The Basics

Applications for pharmacy open annually in mid-July. The application deadline can be anytime from September - December, depending upon the program. Read the instruction manual for PharmCAS and instructions for the programs you will be applying to before beginning the application process. You should consider applying early in the cycle due to application verification and rolling admissions. Programs with rolling admissions will typically provide decisions regarding interviews and/or admissions within a month of completing the application. Some programs offer Early Decision. If you choose Early Decision and are admitted, you are committed to that program. If you are considering Early Decision, you are strongly encouraged to speak with a health professions advisor before choosing Early Decision.

Secondary/supplemental applications or questions may be a part of the application process for programs you are applying to.  This provides you the opportunity to further discuss your interest in a specific program. You may also be required to send additional materials to the programs. It is very important to pay attention to the deadlines, as secondary/supplemental applications often require quick turnaround.

Entrance Exam

Pharmacy schools require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).

Personal Statement

Your personal essay should address why you selected pharmacy as a career and how the Doctor of Pharmacy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. Describe how your personal, educational, and professional background will help you achieve your goals. The personal essay is an important part of your application for admission and provides you with an opportunity for you to clearly and effectively express your ideas.

Do NOT personalize your essay for a particular Pharm.D. program. You can NOT make any edits to your personal statement after you have e-submitted your completed application to PharmCAS. You are encouraged to compose your essay in a text-only word processor (e.g., Notepad), review your essay for errors, then cut and paste the final version into the text box provided by PharmCAS. You can review the formatting of your text after you save it. You are limited to approximately 1 page (4500 characters, including spaces). Some formatting characters used in programs like Word (angled quotes, accents, special characters) will not display properly. Review your final text and to make the necessary corrections to the format. Pharm.D. programs may require additional essays as part of the supplemental application process.


You may submit a maximum of four individual letters of recommendation. Letters can only be sent electronically through PharmCAS. You are responsible for determining the specific type of letters that are required by the programs you are applying to. PharmCAS will NOT determine if you have met the reference requirements for a particular Pharm.D. program.

Letters may be required from:

  1. Science Faculty (2)
  2. Non-Science Faculty (1)
  3. Pharmacist
  4. Faculty Advisor
  5. Employer/Supervisor
  6. Research Mentor
  7. Volunteer Manager


You will need to request transcripts from all institutions you have attended (University of Illinois, community colleges, previous institution, etc.). PharmCAS will calculate a GPA, but individual pharmacy programs may calculate a GPA for institutional use. Repeated courses are included in the PharmCAS GPAs provided to pharmacy programs. However, it is possible that a program will utilize grade replacement and calculate a new GPA.


Pharmacy schools have adopted a variety of interview styles to evaluate applicants. If you are not sure what type of interview the program will be utilizing, you should contact the school for additional information. You are advised to spend time preparing for your interview.  The Career Center conducts mock interviews during the academic year. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss interview preparation.