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Pre-Pharmacy

A career pathway to the frontlines of healthcare

Pharmacist going through medication on shelf.

Why study pre-pharmacy in the College of Science

Pre-pharmacy is a course of study that prepares you for admission to pharmacy school. While not a major per se, College of Science students with a pre-pharmacy focus receive specialized pre-professional advising and access to resources and opportunities to help them succeed in gaining admission to pharmacy school. Students in the College of Science can combine the pre-pharmacy option with one of nine majors to help them chart their journey to Pharm.D. programs.

85% of our pre-pharmacy students gain admission to Pharm.D. programs throughout the United States.

Pre-pharmacy students in the College of Science gain rigorous and in-depth knowledge and a strong foundation in their science major as well as broad exposure to healthcare and biomedical sciences, communication, computation skills, mathematics and statistics that are required for a successful career in pharmacy. Pre-pharmacy students complete prerequisite courses in chemistry, biology, physics, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, statistics and other coursework.

What is the right major for a pre-pharmacy student?

While pre-pharmacy students can choose any major, chemistry, biology and other biomedical-based life science majors such as biochemistry and biophysics, biochemistry and molecular biology, microbiology and biohealth sciences can help you prepare for pharmacy school and excel in the prerequisite courses for Pharm.D. programs. These College of Science majors will give you strong academic preparation in foundational and cutting-edge biomedical sciences. In particular, a major in biochemistry, biohealth sciences or microbiology will give you the necessary depth and exposure to upper division coursework in biomedical sciences that is highly desired by Doctor of Pharmacy programs.

Most pre-pharmacy undergraduates at Oregon State University choose majors in the College of Science. BioHealth Sciences with a Pre-Pharmacy Option is a highly sought-after major by students with an interest in pursuing pharmacy careers.

In addition to a strong foundation in science, pre-pharmacy students pursuing College of Science majors will have opportunities to study and conduct research with OSU College of Pharmacy faculty members, consult with College of Pharmacy mentors and advisors, and participate in the Early Assurance Program.

Interested in joining the Oregon State University/Oregon Health and Science University (OSU/OHSU) Doctor of Pharmacy program?

The Early Assurance Program Oregon (EAP Oregon) is designed for undergraduate students in Oregon, high school seniors and post-baccalaureate students to ensure the availability of a position in the OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program if all contractual agreements of the EAP contract are met during the student’s time as an undergrad. These include meeting a GPA minimum; completion of community service requirements; involvement in Pre-Pharm Society; and meetings with EAP advisors, in addition to other requirements.

Many of our pre-pharmacy science majors who apply to EAP Oregon are accepted to the program, and have gained admission to the OSU/OHSU Pharm.D. program after graduation.

Meet Serena

Serena Mashal (’20), BioHealth Sciences major, discusses how her BioHealth coursework has helped her develop her passion for the field and her experiences with EAP Oregon. Serena is currently a Pharm.D. student at OSU/OHSU.

Advising and resources to help you succeed

Our pre-pharmacy students can engage in hands-on clinical, lab, internship and volunteering experiences on-campus and beyond to gain a deeper understanding of healthcare, biomedical sciences and drug design. Pre-pharmacy science majors will receive advising to stay on track with prerequisite courses and other upper division coursework required by pharmacy programs.

A team of dedicated and highly experienced advisors will assist you in making academic decisions consistent with each student’s career goals and the requirements of Pharm.D. programs.

Why pharmacy may be the right career for you

If you have a keen interest in guiding people towards better health and enjoy interacting with the public, then you will find a career in pharmacy fulfilling and enjoyable. According to the American Association of College of Pharmacy, pharmacists are medication experts who enhance patient care and promote wellness. You will use your professional knowledge as a pharmacist to prepare and dispense prescriptions, ensure medicines and doses are correct, prevent harmful drug interactions, and counsel patients on the safe and appropriate use of their medications. As a pharmacist, you will have unique and specialized expertise about the composition of medicines, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties, as well as their manufacture and use. Read more.

The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is awarded after completion of what is equivalent to a four-year professional program. Pharmacist salaries are much higher than the national average for all professions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for pharmacists as reported in 2018 was $116,670.

Meet our students and alumni

Pharm.D. programs where our recent graduates have landed

  • Oregon State University/Oregon Health and Science University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • Pacific University, Oregon
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo

Pharmacy careers of our graduates

  • Emergency Medicine Pharmacy Clinician, Fletcher Allen Healthcare
  • Clinical Pharmacy Specialists at Oregon Health and Science University; Providence St. Vincent’s Medical Center; Centene Corporation
  • Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
  • Pharmacy Operations Manager, Providence Health and Services
  • Long Term Care and Consultant Pharmacist, Mercury Pharmacy