Prerequisite Coursework

All students applying to the Doctor of Pharmacy program must meet our prerequisite course requirements in order to be considered for admission to the program.

Prerequisite Coursework for Admission:

Math & Science Courses
  1. Biology with labs
    • A complete two-semester integrated sequence of General Biology, to include a strong foundation in both Organismal Biology and Cellular/Molecular/Genetic Biology.
    • If a sequence of general biology is not available, then:
      • Semester system: Animal Biology and a course in Cell Biology (preferable) or Botany;
      • Quarter system: Animal Biology and Cell Biology and Botany.
    • Human anatomy, human physiology, and microbiology do not count toward the biology requirement.
  2. Chemistry with labs
    • General Chemistry (at least 8 cr. minimum) and one year of Organic Chemistry ( 8 cr. minimum).
  3. Calculus for Math / Science Majors
    • The Calculus requirement is content-based, not course-based.
  4. Physics with lab
    • An introductory physics course and lab
  5. Microbiology – (3 cr. minimum)
    • A microbiology course – lab is not required.
  6. Statistics
    • Most 3-credit college-level statistics courses will satisfy this requirement.


  1. The Admissions Committee is concerned about mathematics and science course work that may have been completed more than ten years ago. Please consult with a Pre-Pharmacy Advisor regarding your specific situation: (608) 262-6234.
Non-Math & Science Courses
  1. Communication “A”
    • Course work equivalent to the UW-Madison Communication “A” requirement.
    • A score of at least 4 on the AP English: Language & Composition exam
    • A score of at least 4 on the AP English: Literature & Composition exam
    • Acceptable UW System English placement test score(s):
      • an ENGL score of at least 605, or
      • an ECS score of at least 706, or
      • a UWEPT score of at least 660 and a UWRCT score of at least 730
  2. Economics
    • Most 3-credit economics courses will satisfy.
  3. Social Science
    • Most 3-credit social science courses will satisfy.
  4. Psychology
    • Most 3-credit psychology courses will satisfy.
  5. Ethnic Studies
    • Courses that satisfy the ethnic studies requirement must provide evidence that a majority of the   course material:
      • focuses on the increasingly multicultural aspects of life in U.S. society AND/OR
      • provides a critical examination of discrimination against ethnic/racial minorities in the U.S. AND/OR
      • focuses on the history, experience, or cultural traditions of ethnic/racial minorities in the U.S.

      Many students take a Cultural Anthropology course to satisfy this requirement, however, there are many other acceptable courses (sometimes they are cross listed in several departments including anthropology, sociology, history etc.).  Students should review their course catalog to determine which courses they think will address these topics and then send us the course name and number and we can verify if it will work.  A review of the course description often provides enough information for us to make a determination; however, a course syllabus may also be requested.

  6. Humanities (6 credits required)
    • Most courses labeled as humanities will satisfy.  6 credits (typically 2 courses) are required.
  7. Other College Courses
  8. Must have completed a minimum of 72 credits before beginning the PharmD program.

Recommended Pre-Pharmacy Credit Load

In order to strengthen your application for admission to the School of Pharmacy and demonstrate your preparedness for the rigorous demands of School of Pharmacy academic loads, you are encouraged to enroll in 14 – 16 credits each semester, except for your first semester in college in which we recommend that you enroll in a slightly lighter credit load of 12 – 14 credits to help you to achieve a good start in college. This lighter credit load in your first semester will help you to make a good transition from high school to college both academically and socially. It is designed to give you time to make connections with new people, to get involved with activities and experiences that will allow you to address admissions criteria, and to demonstrate a strong academic record. Due to the rigorous nature of the pre-School of Pharmacy curricula, we recommend that you take no more than 16 credits per semester.

UW-Madison Transfer Credit Policies

Please see the UW-Madison AP & IB Test transfer link for additional information regarding Test Credits. If your AP/IB tests appear as completed courses on your pre-pharmacy transcript, we will honor your pre-pharmacy school’s Test Score requirements. In other words, if you earn credit for General Chemistry at your pre-pharmacy school through an AP Test (regardless of the score received), the PharmD program will give you credit for this course.

International Coursework

While many of our program prerequisites can be completed outside of the United States, two course requirements must be completed at an accredited college/university within the United States:

  1. Communication “A” (English Composition
  2. Ethnic Studies (United States Diversity Studies)

Physiology Note

Though not required for admission, physiology is a required course in the first year of the PharmD curriculum. Students who successfully complete (with a “B” or better) a semester of human physiology or a year sequence of Anatomy & Physiology at another institution will be given the option to test out of UW-Madison’s physiology course.