Pre-Pharmacy Plan

The UT Martin Pre-Pharmacy Plan is designed to prepare students for application to professional school. By following the Pre-Pharmacy Plan recommendations, students will be eligible for admission into most Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) programs; however, the undergraduate courses required for admission vary substantially from one institution to the next. The courses listed in the plan are intended only as a guideline and students are strongly encouraged to review the requirements for their school(s) of choice as they vary from school to school.


Please note: The Pre-Pharmacy Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin. The courses listed below are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a pharmacist do?
Pharmacy is so much more than just dispensing medications. Pharmacists provide advice and information not just to patients, but also to physicians and other health practitioners about medications. They must be aware of the correct dosages of those medications as well as potential drug interactions and side effects. Pharmacists monitor the health and progress of their patients to ensure that those patients are using their medications safely and effectively. In addition to prescription medication, pharmacists provide information about over-the-counter medication as well as general health topics. Pharmacists are responsible for keeping confidential records of patients' drug therapies to prevent harmful drug interactions. They also complete third-party insurance forms and other paperwork. Some pharmacists are involved in the development and testing of new drugs.


Is there a demand for pharmacists?
YES! According to the US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.


What degree to do I need to become a pharmacist? 
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)


How many accredited pharmacy schools are there in Tennessee?
Six: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, South College, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Union University


What is the typical length of pharmacy school?
4 academic years or 3 calendar years


Are there any required admissions tests?
Yes, the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)


What application service do I use to apply to pharmacy school?
Most pharmacy schools (and all of the pharmacy schools in Tennessee) participate in the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS).


When should I apply?
Applications to pharmacy schools should be submitted in the summer or fall of the year preceding the desired admission date.  For most students, this means that they will apply the summer after their junior year. 


Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree to get into pharmacy school?
Not necessarily; however, some pharmacy schools prefer students to have a bachelor’s degree and having a bachelor’s degree can make you more competitive.


What kind of grades do I need to get into pharmacy school?
Academic performance is crucial.  A GPA of 3.5 or higher is needed to be a competitive applicant.  Moreover, most pharmacy schools require that all prerequisite classes be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.


What kind of pharmacy experience do I need?
You don’t necessarily have to have work experience in the pharmacy field; however, most pharmacy programs expect students to have had direct observation of the field prior to admission.  That direct observation can be gained through volunteering, shadowing a pharmacist, or working in a pharmacy.  Some students have had success in gaining a pharmacy technician license, which may improve their chances of gaining pharmacy experience, but a pharmacy technician license does not necessarily make you more competitive in gaining admission to pharmacy school.  (For information about the UT Martin Extended Campus and Online Education Pharmacy Technician course, please go to


How many hours of direct observation do I need?
There is no magic number for how much shadowing/observation you have to have.  When possible, it is also a good idea to observe in as many different clinical settings as possible (e.g., a hospital pharmacy and a retail pharmacy).


Will I be a pre-pharmacy major?
No.  The Pre-Pharmacy Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin.  The courses listed in the plan are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major. 


What should I major in?
As a pre-pharmacy student at UT Martin, you can major in any area you choose.  The best major is the one in which you are the most interested and the most likely to succeed.  The most common majors for pre-pharmacy students at UT Martin are Biology – Cellular and Molecular Concentration, B.S. in Chemistry major, and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S.C.H.) because many of the classes required by the pharmacy schools are also required by those majors.


What are the minimum requirements for pharmacy?  
At a minimum, most pharmacy schools require:

  • 8 hours of biology
  • 3 hours of calculus
  • 8 hours of chemistry
  • 8 hours of organic chemistry
  • 3 hours of communications
  • 6 hours of English
  • 3 hours of statistics
  • 4 hours of microbiology
  • 4 hours of physics
  • 8 hours of anatomy and physiology
  • 6 hours of social science
    • Recommended electives: sociology, psychology, political science, and economics
  • 6 hours of humanities
    • Recommended electives: fine arts, English, history, foreign language, and philosophy

In addition to the courses listed above, students will need enough general electives to meet the minimum number of semester hours required by the pharmacy school(s).  The requirements for those general electives vary widely.  Students should check with their school(s) of choice to determine how many general elective hours are required and if there are any courses that are suggested and/or do not count as general electives.  For example, many schools suggest students take additional microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and upper level chemistry classes.  Additionally, many schools will not count ROTC, participatory physical activity/sports, or musical performance courses such as choir or band toward general elective hours. 


What classes at UT Martin should I take as a pre-pharmacy student?
While not an exhaustive list, the following courses are strongly recommended for students considering applying to Pharmacy school.  Because the requirements for the different pharmacy schools vary widely, you should always check with their advisor and/or school(s) of choice before deciding which classes to take.   

  • Biology 130 Foundations of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity
  • Biology 140 Foundations of Biology: Cell and Molecular
  • Biology 336 Genetics
  • Calculus (Math 160 Calculus for Business and Life Sciences OR Math 251 Calculus I
  • Chemistry 121 General Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 122 General Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 341 Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 342 Organic Chemistry II
  • Communications 230 Public Speaking
  • Economics 201 Macroeconomics
  • Economics 202 Microeconomics
  • English 111 English Composition I
  • English 112 English Composition II
  • Math 210 Elementary Statistics and Probability
  • Microbiology 310 General Molecular Microbiology
  • Microbiology 401 Immunology
  • Physics 211 College Physics I OR 220 University Physics I
  • Physics 212 College Physics II OR Physics 221 University Physics II
  • Zoology 251 Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Zoology 352 Anatomy & Physiology II


Where can I find out more about the field of pharmacy?
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)


Where can I find out more about the PCAT?
Pharmacy College Admission Test info

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