College alters admissions calendar, qualifications

Group photo of the Class of 2020 during orientation

The college’s Admissions Committee decided to make two significant changes this fall, one affecting when we admit applicants to the doctor of pharmacy program and another providing a new path for pharmacists from foreign countries to apply.

For many years, the college accepted applications to the PharmD program from early September until Dec. 1, interviewed qualified applicants during the first months of the next year and then sent invitations to matriculate to successful candidates.  This fall, applications opened Aug. 1 and applicants who complete the required steps by Sept. 15 will be considered for early admission, with qualified applicants interviewed in October and November and notified regarding admission soon thereafter.

“Early admission will allow applicants to learn the results of their application much sooner than in the past,” says Rich Vaillancourt, chair of the Admissions Committee. “Historically, we announced our admissions decisions in late February or early March. As a result, students who had applied and been accepted elsewhere often acted on those offers rather than wait on our decision. Some of these were people who had put UA as a top choice. We’d sometimes lose these very qualified students.”

To date, 13 online applications for the Fall 2017 entering class have been completed. At the same time, applicants who need until December to perfect their applications continue to be considered for admission, Vaillancourt says, with the traditional cycle remaining in place for them.

The other innovation implemented this fall is likely to affect fewer applicants immediately. It is the introduction of a new path to PharmD admission. Until this year, UA COP did not consider doctor of pharmacy applicants who completed prerequisite courses outside of the United States. Beginning this admission cycle, for the first time the college will review applications from individuals who have already earned a degree (bachelor's or higher) in another country, if the degree qualifies them to practice pharmacy in that country.

“Pharmacy credentials from colleges of pharmacy in the United States are highly respected worldwide,” Vaillancourt reports. “Our new International Pharmacist path is intended for individuals who trained as pharmacists in another country and now desire a U.S. degree.”

Applicants selecting the International Pharmacist path to admission also must meet course prerequisites and specific GPA and English proficiency levels. If admitted, they will become members of the same PharmD program that other accepted candidates follow.

“Some people who trained as pharmacists in other countries want an American PharmD so they can return home and strengthen academic programs there. In time, this change in the composition of our student population may raise pharmacy education in many places,” Vaillancourt says. “By establishing the International Pharmacist path we likely will also strengthen our college’s international reputation. The visibility we gain may create other opportunities for the college that are difficult to predict now, yet may be tangible and significant over the years.”

To learn more about early admission or the International Pharmacist path, go to the PharmD section of the college’s website. Start at

Photo: The Class of 2020 arrived for orientation Aug. 15.

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