Best Pharmacy Schools in the US

January 30, 2024
Contents

”Akhil

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 10/11/23

Are you interested in a career in pharmaceuticals? Read on to learn about the best pharmacy schools in the US.

If you have always dreamed about working in the pharmaceutical industry—whether you want to obtain your PharmD degree and become a licensed pharmacist or continue to further your education—your journey will start with selecting the right pharmacy school.

Where you decide to go to pharmacy school can influence your career, depending on the opportunities that are available. To help you narrow down your options, we've put together a list of the best pharmacy schools in the US. We’ll give a brief overview of each school, provide their NAPLEX pass rates, and discuss key details about their programs. 

Let’s get started!

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Top 10 Pharmacy Schools in the US

Here’s our list of the best pharmacy schools in the US, based on data from US News.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 97%

Coming in the top spot of the best pharmacy schools in the US is the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. UNC Chapel Hill has been dedicated to the study of pharmaceuticals for 125 years, making it one of the nation’s oldest pharmaceutical science institutions!

UNC Chapel Hill is focused on being a global leader in pharmacy and pharmaceutical studies, with an innovative curriculum for all relevant fields. The outcomes for the curriculum are as follows:

  • Exemplary pharmacy practitioners who provide high-quality, team-based, patient-centered care;
  • Innovators who can identify opportunities and lead teams toward improvement, positively impacting human health and healthcare; 
  • Lifelong learners who continually strive for positive impact, both personally and professionally

Since UNC Chapel Hill has been recognized as one of the best Pharmacy schools in the nation, it has received many endowments and research grants over the years. To date, UNC Chapel Hill has over $103.1 million in endowments and $39 million in external research grants, which has resulted in 161 invention disclosures, 231 active patents, and 48 formed startups. 

PharmD

The four-year PharmD program at UNC Chapel Hill aims to turn prospective students into experienced, knowledgeable, and influential pharmaceutical practitioners and leaders.

The program is offered on two campuses, Chapel Hill and Asheville. All first-year students will take their courses in Chapel Hill and subsequently have the option to choose between Chapel Hill and Asheville in their second year onward.

UNC Chapel Hill also offers a joint PharmD/MBA program, perfect for those looking to gain more business knowledge alongside completing their PharmD.

Other Programs

In addition to the PharmD program, the College of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill offers the following:

With four unique postgraduate pharmaceutical programs, UNC Chapel Hill has something for everyone.

University of California - San Francisco

Location: San Francisco, California

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

In sunny San Francisco, you'll find the second-best pharmacy school in the US—the University of California-San Francisco.

This school may be your top choice if you're passionate about research. Why? The answer lies in the school's accolades. Every year over the past four decades, the College of Pharmacy has been recognized as the #1 recipient of research funding from the National Institute of Health. 

PharmD Program

If you want to finish your PharmD program as quickly as possible, you'll want to attend UCSF. The rigorous curriculum, which focuses on a problem-solving, scientific approach to pharmaceuticals, is completed in a three-year program instead of the traditional four-year PharmD program. The school also offers two joint PharmD programs: the PharmD/MCSR (Masters in Science in Clinical Research) program and the PharmD to PhD program.

Other Programs

UCSF offers many other programs in their college of Pharmacy, including:

These programs vary in length, but each one offers a unique research experience in the field of Pharmaceuticals. 

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

Are you looking for value in your pharmaceutical education? Look no further than the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. The school prides itself in being known as the best value pharmacy school in the US.

PharmD Program

Those that choose to pursue the PharmD program will have an experience unlike any other. Students will receive a world-class curriculum taught by leaders in the pharmaceutical industry and enjoy a smaller, more intimate classroom setting, with a 4:1 student-faculty ratio and 85 students per class.

Just over 94% of graduates from the UMich School of Pharmacy felt that the school contributed to their success post-education, and 90.1% of graduates said they would choose the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Pharmacy again.

Other Programs

In addition to the PharmD program, the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor offers multiple programs within the Pharmaceutical field. They are as follows:

Those that are looking for a great value in their pharmaceutical education coupled with a small-school feel will enjoy the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. 

University of Minnesota

Location: Twin Cities or Duluth, Minnesota

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 81%

The University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy has been in the pharmaceutical industry for over 125 years. As the only pharmacy school in Minnesota, it's estimated that the University of Minnesota has educated two-thirds of working pharmacists within the state.

PharmD Program

The university’s PharmD program is spread between two campuses in Duluth, MN, and Twin Cities, MN. The programs are taught simultaneously in interactive technology classrooms, so students can choose whatever campus they prefer to study in.

On average, 20-40 students study at the Duluth campus, with 80-100 calling the Twin Cities campus home.

The PharmD program at the University of Minnesota can also be found in many dual degree programs, such as:

  • A PharmD/MBA program
  • A PharmD/MHI (Masters in Health Informatics) program
  • A PharmD/MPH (Masters in Public Health) program

The variety of PharmD programs at the University of Minnesota makes it a great choice for those that have multiple interests.

Other Programs

Other programs within the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota include:

Regardless of the program chosen, students will enjoy a curriculum customizable to their needs and interests. 

University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, Florida

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 86%

The College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida has long been committed to providing a stellar pharmaceutical education. It has been ranked #1 in diversity among students compared to other pharmaceutical programs

PharmD Program

The PharmD program at the University of Florida prides itself on having a rigorous, innovative curriculum that gives students the preparation and education they need to become leaders in pharmaceutical health and science. 

The university has led the nation in students matching into competitive pharmacy residency programs for six of the seven last years, with their most recent class matching at hospitals and healthcare facilities in over 22 states.

Other Programs

For those looking for alternative programs in pharmaceuticals, the University of Florida offers the following programs:

If you’re someone that values a strong opportunity to match into a residency program after your PharmD education, the University of Florida is the school for you. 

University of Kentucky

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 83%

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but the University of Kentucky is the exception when it comes to the study of pharmaceuticals. The College of Pharmacy at the school, which has been operating for over 150 years, is home to the world's most extensive pharmacy and education research building.

PharmD Program

The four-year PharmD program combines a groundbreaking curriculum with collaborative coursework taught by an award-winning faculty. 

A big proponent of the PharmD program lies in the experiential program courses. The University of Kentucky offers students the opportunity to gain experience during the summer through their first to third years. During the fourth year of study, students will gain supervised, on-the-job experience throughout the entire year.

The University also offers dual degrees within the program. They are as follows:

Other Programs

In addition to the PharmD program, the College of Pharmacy also offers a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Ohio State University

Location: Columbus, Ohio

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 90%

If you’ve always wanted to attend a pharmaceutical school rich with history, then Ohio State University may be the school for you. 

Established in 1886, the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State was one of six original colleges on campus. Since then, the program has expanded rapidly and is home to a world-class facility, paving the way for the next generation of leaders in Pharmacy studies.

PharmD Program

Are you interested in on-the-job experience while being enrolled in your PharmD program? If so, consider looking into Ohio State University.

The PharmD curriculum offers working experience throughout all four years of study, through the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) and the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE). The benefit of these work experiences is immense—those that complete the PharmD program at Ohio State will come out ahead of their peers in other programs.

Ohio State offers many joint PharmD programs, including the PharmD/MBA, PharmD/PhD, and the PharmD/MS in Translational Pharmacology program. 

Other Programs

If you’re looking for an alternative route to study pharmaceuticals at Ohio State, the additional offerings include:

If you’re looking for a school that combines a world-class pharmaceutical education with on-the-job working experience, look no further than Ohio State. 

Purdue University

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 87%

The iconic Purdue University is home to many elite schools of study, and its College of Pharmacy is no different. 

PharmD Program

Like many other pharmacy colleges, Purdue University subscribes to the idea of experiential learning within its four-year PharmD curriculum. In fact, experiential learning consists of 30% of the curriculum over the span of the entire program. 

Other Programs

The school offers a PharmD program for aspiring pharmacists but also offers a suite of graduate programs, including: 

Alongside these fields of study are corresponding PhD programs, including a PharmD/PhD option available for students who have completed their third year in the PharmD program. 

University of Illinois-Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 82%

If you're all about options, consider attending the University of Illinois-Chicago to further your pharmaceutical career. The school has been around for over 150 years and is considered a trailblazer in the number of offerings of study within the College of Pharmacy.

PharmD Program

Students cannot only choose between two campuses to complete the four-year PharmD program on (the Chicago campus and the Rockford campus), but they can also choose between a PharmD, a PharmD/PhD, or a PharmD/MBA.

If that's enough choice for you, those who enroll in the PharmD program can choose between eight different concentrations that appeal to their interests. They are as follows:

  • Acute Care Pharmacy, 
  • Administration and Leadership
  • Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
  • Experimental Therapeutics and Clinical Research
  • Health Economics and Outcomes Research
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Rural Pharmacy 
  • Urban Pharmacy

Other Programs

The school also offers other graduate programs pertaining to the study of Pharmaceuticals:

If you’re looking for a pharmaceutical program that is tailored to your interests, then the University of Illinois-Chicago is the place to be. 

University of Texas-Austin

Location: Austin, Texas

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 94%

Founded in 1897, the University of Texas-Austin has made a name for itself in the world of pharmaceutical study. The school was ranked #1 in non-federal research funding and 11th in total research funding within the nation.

PharmD Program

The four-year PharmD program boasts a curriculum that teaches an integrated and problem-based approach to disease management as its core teachable.

Students who pursue a PharmD at the University of Texas-Austin will enjoy a blend of hands-on learning with an experiential capstone internship in the fourth year of study.

A joint PharmD/PhD and PharmD/Master of Public Health program are also offered. 

Other Programs

Additional programs of study within Pharmaceutical study at the University of Texas-Austin include: 

If you’re looking to study Pharmaceuticals in the Lone Star state, look no further than the University of Texas-Austin.

Tips to Get Into the Best Pharmacy Schools

Now that you've explored the best pharmacy schools in the US list, it's essential to learn the best ways to strengthen your application and receive an acceptance to the pharmacy school of your choice. We've listed some helpful tips below that should give your application the edge it needs to receive admission.

Gain Working or Volunteer Experience

When applying to pharmacy schools, you’ll want to show the admissions committee that you are passionate about working in healthcare. What better way to do this than to gain valuable experience in the pharmaceutical industry?

This can be done by either gaining paid work experience in the industry (like working in a pharmacy as an assistant), or volunteering.

Your volunteer activities can include anything from working in pop-up clinics, shadowing doctors or pharmacists, as long as you can demonstrate that you have a passion and a commitment to helping others. 

Paid experience or volunteering will provide you with the soft skills that you’ll need to become a pharmacist, like working with people, providing medical advice, exercising patience, and much more. 

Maintaining a High GPA

Any prestigious postgraduate or professional school will expect a high GPA, and pharmacy schools are no different. When first considering applying to pharmacy schools, you should aim to make the highest grades possible, particularly in math and science courses. 

Having a high GPA in select courses will show the admissions committee that you have the knowledge and skill necessary to thrive in your pharmaceutical studies. 

Have a Stellar Letter of Recommendation

You'll need to include a letter of recommendation from a trusted teacher or mentor for many pharmaceutical schools. 

Your application should prove to the admissions committee why you deserve a spot within the program, but an excellent letter of recommendation can propel your application even further.

When someone else can vouch for your potential, it makes your application stand out even more. This is why it is so important to form good relationships with your professors, and prioritize volunteering and work experience so that you can build your network of qualified professionals that would be happy to recommend you!

Write the PCAT

While it’s true that many pharmacy schools within the US do not have a requirement to write the Pharmacy College Admissions Test, it still comes strongly recommended. 

In fact, taking the PCAT can only enhance your application, as it proves to the admissions committee that you have the knowledge and expertise necessary to excel in pharmacy school, and in your pharmaceutical career. 

It will also show your passion for pharmaceutical studies, alongside a willingness to go the extra mile to receive an acceptance. If you choose to write the PCAT, remember to start your study plan as early as possible to give yourself a better chance of receiving a higher score.

FAQs: Best US Pharmacy Schools

If you’re still wondering what the best pharmacy schools are in the United States, we’ve got you covered. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about the top pharmacy schools in the nation.

1. What Is the Number One Pharmacy School in the United States?

The number one pharmacy school in the United States is the University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill.

2. What Is the Best Pharmacy School in the World?

The best pharmacy school in the world is Monash University in Australia.

3. Are There Any Ivy League Pharmacy Schools?

There are Ivy League pharmacy schools, however none of them made the list of top 10 best pharmacy schools in the US. 

4. How Do I Get Into Pharmacy School?

In order to get accepted into pharmacy school, you will need:

  • An undergraduate degree in a science related program
  • A high GPA in science courses within the undergraduate field of study 
  • A supplemental essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Examples of extracurricular activities

Including these in your application is the first step to an admission into pharmacy school.

Final Thoughts

Studying pharmaceuticals can take shape into many different professional and postgraduate programs. 

Remember, everyone's wants and desires when choosing a pharmacy school are different; keep in mind the traits in a college that are most important to you when you are first looking into a postgraduate program in pharmaceuticals.

After reading the list of the pharmacy schools in the US, you should have a better idea of what schools you'd like to attend. Best of luck!

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