skip page navigationOregon State University

Deadline Reminder  October 10th, 2012

The November 1 application deadline is only about three weeks away!

Will finishing my bachelor’s degree help me gain admission?  October 3rd, 2012

Short answer – yes.

Oregon State does not require a bachelor’s degree for admission to our Pharm.D. program – only the completion of certain prerequisite courses listed on our website.

However, our admissions committee has found that finishing a bachelor’s degree helps students develop a broad academic preparation that includes strong communication skills and the ability to work with diverse patients – all important traits for pharmacists. Therefore, candidates who finished their degree (or who are about to finish it) are favored in our admissions process. Spending that fourth year in college to finish your degree also gives you more time to take advanced science courses, which can impress our committee if you do well in them. You could also use that time to gain more healthcare experience, improve your writing ability, or do other things that would make you a better candidate for pharmacy school admission.

The numbers tell the story best. In recent years, 70% to 80% of admitted students have held bachelor’s degrees when they started the Oregon State Pharm.D. program.


Can you discuss the relative importance of different parts of the application? Grades, essays, and so on?  September 24th, 2012

Yes, I can discuss that in general terms. In general, the most important part of your application is your grades in prerequisite science and math courses. Your essays and healthcare experience are probably the next most important factors. Slightly less important are letters of reference and other parts of your academic background (such as additional advanced coursework in the sciences) although these factors definitely matter in the admissions process.

If you are invited to interview with us, your performance in the interview becomes extremely important.

The importance of essays and experience often surprises candidates. That importance reflects the importance of communication and teamwork in the pharmacy profession. Make sure to devote plenty of time to composing your essays. Also, make sure to list all your relevant experience on your PharmCAS application.

Just as when you apply for a job, you should ensure that all parts of your application are as polished as you can make them.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?  September 18th, 2012

Not for Oregon State Pharm.D. admissions. If you are a non-native speaker of English, we will evaluate your English language proficiency through your essays and through the interview process.

International students should remember that our admissions committee asks that you complete some of your prerequisite coursework (in particular the upper-division science courses) in the United States. See our FAQ for more details about this. International students who want to complete those prerequisites at OSU should apply for admission to OSU through the Office of Admissions.

Quick Time Zone Tip  September 14th, 2012

A quick tip as you prepare your PharmCAS applications – PharmCAS operates on Eastern time. You must submit your PharmCAS application by midnight Eastern time (i.e. 9 p.m. Pacific) on November 1 for it to be considered on time. Obviously, all your supplemental application materials must also arrive at the College of Pharmacy on November 1.


How will my PCAT score affect my application?  August 23rd, 2012

Not at all. The Oregon State University College of Pharmacy does not consider PCAT scores in our application process. A good score will not help you and a bad score will not hurt you. In fact, you don’t even need to take the PCAT to apply to OSU.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?  August 21st, 2012

Think about the image you want to present when applying for admission. You want your letter writers to be people who know you well (so they can say lots of nice things about you) and people familiar with graduate study in the sciences, professional degree programs, or the practice of pharmacy (so they can say why those nice things will make you a good pharmacist).

In our experience, the most useful letters come from science professors or practicing pharmacists, because they have the most familiarity with those topics. This means it’s important to build relationships with such people as a pre-pharmacy student, so they will know you well enough to write a good letter. PharmCAS asks recommenders how well they know you when they submit their letters of recommendation. You don’t want your recommenders to be saying they only know you a little – you want them to be saying they know you well.

Hey Nevadans and Alaskans!  August 16th, 2012

Did you know you can pay in-state tuition at the Oregon State College of Pharmacy through the WICHE Professional Student Exchange Program? Now you do.

You apply through a certifying officer in your home state and the program has its own deadlines (usually October 15 is the deadline to apply).


We Heart AlaskaWe Heart Nevada

Can I take my Anatomy and Physiology at a community college?  August 13th, 2012

No. Oregon State’s anatomy, physiology, and microbiology prerequisites must be met with coursework taken at the upper-division level. “Upper-division level” means advanced courses designed for college juniors and seniors. Such courses often have substantial prerequisites and 300- or 400-level course numbers (or 100-level course numbers if you’re in California). Community colleges do not offer such courses, which means these prerequisites cannot be completed at a community college.

You can complete all of the other prerequisites at a community college, as long as the college offers appropriate coursework. Email for more information on course equivalencies or if you’re not sure how to meet a particular prerequisite.

The College feels that requiring these advanced prerequisites will enable us to go further in educating you about the pharmaceutical sciences once you’re in the Pharm.D. program!

Supplemental Application Essays  August 10th, 2012

There are two supplemental application essay prompts this year:

  1. Identify your main academic and professional goals. Explain how attending the OSU College of Pharmacy will help you achieve these goals, discussing specific characteristics of the College and its programs. Your response must be 750 words or less.
  2. This question concerns the letters of recommendation submitted as part of your PharmCAS application. Why did you choose the recommenders that you chose? Why did you think their letters would provide useful information about you? Your response must be 200 words or less.

What should you write about? Well, make sure to answer the questions. The first essay should focus on your goals, which means you may need to spend some time thinking about what exactly your academic and professional goals are (beyond just “becoming a pharmacist”). Explain why Oregon State is the best place for you to work toward these goals – we want to be convinced that attending the OSU College of Pharmacy is the logical next step for you. This means you may need to spend a little time researching the college and its programs.

As for the second essay – we’re genuinely curious. We want you to explain why you chose the people that you did to write your letters of recommendation. Furthermore, we hope that asking this question will cause people to put a lot of thought into exactly who they ask to write their letters.