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Admissions: Requirements

Information on Admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy Program

Prior to matriculation into the UCSD 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. Click here for more information.

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. Please keep in mind that our academic prerequisites are fairly easy to define. In general, we align our requirements with pre-med/health coursework.

Entrance examinations such as the P.C.A.T or G.R.E. are not required.

No specific undergraduate major is recommended or required, but all applicants must have completed the following minimum pre-requisite coursework at an accredited college or university in the United States.

A minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required to apply.

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 science coursework. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required in each category.

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

* 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 UCSD.

In addition to the above science courses, applicants must also complete the following with a grade of C or better:

Category Requirement Notes
Calculus with Analytical Geometry 2 courses, Calculus I and Calculus II (8 quarter or 6 semester units)  
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.
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.

Proficiency in a foreign language, such as Spanish, is considered highly desirable.

If you any questions they may be directed to the admissions office staff at sppsadmissions@ucsd.edu.

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Institution Course Equivalencies

The Admissions Office has created Institution Course Equivalencies for some but not all of the California Community Colleges, California State Universities, University of California Schools, and California Private 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.

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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.

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Policy on Time Limit for Pre-requisite Coursework

The policy of the School 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.

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Class Profiles

The following is a profile of the applicants invited to interview for the classes that enrolled in the fall of 2013-2015. This information should be used by potential applicants to determine if they will be competitive in the applicant pool.

Profile of Applicants Interviewed for Enrollment in the Fall of 2016
Description of Criteria Number
Number of applications received 809
Number of applicants invited to interview for the class of 60 students 249
Average overall grade point average (GPA) 3.71
Profile of Applicants Interviewed for Enrollment in the Fall of 2015
Description of Criteria Number
Number of applications received 925
Number of applicants invited to interview for the class of 60 students 256
Average overall grade point average (GPA) 3.68
Profile of Applicants Interviewed for Enrollment in the Fall of 2014
Description of Criteria Number
>Number of applications received >1070
Number of applicants invited to interview for the class of 60 students 275
Average overall grade point average (GPA) 3.71
Profile of Applicants Interviewed for Enrollment in the Fall of 2013
Description of Criteria Number
Number of applications received 1147
Number of applicants invited to interview for the class of 60 students 284
Average overall grade point average (GPA) 3.65

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Other Considerations:

All of the applicants interviewed demonstrated evidence of leadership, maturity, and participation in extracurricular and personal activities in school organizations, community service, and/or other outside interests.

All applicants interviewed demonstrated strong written English skills in their personal statement and essay.

All applicants interviewed demonstrated knowledge and/or experience in a healthcare field in their applications. This experience took a variety of forms and was in many varied locations. If they did not have volunteer or work experience specifically in pharmacy, they demonstrated that they had adequately explored the profession of pharmacy and had made a knowledgeable decision based on that exploration.

Note: This information is for the sole purpose of providing guidance for prospective students as a "general profile" of the applicants interviewed for admission. This information may vary from year to year and should not be viewed as admissions requirements for the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

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Registration Fee Deposit

You must reserve your place in the incoming class by paying a non-refundable $200 deposit when you accept your Admissions offer.

*Please note only online payments with major credit cards (MC, VISA, AMEX plus Diners Club and Discover cards) are acceptable. No E-Checks or PayPal.

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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.

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Health Requirements

Each new student is required to submit a completed Immunization Form. In addition, a tuberculosis skin test is required within three months prior to enrollment. If entering students know from past experience that they have a positive tuberculin skin test, the report of a recent (within the past year) chest X-ray must be submitted. Students must also provide evidence of immunity from measles (Rubeola), mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chicken pox), and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis. This evidence may take the form of documentation of immunization or laboratory confirmation of immunity. Students must have received at least 2 of 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine prior to registration. The third dose in the series must be received prior to registration for the Winter quarter.

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Computer Literacy Requirement

All students are expected to have basic computer skills, specifically proficiency in personal computer operating systems, the ability to access online databases and resources on various computer networks and on the Internet and World Wide Web, and the ability to produce professional documents utilizing data that have been accessed and manipulated from a wide range of resources. All students enrolled in the program will be required to have a personal notebook (laptop) computer with wireless networking capability and software that meets a minimum set of specifications that will be provided prior to the beginning of the school year.

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CPR Certification Requirement

All new students are required to become CPR certified before entrance to school in the fall quarter. The CPR for Health Care Professionals is recommended. However, any adult CPR course that is approved by the American Heart Association or American Red Cross will be accepted.

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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. A copy of the Technical Standards can be found in Adobe PDF format.

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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.

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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 the School 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. The costs for the criminal background check are borne by the student. Effective with the class entering in 2010, the School is a participant in the PharmCAS Centralized Criminal Background Check Program. 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. For students already enrolled in the School, issues identified through the CBC process will be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs who may decide to bring the issues to the Academic Oversight Committee. If a significant breach of professionalism is identified or the results of the CBC preclude the student from participation in APPEs or IPPEs, a dismissal hearing may be called. The appropriate policies already in effect, including the rights to an appeal of the dismissal, would be in effect. For applicants who have received an offer but who have not yet matriculated, identification of unprofessional conduct or issues that will preclude participation in APPEs or IPPEs 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.

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