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.  We will only accept pass/no pass grades if a letter grade option is not available or for special circumstances.  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 cumulative overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 along with a minimum cumulative overall science GPA of 2.8 is required to apply.
  • Entrance examinations such as the P.C.A.T. or G.R.E. are neither required nor 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 prerequisite 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 prerequisite coursework.


Prerequisite Coursework:

Category Requirements Notes
Cell and/or Molecular Biology 1 course of lecture and laboratory  
Anatomy or Microbiology or Biochemistry 1 course of lecture and laboratory  
Physiology 1 course of lecture and laboratory The study of the biology of whole animals or humans
Chemistry One year (or equivalent) lecture and laboratory  
Organic Chemistry One year (or equivalent) lecture and laboratory  
Physics 1 course  
Calculus 1 course  
English Composition 2 courses Must include English with a writing component. English as a Second Language courses are not acceptable to meet this requirement
Economics 1 course Macro or Microeconomics
Public Speaking or Debate 1 course  
Human Behavior 1 course May include a course in psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, or related course


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.

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

Letter of Recommendation Requirements

Applicants must submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation, though three are recommended. Applicants may not submit on behalf of their letter writers, which can include, but is not limited to, using past evaluations for other applications/programs. 

Letter writers that will be accepted include, but are not limited to, the following. Please contact our office if you have questions about whether your letter writers are appropriate.

  • Professors, supervisors, pharmacists, other healthcare professionals, mentors, or academic advisors.

Letter writers that will not be accepted include, but are not limited to, the following. If an applicant chooses to include an evaluator from this list, they will still require a minimum of two additional evaluations from accepted letter writers.

  • Clergy, family members, friends, or politicians.

Additional signatures will be required if applicants receive a letter from:  

  • Teacher’s Assistants (TA) – must be co-signed by the Professor directing the course 
  • Pharmacy Technicians – must be co-signed by a Pharmacist at the same pharmacy 
  • Post-Doctoral Students – must be co-signed by the Principal Investigator (PI)  

Tips for letters of recommendation:  

  • Notify your selected letter writers well in advance and inform them of the PharmCAS application deadline to ensure a strong letter and timely completion.  
  • We recommend choosing letter writers to submit letters of recommendation who know either your academics or your work experience well. Additionally, they should be able to reflect on your personality, characteristics, and traits.  
  • You may consider providing the letter writer with your CV or resume and information on why you’d like to be a pharmacist as well as additional information that may help them write a strong letter for you (special circumstances, organizational and leadership involvement, etc.) 
  • If feasible, take time to meet with your letter writers in-person or virtually to discuss your exploration and passion for pharmacy.   
  • Follow up with your evaluators regularly to track submission.  

Institution Course Equivalencies

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

AP and IB Credit

Prerequisite credit from AP and/or IB examinations taken in high school will be accepted if the student's undergraduate school has accepted the examination, provided course credit, and posted the credit to the student's transcript. Official documentation is not necessary until you have received and accepted an offer of admission with our program and we have requested official transcripts the summer before you start as a P1. At that time, you should either provide official AP and/or IB examination scores or ensure that your official college transcripts provide sufficient information about the credit you received for those examinations.


Interviews are an important and required step of the admissions process. Competitive applicants will be invited to interview in person or virtually in either the fall, winter, or spring quarter depending on when their applications are verified and all required materials received. Applicants can expect to be notified approximately a month in advance of each interview session whether they have been invited.

Interview day structure:

  • Welcome by the Dean and Associate Dean for Admissions and Recruitment
  • Presentation about SSPPS
  • Breakout groups will then complete each of the following three activities in varying order:
    • 30-minute interview
      • 2-on-1 interview with a combination of faculty, alumni, or students
    • Student Host Room
      • Informal chats with current students about anything you want to know
    • School tour (if in person)
      • Guided tours of our Health Sciences campus by current students

For the 2024-2025 PharmCAS application cycle, we will have three in-person interview days and two virtual interview days:

Application Deadline Corresponding Interview Dates Modality
Tuesday, October 1, 2024 Friday, November 8, 2024 Virtual
  Saturday, November 16, 2024 In Person
Wednesday, January 1, 2025 Saturday, February 8, 2025 In Person
  Friday, February 14, 2025 Virtual
Monday, March 3, 2025 Friday, April 4, 2025 In Person

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

UC San Diego SSPPS is a participant in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Criminal Background Check Program. A criminal background check is a requirement for matriculation to most schools of pharmacy including UC San Diego SSPPS. Therefore, all students who matriculate into our school of pharmacy must agree to undergo a criminal background check upon admission. Failure to complete the background check will result in your not being allowed to matriculate in 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.

AACP, who operates the PharmCAS program, has contracted with Certiphi Screening, Inc. to perform the criminal background check. In this program, applicants who receive an offer of admission 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. 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 Recruitment and the decision to admit may be revoked. There is no appeal for a decision not to admit.