Pharmacists are health care professionals who dispense drugs that have been ordered by physicians. They provide information to patients about the safe and effective use of prescription drugs. To be a pharmacist, one must earn a doctorate in pharmacy, a Pharm.D.

There are also graduate programs leading to the MS or PhD. in pharmaceutical sciences. These programs prepare students for careers in pharmaceutical research leading to drug development and application.

Pharm.D./PhD., Pharm.D./MBA and Pharm.D./MPH combined degree programs are also offered.

Required courses. Requirements vary by program. The list here includes courses required by most programs. Requirements for specific Pharm.D. programs can be found at

  • Biology (two semesters, with lab)
  • Chemistry (two semesters, with lab)
  • Organic chemistry (two semesters, with lab)
  • Calculus
  • Physics (one semester)
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology

Also recommended:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Ethics
  • Communications

Additional requirement: About two-thirds of pharmacy programs require the Pharmacy College Admission test. For information on this test, visit  Other schools require the general GRE test

Years of post-graduate education required: It generally takes four years to earn the Pharm.D. degree, two years for the MS, and 4-5 years for a PhD. Some pharmacy programs allow students to transfer in after their sophomore year of college.