Early Assurance Program

The Fall 2022 Early Assurance application is now available.  The application deadline is July 1, 2022.  

The UA College of Pharmacy offers an Early Assurance Program for high school students who are committed to pursuing a career in pharmacy. This program provides advanced admission to the PharmD program for a select group of high-achieving high school applicants. This is not the only pathway for PharmD admission, and it is not the best option for every student.

Students who are admitted to the Early Assurance Program are guaranteed a seat in the University of Arizona PharmD program, pending successful completion of all prerequisite requirements within two years of undergraduate study at the University of Arizona. In addition to being guaranteed a seat in the PharmD program, Early Assurance students are also exempt from the PCAT exam and are held to reduced experiential requirements.

Admission to the Early Assurance Program is competitive. The following materials will be considered in the application review process:

  • Completed Early Assurance application form.
  • Minimum math proficiency/placement at the calculus level REQUIRED.  This must be demonstrated in one of three ways at the time of application to the Early Assurance Program: 1) Minimum SAT MATH score of 660 or ACT MATH score of 28 within the last year OR 2) college credit for a pre-approved calculus course (via dual enrollment or exam) OR 3) a UArizona ALEKS Math Placement Assessment score of 75 or higher.  Details about these options can be found at this link
  • Academic record, performance, and rigor of course work, as demonstrated by your high school transript (required as part of the application).  A 6th-semester unweighted core high school GPA of 3.5 or higher STRONGLY preferred.  
  • Contact information for two individuals who have agreed to provide letters of recommendation. 
  • Responses to two essay questions.

*Your core GPA, test scores, and academic history will be confirmed by the UA Office of Admissions.

Application and Admission Steps

In order to be considered for admission to the Early Assurance Program, you must first be admitted to the University of Arizona as degree-seeking first-year student. Your first step is to submit your application through the University of Arizona’s Office of Admissions. When applying to UA, you are advised to choose “Pharmaceutical Sciences” as your major.

Once you have been notified of your admission to the University of Arizona, you can submit your secondary application for admission to the UA College of Pharmacy’s Early Assurance Program.  This application requires reporting of your academic history, providing documentation of test scores/transripts, providing contact information for two individuals who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf, and answering essay questions about your interest in the pharmacy profession.  In preparation for submitting your application, please use this Early Assurance Application Planning Document; this document outlines all required components to your application and will allow you to prepare all of your answers and materials prior to accessing the official application.  Once you are ready to apply, you may access the PharmD Early Assurance Application here.  Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, with a final application deadline of July 1st, 2022.
 
Please note: You will provide reviewer contact information on your application, and your reviewers will then be contacted directly by the PharmD Admissions Coordinator regarding the process for submitting their letters.  (Reviewers are generally contacted within three business days of receiving your application.)  It is your responsibility to follow up with your reviewers to make sure they received the submission instructions and that they have followed through in a timely fashion.  Your application will not be reviewed until all materials are received.

Early Assurance Program applications are considered on a rolling basis. Students are encouraged to apply early, but the final deadline is July 1st (prior the start of your first year at UA). All application materials, including recommendation letters, must be received by the deadline.  If you are accepted into the program, you will receive notification of your admission and an outline of program requirements. You will work closely with advisors during your first two years in order to assure that you are on track. 
 
If you are not admitted to the Early Assurance Program, you are still able to enroll as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona and to prepare for future application to the PharmD program. You will apply via the regular admissions path after completing PharmD prerequisite requirements, including the PCAT exam.

Early Assurance students must successfully fulfill PharmD prerequisite requirements within their first two years of undergraduate study in order to maintain their guaranteed PharmD admission. Within the first two years, students must complete the following requirements:

  • Completion of all PharmD prerequisite courses with a minimum science GPA of 3.0 and a minimum non-science GPA of 3.0. Grades of A or B are expected in all prerequisite courses.  Grades lower than C cannot be accepted toward PharmD admission.
  • At least 20 hours of relevant work or volunteer experience in a healthcare setting, working directly with a healthcare provider or researcher
  • At least 20 hours of community service
  • Updated personal statement

Early Assurance students will need to confirm their commitment to the PharmD program at the beginning of their sophomore year by submitting a final application through PharmCAS.  The PharmCAS application process will require an updated personal statement, but Early Assurance students will be exempt from the PCAT exam and the interview process. Students who do not submit a PharmCAS application at this time will forfeit their seat in the Early Assurance Program.  The PharmD orientation fee will be charged once the PharmCAS application is approved.

Students who are on track with all PharmD admission requirements may request deferment of their Early Assurance offer to a later year. The most common reason for deferment is for students who have decided to complete their bachelor’s degree before starting pharmacy school, but who still want to maintain their guaranteed admission. Students cannot request a deferment if they need more time to complete the Early Assurance requirements. In this case, the student will not progress in the Early Assurance Program but can still apply for PharmD admission via the regular admissions path in a future year.


What to expect as an Early Assurance Program Student

The Early Assurance curriculum is structured and rigorous. In order to complete all prerequisite courses within the two-year window, students will need to complete at least two lab science courses per semester, beginning with the first semester.

Fall Semester 1
 

General Chemistry I (w/ lab)

4

General Biology I (w/ lab) 4
English Composition I 3
Elements of Calculus 3
PharmSci Seminar 1
  15
Spring Semester 1
 
General Chemistry II (w/ lab) 4
Anatomy & Physiology I (w/ lab) 4
English Composition II 3
Statistics 3
Humanities + Diversity 3
  17
Fall Semester 2
 
Organic Chemistry I (w/ lab) 4

Anatomy & Physiology II (w/ lab)

4
Physics I 3
Social Sciences  3
  14
Spring Semester 2
 
Organic Chemistry II (w/ lab) 4
Microbiology (w/ lab) 4
Social Sciences  3
Fine Arts or Literature 3
  14
Fall Semester 3
 
Begin 4-year PharmD Curriculum  

Early Assurance students have the support of an academic advisor, but students are ultimately responsible for progressing through the curriculum as outlined and enrolling themselves in all required courses, per departmental processes and based on seat availability.

In addition to completing the PharmD prerequisites, Early Assurance students must also work or volunteer for at least 20 hours in a healthcare setting, and must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service. All course and experiential requirements must be completed by June 1st of year 2.

Students who successfully progress through the Early Assurance Program requirements will begin their P1 PharmD courses in the fall of their third year.  Prior to matriculating into the PharmD program, students must obtain a Level I Fingerprint Clearance Card, meet expanded immunization requirements as outlined by Campus Health, and must also certify that they meet the Essential Qualifications for PharmD Admission, Promotion, and Graduation.  


FAQs:

No.  The Early Assurance Program is not the only pathway to pharmacy school admission. Many students may find that they prefer to complete the regular admission path rather than applying for early assurance.
Early Assurance can be a great option for students who:
  • Are comfortable taking a very rigorous course load every semester, beginning with the first semester of the freshman year.
  • Are committed to pharmacy as a career path, and not considering other professional options.
  • Are interested in shortening their undergraduate career and completing their education as quickly as possible.

Early Assurance may not be a great option for students who:

  • Prefer to ease into their college coursework, and do not wish to start off with a rigorous course load in their first semester
  • Are interested in participating in numerous undergraduate opportunities (including study abroad, Greek life, research, double majors or minors), and do not want to feel rushed through college
  • Are considering other academic or career options and want the flexibility to explore.
  • Are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree before starting pharmacy school.
  • Do not meet math placement or other admission requirements for the Early Assurance Program.

Only a small fraction of our PharmD students are admitted through the Early Assurance pathway. The majority of students apply through the regular admissions path, allowing themselves more time to finish admission requirements. Don’t feel that you have missed a step or are “behind” if you are not on an Early Assurance pathway.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Students should expect to receive a decision on their application within one month of submission.

If you do not currently meet the minimum math requirement for the Early Assurance Program, you are free to take/retake the UArizona ALEKS Math Placement Exam in order to demonstrate your improved math proficiency.  You are free to take the placement exam multiple times, but you will be reponsible for paying a retesting fee.  Your application, including official updated test scores, are due by July 1st.
If you do not meet the recommended 6th semester GPA requirement, you are still allowed to apply.  

International students who attended a US high school and who meet the GPA and math placement requirements are eligible to apply.  This program is not available to international students who attended high school in another country.

The College of Pharmacy cannot guarantee the availability of courses offered by other university departments. Students who register as early as possible each semester will have the best chance of getting into their desired courses, or being placed very high on course waiting lists. Students who miss the opening day of registration may have a more difficult time getting into high-demand courses across campus.
Students who are unable to enroll in required courses at UA may choose to enroll in equivalent courses at another institution (including community colleges). Students will be held to admission requirements, course prerequisites, and registration protocols of other institutions; UA cannot guarantee a student’s ability to enroll in courses at another school.

Students who are accepted to the Early Assurance Program must be enrolled as undergraduates in the College of Pharmacy. Early Assurance students will declare the Pharmaceutical Sciences major, which will allow them to receive all academic advising through the College of Pharmacy. Any student who does not meet Early Assurance Program requirements or who changes their mind about early admission will be allowed to continue in the Pharmaceutical Sciences major and to complete a BS degree.

 
The Pharmaceutical Sciences major is a four-year bachelor’s degree. This major is a great foundation for students who are pursuing careers in clinical healthcare (including pharmacy, medicine, etc), or for students who are interested in careers in drug discovery and drug development.
“Pre-pharmacy” is not a major. Any student who is planning to apply to pharmacy school can call themselves a “pre-pharmacy student,” regardless of their official major. Pharmaceutical Sciences is an ideal major for pre-pharmacy students to declare, because the major overlaps significantly with pre-pharmacy requirements and the courses tend to be interesting to students who are considering careers in pharmacy. That being said, the average pre-pharmacy student is allowed to declare any major that interests them. Early Assurance participants are the only students who are required to declare Pharmaceutical Sciences as their major, as a condition of Early Assurance Program admission. Declaring the PharmSci major assures that Early Assurance students are formally enrolled in the College of Pharmacy and receive all academic advising from Pharmacy advisors.

No.  The Early Assurance Program is available only to non-transferring freshmen. Students who are transferring from other colleges or universities may apply to pharmacy school via the regular admissions path.

Because Early Assurance students only pay for two years of undergraduate tuition, the overall cost of their education will be less than students who pay for three or four years of undergraduate tuition. The current cost of in-state undergraduate tuition is approximately $12,600 per year, and the average cost of on-campus housing is $13,350 per year.  Early Assurance students will also be exempt from PCAT test fees.
Students who receive a four-year merit scholarship from UArizona MAY be able to use any remaining scholarship funds toward PharmD tuition, but this varies from scholarship to scholarship.  Check the conditions of your specific scholarship to find out if remaining semesters of funding may be used in pharmacy school.
Although the accelerated pathway of the Early Assurance Program may provide tuition savings, students should be aware that it may cause complications with financial aid access. In order to qualify for full federal financial aid/student loans for the PharmD program, a student must have completed at least 90 undergraduate units. (AP, IB, CLEP, and transfer units count toward that total.) Because the Early Assurance Program only includes 59 required units in the first two years, students need to be aware that they may not qualify for the loans that they need to cover PharmD tuition in their third year. Students may decide to take extra courses or defer PharmD admission in order to qualify for more financial aid.

In addition to successfully completing all prerequisite courses, Early Assurance students must complete 20 hours of work in a pharmacy setting and 20 hours of community service work. Students must also submit a PharmCAS application, including an updated personal statement. The PharmD Admission Committee will review the statement in order to ensure that the student is a good fit with the program and meets the standards of professionalism required in pharmacy. It is possible that an Early Assurance student could be denied admission to the PharmD program at this point if a problem is identified, although our hope is that all Early Assurance students will be able to continue into pharmacy school.

Updated August 2021:  Your academic progress will be reviewed after the summer of your first/freshman year.  You must have a 3.0 science GPA and 3.0 non-science GPA at that point in order to continue in Early Assurance.  You are allowed to retake any freshman course in which a low grade was initially earned, but this must be completed by the summer after freshman year at the latest. The college will consider your highest attempt of a course when reviewing your EAP progress and calculating your prerequisite GPA.  Students who do not meet all Early Assurance requirements by September 1st of their sophomore year will be removed from the Early Assurance Program. They can apply for PharmD admission via the regular admissions path in that same year or in a later admission cycle, and will be held to standard admission requirements. 
 
Students who are on track with Early Assurance requirements after their first year will continue on the PharmD admission pathway in their second year, but do need to complete all remaining prerequisites in their second year.  Any student who does not successfully complete all prerequisites by June 1st of their second year will not be able to matriculate into the PharmD program that fall, but they will be able to apply for admission for the following year via the standard admission pathway.

Early Assurance students must enroll full-time at the University of Arizona during the fall and spring semesters of their freshman and sophomore years; however, not every prerequisite course needs to be completed at UA. Students may take prerequisites at other schools during summer session. (Be sure to have any non-UA courses pre-approved.) Courses completed prior to enrollment at UA (such as through dual enrollment) may also count toward prerequisite requirements.
When enrolling in courses at other institutions, students should also be aware of UA scholarship requirements. Most merit scholarships require completion of at least 30 UA units per year. Courses completed at other schools do not count toward UA scholarship requirements.

AP, IB, and CLEP credits can be used to fulfill physics or any other non-science prerequisite requirement. Exam credit cannot be used toward the chemistry, biology, microbiology, or physiology prerequisite requirements.

Yes.  You will be asked to reaffirm your interest in PharmD enrollment and pay your enrollment fee at the start of your sophomore year. You will also be asked to select your preferred campus at that time. Admitted students are assigned to a campus on a first come, first served basis, as seat capacities allow. Because Early Assurance students are asked to commit to the PharmD program very early in the admission cycle each year, it is very likely that you will be placed at your top choice campus.
The first two years of the Early Assurance program are available exclusively on the Tucson campus.  The Phoenix campus is only available for the four-year PharmD curriculum (years 3 through 6 of your program).

 

An acceptance offer may be rescinded if any materials submitted above are not received or are determined to be fraudulent or deceptive.

Contact

Rebecca Field
Academic Coordinator, Undergraduate Studies
rfield@pharmacy.arizona.edu
520-626-4353
Drachman Hall B107