Pre-pharmacy Admission for students entering directly out of high school

The Drake PharmD Difference is provided to pre-pharmacy students directly out of high school to better prepare them for a professional pharmacy program. Students who take advantage of the Drake PharmD Difference are admitted to professional pharmacy programs at a rate higher than the national average.
Please click here for application requirements and deadline information with the University's Office of Admission.

Benefits of the Drake PharmD Difference:

  • Participants will be given full consideration for admission to Drake’s professional pharmacy program including the opportunity to complete the required interview and writing assessment.
  • A pharmacy faculty mentor/advisor and the CPHS Office of Academic and Student Affairs are available to provide resources and support for students.
  • Participants receive the opportunity to join professional pharmacy and state organization membership,providing an opportunity to network with pharmacists and professional program students.
  • Students enroll in a four-semester Career, Academic and Professional Success (CAPS) course serieswhere they gain interview preparation skills, job shadowing experiences, career exploration opportunities and University resources.
  • The PCAT requirement is waived for application to Drake’s professional pharmacy program (required by a majority of other pharmacy programs).

The following requirements for consideration of the student’s professional program admission application must be completed by the end of the spring semester of the second year of pre-pharmacy unless otherwise indicated:

  • Direct admission out of high school into the pre-pharmacy program.
  • Earn a minimum of a 3.00 required math/science GPA and a 3.00 overall GPA. Courses may be repeated one time.
  • Complete and pass all required math/science pre-pharmacy coursework:
       · BIO 12/12L, 13/13L, and 95 (general biology plus labs; microbiology),   
       · CHEM 1, 2, 3, 4, 107, 108, 109, 110 (inorganic and organic chemistry plus labs)   
       · MATH 50 (calculus)   
       · STAT 60 (biostatistics)
  • Successfully complete PHAR 11, 31, 51, 71
  • In the event that some of the above courses were completed during high school through Advanced Placement and/or dualcredit with another institution, complete all remaining required math and science coursework at Drake.
  • Complete a total of 63 credits including additional pre-pharmacy requirements by the end of the summer term prior toenrollment in the professional program. Enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours at Drake University each semester.
  • Complete all academic requirements and be in good standing with the University.
  • Satisfactorily resolve all outstanding financial obligations owed to the University.

Admission to the pre-pharmacy program and participation does not guarantee admittance to Drake’s professional pharmacy program. 
Final admission decisions are determined by the quality and quantity of the full applicant pool.

Applicants will be evaluated on the content and quality of all of the items listed below:

  • PharmCAS application and Drake Supplemental Form submitted with all fees by the due date at the beginning of the second pre-pharmacy year (
  • Academic performance and strength of math/science and overall coursework. Students offered final admission may have GPAs much higher than the minimums.
  • Interview
  • Writing assessment

Students who do not meet application deadlines or do not complete both the interview or writing assessment when scheduled may have their application review deferred.

PharmD Difference - Pre-Pharmacy Timeline

  • First year (Fall/Spring)
        -Organization meetings and professional development through CAPS
  • First year (Spring)
        -Mock Interviews

  • Second year (Fall)
        -Submit applications
        -Interview and writing assessment

  • Second year (Spring)
        -Conditional Decision

  • Following second year
        -Confirmation of Decision

Statistics & Facts:


  • Drake offers a number of combined degree programs, including the Masters of Business Administration (PharmD/MBA), Masters of Public Administration (PharmD/MPA), and Jurisprudence Doctorate (PharmD/JD).
  • Roughly 30% of grads go on to residency or other post-graduate education, compared to less than 20% nationwide.
  • 99% of Alumni rate the overall quality of their Drake education experience as very good
  • 100% Placement of graduates within six months of graduation since 1984
  • Drake Pharmacy graduates have a 96% first time pass rate on the national board exam

Frequently Asked Questions....

1.  What is the College looking for in granting admission to the PharmD program?
Recognizing that professional program applicants have a variety of educational and professional experiences, the faculty in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences have put into place an admission process that will assure that admitted students have the potential for academic and professional success. Since the philosophy of the faculty is that students are individuals and not 'numbers', an admission process has been developed that allows the College to get to know the individual applicants and not merely consider an applicant's academic profile only. The faculty has determined several characteristics important for pharmacists to possess in addition to academic abilities.The top characteristics included:

  • motivation
  • values/ethics
  • communication skills
  • self-learner abilities
  • desire for self-improvement
  • open-mindedness
  • professionalism

 Few of these personal characteristics can be assessed by considering a grade point average. Thus, the application process for pre-pharmacy students is composed of two phases designed to assess applicant academic and professional capabilities.

2.  How are the interview and writing assessment structured? 
Because interpersonal skills are so important to the pharmacy profession, the interview is an integral part of the admission process. The interview will occur in the fall of the sophomore year.  Each student will meet with two faculty/staff members and a current student. Questions will be asked to assist the College in ascertaining the students thoughts and skills in these areas:

  • motivation
  • values/ethics
  • communication skills
  • self-learner abilities
  • desire for self-improvement
  • open-mindedness
  • professionalism

The writing sample will allow students to demonstrate their written communication abilities. Students will receive a written prompt provided by the College and will be asked to write an essay to answer the prompt. Proper grammar and spelling will be examined as well as the formulation of the written response.

3.  Is there any help in preparing for the interview?
Absolutely! Drake students have historically been very successful in the interview process, partly due to their familiarity with Drake College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences culture. More recently, additional resources have been implemented to assist students in preparation for the interview. Students now have an opportunity to complete a mock interview through the CAPS (Career, Academic, and Professional Success) course. Every pre-pharmacy student is encouraged to sign up for a mock interview, which will take place in the spring term of the first year. Not only will this help students prepare for their interview for admission into the professional program, but will also provide experience as students interview for future employment opportunities.

4.  What role will the interview play in the admission process?
The admission decision is based both on academics and communication skills. Students who have been admitted to the pre-pharmacy program have already demonstrated strong communication skills. Pre-pharmacy students should take advantage of the interview preparation opportunities. Both academics and communication skills are factors of the admission decision. The interview is not the only factor in gaining admission to the professional program. Academics are also a very important aspect.

5.  When will I interview and complete my writing assessment?
Pre-pharmacy students will interview in the fall semester of the second year of pre-pharmacy. Students will submit their PharmCAS application and Drake University CPHS supplemental form by Sept. 15. Once the applications are received, the interview and writing assessment will be scheduled.

6.  When will I be notified of my conditional decision?
Pre-pharmacy students will be notified early in the spring semester of the second year of pre-pharmacy for conditional admission, wait list or denial decisions. If a student is awarded conditional admission, the student needs to fulfill the academic requirements in order to progress into the professional program. Once spring semester grades are posted, the official admission decision will be communicated to the student. If a student does not receive conditional admission, the student will still be considered for the final pool, which will be determined at the end of the spring term of the sophomore year.

7.  Is the PCAT required of students in the pre-pharmacy program?
No, the College waives the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) requirement for Drake pre-pharmacy students. Drake does not factor any PCAT scores into the admission decision for Drake pre-pharmacy students.

8.  What are my chances for getting into the PharmD program if I am in pre-pharmacy at Drake?
Chances of being admitted are very good. In the past, approximately 50%-70% of the students who complete pre-pharmacy at Drake are awarded admission into the professional program; many of those who do not progress did not apply because they decided not to pursue pharmacy as a career.

9.  What are my chances for getting into Drake's PharmD program if I decide not to enroll in pre-pharmacy at Drake?
Students can still apply, however, they are not guaranteed an interview and are required to take the PCAT. Also, students who are not awarded admission into pre-pharmacy cannot take advantage of all of the Drake PharmD Difference benefits such as: academic mentors, pharmacy orientation courses, interview preparation, and professional/state organization memberships. The College holds a number of information sessions for students to learn more about the admission process for the professional program.

10.  Can I get credit for AP, IB, or dual college credit?  How will that work in the pre-pharmacy curriculum?
Yes. If a student decides to use the earned transfer credit (C or better and identified course equivalent) or AP credit, the student does not need to take the course at Drake.  A College representative will meet with each student at orientation to determine the best academic plan for the student. Every student's abilities and goals are different.  Drake sees each student as an individual and will provide attention to the student to create a plan that is in the student's best interest. Click here to see a list of AP/IB/CLEP credits. Students who have completed a year of Chemistry and Biology course work along with 24 other college credits may be able to complete the pre-pharmacy course work in one year. Students should contact the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for additional information regarding this option.

11.  Can I complete a study abroad experience as a pre-pharmacy or pharmacy student? 
Drake students are able to complete study abroad experience during either semester of the sophomore year of pre-pharmacy.  In addition, a number of summer opportunities are available for academic credit. Students also have the opportunity to complete one rotation abroad during the P4 year in locations such as Belize, New Zealand, Australia, France, South Africa among others.


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July 17, 2015
Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs and Director of Experiential Education Cheryl Clarke, PH’86, was recently selected as a Fellow of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
June 30, 2015