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College of Arts and Sciences

Pre-Pharmacy

 

Prepharmacy Curriculum

The “prepharmacy curriculum” is just a list of courses that are required for admission to dental school. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. The list of courses we describe here meet the course requirements for many pharmacy schools; however, you should consult the specific pharmacy schools to which you plan to apply for any variances.

Admission to pharmacy schools is not solely determined by prerequisites. Other factors are weighed as well, such as GPA (overall and science specific), Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores, evidence of care for others through service and/or employment experiences, leadership roles, observation and shadowing experiences, and other personal characteristics. Gaining entrance into pharmacy school is highly competitive, and students who are accepted usually surpass the minimum requirements.

 

 

What Should I Major In?

Many students are admitted to a School of Pharmacy after completing the series of required courses and electives, which typically takes up to 3 years. However, students often take these courses as well as courses in a major in order to complete a four-year non-pharmacy baccalaureate degree at Southern Miss before entering pharmacy school. Even if you plan to apply to pharmacy school after taking only the courses required for admission, you need to declare an academic major at USM. Most students major in a science field such as Biological Sciences or the Biochemistry or Pharmacy emphasis of Chemistry. You can actually chose any major as long as you can fit the prerequisite course work for pharmacy schools in your schedule.

 

Already have a degree?

Some students already have a B.A. or B.S. or above and decide to pursue becoming a pharmacist. It is recommended that such students visit the preprofessional office for additional advisement. It is common for these students to take their missing prerequisite courses for pharmacy school here at USM as post-baccalaureate students, work on the other non-course requirements while taking courses, prepare for and take the PCAT, and then apply to pharmacy school(s). 

Some students may choose to pursue a second major, while others enroll in prerequisite courses as a non-degree-seeking student. In either case, students must go through the University's Undergraduate Admissions office to be either admitted (new students) or re-admitted (former students) prior to enrollment.

 

 

Pharmacy School Possibilities

There are several pharmacy programs available in Mississippi and other neighboring states. For a complete list, visit the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Students should consult the specific university programs to which they plan to apply in order to determine entrance requirements and deadlines.

 

Local Pharmacy Schools

College/University Location Website
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Oxford, MS* pharmacy.olemiss.edu
William Carey University (Tradition Campus) Biloxi, MS wmcarey.edu/school/pharmacy
Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Mobile, AL

pharmacy.auburn.edu
Samford University Birmingham, AL samford.edu/pharmacy
Xavier University New Orleans, LA              xula.edu/collegeofpharmacy
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA ulm.edu/pharmacy

*This program begins in Oxford, MS and transitions to the UMMC campus in Jackson, MS for the final two years.
 

 

Requirements for Applicants

Dental schools have relatively similar minimum requirements for admission, typically:

  • completion of a series of specified courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics (BCPM, courses must be for science majors) and English

  • a competitive GPA in BCPM courses and overall

  • multiple positive traits, such as honesty, integrity, ethics, leadership ability, and motivation

  • competitive scores from the nationally administered Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)

  • ability to handle full-time study

  • observations of pharmacists in practice 

  • active participation in community service

 

The following list of Required Courses* meets only the minimum requirements for admission to the Ole Miss Pharmacy Program in Oxford/Jackson. Students must consult the specific admission requirements and application deadlines for the school(s) to which they plan to apply, including Ole Miss.

  • ENG 101 & 102

  • CHE 106/L & 107/L

  • CHE 255/L & 256/L

  • CHE 422*

  • BSC 110/L & 111/L

  • CMS 111

  • MAT 167

  • ECO 202

  • PHY 111/L & 112/L or PHY 201/L & 202/L

  • PSY 360 or MAT 115 or MAT 320 or DPH 440

  • BSC 370 or BSC 475

  • BSC 381 or 481

  • BSC 451

  • PHI 452**

  • BSC 360

  • BSC 486

  • Social science electives (6 hours total)

  • Humanities and fine arts electives (12 hours total) 

*Prerequisite of CHE 421

**PHI 452 (Health Care Ethics) is taught sporadically on the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses. Students must check the course schedule guide each year to find a course in advance or plan to take a biomedical ethics course at another university.

 

 

Suggested Course Sequence & Strategies for Success

The suggested course sequence below is merely a guideline for timely completion of UMMC required courses. Courses to fulfill the major must be worked into the student’s schedule.

Students must consult the USM Undergraduate Bulletin, the USM Class Schedule, and their primary academic advisor. It is important to start CHE 106 with lab early in freshman year since the six required chemistry courses and labs CHE 106, 107, 255, 256, 421, and 422 must be taken in sequential order and should be taken before taking the PCAT at end of junior year. BSC 110 and 111 with labs should also be taken early in a student’s academic career since they are prerequisites to advanced Biological Sciences courses. During the last semester of the Sophomore year, students should develop a more detailed plan for the Junior and Senior years as many upper-level courses are offered only in specific semesters and/or on a rotating two year cycle. 

 

 

Year 1

Fall

Spring

BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a  4h BSC 110&L OR BSC 111&L a 4h
CHE 106&L  4h CHE 107&L  4h
MAT 101 b  3h MAT 103 b  3h
ENG 101 c   3h ENG 102  3h
CMS 111  3h One required elective d  3h

a   The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter; 110 covers molecular and cellular topics whereas 111 covers ecology and organisms.

b   Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on the student’s ACT subtest score. Consult the prerequisites for the math course you plan to take. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most dental schools. The DAT quantitative section is based more on algebra, data analysis, probability, and statistics.

c    Placement in English Composition courses depends on the student’s ACT English subtest score.

  • ACT English subtest score 16 or below:  ENG 99E (Expanded Composition Studio) and ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 17-19:  ENG 100E (Composition I expanded)

  • ACT English subtest score 20 or above:  ENG 101 (Composition 1)

d   “Required electives" must include 6 hours of social/behavioral sciences, 9 hours of humanities, and 3 hours of fine arts if pursuing a baccalaureate degree from Southern Miss.

 

Strategies for Success

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students should focus on doing well in their academic studies, particularly the required science, behavioral science, and math courses. Students should study for long-term retention of knowledge in preparation for their PCAT exam and for use in pharmacy school. 

  • Students should become involved with extracurricular activities, including meaningful community service learning, volunteer activities, and leadership positions that will demonstrate effective interactions. Students should maintain a record of the dates and total hours spent performing such activities. The record should include meaningful encounters and the personal importance of each activity. This will be needed when it comes time to apply to dental school.

  • Students should start getting some hands on exposure to pharmacy. It is important to maintain a record of these experiences, which generally relate to shadowing pharmacists or working as a pharmacy technician.

  • Students may join AED (Alpha Epsilon Delta), the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society, as associate members at any time even if they do not fulfill the requirements for full membership (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements). Full members are inducted during the Spring semester. Applications and instructions for membership are available at the preprofessional office.

 

 

Year 2

Fall

Spring

CHE 255&L 4h CHE 256&L  4h

PHY 111&L

 

4h PHY 112&L 4h
MAT 167 3h PSY 360 e 3h
ECO 202 3h BSC 380&L or BSC 381&L f  4h
One required elective d 3h One required elective d 3h 

e   PSY 360 is recommended, depending on the student's major, but may be substituted with another approved upper level statistics course.

 f   BSC 380/L counts towards a B.S. in some Biological Sciences emphasis areas, while BSC 381/L does not. 

 

Strategies for Success

  • Students should continue to follow strategies from Year 1.

  • Students are typically inducted into AED, the national Health Preprofessional Honor Society, in the Spring semester of the Sophomore year, but may be inducted in Junior or Senior year (must be enrolled at Southern Miss for a minimum of three semesters and meet specific course and GPA requirements).

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

 

 

Year 3 g

Fall

Spring

PHI 452 h

3h

CHE 422 

3h

BSC 451 i

3h

 BSC 360 or BSC 476

3-4h

BSC 481 i

3h

 BSC 370 or BSC 475

4h

BSC 486/L i

4h

 One required elective d

3h

CHE 421

3h

 Additional courses as needed j

3-4h

g   The Year 3 schedule assumes that a student will apply in Year 3 to enter into a pharmacy program the following year (without receiving a USM degree). If a student instead plans to get a B.S. or B.A. from USM before going to pharmacy school, some of these courses can be moved from Year 3 to Year 4 to make a more balanced schedule.  

h  PHI 452 (Health Care Ethics) may not always be taught in this semester; students should be sure to check the Course Schedule Guide and be prepared to adjust their schedules as needed.

 BSC 451 (Human Physiology) and BSC 481 (Pathogenic Microbiology) are typically taught in Fall, but students should check the Course Schedule Guide and be prepared to take it another semester.  BSC 486/L (Immunology) is typically taught in the spring. If BSC 381/L has been taken previously, then BSC 481 is not required and an elective can be taken in its place.

 Students may take BSC 399 (MCAT Preparation) if they would like to review Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in a formal class; otherwise, they should prepare on their own before attempting the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) for the first time. Students may take the PCAT after completing the required prepharmacy courses. BSC 399 is offered in the Spring semester, and pre-requisites include ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L, 255/L, 256/L;  PHY 111/L, 112/L; MAT 101, 103 OR MAT 167/8/9; and one upper level BSC or CHE course. The required minimum overall GPA is 3.4.

 


Strategies for Success
 

  • Students continue to apply strategies from Year 1 and Year 2. It is important to make an effort to understand the relationship between core courses to try to form a deeper understanding of critical material - especially PCAT material.

  • Students should visit the preprofessional office for advisement and/or to answer any pertinent questions.

  • Students shoud begin the pharmacy school application process after completing the required courses (see below for the application process).

  

 

Year 4

Fall

Spring

Classes to fulfill major, minor

15-18h 

Classes to fulfill major, minor 

15-18h 

 

 

The Application Process

The application process for students seeking a baccalaureate degree at Southern Miss may begin in the Spring semester of the third year. Students planning to transfer to Ole Miss after only three years should begin much earlier.

Each pharmacy school has their own deadlines, but the deadline for the Early Decision Program is typically early in September. The PharmCAS application deadline is March 1 for regular admission. All materials must be received by March 1 if applyng to Ole Miss, but it is best to apply well before the deadline due to some schools' rolling admissions policies.

Most pharmacy schools use the centralized application service PharmCAS to create a standard application that can be sent to multiple pharmacy schools. As part of the service you will enter from your official transcript(s) each of your courses for any college or university you attended including courses which you repeated. They calculate your GPA based on all courses attempted in which you received a letter or numerical grade.

 

The PCAT

The Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) is taken during the twelve months preceding the application deadline. It tests students' knowledge in chemistry (general through biochemistry), biology (including microbiology and anatomy/physiology), and mathematics (basic through calculus, including statistics). In addition, it tests critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as writing ability.

Students are strongly encouraged to take an  online practice PCAT before taking the PCAT that they will use on their application. Pearson provides such a practice exam for interested students. 

Students may review for the PCAT in whatever manner they wish. Both free and paid resources are available to aid in preparation for the exam; for more information, visit the preprofessional office. In addition, the preprofessional office offers BSC 399 every Spring as an MCAT review course that students may find helpful in preparing for the PCAT (with the added bonus of course credit).

 

The Interview

Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Perfect InterviewTM resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the preprofessional office (contact information below).   

 

  

For More Information about a Career in Healthcare, Contact the Preprofessional Office

Dr. Jeffrey Evans

Preprofessional Advisor

jeffrey.evansFREEMississippi

Phone: 601-266-4315

Office Location:

Bobby Chain Technology Center (TEC 100)

Destiny DeLancey

Preprofessional Advisor

Destiny.reynoldsFREEMississippi

Phone: 601-266-4636

Office Location: Liberal Arts Building (LAB 212A) 

 

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