Career options in pharmacy range from filling prescriptions at neighborhood stores to conducting research, engaging in clinical practice, and teaching. Pharmacists also consult with and counsel patients and other health care professionals. Many are involved in medication therapy management, providing drug therapy to improve patients’ lives.

Along with their science training and expertise in drug selection and preparation, pharmacists must have the business and communication skills necessary for multifaceted careers.

Iowa offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree that is a professional degree. It is not offered as an undergraduate major. However, first-year students planning to apply to the PharmD program can elect to receive specialized advising and course work to help them prepare for applying to the PharmD program. Typically, the PharmD curriculum includes two years of preprofessional college-level course work followed by four years of pharmacy study.

Why Study at Iowa

Iowa’s College of Pharmacy has a superb national reputation. Its PharmD program is ranked 17th in the nation by U.S.News & World Report.

The college is the fourth-oldest pharmacy college at a state-supported university and has been educating pharmacists since 1885. In that time, it has developed nationally and internationally recognized research programs in pharmaceutics, medicinal and natural products chemistry, clinical pharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical socioeconomics, and pharmacy practice. Its faculty is recognized worldwide.

The PharmD program is widely known for its personalized atmosphere and emphasis on individual attention—a result of its low student-to-faculty ratio—and its location on a world-class health sciences campus. It is adjacent to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, one of the nation’s largest public university teaching hospitals. Its research facilities include a unique university-affiliated, full-service, FDA-licensed drug development and production lab.

Course Work

First-year students with a declared pharmacy interest typically take prerequisite course work in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, and rhetoric during their first year at Iowa, and courses including organic chemistry, human anatomy, microbiology, and microeconomics during their second year.

Course work is designed to teach critical skills needed to practice as a pharmacist: problem-solving, critical thinking, and use of technology-based information retrieval sources.

The prerequisite course work (which needs to be completed before applying to the PharmD program) can be completed in two years, although many students choose to complete it over three years, or over four years while completing a bachelor’s degree in another area.

Visit the College of Pharmacy website to review more details about the Prerequisite Course Work required for admission to the PharmD program. You may also review Pharmacy in the UI General Catalog.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PharmD program requires completion of about two years of college-level course work. Students who have not yet completed the prerequisites need to meet requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the PharmD Program

Admission to the PharmD program is highly competitive and satisfying the admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance to the program. Minimum admission requirements include:

  • Satisfactory completion of the prerequisite college course work and a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 2.50
  •  Completion of the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) by September in order to be considered for admission the following fall semester.

Applications for admission to the PharmD program are accepted online through PharmCAS, the national pharmacy application service. You'll also submit some application materials directly to the College of Pharmacy, and you may be invited to a personal interview. Review the College of Pharmacy website for more details about the admission requirements and application process.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 600 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Pharmacy students have multiple opportunities to become involved in the profession locally, statewide, and nationally through the college’s eight pharmacy student organizations. Students attend national conferences, participate in community service, educate children, assist with immunizations, and organize social events.

Pharmacy students also have opportunities to become involved in the college through serving on committees and attending meetings with the dean, advisory councils, and alumni boards.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The College of Pharmacy operates small and large classrooms with state-of-the-art technology. The student practice lab is a technologically advanced, licensed pharmacy that provides real and simulated practice experiences. The Banker Student Activity Center features quiet environments for individual and small-group study and houses student organization offices.

Other facilities in the college include the Division of Drug Information Service, a computerized database with information about the clinical use of drugs, and University of Iowa Pharmaceuticals, an FDA-registered pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.


The College of Pharmacy has had a 100 percent placement rate for many years.

Many pharmacists practice in a community pharmacy or a hospital setting. Others work in clinical pharmacies, government, independent businesses, home health care, consulting, managed care facilities, higher education, or the pharmaceutical industry. This broad range of career options offers graduates considerable flexibility in their personal and professional lives.


Scholarship opportunities for incoming pharmacy students include the College of Pharmacy Tuition Scholarship, which is awarded based on GPA, and the College of Pharmacy Opportunity Scholarship.

Criteria for the Opportunity Scholarship include unique personal abilities, perseverance in overcoming obstacles to academic success, previous experience in the health care environment, and the extent to which the student may contribute to racial, ethnic, geographic, and intellectual diversity.

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid also are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Only students who have completed the PharmD Prerequisite College Course Work can apply directly to the College of Pharmacy's PharmD program. All other students should apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Designate your "pre-pharmacy" interest on your application for admission to receive specialized advising and assistance selecting course work in preparation for the PharmD program.


Preprofessional Program(s)
Preparatory Course Work for PharmD Applicants
Competitive Admission