Usc Pharmacy Interview Essay Questions


Do you accept international students?

Yes, we do accept students with international visas. For more information, read our Application Guidelines for International Students.

Do you accept international transcripts?

Applicants with U.S. permanent resident status and/or naturalized citizenship with international coursework and/or degree(s), and/or holders of international visas must submit evaluations of your international transcripts completed by WES (World Education Services) to PharmCAS during application and by IERF (International Education Research Foundation) upon admission to USC.

The following pre-pharmacy required courses must be completed in the U.S. at an accredited four-year degree granting college or university: human physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology.

In addition, you must take a one-year, college-level English composition course and a communication course in the United States. The communication course requirement can be satisfied by a course in either interpersonal communication or public speaking. Applicants from English-speaking countries are exempt from the English and communication requirement.

For more information, please contact us at or 323.442.1466.

Please note: applicants with study-abroad programs may submit transcripts from the institution where international coursework was completed if those courses are listed with letter grades.

Does USC require a background check?

The USC School of Pharmacy does not require a background check or a drug test for admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. However, all admitted students to the PharmD program are required to be fingerprinted for criminal background checks by the California Board of Pharmacy as a requirement of licensure. Students must obtain a license from the Board of Pharmacy to participate in the clinical portions of the PharmD Program. In addition, many of the clinical facilities affiliated with USC may require additional background checks and/or drug testing for student placements.

What are the criteria for admission?

The School’s admission criteria include academic strength, motivation to pursue pharmacy, maturity, communication skills, special talents, achievements and the unique contribution you will be expected to make to the profession. For more information, see the School’s admission requirements.

What is the School’s GPA requirement?

The minimum GPA requirement for the cumulative and the pre-pharmacy courses is 3.0. The average GPA of admitted students is approximately 3.5 for both.

Do I need to send in my transcripts to USC?

You need to send in an official copy of all of your transcripts to PharmCAS when you apply. You can send in your updated transcripts to USC after PharmCAS’s Academic Updates end.

When do I need to complete my pre-pharmacy courses?

All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed by the end of the spring in your entering year.

Where should I send my letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation must be submitted online through PharmCAS. Three letters of recommendation are required. One letter must be from a science professor with whom you took a class and/or did research. The remaining two letters may be from professors, advisors, researchers, pharmacists or employers.

Re-applicants only need to submit one new letter of recommendation.

How many students are accepted each year?

The USC School of Pharmacy receives approximately 1,000 applications each year and interviews 400 to 500 applicants. Approximately 185 students matriculate into the program.

Is preference given to California residents?

No. The School uses the same criteria to evaluate out-of-state applicants as California residents.

Do California residents pay less tuition than out-of-state students?

USC is a private university; therefore, tuition and fees are the same for all students regardless of state or country of residence.

Is a bachelor’s degree required?


Do I need to take the PCAT, TOEFL or any other standardized tests?

No. The School does not require any standardized tests.

Can I enter in the spring semester?

No. The School of Pharmacy admits in the fall semester only.

Do you accept transfer students?

No. We do not accept transfer students from other PharmD programs.

When is the application due?

November 1 is the application deadline for entrance for the following fall.

How do I know if my application is received?

You will receive email confirmations from PharmCAS and from the USC School of Pharmacy when you submit your applications successfully.

Do you have rolling admission?

Yes. It is advisable to submit your application as early as possible.

Can I submit my application package separately?

You must first submit your application through PharmCAS by the deadline of November 1. You must also submit updated transcripts to PharmCAS for Academic Updates.

Do you give preference to any major?

No. The School of Pharmacy does not give preference to any major. Most applicants are science majors. The most common majors are biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and psychobiology.

I already have a bachelor’s degree. Do I still need to complete all the prerequisites?

Yes, all applicants regardless of degree or major must complete all the pre-pharmacy required courses before they enter the PharmD program.

Where do I take the pre-pharmacy courses? How do I know if my classes have met your pre-pharmacy requirements?

You may take your pre-pharmacy courses at any accredited institution in the United States, except vocational or technical schools, or for-profit institutions. All pre-pharmacy coursework must be completed for a letter grade. Consult the School’s Course Equivalencies section, which lists equivalent courses for California institutions and many universities outside of California. For institutions not listed, course descriptions will be required. The course descriptions must meet USC transfer requirements. You may contact the Admission office if you have questions.

Do you accept online/distance-learning courses?

The School does not accept online classes for pre-pharmacy courses – including the biology and chemistry requirements.

Can I meet with a counselor to go over my transcripts and application?

The School offers Information Sessions on campus for prospective applicants. These sessions give you an opportunity to visit the USC Health Sciences Campus and its facilities, meet with Pharmacy students and admission staff, and learn about the School’s programs and the application process. Your coursework/transcripts will be evaluated once your application is submitted.

Can I change my proposed course schedule for the pre-pharmacy requirements?

Yes. Please submit an updated schedule of courses by email to the USC School of Pharmacy Office of Admission and Student Affairs. Make sure you are taking equivalent courses as listed in the Course Equivalencies section.

Can I submit my application before I complete my prerequisites?

Yes. You should have completed most of your pre-pharmacy coursework by the time you submit your application. You must indicate on your application when and where you will be taking the remaining prerequisites. All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed by the end of the spring of your entering year.

Can I defer my admission?

No, if you are not able to start our program for the admitted term, you will need to re-apply if you are still interested.

Applicant Interviews

Do I need an interview?

To be accepted into the PharmD program, you must be interviewed. However, not all applicants will be interviewed. In general, the School interviews between 40-50% of applicants.

Is there a minimum grade point average required for an interview?

Competitive applicants who meet a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average and above, possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, and have a general knowledge of the field of pharmacy are the most sought-after candidates. Unfortunately, the School is unable to interview all qualified applicants.

How do I know if I am selected for an interview?

If you are selected, you will receive an email invitation one to three weeks prior to the interview date. Scheduled interview session dates are available at

What should I expect for the interview?

The interview consists of two parts: the oral interview and a writing test. In addition, you will have the opportunity to attend a group Q and A session and a campus tour. The purpose of the interview is to assess your oral communication skills, writing skills, leadership ability and your motivation or potential to be a pharmacist.

Can I reschedule my interview appointment?

No. If you miss your assigned interview or arrive late, your application will be canceled. However, under some rare circumstances, such as a medical emergency, the Admission Committee will make an exception. If you know you will be attending an important event or studying abroad during one of the School’s interview sessions, please inform us early so that we will not schedule your interview during that session.

How should I dress for the interview?

Professional attire is recommended.

When will I be notified of my admission status?

All applicants will be notified by email approximately 2-3 weeks after the interview date. Status updates will be emailed to you about 2-3 weeks after each interview session or as soon as decisions are made. The School does not release status information over the telephone.

What does “active consideration” mean?

Active consideration is a status for those candidates who have been interviewed but are not admitted after an interview. Candidates on active consideration are placed on hold/wait list until a final admission decision can be made. They are re-evaluated after each additional interview session, and could receive admission, denial, or continued active consideration status.

What can I do if I’m placed on “active consideration”?

Our PharmD program is very competitive. Only about 40-50% of our top candidates are interviewed. When you are on active consideration, you should continue with your unfinished coursework. When you finish a term, please send in your updated transcript(s) to PharmCAS for Academic Update as soon as the grades and/or your degree are posted.

What if I have a change of address?

You should notify PharmCAS and the admission office of all changes of mailing and e-mail addresses, as well as phone numbers.

How do I withdraw my application? Do I need to notify PharmCAS?

You should notify the admission office as soon as possible of your decision to withdraw. An explanation and/or information about what school you choose to attend is greatly appreciated and provides us with information that reflects our admission results. You do not need to notify PharmCAS separately about your decision to withdraw.

May I apply again if I am denied the first time?

Yes. Each year, the School receives some 200 submissions from previous applicants.
Re-applicants must submit following the same process as new applicants, including the PharmCAS Application. However, you are required to send only one new letter of recommendation.

Contact Us

For more information, contact us at or 323.442.1466.

If my school does not offer a pre-pharmacy program, what should I select as my major?

You may major in any field as long as you complete the pharmacy prerequisite courses.

Do I need to take the PCAT prior to submitting my PharmCAS and Supplemental Applications?

No. You may submit both applications prior to taking the PCAT. PCAT scores should be submitted to PharmCAS, using code 104 upon exam registration. PCAT scores will catch up to your application.

What is the latest date I can take the PCAT to be considered for Fall 2018 admission?

We recommend that you take the PCAT no later than October/November 2017. Waiting until January 2018 may lower your chance of acceptance because of the time it takes for your official PCAT score to be received and processed in PharmCAS. To expedite the interview process, you may submit your unofficial scores (which can be printed at the testing site) to our Admissions Coordinator so your scores can be considered along with the PharmCAS and Supplemental Applications. 

Where do I submit my PCAT scores?

To PharmCAS using code 104 upon exam registration.

What is Early Decision?

Early Decision is a program offered through PharmCAS where applicants receive notification from their preferred pharmacy school of their admissions status by October 2017.

  • Applicants may be accepted, denied, or deferred to Regular Decision status.
  • Early Decision candidates who are offered admission by the College of Pharmacy are obligated to accept admission into our program.
  • Early Decision candidates who are denied admission or who are deferred to Regular Decision may apply to other PharmCAS schools after October 20, 2017 as per PharmCAS guidelines.

Who qualifies for Early Decision?

Applicants who submit the following by the Early Decision deadline:
  • PharmCAS Application
  • Supplemental Application
  • 3 electronic evaluations (letters of recommendation)
  • Official PCAT scores
  • Official transcripts must be received by PharmCAS by the Early Decision deadline

Can I retake the PCAT during fall 2017 if I am applying for Early Decision?

Yes, but we do not recommend that you do so because of the PharmCAS system's processing times. Interviews for Early Decision take place in September and October 2017. The October and November PCAT test dates are a last resort based on the following:
  • you are not invited for an interview in September or October 2017
  • you are interviewed and deferred to Regular Decision

If I do not meet the qualifications for Early Decision, when should I apply?

We recommend that you apply no later than late September/early October. It can take up to five weeks for the College of Pharmacy to receive a verified PharmCAS Application. Applying by the admissions deadlines (January 5 for PharmCAS and January 15 for the Supplemental Application),  may lower your chance of acceptance because of the competition to obtain an interview or admission offer in the spring.

When will interviews for Regular Decision take place?

 September 2017 through March 2018.

I have submitted all applications and related materials. Should I contact the College of Pharmacy to request an interview?

No. Once the College's Admissions Committee reviews and evaluates the applications, select applicants are offered interview invitations.

When will I be notified of an admissions decision after interviewing?

All interviewed candidates are eligible to be considered for admission to the Pharm.D. program. Following the on-site interview, the College of Pharmacy Admissions Committee periodically reviews applications and interview evaluations. The Admissions Committee typically convenes on a 2-3 week cycle and reviews applicant files as timely as possible. You may receive an offer shortly after your interview, pending the Admissions Committee's evaluation.

If you do not receive an offer within 2-3 weeks of your interview, you are still eligible to be considered for admissions and a decision will be deferred until the end of the 2017-2018 admissions cycle. The Admissions Committee strives to notify all applicants of their admission status no later than March 31, 2018. Accepted applicants will be contacted via phone and email. Deferred, declined and waitlisted applicants will be notified via email.

When does the College make admissions decisions?

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis beginning in the fall 2017 semester and continuing through late March 2018; during this period, a student may be accepted at any time.

Early Decision Applicants

Admissions decisions for the Early Decision program in PharmCAS will occur by October 20, 2017. The College of Pharmacy will follow the application and announcement deadlines outlined by PharmCAS. Candidates participating in the Early Decision program may be offered early admission, denied admission, or deferred to regular applicant status.

Regular Decision Applicants

Admissions decisions for the Regular Decision program may occur in the fall semester if the applicant has less than 16 hours of remaining pharmacy prerequisites. For candidates who have more than 16 hours of outstanding pharmacy prerequisites, admission decisions will occur beginning in January once fall semester transcripts have been received and reviewed.

If I am accepted, can I defer matriculation?

Deferred matriculation is reserved for extenuating circumstances and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

What should I do if I am not admitted for 2017-2018?

Applicants who are not accepted for Fall 2018 admission are encouraged to improve areas evaluated in their application and reapply in the future.

How do I contact Director of Admissions Nikki Mellen?

 You may contact her with questions via phone, email or in person.
  • Email:
  • Mail: Attn: Nikki Mellen, Director of Admissions, College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, 715 Sumter St., CLS 109, Columbia, SC 29208
  • Fax: Attn: Nikki Mellen, 803-777-2775
  • In Person: College of Pharmacy Dean’s Office, Coker Life Science Bldg., Room 109

What is the cost to attend the College of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina?

The tuition table outlines fees for the current academic year. Please note that tuition and fees are established each summer and are subject to change each academic year.

Which application should I complete first?

Since it can take up to five weeks to verify transcripts, test scores, and other information via PharmCAS, it is recommended that applicants start the PharmCAS Application before beginning the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy Supplemental Application.  However,   the PharmCAS and Supplemental Applications must be submitted to be considered as an applicant for Fall 2018 admission.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *