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Pre-Pharmacy Courses

Commonly Required and Recommended Courses for Pharmacy Schools

Upper Level Biology

Pre-pharmacy specific information is included in this section. Be sure to read Choosing Courses for a comprehensive understanding of the introductory coursework that will likely be required as you prepare for the PCAT and for pharmacy school. Also note that pharmacy schools typically require a minimum grade of C (2.0) in the pre-req courses.


Physiology is a PharmD prerequisite at U-M, and it is typically tested to some degree in the Biological Sciences section of the PCAT.  There are several lecture courses that work well to prepare you for the content on the PCAT, but note that the UM PharmD program specifies PHYSIOL 201 or PHYSIOL 502.

  • BIOLOGY 225: Principles of Animal Physiology and Neurobiology
  • PHYSIOL 201: Introduction to Human Physiology
  • PHYSIOL 502: Human Physiology
  • BIOMEDE 419: Quantitative Physiology


Anatomy is tested on the PCAT and we strongly recommend that you complete a lecture in anatomy before taking this test.  Furthermore, the U-M College of Pharmacy requires a lecture in human anatomy for its PharmD program and lists ANATOMY 403 (Human Anatomy) specifically for this requirement.

Other anatomy courses [e.g., MOVESCI 230 (Human Musculoskeletal Anatomy) and BIOLOGY 252 (Vertebrate Evolution and Diversity)] do not include all of the material required and therefore will not satisfy this requirement for the U-M College of Pharmacy, and may not do so for other schools’ anatomy requirements.


The U-M College of Pharmacy requires a lecture and lab in microbiology for its PharmD program.  U-M students should note that U-M College of Pharmacy specifically requires MICRBIOL 405 and MICRBIOL 350 (taught in the Winter terms only). BIOLOGY 207 is not accepted for U-M’s  requirement, but may be accepted by other schools.

  • BIOLOGY 207: Microbiology lecture with  lab included
  • MICRBIOL 405/350:  Microbiology lecture and Microbiology lab


Genetics is tested on the PCAT but it typically it is not necessary to go beyond what is taught in Introductory Biology sequences to be ready for this. However, please do note that the U-M College of Pharmacy requires a lecture in genetics for its PharmD program.   

  • BIOLOGY 305 (Genetics)
  • Additional upper-level biology courses

Additional courses labeled BIOLOGY, CDB, EEB, MCDB, MICRBIOL and PHYSIOL will typically be included as Biology courses.  Note that some pharmacy schools require a specific number of Biology credits or courses taken at the 300 level or higher. Some examples:

  • CDB 450: Introduction to Histology
  • EEB 341: Parasitology lecture with lab included
  • PHYSIOL 541 / ANATOMY 541 / PSYCH 532: Mammalian Reproductive Endocrinology   
  • MCDB 427/429: Molecular Biology lecture & Lab
  • MCDB 428/429: Cell Biology lecture and Lab

Biology laboratory courses

Pharmacy schools typically require two laboratory courses in Biology. Note that independent research courses, such as those in which you earn credit for working on a particular research project, may not be considered sufficient.  It is safest to either take two regular methods lab classes or to carefully check the requirements of each of your target schools. As an LSA student, you will typically begin with BIOLOGY 173 (Introductory Biology Laboratory), and then take another methods lab associated with a regular biology lecture.   

If you plan to take CHEM 352 lab (Introduction to Biochemical Research Techniques), as a requirement for your major or for interest, note that this lab will typically count as a Biology lab for the purposes of pharmacy school admissions.  


Any of the three introductory Biochemistry coures (MCDB 310, CHEM 351, BIOLCHEM 415) taught on this campus work well as pharmacy school prerequisites (including the UM College of Pharmacy, which accepts all three) and preparation for the PCAT. Refer to Choosing Courses for additional coursework information.


Most pharmacy schools require two academic terms (one year, including 2 lectures and 2 labs), of physics. While pharmacy schools typically do not specify the content, the PCAT tests material covered in the standard introduction to Mechanics, Sound and Heat (Physics I) and Electricity and Light (Physics II).  Pharmacy schools sometimes do state a preference or a requirement for calculus-based physics, so it is important to check this. For Physics course options at UM, refer to Choosing Courses.

Mathematics and Statistics

Calculus (Math 115 is sufficient in most cases) and pre-calculus are tested on the PCAT, along with a small amount of Probability and Statistics (Stats 250 is sufficient in most cases).  Students with AP credit for these subjects should also make sure that the schools to which they plan to apply will accept that credit (some will not).  Also, some pharmacy schools may require a course in Statistics.