of C or higher. Grades of Pass/No Pass or credit will not be accepted (unless a course is offered only on a Pass/No Pass basis). Distance learning or online coursework is not acceptable for prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry and physics.
    • All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed by the end of the spring term of your entering year. Pre-pharmacy requirements in the following areas must be repeated if they are nine years or older at the time the application is submitted: human physiology, microbiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry (full year). It is recommended that these courses be taken at a four-year college/university.
    • Check the Course Equivalencies list to determine if your coursework satisfies the School’s prerequisites. For colleges and universities not listed, you may copy and paste the course description and email the admission office with any questions about whether specific courses you have taken meet the equivalency requirements.
    • Holders of foreign visas are not eligible for the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree program.

    Background/Drug Checks
    The USC School of Pharmacy does not require a background check or drug testing for admission to the PharmD program. However, many of the clinical facilities affiliated with USC require background checks and/or drug testing and/or urine tests for student placement at their sites. In addition, the California Board of Pharmacy requires all admitted students to be fingerprinted for criminal background checks for licensure. Students must hold a license from the Board of Pharmacy to participate in the clinical portions of the PharmD Program.

    Required Pre-pharmacy Course List

    The following prerequisites may be completed as an undergraduate student at any university or two-year community college prior to enrollment in the PharmD program. It is recommended that you take the physiology and microbiology prerequisites at a four-year university or college.

    All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed by the end of the spring term of your entering year.

    The following requirements are subject to change:

    Prerequisites Semesters/Quarters
    Calculus 1/2
    General Chemistry w/labs 2/3
    Organic Chemistry w/labs 2/3
    General Biology w/labs 2/3
    Microbiology 1/1
    Human Physiology 1/1
    Biochemistry 1/1
    Additional Prerequisites for Applicants with International Degrees Semesters/Quarters
    English Composition 2/3
    Communication 1/1

    Pre-Pharmacy course descriptions:

    Mathematics and Physical Sciences

    Only courses designed for science majors are accepted. Science courses (chemistry, biology) designed for non-science majors are not acceptable. It is highly recommended that math and science courses be completed during the regular academic year and not during a summer term.

    Calculus: one semester or two quarters. The course should include differential and integral calculus for science majors.

    General Chemistry: a one-year course w/labs for science majors. The courses should include inorganic chemistry and qualitative analysis.

    Organic Chemistry: a one-year course w/labs for science majors. If the school offers less than a one-year course, the student must complete the second semester at another institution.

    Recommended: statistics (non-business) and physics courses that include thermodynamics and electromagnetism.

    Biological Sciences

    General Biology: a one-year course for science majors w/labs (excluding courses in human anatomy, human physiology, botany and microbiology). If the college or university offers less than a one-year course, the student must complete the second semester at another institution.

    Microbiology: one course (fundamentals of microbiology for science majors).

    Please note: Microbiology is offered only in the fall at some institutions.

    Human Physiology: one course for science majors. If taking a combined Anatomy and Physiology for science majors course, the entire series must be completed.

    Biochemistry: one upper-division course for science majors.

    *NEW: Microbiology lab and physiology lab are no longer required.

    Recommended: one upper division course in molecular or cell biology, microeconomics, general psychology or sociology, or cultural anthropology.


    You must send one official transcript from each higher education institution you have attended (and submit updated transcripts after each subsequent term) to PharmCAS.

    If you are offered admission to the USC School of Pharmacy, you must send on official transcript from each higher education institution you have attended (including your most recent spring grades) to the USC Schoool of Pharmacy at this address:

    Office of Admission and Student Affairs
    School of Pharmacy
    University of Southern California
    1985 Zonal Avenue, PSC 206A
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-9121

    *No cover sheet is required. Transcripts should be sent in as soon as you begin your PharmCAS and USC Supplemental applications.

    Resume and Recommendations

    Your résumé and three letters of recommendation are required. One letter must be from a science professor with whom you took a class and/or did research. The remaining two letters may be from professors, advisors, researchers, pharmacists or employers.

    Letters of recommendation must be submitted online as part of the PharmCAS application. Your résumé can be uploaded onto the Supplemental Application. There are no specific form or style requirements.

    International Coursework

    International applicants (holders of foreign visas) are not eligible for the PharmD program.

    Applicants with US permanent resident status and/or naturalized citizenship who complete pre-pharmacy courses and/or hold the equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree from outside the United States are required to:

    • Submit an official evaluation from WES (World Education Services) to PharmCAS.
    • Complete the following courses in the US at an accredited four-year degree-granting college or university: human physiology, biochemistry (upper division) and microbiology.
    • In addition, you must take a one-year college-level English composition course and a communication course in the United States. The communication course may be satisfied by a course in either interpersonal communication or public speaking. Applicants from English-speaking countries are exempt from the English and communication course requirements.
    • Submit original foreign transcripts (with a certified English translation) and a certified comprehensive syllabi with course descriptions for classes to be used to meet pre-pharmacy requirements.

    Advanced Placement Examination

    The School of Pharmacy Admissions Committee will not accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) courses. The School of Pharmacy Office of Admission and Student Affairs may consider advanced placement examination credit to holders of bachelor’s degrees. The School recommends that students apply AP credit to elective credit for their undergraduate programs at their current institutions, as opposed to waiving the pre-pharmacy requirements. However, an AP score of 4 or 5 may be used toward the first quarter or semester of a one-year series of pre-pharmacy courses, such as the first quarter or semester of general biology/physics/chemistry, calculus or English. AP credits may be used to satisfy economics, psychology or statistics. Please submit a copy of all advanced placement scores directly to the Office of Admission at School of Pharmacy.

    Entrance Examination

    An entrance examination (PCAT) is not required.

    Interview Process

    The School of Pharmacy Office of Admission uses an interview process to make determinations on admissions. The interview consists of two parts: an oral interview and a writing test. The purpose of the interview is to assess your oral communication skills, writing skills, leadership ability and your motivation or potential to be a pharmacist.

    If you are offered an interview, you will be notified two to three weeks in advance. Please keep the following dates available because, except for rare circumstances, appointments are not rescheduled.

    The 2014-2015 interview sessions are on the following dates:
    Friday, October 17, 2014
    Friday, November 21, 2014
    Friday, January 16, 2015
    Friday, February 20, 2015
    Saturday, March 14, 2015

    Contact Us

    For more information, contact us at or 323.442.1466.