What should you look for when reviewing a list of pharmacy schools ranked? The best pharmacy school acceptance rates? The easiest pharmacy schools to get into? But cost, location and extracurricular activities are also things you have to consider when thinking about where you want to apply. This list will give you another metric that we think is most relevant, but even though we hope this list gives you some idea of where to apply, it’s important to choose a pharmacy school that you feel comfortable for whatever reason, be it cost, location or pharmacy school requirements. This article will list pharmacy schools in the US and pharmacy schools in Canada, along with important admission information, and also discuss whether pharmacy schools ranked lists really matter. 


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9 min read

Pharmacy Schools Ranked (US) Pharmacy Schools Ranked (Canada) What to Look for in a Pharmacy School Pharmacy Schools Ranked: What you Need to Get into Pharmacy School Conclusion FAQs

Pharmacy Schools Ranked (US)

This list of pharmacy schools in the US will be ranked according to their most recent North American Pharmacist Licensing Examination (NAPLEX) rates for first-time attempts. We think this provides the best window into the quality of a pharmacy school’s curriculum, faculty and overall mission, if students are adequately prepared, and are successful in overcoming this final step to becoming a pharmacist.

Want to learn how to answer "Why Do You Want To Be A Pharmacist?" during your pharmacy school interview? Watch this video:

1. University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 45%

Minimum GPA to Apply: 2.5

Minimum PCAT Score: optional

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 98%

2. Union University College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 21%

Minimum GPA: 3.5

Minimum PCAT Score:

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 98%

3. University of Michigan College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 24%

Average GPA: 3.63

Average PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

4. University of Colorado Anschutz Skaggs School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 26%

Minimum GPA to Apply: 3.63

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

5. Thomas Jefferson University Jefferson College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 12%

Minimum GPA to Apply: 3.0

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

6. Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Acceptance Rate: 38%

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

7. South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Minimum GPA to Apply: 2.5

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94%

8. University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Average GPA: 3.57

Average PCAT Score: 87.44

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94%

9. Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 21.2%

Average GPA: 3.20

Average PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

10. Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 45%

Minimum GPA: 2.75-3.0

Minimum PCAT Score: 50 Percentile (required if GPA under 3.0)

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

11. University of Findlay College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 18%

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Minimum PCAT Score:

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

12. University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 25.4%

Average GPA: 3.46

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

13. University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 52%

Average GPA: 3.5

Minimum PCAT Score: preferred/required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 92%

14. University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Average GPA: 3.0-4.0

Minimum PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 92%

15. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 31%

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Minimum PCAT Score: optional

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 91%

16. University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: n/a

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Minimum PCAT Score: optional

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 91%

17. Ohio State University College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 34%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 27.8%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 6.3%

Average GPA: 3.33

Average PCAT Score: 422

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 90%

18. Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 22%

Average GPA: 3.5

Average PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 89%

19. Oregon State University College of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 22%

Average GPA: 2.7

Average PCAT Score: not required

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 89%

20. University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Acceptance Rate: 24%

Minimum GPA: 3.0

Average PCAT Score: not required if GPA above 3.0

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 89%

Pharmacy Schools Ranked (Canada)

There are only 11 pharmacy schools in Canada, which means that it is difficult to get into these programs, given the limited number. For this pharmacy schools ranked list, we ranked them according to least expensive program to the most. Pharmacy school acceptance rates in Canada are not always made available but also because Canadian pharmacy students have a different path to being licensed in Canada that does require NAPLEX but the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada's (PEBC).

According to the PEBC, the aggregate pass rate of all domestic Canadian pharmacy graduates is divided between the two-parts of the Qualifying Examination – the Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Last year Canadian graduates scored:

Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ)

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

This should you give you a picture of the quality of Canadian pharmacy schools to prepare their students to gain licensure. As this is a national average, it would best to differentiate among all the pharmacy schools in Canada based on whether they are among the easiest pharmacy schools to get into according to cost. But we’ll also include other information, such as GPA or PCAT requirements.

1. Université de Montréal

Tuition (in-province): $6,048/year

Tuition (out-of-province): $15,213/year

Acceptance Rate (in-province): 10.9%

Acceptance Rate (out-of-province): 8.9%

Minimum GPA: n/a

Average PCAT Score: not required

2. Memorial University

Tuition: $15,334/year

Acceptance Rate: 24%

Minimum GPA: 70%

Average PCAT Score: not required

3. Université Laval

Tuition (in-province): $18,941/year

Tuition (out-of-province): $25,052/year

Acceptance Rate (in-province): 11.6%

Minimum GPA: n/a

Average PCAT Score: not required

4. University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy

Tuition: $17,030/year

Acceptance Rate: 21.82%

Minimum GPA: 75%

Average PCAT Score: not required

5. University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Tuition (in-province): $18,060/year

Tuition (out-of-province): $19,530/year

Tuition (international): $49,480/year

Acceptance Rate: 24%

Minimum GPA: 75%

Average PCAT Score: not required

6. Université d'Ottawa Programme de pharmacie (PharmD)

Tuition: $18,500/year

Acceptance Rate: n/a%

Minimum GPA: 75%

Average PCAT Score: not required

7. University of Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

Tuition: $20,983/year

Acceptance Rate: 41.6%

Acceptance Rate (in-province): 35%

Acceptance Rate (out-of-province): 19.4%

Minimum GPA: 70%

Average PCAT Score: not required

8. University of Manitoba Faculty of Pharmacy

Tuition (Canadian): $21,600 year

Acceptance Rate (in-province): n/a

Minimum GPA: 83%

Average PCAT Score: not required

9. Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy

Tuition: $24,031/year

Acceptance Rate: 21.82%

Minimum GPA: 70%

Average PCAT Score: not required

10. University of British Columbia Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Tuition (Canadian): $25,188/year

Acceptance Rate: n/a

Minimum GPA: 70%

Average PCAT Score: not required

11. University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Tuition (Canadian): $31,328/year

Tuition (International): $14,197/year

Acceptance Rate (in-province): 34.2%

Minimum GPA: 87%

Average PCAT Score: not required

What to Look for in a Pharmacy School

1. The Variety of Programs

There are many paths to take to get into pharmacy school, and maybe that is important to you if you are a non-traditional student, working professional or even a recent undergraduate. All these pharmacy schools offer several pathways to enter their programs, whether it is a bridge program for undergraduates, a second-entry PharmD program, dual-degree programs (PharmD/MBA; PharmD/MPH; PharmD/MHA), or continuing education programs for practicing pharmacists. But you should also be thinking about where do you see yourself in 5 years, so, the amount of residency options, and post-graduate opportunities the school offers are also crucial, if you want to pursue specialized training or have specific career plans (hospital or community-pharmacist; industry pharmacist). Post-graduate statistics should also figure into how you choose a pharmacy school, which leads to our next consideration.

2. Graduation/Employment Rate

Figuring out an objective, evidence-based methodology to grade the quality of pharmacy schools is a pressing issue. Many believe that the current system of commercial interests creating and publishing pharmacy schools ranked lists is neither scientific, nor transparent. However, until a fair and accurate system is devised, many scholars feel that looking at a school’s NAPLEX pass-rate, graduation rate and employment rate for recent graduates is (for now) the best way to gauge the quality of a pharmacy school, the same way that you would choose a medical school with the best match rates if you wanted to go to medical school. We based our list of pharmacy schools in the US this way because it is objective measure of students’ preparedness for an essential test. It is also a readily available statistic that many schools publish on their websites, so it is also the most accessible. The NAPLEX pass rate is also more accurate than commercial lists that rely on subjective opinions and views held by pharmacy school deans that are not made public.

3. Cost

According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, over 80% of graduating pharmacy students reported having borrowed money (through public and private loans) to pay for pharmacy school. The debt levels for graduating students in the US is between $160,000 to $200,000. In Canada, the range is slightly less, near $100,000 to $150,000. Wherever you decide to attend, it will be difficult to avoid taking on debt. However, one way to reduce costs is by choosing a program that is either closest to you or, preferably, in your home state/province, so you can pay in-resident tuition, while also benefitting from public and private loans, scholarships, or work-study programs that many pharmacy schools also offer.

4. Length of Program

Depending on what you want to achieve as a pharmacist or by going to pharmacy school, you may want to choose a program based on how long pharmacy school is, as there are several different program lengths in both the US and Canada. Some programs can last three years, while others can last for up to five. It’s important to know “why do you want to be a pharmacist?” as there are so many routes you can take after graduation. You can continue in a pharmacy residency that can extend your training for up to a year or more. But you can also decide to enter private practice. Another path is entering the public or private sector, where you can also perform a residency if you are interested in either career path. If you have a specific idea of your goals as a pharmacist, accelerated programs offer the fastest way to becoming one, even if they are more challenging than the four-or-five-year programs.

Pharmacy Schools Ranked: What you Need to Get into Pharmacy School

1. A Good GPA

A majority of pharmacy schools in the US and Canada have a minimum GPA pharmacy school requirement so, you have to make sure you meet the minimums for the schools you want to apply to. They are also not forgiving. Many schools will not review your application if your GPA is even one percentage point under the minimum, so if you’re one point below you should think about taking a master’s or post-bac program that will help either increase your GPA, or meet all the prerequisites. Pharmacy schools will also look at your entire academic history, so your overall performance over your four-years as an undergrad is important. However, some programs, such as the University of Toronto, only require completion of the pharmacy school requirements, so you can also apply without a full bachelor’s degree.

2. Prepare for the CASPer

Many pharmacy schools in both the US and Canada have made submitting CASPer scores a mandatory requirement. They also make it a significant part of your admission decision, with many stating that CASPer scores count for 25 or 30% of their decision, so you should look into CASPer test prep. You should familiarize yourself with the test by reading over CASPer test categories and reviewing CASPer personal questions with sample answers so you can get an idea of what would make the best answer. But another way to prepare for the CASPer is by reading the news and staying up-to-date not only on topics involving pharmacology, but medical and scientific ethics, prescription drug policy, health insurance debates, and evolving regulatory changes to the pharmaceutical industry to have a wide base of knowledge to answer any questions about policy.

3. Put Effort into Interview Prep

Another important step of getting into a PharmD program is passing the pharmacy school interviews. The format of pharmacy school interviews can vary. Some programs use traditional, panel interviews, while others prefer multiple-mini-interviews (MMI). However, another interview format is the online individual assessment, where you answer pre-recorded questions with taped responses that are then viewed by the admissions committee. Regardless, you should prepare for your interview after submitting your application by either reading over your pharmacy school personal statement and writing out answers to common pharmacy school interview questions such as “what can you contribute as a student?” or familiarizing yourself with MMI practice questions. You should also do mock interviews in either format to help prepare yourself to deal with the pressure of the real interview, and to refine your answers.

4. Get the Right Experiences

Not all pharmacy schools will require you have professional or research experience in pharmacology when you apply, but some do, so you should find out whether your program requires them. Getting the right extracurriculars for pharmacy school is as important to your admission chances as your pharmacy school letters of recommendation or your interview, especially if your program requires some professional experience on your pharmacy school CV. You can also choose from a wide-range of experiences – from volunteering in a food bank to joining a pharmacy student association or working in a clinical setting – that will help you develop a more diverse skill-set; the kind of skill-set that pharmacy schools look for in applicants. 

Conclusion

This pharmacy schools ranked list was based on two factors for each country – NAPLEX pass rate for the US; tuition (from least expensive to most) for pharmacy schools in Canada, which we believe are what most people would look for in a pharmacy school program, although there are many other ways to assess a program. You can use this pharmacy schools ranked list to help make your decision, but you should also do your own research into these programs by contacting them and speaking with admissions officers directly.

FAQs

1. How are these pharmacy schools ranked?

This pharmacy schools ranked list is based on NAPLEX pass rates for pharmacy schools in the US, and tuition for pharmacy schools in Canada; the list of Canadian programs is based only on tuition, and does not factor in costs such as living expenses, transportation, and books. 

2. Which pharmacy school should I go to?

There are many ways to consider a pharmacy school program, as we listed above, but the NAPLEX pass rate speaks most to a program’s ability to prepare students, while a program with low tuition makes it possible for the most amount of people to become pharmacists. You should also consider a program’s location, length and faculty-to-student ratio.  

3. What is the best pharmacy school in the US?

According to our rankings, the University of Puerto Rico pharmacy program in the US has the best NAPLEX pass rate. 

4. What is the best pharmacy school in Canada?

The Université de Montreal and Memorial University offer the lowest tuition and easiest access to a PharmD program in Canada. 

5. What GPA should I have to get into these pharmacy schools?

The GPA requirements vary between all these different schools, but you should aim to have anywhere between a 3.0-3.5 or a 70-75% for Canadian applicants. 

6. What PCAT score should I have?

Almost none of the pharmacy programs in Canada require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test, while only a handful in the US still require it, as the PCAT is set to be discontinued in 2025. If you are applying to a program that does require it, you should aim to have a score of at least 400 to be considered, or above 413 to be competitive. 

7. What else do I need to get into pharmacy schools?

You need to have a good GPA, a well-written personal statement, letters of recommendation from either academic or professional sources, get good CASPer scores and you have to perform well on your pharmacy school interview. 

8. How should I choose a pharmacy school?

You should choose a pharmacy school based on what your career goals are, as well as the cost, length, location and post-graduate opportunities the school offers. You can also go their NAPLEX pass rate, graduation and employment rate, while also choosing a program that is most affordable to you. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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