Admissions Requirements

Information on Admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy Program 

Prior to matriculation into the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, all accepted applicants must have completed the requirements for the bachelor's degree (B.S. or B.A.). Applicants who have not earned a degree or who will not have earned one prior to the start of classes in the Fall will not be considered. Students currently enrolled in a community college must transfer to a four-year college or university so as to complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

Applicants who have earned a degree from a school outside of the United States must have completed at least one year of full-time study at a four-year college or university in the United States prior to application. A four-year college or university is one that is accredited to award bachelor’s degrees. Enrollment in a community college does not satisfy this requirement. 

UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will accept online courses taken remotely from Spring 2020 until Summer 2021, and beyond as needed for individual institutions whose COVID-19 restrictions may still be in place starting Fall 2021.  We will accept pass/fail grades, but only if no letter grade option is available.  Please contact our offices if you have any questions:

Academic Requirements

We ask that prospective applicants use their best professional judgment to determine whether completed, in-progress, and planned coursework meets our academic requirements. Additionally, applicants can check our Institution Course Equivalencies page to determine if they have completed our pre-requisite requirements. In general, we align our requirements with pre-med/health coursework.

  • A minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 along with an overall science GPA of a 2.8 is required to apply.
  • Entrance examinations such as the P.C.A.T or G.R.E. are not required or considered in the admissions review process.
  • No specific undergraduate major is recommended or required, but a solid understanding of the fundamental sciences is essential for the study of the pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.
  • Applicants must have successfully completed the following pre-requisite coursework at an accredited college or university in the United States.  For those who graduated outside of the United States, please refer to our International Transcripts page for details on pre-requisite coursework.

Applicants must submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Evaluators that will not be accepted are:  clergy, family members, friends, or politicians.  If an applicant chooses to include an evaluator from this list, they will still require a minimum of three additional evaluations from accepted evaluators.

Please note that additional signatures will be required if applicants receive a letter from:

  • Teaching Assistants (TA) - must be co-signed by the Professor
  • Pharmacy Technicians - must be co-signed by the Pharmacist
  • Postdoctoral Students - must be co-signed by the Principal Investigator (PI)

Applicants may not submit on behalf of their evaluators, which may include but is not limited to, using past evaluations for other applications/programs.

Category Requirement Units Notes
Biology One year lecture and laboratory of Biology* 12 quarter or 8 semester units Must include (1) cell and molecular biology and (2) the study of the biology of whole animals or humans
Chemistry One year lecture and laboratory of General chemistry* 12 quarter or 8 semester units  
Organic Chemistry One year lecture and laboratory of Organic Chemistry* 12 quarter or 8 semester units  
Physics 2 courses, Physics I and Physics II with at least one laboratory* 8 quarter or 6 semester units  


* Should be a course sequence designed for science/pre health majors. Fundamental and Introductory science courses for non-science majors are not acceptable.

If multiple courses are offered in the same subject area, the courses taken should be the most academically demanding courses available at the college or university attended. It is also strongly recommended that students take upper division courses in biochemistry, physiology, and cellular and molecular biology. These courses will better prepare students for the rigorous curriculum provided at UC San Diego.


Category Requirement & Units Notes
Calculus 2 courses, Calculus I and Calculus II (8 quarter or 6 semester units) With Analytical Geometry
English 2 courses, English I and English II (8 quarter or 6 semester units) Must include English with a writing component. English as a Second Language courses are not acceptable to meet this requirement.
Economics 1 course (4 quarter or 3 semester units) Macro or Microeconomics
Public Speaking or Debate 1 course (4 quarter or 3 semester units) May not be an online course unless the course was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Human Behavior 1 course (4 quarter or 3 semester units) May include a course in psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology or related course





All required courses must be completed by the end of the summer term prior to matriculation in the fall.

The ability to express oneself clearly in both oral and written English is essential.

Policy on Time Limit for Pre-Requisite Coursework

Our policy is that students who have taken pre-requisite coursework more than 10 years prior to the time of application must repeat that coursework. Some exceptions to this policy may be provided for coursework whose content is not time sensitive or when an applicant has been working in an environment that allowed the applicant to remain up-to-date on the subject.

Examples of non-time sensitive coursework are English literature, public speaking, calculus and other non-science courses.

Exceptions will only be granted by the Admissions Office upon review of the applicant's academic and/or work history.

If you have any questions please email us at

Institution Course Equivalencies

The Office of Admissions has created Institution Course Equivalencies for many U.S. and International schools.   Please click here for more information.

Advanced Placement Credit Policy

Limited credit for Advanced Placement examinations taken in high school will be provided if the student's undergraduate school has accepted the examination, provided course credit and posted the credit to the student's transcript.  See the Policy on Advanced Placement Scores.

International Baccalaureate Examination Acceptance Policy

Only Higher Level (HL) Exams are accepted. Credit toward pre-requisite requirements will be provided for International Baccalaureate HL Examinations depending on the examination and the score attained.  See the Policy on International Baccalaureate Scores. 

Policy on Time Limit for Pre-requisite Coursework

See Academic Requirements folder at the top of this list for the information.

Prepare to Apply

Application To-Do List

PharmCAS Application Tips

Registration Fee Deposit

See Admissions FAQ's for more information about this topic. 

A registration fee deposit is not required at this time, but this could change in the future. 

California State Residency Requirements

Information concerning residency requirements for tuition purposes can be found on the UC San Diego Registrar's Office website. Inquiries regarding residence requirements, determination, and/or recognized exceptions should be directed to the UC San Diego Residence Deputy, Office of the Registrar, 9500 Gilman Dr. Dept 0021R, La Jolla, CA 92093-0021. No other University personnel are authorized to supply information relative to residence requirements for tuition purposes.

Health Requirements

Each new student is required to upload an Immunization Requirement Form and a Tuberculosis Health Assessment Form completed and signed by their health care provider prior to the start of the Fall Quarter.  Each student is responsible for uploading their forms into the UC San Diego Student Health EPIC MyStudentChart Portal.  Please refer to your admissions letter for details.  Additionally, the Student Health Services website will provide information on these health related requirements.

All students are required to receive an influenza vaccine in the Fall of each year. Each year students are also required to update their Tuberculosis Health Assessment.  The Office of Experiential Education will send information and reminders to students regarding necessary documentation for the annual flu vaccine, tuberculosis screening, and any other necessary health testing.

Computer Literacy Requirement

A minimum set of specifications will be provided prior to matriculation.

CPR Certification Requirement

All new students are required to become CPR certified before starting classes in the Fall quarter.  Each Summer, prior to matriculation, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will offer approved trainings to the incoming students.  These trainings are approved by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.  More information will be sent to the students in the Spring of each year including specific dates of the CPR trainings. 


Technical Standards for Admission Requirement

The faculty of the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have established Technical Standards for Admission and Completion of the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. Applicants should review these technical standards to assure that they can achieve them. Students with disabilities will be accommodated with reasonable accommodations. Students who are accepted into the School will be provided with a copy of the standards and will be asked to verify that they can meet the standards with reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. You can view a copy of the Technical Standards.


Transportation Requirement

A major portion of the curriculum involves Introductory (IPPE) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE). These experiences take place at a variety of locations around the San Diego region. All students who matriculate into the School must be available to fulfill the IPPE and APPE requirements. Therefore, students must have transportation available to them that will allow them to be present at IPPE and APPE locations on assigned days and times. These sites could be at locations throughout San Diego County, ranging from the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in the north, to the Mexican Border in the south, from the La Jolla area in the west to the El Cajon valley in the east.

For more information on available public transit options, please explore the following links:

Criminal Background Check Requirement

Most health care training sites now require students to undergo a criminal background check in order to participate in educational activities within that institution.  Therefore, all students who matriculate into our school of pharmacy must agree to undergo a criminal background check (CBC) upon entering the school.  An additional background check may be required after a break in enrollment of one quarter or more.  Some sites also require trainees to undergo urine drug testing.  Students are expected to pay for the cost of the criminal background check.  Our school of pharmacy utilizes the PharmCAS Certiphi.  In this program, applicants who receive an offer of admission from the School will be notified through PharmCAS and required to complete a criminal background check. The results will be forwarded to the applicant for review and then to the school of pharmacy.  For applicants who have received an offer but who have not yet matriculated, identification of unprofessional conduct or issues that will preclude participation in IPPEs or APPEs will be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Admissions and Outreach and the decision to admit may be revoked. There is no appeal for a decision not to admit.