Selection Criteria

As you prepare to apply to the PharmD program, it’s important to know the selection criteria listed below which the Admissions Committee uses to evaluate applications. The Admissions Committee has eight faculty members and five PharmD students.

Criteria for Admission

When the University of Minnesota receives a complete application, the first seven selection criteria below are reviewed to determine if the applicant will be invited to interview. After the interview, the Admissions Committee does a second holistic review of the application considering all eight factors to determine the final admissions decision. Learn more about the timing of the review process on the application process.

Academic Achievement

Academic Achievement

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.

Understanding & Motivation for Pharmacy

Understanding & Motivation for Pharmacy

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. Before you begin your career in pharmacy, it’s important to have a broad understanding of career options, current events and challenges in the profession and health care. Your understanding and motivation for pharmacy is evaluated most heavily in your letters of recommendation, essays and interview.

You can strengthen your understanding and motivation for pharmacy by using the Become a Strong Applicant resources.

Community Service & Leadership

Community Service & Leadership

Develop the traits of a good pharmacist by taking on leadership roles and being involved. 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. Similarly, health care related activities are not required but can strengthen an application.

Work Experience

Work Experience

Although pharmacy or health care work experience is not required, it is preferred. Students starting the PharmD program have an average of 2 years of full-time or part-time pharmacy or health care work experience.

Be sure to list all your paid work experience in this section of your PharmCAS application, not just pharmacy or health care related experience.

Essays

Essays

The Admissions Committee will review your PharmCAS Personal Statement and your University of Minnesota supplemental essays at the same time. Make sure your essays clearly communicate why you want to pursue a career in pharmacy, how your experiences and strengths relate to your future career, and challenges in the profession.

Need help getting started on your personal statement or want a one-on-one consultation on a draft of your essay? Use the online workshop Personal Statements for a Health Program.

Letters of Recommendation (Evaluations)

Letters of Recommendation (Evaluations)

Choose at least three evaluators (up to four are allowed) from a variety of sources, such as college professors, work supervisors, volunteer supervisors or research supervisors. Only choose evaluators that know you well in a professional capacity; no family, friends or clergy.

The evaluations are submitted through PharmCAS. Before designating your PharmCAS evaluators, try to schedule an in-person appointment with each of your evalutors to let them know why you want to pursue a career in pharmacy and how your experience with the evaluator is important for your application. Be sure to plan ahead so that evaluators have sufficient time to submit their evaluations before the application deadline.

Unique Factors that Contribute to a Diverse Student Body

Unique Factors that Contribute to a Diverse Student Body

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 supplemental essay.

See the Admissions Statistics webpage for information about the broad range of diversity of students in the program.

Interview

Interview

The interview is about 45 minutes one-on-one with faculty or staff in the College of Pharmacy. Be yourself and be prepared to articulate what you know about the profession, why you want to be a pharmacist and why the University of Minnesota would be a good fit for your career path.

The best way to prepare for the interview is to develop your understanding and motivation for pharmacy, practice interviewing and take the online workshop Interviewing for a Health Program.

After the interview, the Admissions Committee reviews all eight of the selection criteria and makes an admissions decision. On the day of their interview, applicants will be notified when to expect an admission decision.