10 Hardest Pharmacy Schools To Get Into

Truth be told, being a pharmacist is not easy, but it’s a noble mission to yourself and the world at large. In case you don’t know, the role of a pharmacist goes beyond filling prescriptions, they can provide medication counseling, conduct immunizations, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to optimize patient care.

Even though they are mostly the unsung hero in the medical field, but their work can go as far as contributing to research and development of new medications.

Regardless of their importance, enrolling in the right pharmacy school is a different game, there are lots of options to choose from especially if you have a very nice grade. The hardest pharmacy schools to get into is one of the best ways to begin especially when you have brilliant grades and experience in extracurricular activities. Also most of these “hardest schools,” are ranked among the top 10 in the country, which is another reason to consider them.

Moreover, there are still some very easy pharmacy schools to join, and you can attempt some free pharmaceutical courses to have a more in-depth knowledge about what you’ll see in school.

In addition, there are some interesting pre-medical courses if you are considering a medical degree.

Before we list these hard pharmacy schools let’s first understand how you can judge the competitiveness of a pharmacy school.

Understanding Pharmacy Schools Competitiveness

Here are some factors that decide whether a pharmacy school is hard or easy to join;

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate is an indication of how many students were given admission out of the number of students that applied. So if the rate is low it means the school is more competitive, reverse is the case if it’s high. 

Average GPA and PCAT Scores

This is another important factor that determines how hard or easy a school is. If the minimum GPA and PCAT are high it means it is competitive. Some schools don’t make the PCAT compulsory again.

School Reputation and Ranking

If a school is popularly known and has a very good reputation, it means they will attract top applicants, which will automatically push the competitiveness.


The location also adds to the competitiveness of a pharmacy school. If a school is in a major city, it will attract more students due to factors like job opportunities or lifestyle appeal.

Now we’ve established these facts let’s list these schools.

hardest pharmacy schools to get into

Hardest Pharmacy Schools To Get Into

Remember that this is your future, so you should endeavor to research extensively and compare programs carefully. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid to consider schools outside the “hardest” list.

1. University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 2.80
  • Acceptance Rate: 9%

Having a 9% acceptance rate is crazy, but being one of the top pharmacy schools in the country also means lots of students are seeking to join. Besides the fact that it’s hard to join the UCSF School of Pharmacy, they are also very prolific in biomedical research, pharmacy education, and patient care. No wonder they receive the highest research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) every year for over four decades.

Even though they desire solutions for minor health problems, their major focus is training their students to solve healthcare’s most pressing problems.

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2. University of Southern California School of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Acceptance Rate: 34%
  • Location: University of Southern California, 1985 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9121

This is among the hardest pharmacy schools to get into that evaluates students’ applications immediately after they are received. Once they evaluate your application and you meet all requirements, you’ll be invited for an interview and awarded admission if qualified. So, applying early is very important here.

Besides the fact that you need good grades to be admitted to USCMann, you also need the motivation to pursue pharmacy, maturity, communication skills, special talents, achievements, and the unique contribution you will be expected to make to the profession.

For the past 3 years, 500 students have applied, the school has interviewed 300, and has accepted 170 students.

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3. Ohio State University College of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 2.7
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Location: 217 Lloyd M. Parks Hall, 500 West 12th Ave, Columbus, OH 43210

This is another well-respected pharmacy school that is hard to enter. It is not very hard due to their moderate level of acceptance fee, but their high average GPA requirement makes it tougher to join.

Speaking of reputation, they are the 10th best pharmacy school in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Also, Ohio State’s first-time test takers have exceeded the average annual pass rate for ACPE-accredited programs on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination® (NAPLEX).

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4. University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Acceptance Rate: 17% and an early acceptance rate of 21.9%
  • Location: 301 Pharmacy Ln, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA

This is among the hardest pharmacy schools to get into that is regarded as one of the best in the country and the world. In fact, U.S. News and World Report regarded them as the best School of Pharmacy in the United States while QS World ranked them #3 among pharmacy schools.

Also, they received the second-highest total research funding among pharmacy schools in NIH.

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5. Purdue University College of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.25
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Location: 575 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907

This well-respected public university has an incredible pharmacy program. You can see that their acceptance rate is very moderate, but sieve lots of people away with their high average GPA requirement.

The College of Pharmacy offers students MS and Ph.D. graduate programs in three different departments which include;

  • Department of Pharmacy Practice
  • Borch Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
  • Department of Industrial and Molecular Pharmaceutics

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6. University of Michigan College of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 2.55
  • Acceptance Rate: 18%
  • Location: 428 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Besides the fact that it’s hard to join the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, I love the fact that their student-to-faculty ratio is 4:1, which is a lot better than the nation’s average ratio of 17:1. Their low ratio helps professors easily provide more personalized attention to each student, and students can easily schedule meetings with professors or seek help when they have questions or need clarification.

 They also have a NAPLEX pass rate of more than 90%.

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7. University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Acceptance Rate: 31%
  • Location: 2409 University Ave, Austin, TX 78712

Whether it’s providing top-notch programs or providing ground-breaking research beneficial to the country and the world, UTexas Pharmacy is known for those. No wonder they are the 7th best Pharmacy school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

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8. Chapman University School of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Acceptance Rate:  73%
  • Location: 9401 Jeronimo Rd, Irvine, CA 92618

CUSP is among the hardest pharmacy schools to get into which has an 88% NAPLEX first-time pass rate and a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio. CUSP also provides an Accelerated Pre-Pharmacy Experience Program (APEx), where a high school graduate can earn their Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) in just 5 years.

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9. University of Georgia College of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Location: 821 St Sebastian Way, Augusta, GA 30901

UGA College of Pharmacy provides lots of dual degree programs for pharmacy students, some of which include: Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Doctor of Pharmacy (BS/PharmD); Doctor of Pharmacy and Public Health (PharmD/MPH); Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration (PharmD/MBA), etc.

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10. University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Location: 3501 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Besides the fact that Pitt Pharmacy is quite hard to enter, it has proximity to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and other major hospital systems. This will provide enough access to diverse clinical rotation sites within the medical center or hospital, which will provide valuable hands-on experience working with various healthcare professionals and patient populations.

Because medical centers and hospitals always conduct research in various fields relevant to pharmacy, your closeness opens doors for research collaborations.

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Key Takeaway

There you have it, you’ve seen some schools that have been considered to be very hard to enroll in but note that focusing on the hardest may not lead you to the right school. You should focus more on schools that meet your aspirations, and goals. 

Even though it’s nice to consider acceptance rate and average scores, you should also channel your interest on the school’s research program faculty expertise, unique offerings, and the overall environment.

The good thing is that all the schools we provided on this list meet these standards.

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