Application Requirements

Application and Eligibility Requirements

  • POLICY UPDATES: Beginning the Spring 2020 Semester/Term, Summer 2020 Semester/Term and until further notice, the USC School of Pharmacy will accept Pass/No Pass and online courses listed on the Course Equivalencies page to fulfill your Pre-Pharmacy requirements. For colleges and universities not listed, you may copy and paste the course description along with a link and email to the admission office ( with any questions about whether specific courses you have taken meet the equivalency requirements. For any Pre-Pharmacy required courses taken prior to the Spring 2020 Semester/Term, you must follow the standard requirements and complete with a grade of C or higher. Also, any Pass/No Pass, Credit/No Credit or online courses taken prior to the Spring 2020 Semester/Term will not be accepted for Pre-Pharmacy requirements.
  • Bachelor’s degree completed prior to entrance into 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 a general list of pre-pharmacy course requirements below.)
  • Distance learning or online coursework is not acceptable for prerequisite courses in calculus, biology, and chemistry.
  • All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed before you enter our program. Pre-pharmacy requirements in the following areas must be repeated if they were taken before fall 2011 for 2020 application: human physiology, microbiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry. It is recommended that all prerequisites be completed at a four-year college/university. Biochemistry MUST be completed at the upper division level at a four-year college/university.
  • Check the Course Equivalencies page to determine if specific coursework from your school satisfies the School’s prerequisites. For colleges and universities not listed, you may copy and paste the course description along with a link and email the admission office with any questions about whether specific courses you have taken meet the equivalency requirements.

Please note: The following are recommended courses which will help strengthen your background and competitiveness: microeconomics, physics, psychology and/or sociology, and molecular biology (upper division).

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 an intern 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, microbiology prerequisites at a four-year university or college. Biochemistry as an upper-division course must be taken at a four-year institution.

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
Statistics 1/1
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 (upper division) 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.

Statistics: one course in statistics (not business statistics) is required.

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: 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 course for science majors, the entire series must be completed.

Biochemistry: one upper-division course for science majors.

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 and have not yet sent an official transcript with degree notification to PharmCAS, you must send one official transcript from the school from which you graduated, with degree notification, to the USC School 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 to PharmCAS as soon as you begin your PharmCAS application.

Letters of Recommendation

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.

International Students

The USC School of Pharmacy accepts international students on international visas into the PharmD program. International students must follow the International Coursework guidelines listed below and submit TOEFL test scores. For more information about eligibility and application requirements, view our Application Guidelines for International Students. International applicants may request a Skype interview. It will be granted by the Admission Committee on a case by case basis. It is highly recommended that international applicants apply as early as possible since it takes longer to complete a background check after admission.

International Coursework

Applicants with U.S. permanent resident status and/or naturalized citizenship and holders of international visas who complete pre-pharmacy courses and/or hold the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from outside the U.S. are required to:

  • Submit an official evaluation of your coursework and degree for application evaluation. USC requires that applicants with international transcripts and/or degrees submit transcript evaluations using the following service: IERF (International Education Research Foundation). As PharmCAS only accepts WES evaluations, you can submit to PharmCAS either a WES evaluation for your application, or attach unofficial IERF evaluations under Documents section as “Other” document. You MUST submit an official evaluation from IERF once accepted at USC.
  • It is recommended that you complete the following courses in the U.S. at an accredited four-year degree-granting college or university: human physiology, biochemistry (upper division) and microbiology. If you are using courses taken in a foreign country, you must submit IERF or WES evaluated course descriptions when you apply.
  • In addition, it is highly recommended that you take a communication course in the U.S. The communication course may be satisfied by a course in either interpersonal communication or public speaking. This does not apply to applicants from English-speaking countries.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. More information for applicants.

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 3, 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, statistics, chemistry or calculus. Please submit a copy of all advanced placement scores through PharmCAS (under Program Materials section), if you are using them to satisfy pre-pharmacy required courses.

Entrance Examination

An entrance examination (PCAT) is not required.

Interview Process

The USC School of Pharmacy will use a hybrid Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. The MMI format is designed for a wide range of skill assessment and allows applicants multiple opportunities to showcase their proficiency in areas of communication (through verbal and nonverbal interactions), leadership ability, interpersonal interactions, critical thinking and ethical decision-making. The interview process will consist of a one-on-one interview as well as two MMI scenarios. It is important to note that the MMI scenarios do not test for specific knowledge, but rather, are developed to offer a better representation and a more holistic view of an applicant by assessing their skills to react in the moment and navigate real-life situations.

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

2020-2021 Virtual Interview Dates*:

  • Friday, October 9, 2020
  • Friday, November 13, 2020
  • Friday, December 4, 2020
  • Friday, January 15, 2021
  • Friday, February 12, 2021
  • Friday, March 5, 2021
  • Friday, March 26, 2021

*All interview dates are subject to change

Contact Us

For more information, contact us at or 323.442.1466.