PharmD application process

Timeline for fall 2021 admission

  • July 14, 2020: PharmCAS application opens; applications accepted for the PharmD program for the following fall
  • September 8, 2020: Deadline to apply for Early Decision
  • September–June: On-campus interviews for PharmD applicants, by invitation only
  • June 1, 2021: PharmCAS application closes
  • Mid-August, 2021: New student orientation and the first day of classes

*It can take up to six weeks for PharmCAS to transmit your submitted application to designated pharmacy schools, so we strongly recommend that you submit before the June 1 deadline.

Planning to apply for Fall 2021? Use this printable application checklist.

PharmD entrance requirements

While Concordia University Wisconsin follows a holistic approach to the admission process where numerous aspects of the application are considered, to be guaranteed an interview invitation, candidates must have:

  • A minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA
  • A grade of C- or better in all pharmacy prerequisite coursework
Effective April 2020, Concordia University Wisconsin is a PCAT optional institution and the PCAT is no longer required. Students should contact the CUWSOP Admissions Team to discuss the strength of their application and determine if they should consider taking the PCAT to increase the overall competitiveness of their application.

Please also note:

  • Three letters of reference are required (submitted to PharmCAS)
  • There's no supplemental application for CUW-SOP

A bachelor’s degree is not required to begin the Doctor of Pharmacy program; however, applicants must have completed the minimum undergraduate pre-pharmacy coursework below before classes begin in August (requirements can be completed in as little as two years).

The Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS)

All application materials for CUW-SOP must be submitted through PharmCAS including letters of reference. CUW does not require a supplemental application. Check to make sure you have all of the necessary materials, and familiarize yourself with the online platform before you apply.

Submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions directly to PharmCAS. Students with international transcripts (see below) must have them evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation service and submit the report directly from the evaluation service to PharmCAS.

NOTE: It can take up to six weeks for PharmCAS to transmit your submitted application to designated pharmacy schools. We strongly recommend that you submit before the June 1 deadline and keep track of your application on the PharmCAS website to ensure that all pieces of your application (PCAT scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) have been received.

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

Effective April 2020, Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy is a PCAT optional institution and the PCAT will not be a required part of the application. Students are encouraged to connect with the CUWSOP Admissions Staff to discuss the strength of their application and determine if they should take the PCAT to be the most competitive applicant possible. 

If you choose to take the PCAT or advised to do so by the admissions team, you can register to take the PCAT and find testing locations online, and have the score report sent directly to PharmCAS. Scores from the PCAT don’t need to be posted to PharmCAS before submitting your PharmCAS application but must be posted before the June 1 application deadline.

Students who take at least one practice test generally perform better on the PCAT. A foundation in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry is recommended.

Pre-Pharmacy Coursework

Successful applicants demonstrate a solid understanding of not only the fields of biology, chemistry, and math, but communications, economics, and liberal arts. Applicants should strive to demonstrate a dedication to these foundations of knowledge.

The pre-pharmacy requirements can be completed in two years and must be completed before starting the PharmD program. These courses can be in progress while completing the application and admission process. All pre-pharmacy requirements must be completed with a grade of C- or better. Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken in high school may be used to fulfill pre-pharmacy requirements. For students entering in Fall 2021 and beyond, the pre-pharmacy course requirements are listed below:

Course Requirements                       Credits

Science Core Courses
Biology + labs 8
General Chemistry + labs 8
Organic Chemistry + labs  8
Physics I (with or without lab) 3-4
One or more advanced science elective course(s)* 4-5
Minimum 32 


Support Courses
Calculus 3
Statistics 3
English Composition 3
Interpersonal Communication or Public Speaking  3
Economics  3
General Education Electives  17
Minimum 32 

Total Pre-Pharmacy Credits                                      64 Credits

*Examples of an advanced science elective include: Physics II, Physiology, Anatomy, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, or other advanced science courses.

General education electives

General education electives can come from a wide variety of courses, including but not limited to: Literature, History, Philosophy, Theology, Fine Arts, Creative Arts, Foreign Language, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Communications, Political Science, Physical Education, etc.

Pre-pharmacy course equivalency guides

Concordia University Wisconsin works with students individually to create course equivalency guides for the school in which they’re fulfilling the pre-pharmacy course requirements. Contact us at for a course equivalency guide or for an individual transcript evaluation of pre-pharmacy coursework.

Letters of Recommendation

Concordia University Wisconsin requires three letters of reference to be submitted directly to PharmCAS. References should be able to speak to your academic performance, understanding of the pharmacy profession, and/or character.

Choose references who know you well in professional and/or academic settings, such as professors, supervisors, advisors, or pharmacists. Reference letters are reviewed to assess your:

  • Character
  • Communication skills
  • Academic ability
  • Motivation and understanding of the pharmacy profession
  • Commitment to community service
Early Decision Program

The Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy participates in the Early Decision program through PharmCAS.

The Early Decision program is a binding option for applicants who have decided that CUW-SOP is their first-choice pharmacy school and that they’ll enroll here if accepted. NOTE: As an Early Decision applicant, you can apply to only one pharmacy degree program.

The Early Decision application deadline for Fall 2021 is September 8. In addition to completing the PharmCAS application, you must arrange for PharmCAS to receive all of your official transcripts and fee no later than September 8.

If your application, transcripts, or fee arrive after the deadline, PharmCAS will automatically change your file from Early Decision to a regular applicant.

You may be offered early admission, denied admission, or deferred to regular applicant status. If you’re offered admission as an Early Decision applicant, you’re obligated to accept the offer, and you won’t be permitted to apply to other PharmCAS institutions. If, however, you’re denied admission as an Early Decision applicant, you may apply to other PharmCAS institutions for an additional fee. PharmCAS institutions will make admission decisions on Early Decision applicants by October 23.

If you know that CUW is right for you, select this option on your application, and we’ll fast track you to a decision. Plus, those who are admitted via Early Decision may be eligible to have their tuition deposit waived! Early Decision applicants will be reviewed using the same selection criteria as regular applicants and don’t have a more rigorous selection process than regular applicants. Students considering Early Decision are encouraged to connect with the Office of Student Affairs prior to applying.

Interview Day

At Concordia University Wisconsin, our Interview Day is just as much about you getting to know us as it is about us getting to know you. That’s why the Interview Day is a half-day program, where you’ll meet faculty, staff, and current students in the CUW School of Pharmacy.

You’ll learn and see:

  • Our student-centered approach to teaching you to become an exceptional pharmacist practicing as part of an inter-professional team
  • Our innovations in pharmacy education at CUW that prepare you for your pharmacy career no matter what your area of interest
  • Our flexible, compact, commuter- and family-friendly schedule designed to fit your needs
  • Our state-of-the-art facility sitting alongside the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan

In addition, you’ll complete a writing sample, and interview with one or two faculty and/or practicing pharmacists over about an hour. The rest of your Interview Day at CUW is focused on beginning to build relationships with our faculty, staff, and current students, as well as a brief tour of our pharmacy building.

Preparing for the Interview
The interview is a critical component of the admission process. Being prepared for the interview is just as important as preparing for the PCAT or a final exam. Lack of preparation will show in your interview and can oftentimes lead to an unfavorable admission decision.

Take advantage of the accessibility of CUW’s admission staff and career services at your pre-pharmacy institution-these professionals can be vital to helping you prepare.

Be prepared to answer these questions:
  • What is the pharmacist’s role as a member of the health care team?
  • Why do you want to become a pharmacist?
  • Why do you want to attend Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Pharmacy?
  • How have you been involved in community service, volunteer, and leadership activities; and how does this relate to the role of a pharmacist?

The interview is your opportunity to show how you are uniquely qualified for admission. As you prepare for your interview, think about your “story.” How did you decide that you want to be a pharmacist? Did you have a defining moment that solidified your career path? If so, what was it? Chances are, no one else will have that same story-that’s what makes you unique!

While your interviewers are not allowed to review your PharmCAS application prior to interviewing you, you should be open and honest about any shortcomings that may appear on your PharmCAS application, such as a bad semester/year, a failed class, repeated classes, lack of community service or pharmacy experience, etc. Being open and honest regarding your record demonstrates the trust necessary in the profession of pharmacy and is viewed positively in the interview.

Interviewing Tips
  1. Be professional. Make sure you’re presenting yourself in a professional manner with proper business attire (not business casual). Arrive on time with a few minutes to spare so that you’re relaxed and composed before your Interview Day begins. First impressions matter.
  2. Communicate effectively. During your interview, your communication skills will be under the microscope. Be sure to practice good verbal and nonverbal communication by using appropriate language, making good eye contact, listening, and answering questions thoroughly but concisely. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Did you know?

Approximately 80 percent of applicants are invited for an interview.

International Admission

International students interested in applying to Concordia University Wisconsin must:

  • Complete the PharmD application process through PharmCAS.
  • Have foreign transcripts evaluated by a foreign evaluation service, as described on the PharmCAS website, and submitted to PharmCAS.
  • Submit a TOEFL or IELTS score to PharmCAS if previous coursework was completed in a language other than English. CUW accepts a minimum score of 79 on TOEFL and 6.5 on IELTS.
  • Submit Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) scores to PharmCAS.
  • Complete the pre-pharmacy course requirements. Foreign pharmacy international coursework may partially or fully satisfy the pre-pharmacy course requirements, at the discretion of the associate dean for academic affairs.

Students who have received an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree from a recognized school of pharmacy outside of the United States may obtain a license to practice pharmacy in the United States by either 1) taking the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEC) and completing the requirements of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, or 2) successfully completing a Doctor of Pharmacy program at an accredited school or college of pharmacy in the U.S., and meeting state requirements for licensure.

Students who hold a pharmacy degree from a recognized school of pharmacy outside of the U.S. and are admitted to the PharmD program at Concordia University Wisconsin will be placed into the first year of the program, but may be considered for advanced standing at the discretion of the associate dean for academic affairs.

Transfer Admission

Students Applying with Previous Coursework from a US Doctor of Pharmacy Program

Concordia University Wisconsin may consider admitting a student with previous academic credit from a School of Pharmacy in the United States.

Transfer candidates applying for admission consideration must submit their complete application within the following windows*: 

  • Application Window for Fall Consideration/Start - March 1 - April 30
  • Application Window for Spring Consideration/Start - September 1 - October 31

*Completed applications received after a window has closed may be held for consideration during a future window.

All required materials must be submitted directly to the CUWSOP Director of Recruitment and Admissions via email at OR via mail at:  

          Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy
          Attn:  Director of Recruitment and Admissions
          12800 North Lake Shore Drive
          Mequon, WI 53097

Transfer candidates must complete the following required steps in order to be considered:

  • The candidate must complete the CUWSOP transfer application.
    • Transfer candidates will not complete a PharmCAS application.
  • Submit all official college/university transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, and professional)
    • All transcripts must be sent directly from the institution via mail or electronically.
    • Copies of transcripts issued to students (even if in a sealed envelope) will not be accepted.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • A letter from the Dean or Associate Dean for Academics of the previous/current pharmacy school explaining the circumstances related to the student’s departure. Failure to demonstrate “good standing” at the previous/current pharmacy school may disqualify the candidate.
    • This letter may not be one of the three letters of recommendation, although the student may ask the Dean or Associate Dean for Academics to provide a recommendation letter as a separate letter.
    • This letter must be sent directly from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Dean to
  • Students who have completed less than 30 credits in pharmacy school must also submit official PCAT scores (code 079).

All transfer inquiries are encouraged to contact or 262-243-2747 to discuss the overall strength of their application.

Review of Transfer Applications

Following the submission of all required materials, the application will be holistically reviewed for interview consideration. If invited, the candidate must attend an in-person interview. Following the in-person interview, the Admissions Committee will review the application materials, writing sample, and interview notes. From there, an admission decision will be made.

Process to Determine Advanced Standing

Following the Admissions Committee decision, should the student be accepted, the Deans' Office will develop an academic plan for the student's progression into the PharmD program. The Deans' Office will consider the potential of and determine advanced standing based on previous coursework. The Deans' Office will consult corresponding CUWSOP course coordinator(s) and/or request additional information and/or documentation from the student regarding their previous coursework (e.g. syllabi) in formulating this plan.

  • A majority of the coursework for the CUWSOP PharmD degree must be completed at CUW. In other words, less than half of the 148 credits required to receive the PharmD degree may be transferred in, but a transfer student must complete at least 75 credits while enrolled at CUWSOP in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.
  • Room permitting, the student may be admitted off-cycle if advanced standing allows such admittance.

All academic plans for admitted students with advanced standing will be submitted by the Deans' Office to the Admissions Committee for approval prior to the plan being finalized and communicated to the student by the Deans' Office.