University of South Carolina


Pharmacy: What to Expect

The South Carolina College of Pharmacy is a first-class institution of learning, patient care, and research. As a Pre-Pharmacy major, you will be exposed to challenging coursework and work with nationally recognized faculty for your first two years at the University. Students must apply separately to the Professional Pharmacy Program (Pharm.D. degree), which will take place during a student’s third year. The Pharm.D. curriculum consists of three years of didactic classroom learning followed by one year of experiential rotations in clinical pharmacy sites. As a student in the Professional Pharmacy Program, you will develop the tools, insight, and experience necessary to succeed and make a difference in society. You will also gain the medical science knowledge related to pharmaceuticals, clinical knowledge to manage patient drug therapy, and the patient education skills necessary to influence and communicate in an effective manner with patients. Each year, 190 highly qualified students are admitted with 110 students studying on the USC-Columbia campus and 80 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. During your final year as a Pharm.D. student, you will complete experiential rotations in clinical pharmacy sites which will allow you opportunities to experience pharmacy not only throughout the state of South Carolina, but also nationwide and even internationally.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for Pre-Pharmacy students:

  • Biological Principles I and II
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Essentials of Organic Chemistry Laboratory I and II
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II

There is an average 10 to 1 student-faculty ratio for courses in the College of Pharmacy. A detailed list of degree requirements for the pre-pharmacy major can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Pre-Pharmacy major, you have nearly ten related student organizations you can join! These include Academy of Student Pharmacists, Student Society of Health Systems Pharmacists, Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International, Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Psi, National Community Pharmacists Association Student Chapter, Student National Pharmacists Association, Rho Chi, and Phi Lambda Sigma. Getting involved in these organizations can give you leadership opportunities, experience with political advocacy, professional development, career path exposure, and community service and volunteer opportunities. Pharm.D. students can also get involved in a number of national competitions. These include the American Pharmacists Association Patient Counseling Competition, American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists Clinical Skills Competition, American College of Clinical Pharmacy Clinical Pharmacy Challenge, and the National Community Pharmacists Association Business Plan Competition. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can also help you network and meet new friends. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many Pharm.D. students pursue a concurrent degree with a Masters in Business. Many also go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science with a focus on pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. The College of Pharmacy at the University boasts nationally recognized faculty and outstanding research programs that are in the top 25 percent in National Institute of Health (NIH) funding.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding students. The College of Pharmacy offers more than 50 scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

A large number of Pharm.D. students typically practice in community or hospital pharmacy settings. They may fill various roles such as staff pharmacists, pharmacy managers, compounding pharmacists, long term care pharmacists, and clinical specialty pharmacists. Graduates may also seek employment in higher education, association management, chain community pharmacy, community health centers, home health care, medical communications, and nuclear pharmacy.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

Additional Admission Information

Any entering student who wishes to pursue a pharmacy degree and who fulfills general requirements for admission to the University will be accepted into the Pre-Pharmacy program of study. This is generally two years and all Pre-Pharmacy courses must be passed with a minimum grade of “C.”
Admission to the Professional Pharmacy Program (third college year) is limited and highly competitive. Only the most qualified students as determined by the Admissions, Scholastic Standings, and Petitions Committee of the college, will be accepted. All students who wish to enter the Professional Pharmacy Program must submit a completed College of Pharmacy application form no later than January 15 of the year in which fall semester admission is desired. Each year, 190 highly –qualified students are admitted (110 on USC campus, 80 on MUSC campus).

About the College of Pharmacy

The South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) at the University of South Carolina was formed in 2004 through the integration of the Colleges of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The SCCP is a statewide education, research, and service institution that maximizes its resources. Students at the SCCP are able to tap into the expertise of pharmacy faculty located at USC and MUSC through the use of distance technology. Students may choose a specialized track in nuclear pharmacy, community pharmacy, and pre-residency. The college has more than 120 years of experience educating pharmacists and partners with major academic medical centers with acclaimed programs throughout the state.  The SCCP offers a Pre-Pharmacy major, the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Ph.D. program in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, and a Ph.D. program in Pharmaceutical Sciences with an emphasis in pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research. Students also have the option of pursuing a combined Pharm.D./MBA or Pharm.D./Ph.D degree.

Points of Pride

  • The South Carolina College of Pharmacy received a $30 million donation in 2010 to launch the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center.
  • Our residency programs are recognized as the best in the country.
  • We have nationally recognized faculty and outstanding research programs that rank in the top 25 percent in NIH funding.

Additional Resources
South Carolina College of Pharmacy Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin