The PharmD program is unique in that applicants do not need to have completed a bachelor’s degree before starting. Approximately 20% of each incoming class does not hold a bachelor’s degree. They enter the PharmD program after 2 or 3 years of undergraduate study – however long it takes to complete the prerequisite coursework.
One of the most common questions we get is in regards to whether an applicant should complete their bachelor’s degree or forgo their bachelor’s and apply early. This is a challenging question, because there is no clear cut answer! Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to make the decision whether or not to complete your bachelor’s degree. This week I’ll post some of the benefits to finishing your undergraduate work on the fast track, and next week I’ll follow up with the benefits to finishing your bachelor’s degree (the traditional track).
Benefits to completing your prerequisite courses in 2-3 years (the Fast Track):
- Some students finish high school with AP or IB credits or dual enrollment courses which transfer in as credit to their undergraduate institution. They might test out of a course altogether, or receive placement into a higher level course. This enables them to start college with enough credits to complete the prerequisite classes in less time.
- If you know that pharmacy is right path for you, you will likely want to get to the PharmD program as quickly as possible, because those are the classes you’re going to be most interested in. Rather than taking an extra year of coursework at the undergraduate level just to fulfill degree requirements, you want to pursue your passion as quickly as possible.
- The cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree and a PharmD degree can be huge. Students looking to lower their debt post-graduation might choose to finish their undergrad studies early in order to save money.
- If you’re able to demonstrate that you’re a competitive applicant already – strong academically, well-rounded, mature – and are ready to enter a rigorous PharmD program, then what do you have to lose by applying early? If you feel that one more year of undergraduate work is not going to make you more competitive or more ready for pharmacy school, then you might benefit from applying early.