50 Best Pharmacy Schools in the U.S.

Updated on January 29, 2024

At a Glance

  • The U.S. hosts top pharmacy schools for aspiring pharmacists.
  • Top five schools: University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, UCSF, University of Michigan, and University of Texas.
  • Comprehensive list of the top 50 pharmacy schools aids informed decision-making.
  • Admissions consider GPA, recommendations, and test scores; holistic approach is crucial.

If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, it’s definitely worthwhile to research the top pharmacy schools in the US. You’d want to make sure you get as much exposure as possible to this unique and groundbreaking field.

To help you out, we take a closer look at the current top 5 pharmacy schools in the US, then we’ll list the latest best 50 pharmacy schools in order.

Top 10 Pharmacy Schools in the U.S.

When it comes to pursuing a career in pharmacy, choosing the right school is a crucial step. The United States boasts some of the finest pharmacy schools in the world, each with its unique offerings and strengths. Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 pharmacy schools in the U.S. and what makes them stand out.

1. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy stands as a beacon of excellence in pharmaceutical education and research. Nestled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this school boasts a rich history of producing top-tier pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. Its commitment to innovation and patient-centered care sets it apart as a leader in the field of pharmacy education. With a diverse range of programs and a strong emphasis on research, UNC-Chapel Hill offers aspiring pharmacists a robust foundation for a successful career.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 97%

Highlights:

  1. Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.): This program prepares students for a career as a pharmacist, emphasizing patient care and medication management.
  2. Ph.D. Program: The Ph.D. program provides unique research experiences and a specially-tailored curriculum for advanced training in drug development, drug delivery, and drug policy.
  3. Pharm.D./Ph.D. Dual Degree: For those interested in a combination of clinical practice and research, this dual degree program is an excellent choice.

2. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy is a renowned institution dedicated to the advancement of pharmaceutical knowledge and practice. Situated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this college takes pride in its comprehensive approach to pharmacy education. It prepares students to become not just pharmacists but leaders in the healthcare industry. With a wide array of programs, including dual degrees and graduate studies, the University of Minnesota offers a dynamic learning environment for those passionate about pharmacy.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 81%

Highlights:

  • Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.): This program educates students to become generalist pharmacy practitioners, focusing on patient care.
  • Graduate Programs: The college offers various graduate programs, including Medicinal Chemistry and Integrated Biological Sciences, allowing students to specialize in their areas of interest.
  • Dual Degree Programs: For those seeking a broader skillset, the college offers dual degree programs, such as Pharm.D./MBA and Pharm.D./MPH.

3. University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a pillar of pharmaceutical education and research excellence on the West Coast. Located in the vibrant city of San Francisco, California, UCSF has earned a reputation for its commitment to innovation in healthcare. The school’s Pharm.D. program and various graduate degree offerings prepare students to excel in patient care and pharmaceutical research. With a focus on translational medicine and a wide range of career development opportunities, UCSF equips its students to be at the forefront of the evolving pharmacy landscape.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 93%

Highlights:

  • Pharm.D. Program: This program equips students with the knowledge and skills required to become competent pharmacists.
  • Master’s and Ph.D. Programs: UCSF offers various Ph.D. graduate degree programs, allowing students to delve into specialized areas such as bioengineering, biophysics, and pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Master of Translational Medicine: This program bridges the gap between research and patient care, preparing students for careers in translational medicine.

4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan College of Pharmacy is a prestigious institution nestled in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With a legacy of excellence dating back over a century, it is known for its diverse and robust pharmacy programs. Whether you’re interested in patient care, research, or a combination of both, this college offers the tools and resources to help you succeed. Its dedication to producing well-rounded pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists makes it a top choice for those aspiring to make a difference in healthcare.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 96%

Highlights:

  • Pharm.D. Program: This program focuses on producing well-rounded pharmacists capable of providing patient-centered care.
  • Ph.D. Programs: The college offers Ph.D. programs in clinical pharmacy, medicinal chemistry, and more, allowing students to pursue advanced research.
  • Dual Degree Programs: Students can combine their Pharm.D. with other degrees like an MBA or MPH, broadening their career options.

5. University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

The College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida is renowned for its commitment to stellar pharmaceutical education and ranks #1 in student diversity among pharmaceutical programs. Situated in Gainesville, Florida, the college excels in providing an innovative and rigorous PharmD program, shaping future leaders in pharmaceutical health and science.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 86%

Highlights:

  1. PharmD Program: This program is known for its rigorous curriculum and has led the nation in students matching into competitive pharmacy residency programs for six of the last seven years.
  2. Other Programs: The University offers a PhD and Residential Masters Program in Pharmacy and an Online Masters of Science in Pharmacy, making it an ideal choice for those aiming for residency programs post-PharmD.

6. University of Kentucky – Lexington, Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy, operating for over 150 years, is home to the world’s largest pharmacy education and research building. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, it’s known for its comprehensive and collaborative PharmD program.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 83%

Highlights:

  1. PharmD Program: Combining groundbreaking curriculum and collaborative coursework, the program includes experiential courses and offers dual degrees (PharmD/Masters of Public Health, PharmD/MBA, PharmD/Masters of Pharmaceutical Science).
  2. Other Programs: Besides the PharmD, the college also offers a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

7. Ohio State University – Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State University, with its rich history dating back to 1886, hosts a College of Pharmacy known for its world-class facilities and leadership in Pharmacy studies.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 90%

Highlights:

  1. PharmD Program: The curriculum includes extensive on-the-job experience through the IPPE and APPE programs, offering a competitive edge to its graduates.
  2. Other Programs: Ohio State also offers a range of programs including Joint Master/PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, MS in Pharmaceutical Science, MS in Translational Pharmacology, and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

8. Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy stands out with its unique approach to experiential learning in its PharmD program, making up 30% of the curriculum.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 87%

Highlights:

  1. PharmD Program: Focuses on experiential learning, preparing students for real-world pharmacy challenges.
  2. Other Programs: Offers Master and PhD programs in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Pharmacology, and Pharmacy Practice, including a PharmD/PhD option.

9. University of Illinois-Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

The University of Illinois-Chicago’s College of Pharmacy is a pioneer in offering diverse study options in pharmaceuticals, with over 150 years of history.

NAPLEX Pass Rate: 82%

Highlights:

  1. PharmD Program: Offers choices between two campuses, a PharmD, PharmD/PhD, PharmD/MBA, and eight different concentrations.
  2. Other Programs: Includes Master of Science in Comparative Effectiveness Research, PhD in Pharmacy (Systems, Outcomes, and Policy), and PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

10. University of Texas – Austin

The University of Texas College of Pharmacy in Austin, Texas, is a hub of pharmaceutical education and research in the heart of the Lone Star State. With a focus on innovation and discovery, this college offers a range of programs that prepare students to excel in the ever-evolving field of pharmacy. From a strong Pharm.D. program to specialized graduate studies and advanced research opportunities, the University of Texas College of Pharmacy equips students with the knowledge and skills to address complex healthcare challenges.

NAPLEX Pass Rate94%

Highlights:

  • Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery: Exploring novel drug compounds and their applications.
  • Health Outcomes, Economics, and Equity Research: Studying the impact of healthcare interventions on patient outcomes.
  • Infectious Diseases: Investigating the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Neuropharmacology and Addiction: Researching the mechanisms of addiction and potential interventions.
  • Translational Research in Drug Delivery: Developing innovative drug delivery systems.

Top 50 Ranking U.S. Pharmacy Schools

RankUniversityLocationWebsite
1University of North Carolina–Chapel HillChapel Hill, NCWebsite
2University of California–San FranciscoSan Francisco, CAWebsite
3University of Michigan–Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MIWebsite
4University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, MNWebsite
5University of FloridaGainesville, FLWebsite
6University of KentuckyLexington, KYWebsite
7Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OHWebsite
8Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, INWebsite
9University of Illinois–ChicagoChicago, ILWebsite
10University of Texas–AustinAustin, TXWebsite
11University of WashingtonSeattle, WAWebsite
12University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadison, WIWebsite
13University of PittsburghPittsburgh, PAWebsite
14University at Buffalo–SUNYBuffalo, NYWebsite
15University of Maryland–BaltimoreBaltimore, MDWebsite
16University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CAWebsite
17University of UtahSalt Lake City, UTWebsite
18University of California–San DiegoLa Jolla, CAWebsite
19University of IowaIowa City, IAWebsite
20University of ArizonaTucson, AZWebsite
21University of Colorado–DenverAurora, COWebsite
22University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphis, TNWebsite
23Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, VAWebsite
24Rutgers University (Mario)Piscataway, NJWebsite
25University of GeorgiaAthens, GAWebsite
26University of KansasLawrence, KSWebsite
27University of MississippiUniversity, MSWebsite
28University of Nebraska Medical CenterOmaha, NEWebsite
29University of ConnecticutStorrs, CTWebsite
30University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OHWebsite
31Auburn UniversityAuburn, ALWebsite
32Medical University of South CarolinaCharleston, SCWebsite
33Northeastern UniversityBoston, MAWebsite
34Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, ORWebsite
35University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle Rock, ARWebsite
36University of HoustonHouston, TXWebsite
37University of Missouri–Kansas CityKansas City, MOWebsite
38University of OklahomaOklahoma City, OKWebsite
39West Virginia UniversityMorgantown, WVWebsite
40University of Rhode IslandKingston, RIWebsite
41University of South CarolinaColumbia, SCWebsite
42Washington State UniversitySpokane, WAWebsite
43Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PAWebsite
44University of New MexicoAlbuquerque, NMWebsite
45Wayne State UniversityDetroit, MIWebsite
46Butler UniversityIndianapolis, INWebsite
47Creighton UniversityOmaha, NEWebsite
48Drake UniversityDes Moines, IAWebsite
49St. Louis College of PharmacySt. Louis, MOWebsite
50Texas A&M Health Science CenterKingsville, TXWebsite

5 Best Loans for Pharmacy School

As the healthcare landscape evolves, pharmacy stands out as a pivotal profession. While the promise of a rewarding career is enticing, the cost of pharmacy education can be daunting. To aid in this journey, we’ve highlighted lenders best suited for varying credit backgrounds to help you fund your pharmacy dreams.

AmOne (Best for Okay to Good Credit)

As future pharmacists embark on their academic journey, AmOne serves as an ideal partner for those with okay to good credit histories. Bridging the gap between aspiring healthcare professionals and an array of lenders, AmOne stands out with its adeptness at pairing students with financial solutions tailored to their individual credit situations. With the rigorous demands and potential rewards of pharmacy school, students who’ve maintained a reasonable credit standing can count on AmOne to secure the funds needed for their specialized education.

AmOne Personal Loans

4.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600

Fixed APR

3.99%-35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Repayment: 1 to 7 years.

Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • While there’s no specific income requirement, a consistent source of income is essential for the applicant.

Pros

  • Suitable for individuals with lower credit scores.
  • No cost for the matching service.
  • Attractive loan rates.

Cons

  • Acts as an intermediary, not a direct lender.
  • Risk of multiple contacts from prospective lenders.
  • Lack of clarity on lender details.

Spring Loans (Best for Bad and No Credit)

Dedication to the pharmaceutical field should not be thwarted by past financial hurdles or a lack of credit history. Recognizing this, Spring Loans emerges as a crucial ally for those with limited credit backgrounds. By adopting a more holistic evaluation approach, Spring Loans ensures that future pharmacists are not denied their dreams due to financial constraints from the past. This broader perspective on lending ensures that the healthcare world is enriched with talented professionals, regardless of their prior credit challenges.

Spring Loans Personal Loans

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrate a recurrent income.
  • Minimum age prerequisite: 18 years.
  • Validate U.S. citizenship status with an SSN.
  • Provide a legitimate U.S. driver’s license or a state identity card.
  • Establish a functional bank account for incoming deposits.
  • Adhere to any specific demands by the loan provider.

Pros

  • Open to applicants with any credit background.
  • Four-year loan period aids in structured financial management.
  • The $3,000 offer addresses several short-term financial challenges.
  • Wide-reaching eligibility criteria invite a broad spectrum of applicants.
  • The focus on dependable income over job title benefits varied income sources.

Cons

  • The set 27% APR is higher than many alternatives.
  • Restriction to a $3,000 loan might not cover all financial outlays.
  • Possessing specific IDs is mandatory, sidelining some applicants.
  • A prerequisite for an ongoing bank account may limit certain users.

First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)

For budding pharmacists who have faced credit challenges but are determined to excel in the healthcare sector, First Premier Lending offers a beacon of hope. With a belief that everyone deserves a second chance, this lender delves beyond mere credit scores. By examining potential and understanding the long-term rewards of a pharmacy degree, First Premier Lending provides opportunities that help students overcome their past financial setbacks and focus on their future roles as healthcare leaders.

First Premier Lending Personal Loans

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%.
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Maintain a consistent source of income.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess valid U.S. citizenship and a legitimate social security number.
  • Hold a current U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID.
  • Keep an active bank account for direct deposit.
  • Satisfy any lender-specific criteria, such as credit rating, borrowing history, or place of residence.

Pros

  • No minimum credit score requirement allows accessibility for those with varied credit histories.
  • 48-month term provides clarity and allows for long-term financial planning.
  • Specific loan amount of $3,000 can meet many short-term financial needs.
  • Broad set of qualifications make the loan accessible to a wide range of people.
  • Emphasis on consistent income, not necessarily employment type, allows flexibility for borrowers.

Cons

  • A fixed APR of 27% is relatively high.
  • Loan amount is capped at $3,000, which might not cater to larger financial requirements.
  • Requirement of a U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID could exclude some individuals.
  • Mandatory active bank account could be limiting for those who are unbanked.

College Ave (Best for Good Credit)

College Ave, renowned for its comprehensive student loan offerings, is the go-to choice for pharmacy students with solid credit standings. Providing competitive interest rates and unmatched flexibility, College Ave applauds the commitment of pharmacy students by offering loan solutions that reflect their financial diligence. With the costs of pharmacy school being substantial, students can lean into College Ave’s customized loan options, ensuring their hard work in both academics and credit management is rewarded.

College Ave Undergraduate Private Student Loans

4.8
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600 or better

Fixed APR

5.05% - 16.99%

Variable APR

5.59% - 16.99%

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 600 or better.
  • Fixed APR: 5.05% – 16.99%.
  • Loan amounts: 5.59% – 16.99%.
  • Repayment: 5, 8, 10, 15, and 20 years.

Qualifications

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • For undergraduate loans: Part-time enrollment at an accredited college/university.
  • International students: Need a Social Security number and a co-signer.
  • For refinance loans: Must be 18 years or older.
  • For refinance loans: Graduation from an eligible school is required.

Pros

  • Prequalify with a soft credit check
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Offers co-signer release for private loans

Cons

  • Charges late fees
  • Must have graduated to be eligible to refinance
  • Half of repayment term must have passed to release co-signer

Sallie Mae (Best for Very Good Credit)

A stalwart in the student financing realm, Sallie Mae is the pinnacle choice for pharmacy students who have consistently excelled in their credit endeavors. Recognizing the significance and potential returns of a pharmaceutical education, Sallie Mae has curated loan offerings that cater to the specific financial dynamics of pharmacy school. By merging transparent lending terms, competitive rates, and top-notch service, Sallie Mae ensures that the brightest in the pharmaceutical field receive the financial support they truly deserve.

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Private Student Loans

4.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

Mid-600's

Fixed APR

4.50-15.49%

Variable APR

6.37-16.70%

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: Mid-600’s.
  • Fixed APR: 4.50-15.49%
  • Variable APR: 6.37-16.70%
  • Loan amounts: Minimum of $1,000 per year.
  • Repayment: 10 to 15 years.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Read More

Final Thoughts

The great news is your options are not few and far between when it comes to finding the top pharmacy schools in the U.S. There are many great schools you can choose from in your pursuit of finding the top pharmacy school. We wish you well in deciding which one of these amazing schools you will attend.

Top Pharmacy Schools FAQ

What is the number one pharmacy school in the US?

As of the latest rankings, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill holds the top spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for pharmacy schools.

What are the top colleges ranked for pharmacy?

The top pharmacy schools in the U.S. can vary from year to year, but some consistently highly-ranked institutions include the University of California–San Francisco, the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and the University of Minnesota.

What is the easiest pharmacy school in the US?

There is no definitive answer to this question as the difficulty of pharmacy programs can vary based on individual preferences and strengths. What might be “easier” for one person could be challenging for another. It’s essential to choose a pharmacy school that aligns with your goals and learning style.

What GPA do most pharmacy schools require?

The GPA requirement for pharmacy schools can vary, but many competitive programs typically look for a minimum undergraduate GPA of around 3.0 to 3.3. However, it’s essential to check the specific requirements of the schools you are interested in, as requirements may differ.

What is the hardest year of pharmacy school?

The difficulty of pharmacy school can vary by program and individual experiences. Typically, the first year of pharmacy school is often considered challenging due to the foundational coursework. However, each year presents its unique set of challenges as students progress into more specialized and advanced coursework.

Is pharmacy school harder than medical?

Comparing the difficulty of pharmacy school to medical school is subjective and depends on personal preferences and strengths. Both pharmacy and medical schools are rigorous and demanding in their ways, but they focus on different aspects of healthcare. Medical school typically involves more extensive clinical training and a more extended educational path.

Is pharmacy more difficult than nursing?

The difficulty of pharmacy school versus nursing school also varies based on individual strengths and preferences. Nursing programs often involve a strong emphasis on clinical skills and patient care, while pharmacy programs focus on medication management and pharmacotherapy. Both fields require dedication and hard work.

Is a 3.6 GPA good for pharmacy school?

A 3.6 GPA is generally considered competitive for many pharmacy schools. However, it’s essential to remember that admissions decisions are based on a holistic review of an applicant’s profile, which includes GPA, standardized test scores (if required), letters of recommendation, and more. Meeting the minimum GPA requirements is a good start, but other factors also play a crucial role in the admissions process.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.