Selection Criteria

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 and eligible application, applicants will be reviewed for an interview invitation. 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 unique perspectives to the class. Learn more about the timing of the review process on the application process.

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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 by taking challenging upper-level courses.


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 amount of paid work experience in pharmacy or health care for students starting the PharmD program is about 15 months, 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.
  • Research experience
    • Professional or academic experience

Skills and Attributes

Our admissions committee evaluates the unique skills and attributes we consider essential to success in our curriculum and as a pharmacist. Be sure to address your own unique skills and attributes throughout your application essays and in the interview. Skills and attributes considered in the admission process include:

  • Communication skills (oral and written)
  • Unique factors contributing to a diverse student body
  • Community engagement
  • Ethics
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Realistic self-appraisal
  • Nontraditional learning
  • Ability to navigate the system and handle discrimination
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to education
  • English language skills, if English is not the applicant's native language

How Criteria are Assessed

Qualifications are assessed through the following means:

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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.

Academic Record

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.
  • 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 and the experiences, skills and interests you will contribute to the profession. The admissions committee uses the interview report to evaluate your communication skills, your understanding and motivation for pharmacy, learn more about your experiences and skills, and other important attributes. Learn more about our interview days.


Your PharmCAS personal statement and the University's unique essay questions (within the the PharmCAS Program Materials section) provide the committee with insight into your understanding and motivation for pharmacy, your experiences and skills, and your unique qualities that can contribute to diversity in the classroom and profession.