Is a Bachelor’s Degree Necessary to Apply to Pharmacy School?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about applying to pharmacy school.
That, or you’re just curious whether or not you can apply to pharmacy school without having to complete a bachelor’s degree. First, you should know that the takeaway answer to this question is more than just a yes or no. To answer this question simply, no you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to apply to pharmacy school. However, the decision of whether or not to complete a bachelor’s degree can be a difficult one to make, especially since some programs give preference to applicants with a bachelor’s degree. While there are advantages to completing a bachelor’s degree before starting any type of graduate school, there may also be advantages to not completing one. Let’s talk about this option first.
Advantages to taking prerequisites only
If you choose this option, you won’t have to take four to five years of classes during undergrad. You will only be taking classes for however long it takes you to finish the classes that are required for the program(s) you will be applying to, which is typically just a few years.
Therefore, the main advantage to this option is that you save time (and money!). You don’t have to waste time taking a bunch of extra classes that pharmacy schools don’t even care about. Of course, this also helps your wallet, as you would ultimately be spending less money on tuition than someone taking all of the classes that are required to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, you would be starting pharmacy school a year or two earlier than you would if you were to complete your bachelor’s degree. This means that you would finish pharmacy school earlier and start making money earlier! While this sounds enticing, let’s discuss the advantages of completing a bachelor’s degree prior to applying to pharmacy school before we make any conclusions.
Advantages to completing a bachelor’s degree
The overwhelming majority of pharmacy students complete a bachelor’s degree before starting pharmacy school, and this includes myself. There can be many different reasons as to why someone would choose to complete their bachelor’s degree.
In my case, I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as possible for pharmacy school in terms of knowledge, skills, and maturity. There honestly is no rush to make your way to the end of your academic life and start making money; you have your whole life ahead of you, and an extra couple of years won’t make a difference in the long run. What’s important, in my opinion, is to allow yourself to truly learn as much as you can, grow, and experience life while you’re in undergrad; once pharmacy school comes around, you won’t have much time for anything except school and adulting.
Aside from allowing more time for personal and professional development during undergrad, another potential advantage to completing your bachelor’s degree is that some pharmacy schools give preference to applicants with a bachelor’s degree. This means if they’re choosing between two mostly similar candidates, for example, and one has a bachelor’s degree while the other doesn’t, they will choose the one with the bachelor’s degree as they feel that student is more prepared to begin pharmacy school.
The main point, and the answer to the question in the title of this article, is that a bachelor’s degree is NOT required for admission to pharmacy school. However, it is recommended to complete one beforehand. You need a certain level of knowledge and maturity to make it through pharmacy school, and staying in undergrad for the four or five years it takes to graduate can offer you just that. Furthermore, many pharmacy schools prioritize students with a bachelor’s degree, so having that extra leverage might be just enough to earn you the acceptance over someone else.
Best of luck with your pharmacy journey! – TSP