The 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in California – Top 10 Pharmacy Schools in California

The 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in California: Top 10 Pharmacy Schools in California.

With many established pharmacy schools in California, it can be hard to find the right program that will provide you with the quality education and experience you need to succeed in the field of pharmacy. 

We’ve compiled this list of 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in California, so you can learn about each school’s curriculum, student life, faculty, facilities, and other factors that will help you decide which program best suits your needs and goals as a future pharmacist.

This insider’s guide will give you an inside look at what makes these 10 programs stand out from the rest.


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  • University of California San Diego

Best pharmacy schools in California
University of California, San Diego

Located in La Jolla, UCSD is a research-focused school that offers an online Master of Science program. Students who graduate with a pharmacy degree from UCSD can be licensed as a pharmacist and work within any practice setting. 

The school was ranked #1 for its commitment to community service and also received high marks for its campus diversity, financial aid options, and strong relationships with employers. 

Like most other top pharmacy schools in California, admissions are highly competitive at UC San Diego; prospective students must score a minimum GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0 on undergraduate coursework and complete extracurricular activities such as volunteering or mentoring. 

A personal interview is also required. Prospective students must submit official transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores (for those who graduated after 2012), and professional references. International applicants should submit TOEFL scores as well. 

Most applicants take anywhere between three and five years to earn their pharmacy degrees through UC San Diego’s program, however, candidates interested in specializing in pharmacology may have shorter study periods if they have already completed certain prerequisites during their undergraduate studies.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • University of California San Francisco

The UCSF School of Pharmacy is another respected pharmacy school in California. The school specializes in research and offers one program, a Doctor of Pharmacy, which takes four years to complete. 

The curriculum includes courses on anatomy, immunology, microbiology and pharmacy practice.

For example, pharmacists are often employed as a member of a healthcare team that prescribes medications; as such, they must have an understanding of diseases and drugs that treat these conditions. 

Other important topics include FDA regulations and drug compounding. Those who graduate from the program may go on to work for hospitals, clinics or even supermarkets. 

The University of Southern California (USC) also has a highly ranked pharmacy school that offers programs in both pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. The USC PPS degree is a 5-year combined BS/MS degree program with the first two years devoted to undergraduate study followed by three years of graduate work leading to either a BS or MS degree.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Drexel University College of Medicine

Philadelphia is home to Drexel University College of Medicine, which allows students access to a variety of urban medicine experiences. This includes rotations at Hahnemann University Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and more. 

Students also receive significant mentorship from practicing physicians at Drexel’s Center for Practice Management. 

The program provides a rigorous education with an emphasis on evidence-based practice, strong clinical skills and patient care.

It includes year-long electives in various subspecialties that enable graduates to provide high-quality care across the continuum of medical specialties. 

In addition, Drexel offers joint degree programs with partner institutions that offer master’s degrees in clinical research administration or health services administration.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Loma Linda University, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Founded in 1925, Loma Linda University is a private, nonprofit institution. The school’s location in sunny Southern California might be one of its greatest assets, but students can also take advantage of strong business and science programs. 

Loma Linda University offers two different pharmacy doctorate degrees: a Ph.D. for research and scholarship; and a DPharm for professional practice.

Doctoral students complete their classroom studies at Loma Linda University before completing an optional residency or internship in an off-campus setting. 

Graduate degree candidates choose from six concentration areas: pharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry, toxicology and drug safety, pharmaceutical management, or international health systems. 

As part of the curriculum, all students must complete coursework in clinical pharmacy management. In addition to all this coursework, doctoral candidates must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Located in Chicago, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine has a highly respected curriculum. The school is best known for research opportunities, which provide students with unparalleled experience in their respective fields. 

Graduates from Feinberg have an impressive 96% first-time pass rate on their board exams and are among some of America’s brightest future healthcare professionals. 

The university offers a rigorous pre-professional training program to ensure that students are prepared for the rigors of medical school before they start classes. Some common majors include Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics/Bioengineering. 

Each major can lead to different careers after graduation such as teaching or pharmaceutical work. 

There are also several other programs offered by the university, including Master of Medical Science (MMS) degrees.

These graduate degrees provide a high level of specialization in select fields including Emergency Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences and Health Care Administration.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Stanford University School of Medicine

The pharmacy school at Stanford University is ranked second in California. They are highly selective and accept only 16 percent of applicants each year. According to U.S. News & World Report, only 5% of their graduates do not pass state licensure exams on their first try, making them one of the best schools for a student who is planning to work as a pharmacist. 

Their admission process is rigorous and consists of two interviews with faculty members, two personal essays, two letters of recommendation, and three SAT Subject Tests or ACTs. Applicants must also be fluent in English since it is the primary language used on campus. For international students, the TOEFL exam or IELTS exam is required. 

The University of Southern California School of Pharmacy: Located in Los Angeles, USC offers a fast-paced and academically challenging program that teaches students how to take care of patients holistically rather than just focusing on medicines alone. 

Graduates have an employment rate of 98%, which makes USC School of Pharmacy #1 in California when it comes to job placement rates.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy

Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) College of Pharmacy offers a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program designed to educate and prepare students for careers as professional pharmacists. 

The D.Pharm. program is accredited by ACPE, ABP and ACCE, and it also teaches a course about non-profit work. All applicants should have at least one year of college courses under their belt, although freshmen are eligible to apply. 

The application process includes submitting transcripts from all institutions attended, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation from faculty members or employers and an essay. For international students, the application fee is $60 US dollars. 

There is no tuition cost for these students, but they will need to pay fees on campuses such as registration fees and lab fees. In addition, there are many scholarships that may be available to help with the cost of living. To find out more about this school’s admissions requirements, visit their website at 

Student life at WesternU isn’t just limited to studies, though there are social activities every week. Activities range from a hiking club to cheerleading squads and basketball teams, so you shouldn’t lack activities when you get here.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Stockton, CA)

The University of Pacific Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (UOP LSPHS) is one of 10 pharmacy schools in California that offer international students an opportunity to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. 

UOP LSPHS enrolls about 100 graduate students annually, and its curriculum is designed to prepare pharmacy professionals for professional practice. The school has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education since 1967. 

Students are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before they can be admitted into the program. International students will need to provide proof of proficiency in English. Admission requirements may change without notice, so it is important for prospective applicants to contact the admissions office before submitting any applications or documents. 

Prospective applicants should also know that the University of Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences does not accept applications submitted via email; all information must be submitted through the online application portal found on their website.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Keck School of Medicine USC

Consistently ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report and is ranked among the top 2% of academic medical institutions, Keck is a true heavyweight. It houses multiple centers of excellence, including biomedical informatics, cancer research and bioengineering.

Students who attend Keck come from more than 60 nations; many are from low-income households but have demonstrated an ability to succeed academically through outstanding test scores and community involvement. 

Moreover, the school has developed programs to help students graduate with less debt than other schools. For example, if you qualify for their Merit Scholarships Program, you’ll receive a one-time scholarship that covers your tuition for four years. Additionally, those who can’t afford books can visit the campus bookstore and borrow up to $300 worth of textbooks per semester.

Visit the school’s website for more information

  • Touro University California College of Pharmacy (Vallejo, CA)

Touro University California’s College of Pharmacy is one of two pharmacy colleges and is an excellent choice for those who want to pursue a career in pharmacy. 

Students enrolled at Touro are eligible to take advantage of an affiliation with Sutter Pacific Medical Center, located on campus. The college also offers various study abroad opportunities for students who wish to experience life as a pharmacist outside of their home state. 

Their rigorous curriculum includes courses such as Principles of Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Calculations I & II, Drug Synthesis I & II, Introduction to Clinical Research and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. 

The program’s admissions requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.0 in prerequisite courses or completion of pre-pharmacy coursework with a C or better grade.

Visit the school’s website for more information

Best Pharmacy Tech Schools in California

There are a number of schools that offer pharmacy tech programs, so it can be confusing to determine which schools are best for you. There are several factors that you’ll want to consider before making your decision.

Read below to learn more about a few of our top pharmacy tech schools and decide which one is right for you.

  1. California State University-Long Beach
  2. University of Southern California

FAQS: 10 Best Pharmacy Schools in California

How long does it take to become a pharmacist in California?

Before you can begin working, you’ll need to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy program, which requires 4 years of full-time study (but can be done more quickly if you already have a Bachelor’s degree and enter into a 5-year accelerated program). 

Once you graduate from pharmacy school, it will take at least 2 years to pass all required exams before becoming a licensed pharmacist. The average starting salary for an entry-level pharmacist is $110,000. If this sounds like the career for you, check out these top 10 pharmacy schools in California! 

Can International Students Work as Pharmacists in California?

Having completed your pharmacy degree and passed your licensing exams, you’re probably wondering where you can start working as a pharmacist. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that there will be a 24% increase in employment for pharmacists between 2016 and 2026. 

This significant growth stems from an aging population and greater technological advancements to treat diseases. Although there are a number of educational requirements, including a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and licensure by your state, international students who wish to practice pharmacy in California can find employment opportunities after completing their formal education.

Many jobs require some experience but may be willing to hire an international candidate who has completed all requirements except work experience.

What is the Job Outlook for Pharmacists in 2022?

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pharmacists is projected to grow 16% from 2016 to 2026. This growth is faster than average and much faster than any other healthcare occupation.

High school students considering pharmacy school should take note of these projected growth numbers, which are largely a result of an aging population and increased use of medications by patients.

Are there Special Qualities a Pharmacist should have?

If you’re looking to get into a pharmacy school, it’s important to know what qualities make for a top-notch pharmacist. Here are some qualities and skills you should possess if you want to become a pharmacist that any employer would be happy to have on staff. 

  • They must be detail-oriented and methodical. 
  • They must be able to think critically and solve problems quickly. 
  • They need to be able to work well with people of all ages and backgrounds. 
  • They need to care about the health of their patients enough to do whatever they can to help them out.

What is the GPA requirement for Pharmacy schools in California?

The admissions officers for pharmacy schools in California aren’t as concerned with your GPA as they are with your MCAT score. Most schools have a cutoff of around 30-31, although some exceptions do exist.

But don’t fret, as long as you have an overall GPA of 2.8 or above and an acceptable MCAT score, you should be considered for admission to one of these top 10 pharmacy schools in California.

Why Should I Choose an ACPE Accredited Doctor of Pharmacy Program in California?

First, you’ll want to understand what makes ACPE accreditation so important. The acronym stands for Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and supporting pharmacy education in North America. With more than 125 accredited institutions, ACPE is both popular and highly regarded among health professionals as a mark of quality education.

How much can I make as a Pharmacist in California?

The annual salary for pharmacists in California is $109,990 on average, while 10% of pharmacists report earning an average of $128,560 per year. Average earnings for a pharmacist may vary considerably depending on years of experience and geographic location. 

The highest-paid 25% of all pharmacists reported annual salaries of at least $132,440. The lowest-paid 10% reported salaries below $96,240.

How Long is My Pharmacy Program Going to Last?

Every college has a slightly different program format and length. For example, if you enroll at West Hills College of Natural Medicine, you’ll spend six years completing your bachelor’s degree, which consists of classes for five semesters each year.

At CSU Northridge, on the other hand, you’ll spend four years earning your bachelor’s degree after taking two or three summer terms each year.

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