PharmD Application Process

This application guide is intended to help you navigate the application and interview process-including advice about PharmCAS, PCAT, Interview Day, and more. Planning to apply for Fall 2019? Use this printable application checklist.

Early Decision Program

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

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. 

Program Details

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 2019 is September 4. 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 4.

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 19.

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 May 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.

International and Transfer Students

International Students

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. The expectation of that student in the admissions process is the same as any other PharmD candidate, including the submission of all official college/university transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), three letters of reference, and personal statement with the following exceptions:

  • The student will not apply through PharmCAS. All required materials must be submitted directly to the CUWSOP Director of Recruitment and Admissions via email at blake@cuw.edu OR via mail at:  

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

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 applicant.

    • 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.
  • Students who have earned less than 30 credits in pharmacy school must also submit official PCAT scores (code 079).

All transfer inquiries are encouraged to contact pharmacy@cuw.edu or 262-243-2728 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. The student does not necessarily need to attend a formal interview day, although an in-person interview is still expected, if invited. Following the in-person interview, Admissions Committee will review the application materials, writing sample and interview notes.

Process to Determine Advanced Standing

Following the Admissions Committee decision, should the student be accepted, the Associate Dean will develop an academic plan for the student’s progression in the PharmD program. The Associate Dean will consider the potential of advanced standing based on previous coursework.  The Associate Dean may consult corresponding CUWSOP course faculty 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.

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

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 May 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.

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.