As you prepare to apply to the PharmD program, it’s important to know the selection criteria which the admissions committee uses to evaluate applications.
Criteria for Admission
Once the University of Minnesota receives all required materials for a complete application, applicants will be invited to interview. After the interview, the admissions committee uses a holistic review process that considers an applicant's academic qualifications, experiences, skills and attributes. We value well-rounded applications who have the foundation to successfully complete our program and add diversity to the class. Learn more about the timing of the review process on the application process.
In keeping with our holistic admissions process, we do not have academic minimum eligibility requirements. However, the admissions committee carefully reviews applications for evidence of academic preparedness for the PharmD curriculum. Demonstrate this to the committee by taking full-time course loads, earning high grades in prerequisite courses and challenging upper-level courses, and performing well on the PCAT examination.
Develop the traits of a good pharmacist by gaining experience in healthcare, taking on leadership roles, and being involved in volunteer and extracurricular experiences. Focus on helping people and creating positive change in your community. While there is no minimum amount of experience required, humanitarian and long-term commitments are preferred in volunteerism. Similarly, healthcare related activities are not required but can strengthen an application. Be sure to list all your paid work experience and volunteer or extracurricular experiences in the Experiences section of your PharmCAS application, not just pharmacy or healthcare related experience.
- Work experience
- Pharmacy or healthcare experience isn't required, but is preferred
- The average admitted applicant has about 2 years of paid pharmacy or healthcare experience (full or part time)
- Community service / volunteer experience
- Long term commitment to a cause
- Focus on helping people and creating positive change
- Leadership experience
- Positional or non-positional
- Through work, student organizations, volunteer work, school, etc.
Skills and Attributes
Skills and Attributes
Entering pharmacy school is not just a four-year commitment to the PharmD program; it’s a life-long commitment to the profession of pharmacy. A successful pharmacist has a broad range of skills and attributes - the admissions committee considers the following in particular:
- Communication skills (oral and written) are critical for students in the program and practicing pharmacists, who work on interprofessional teams and directly with patients.
- Understanding and motivation for pharmacy - before you begin your career in pharmacy, it’s important to have a broad understanding of career options (start by taking the APhA career pathway evaluation and research new areas of pharmacy), current events and challenges in the profession and health care. Your understanding and motivation for pharmacy is evaluated most heavily in your evaluations (letters of recommendation), essays and interview.
- Unique factors contributing to diversity - the College of Pharmacy values a diverse student body for an enriched learning experience and to improve the health of people of Minnesota and the world - see our mission statement. Unique factors are any qualities, experiences or skills that will contribute to the profession and help serve patients better. Examples include: academic background, professional background, race/ethnicity, geographic background, first generation college student status, challenging or disadvantaged background, ability in multiple languages, etc. Be sure to write about all your unique factors in your program essay.
- Desire and potential to affect positive change - the mission of the College of Pharmacy is to enhance health in Minnesota and around the globe, and we look for students who have demonstrated a dedication to improving their own communities.
How Criteria are Assessed
Qualifications are assessed through the following means:
Evaluations provide third party perspective to your application. They can inform the committee of your academic abilities, professional experiences, leadership abilities, and especially your skills and attributes - learn more.
Since the PharmD program has a rigorous curriculum, it’s important for the admissions committee to make sure that all students entering the program are academically prepared. Evaluation of academic achievement includes a review of all of the following factors:
- GPA - includes review of all college-level grades. If a course was repeated, both grades count. PharmCAS provides a breakdown of GPAs including overall PharmCAS GPA, science GPA and non-science GPA.
- PCAT - composite, all subscores and writing score from all PCAT exams in the last five years. No averages are calculated.
- Course selection - grades in upper-level courses, especially science and math courses.
- Course load - ability to obtain strong grades while taking full course loads.
- Bachelor’s degree - preference given to applicants who will have a bachelor’s degree by the time they would begin the PharmD program and applicants with advanced degrees. However, it is not a requirement.
The interview is an opportunity for you to share why you have chosen pharmacy for a career, your knowledge of the profession, and why we are a good fit for you. The admissions committee uses the interview report to evaluate your communication skills, your understanding and motivation for pharmacy, learn more about your experiences and leadership skills, and other important attributes. Learn more about our interview days.
Your PharmCAS personal statement and the University's unique essay questions (within the PharmCAS program materials) provide the committee with insight into your understanding and motivation for pharmacy, your experiences and leadership skills, and your unique qualities that can contribute to diversity in the classroom and profession.