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Required Courses


Courses required for admission vary significantly from one institution to another. The following courses are mentioned frequently as being required and/or recommended:

  • 1 year biology with lab
  • 1 year general/inorganic chemistry with lab
  • 1 year organic chemistry with lab
  • 1 year English (composition)
  • 1-2 courses in physics with lab
  • 1-2 courses in calculus
  • Courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, economics, statistics, public speaking, social/behavioral sciences

Some Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program pre-reqs, such as a combined anatomy/physiology course, may not be available at Northwestern University and may have to be taken elsewhere. Some of the above courses may also be available through the Northwestern School of Professional Studies (SPS). Northwestern undergraduates must follow these steps in order to register for an SPS course (Scroll to the 2nd to last question.). Many PharmD programs also accept community college coursework.

For information on specific pharmacy schools' requirements, review:

Choosing a Major

Pharmacy students come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Applicants are not required to major in "pre-pharmacy" or any specific major in college to be eligible for admission to a pharmacy degree program. 

However, because pharmacy programs vary so much in required coursework, students should begin researching possible programs early to determine if their choice of major will fulfill all or most of the pharmacy requirements. If the pharmacy prerequisite courses are not required as part of an applicant's undergraduate major, these courses will need to be completed as electives.