A pharmacist is a medical professional who uses their medication expertise to promote health and well-being. The role of a pharmacist is to use their medical knowledge to prepare and dispense medications, prevent harmful drug interactions and advise patients on medication use and dosage. Pharmacists are educated in the chemical make-up and use of medications. A pharmacist may work in a pharmacy (such as in a drug or grocery store), hospital or they may conduct clinical research. To practice pharmacy, one must earn a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree and pass a state license exam.
Westminster's Pre-Pharmacy Program prepares students to meet the requirements for competitive pharmacy school applications, prepare for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), gain appropriate experiences in the field, and stay on track for graduation. While it is possible for a pre-pharmacy student to do virtually any academic major, students must work closely with both their academic and health professions advisors to ensure completion of all requirements. Most often, students major such as Biology, Biochemistry/Chemistry or Neuroscience since the curricula include most required and recommended courses.
Students typically apply to pharmacy school between their junior and senior years, allowing for a direct transition following graduation. Pre-Pharmacy students may also be interested in our Bachelor's Degree Plus Program with Duquesne University School of Pharmacy. If accepted to the 3+4 Program, students spend three years at Westminster and four years at Duquesne, earning both a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Pharmacy upon completion of all requirements.
Please note that course requirements vary from one institution to another, so it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of specifics regarding their schools of interest. Good planning and working closely with academic and health professions advisors are essential to maximize chances of success in the highly competitive pharmacy school application environment.
This is a sample schedule for a Chemistry major preparing to take the OAT exam between their junior and senior year and matriculating to medical school following graduation. Please note that an individual student's schedule will vary based on the major selected and the schedule of course offerings. First-Year Program (FYP) courses, Intellectual Perspectives (IP) courses, the Cluster Course (CC), which are Westminster graduation requirements, are indicated in italics.
With the exception of the core requirements and courses strongly recommended ahead of the PCAT, there is curricular flexibility within any chosen major and among the elective courses that are part of the liberal arts curriculum at Westminster College. Students planning to study abroad for a semester must also plan accordingly to meet all requirements and timelines. It is also advisable for students to budget time to prepare for the PCAT exam that will test knowledge in Biology, Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry as well as writing, critical reading, and quantitative reasoning.
Please contact the Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Dr. Jessica Sarver.
Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs
In addition to our Pre-Pharmacy Program, qualified students who want to go on to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) can save time and money through our 3+4 Pharmacy Program with Duquesne University. Students accepted to the program spend three years at Westminster and then four years at Duquesne University, earning both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at the end of seven years.
Additionally, we participate in Duquesne's 2+4 Early Entry Program, though which students spend two years at Westminster and then four years at Duquesne University, earning only the Pharm.D. at the end of six years.