A blog post from J. Carrington, Class of 2016.
Many prospective students want to know what they should study in their undergraduate course work to prepare for pharmacy school. You may be wondering, “Will my future pharmacy school only consider me if I was a biology or chemistry major? Do I have to declare “Pre-Pharmacy”? Should I even get a bachelors degree?”
Here is my story and humble opinion on the matter.
As a senior in high school thinking about my future career in pharmacy, the first step was deciding what I want my major to be. I was a 4-H agriculture program kid, horse enthusiast and knew I was going to Virginia Tech – a wonderful university with a great agriculture school in Virginia.
Upon my acceptance to Virginia Tech, I considered pharmacy as a career path due to my love of science and desire to help people. The conflict was what to study. My dream major was Animal and Poultry Science, a degree in the College of Agriculture and Life Science that focused in animal production and science. I was sold on this major ever since going to Virginia Tech for youth horse judging and 4-H events.
Upon evaluating the Animal and Poultry Science curriculum further, I saw that the course work required for this degree matched very well to what is expected for pharmacy school. It also had courses focusing on practical hands-on skills and the opportunity for research projects. I customized my curriculum to be great balance of my passion for agriculture and rigorous science based classes. I took the normal Organic Chemistry and biochemistry, but I also got to take Animal Breeding and Genetics, Physiology of Reproduction and Embryology. I also got to take fun classes like Livestock Marketing along with Equine Biomechanics and Horse Production. All of these classes together gave me a unique perspective and was a great conversation starter at interviews.
Most majors will cover the core requirements needed for acceptance in pharmacy school and are flexible enough to allow you to take extra courses that may be needed like Organic Chemistry or Human Anatomy and Physiology. I loved every minute at Virginia Tech and truly got to study something that I love. The background and unique perspective I gained as an Animal Science student helped me in pharmacy school.
The number one goal: Study something you love! Don’t worry if it isn’t biochemistry or medical science. If you enjoy it do it! I have many classmates with degrees in Art, History, and even foreign languages. They are all in pharmacy school and successful in the rigorous coursework. My advice is to enjoy your undergraduate experience regardless of what you study or if you get a degree. The memories you make in your undergraduate career last a lifetime. Get a good science foundation but don’t forget to take something completely different because you never know the experiences it will give you!