Pharmacists are the health professionals who serve patients in assuring appropriate use of medications. In addition to reviewing prescription orders, medication record screening and review, and the accurate dispensing of medications, pharmacists serve patients by providing information and advice. Pharmacists are well informed on the physical and chemical properties of drugs and the way they behave in the human body. Pharmacists must have excellent interpersonal and communications skills, and demonstrate the highest standard of professional ethics.
Most schools require a relatively common core of science courses (1 year of biology and/or biomedical sciences, one year each of inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, one semester each of microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and one year of physics). Because these courses are part of the requirements for a number of majors at Grand Valley, no one specific major is recommended for prepharmacy students. Most prepharmacy students at Grand Valley have been biology, biomedical sciences, or chemistry majors. However, any major is possible as long as the student meets the science core requirements. Students should consult the individual pharmacy school bulletins and websites for specific additional requirements and regulations.
Students are encouraged to decide on a major as soon as possible in their undergraduate career and to contact the CLAS Advising Center at (616) 331-8585 to ensure that all necessary information is available to them.
Many pharmacy schools require applicants to take a standardized admissions exam. Students normally take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) in the spring of their junior year. Since this exam, as well as pharmacy schools vary in the application deadlines, please see an advisor for more information. Students should plan their course scheduling so that they have met all required science courses before taking these tests.
In 2010, Grand Valley State University and the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan signed an agreement establishing a program that offers preferred admission to the UM doctoral pharmacy program. The UM College of Pharmacy will reserve up to eight positions annually in its four year PharmD doctoral program for admittance of GVSU freshmen who have earned outstanding academic achievement in high school. High school students are considered competitive for the program if they: score a minimum of 29 on the ACT or 1280 on the SAT; maintain a 3.5 cumulative high school grade point average; complete at least three years of laboratory science (biology, chemistry, and physics) with grades of B or better; complete four years of college preparatory mathematics with grades of B or better and complete the competitive Declaration of Interest form for the program. To remain eligible to enter PharmD, students must complete a program of prepharmacy-pharmacy coursework, maintain an appropriate grade point average and achieve a score on the Pharmacy College Admission Tests that is consistent with the UM College of Pharmacy’s admissions standards. In addition, they must maintain regular contact with a pre-professional adviser, complete one year of health care work experience, volunteer for community service and demonstrate the professional behavior expectations of competence, honesty, compassion, respect for others, and responsibility.
In 2002, Grand Valley State University and the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan signed an agreement that established a dual-degree undergraduate/professional program leading to both the bachelor of science degree from GVSU and the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UM. Under the agreement, selected GVSU sophomores who meet specified criteria will be granted guaranteed admission to the College of Pharmacy at UM. After successfully completing their junior year at GVSU, the students will transfer to UM College of Pharmacy, where they will begin four years of the pharmacy program. After completing the first year of pharmacy studies at UM, the students will receive their bachelor’s degree from GVSU. Upon completion of the remaining three years of pharmacy studies, the student will receive their doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD) from UM. Initial students in this dual-degree program will earn their bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences; subsequent GVSU undergraduate degree options may include biology, chemistry and cell and molecular biology. Because of the selectiveness of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, the majority of student accepted into the pharmacy program already have completed their baccalaureate degrees. This dual-degree program with GVSU will save one year of undergraduate studies for the participating students.
For more specific information, please refer to the sections on biology, biomedical sciences, and chemistry.