Dec 01, 2023  
2023-24 Western Washington University Catalog 
2023-24 Western Washington University Catalog



Pharmacists play an important role in helping people get the best results from their medications. They prepare and dispense prescriptions, ensure medicines and doses are correct, prevent harmful drug interactions, and counsel patients on the safe and appropriate use of their medications. Admittance to pharmacy school will require preparation and hard work.  Selection committees evaluate applicants across multiple areas through a holistic review process. Important components include GPA (both cumulative and science/math), pre-requisite coursework (see below), letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, community service, pharmacy awareness, diversity awareness, an interview, and background checks (including legal, conduct, and social records).

Pharmacy schools emphasize the importance of a liberal arts education and do not recruit students from one specific major or discipline. This gives you flexibility in planning your educational program. Use your undergraduate years to explore many academic fields, to develop basic skills and knowledge, to demonstrate expertise and to experience a field of study (major) of your choice. Align with a major in which you both excel and enjoy. While Biology and Chemistry are popular choices, Pre-Pharmacy students have majored in a diverse range of disciplines including Anthropology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Business, Kinesiology, Languages (i.e. Spanish), Literature, and self-designed programs. Some pursue combined majors such as Biology/Anthropology, Biochemistry, and Behavioral Neuroscience. 

 Contact Information

Pre-Pharmacy Advisor
Anna Tognazzini
Assistant Director
Career Services Center
Old Main 280

Pre-Pharmacy Advisor
Erika Wiescher
Health Professions Advisor
Career Services Center
Old Main 280

 Pre-Health Resources

How to Indicate you are Pre-Pharmacy:

Although Pre-Pharmacy is not a major, the university maintains a record of students who have indicated their intention to pursue healthcare careers. In order to gain access to our Health Professions Advising Canvas site and advising that is relevant to your intended area, send an email to with your name, W number, Western email address with “Pre-Pharmacy” as the subject line.

Course Requirements

Regardless of major, certain prerequisite courses expected by most schools include:


Note: It is helpful if students begin general chemistry as early in their program as possible.



(Varies based on school, check with Health Professions Advising for details)


(varies based on school)

Exposure and Experience

Advanced Placement

Check with individual schools whether they recognize Advanced Placement (AP) as college-earned credit. Not all do. It is better to view any earned credits as qualifying to enroll in upper division courses rather than as “testing out” of prerequisites.

Access to Classes

Upper-division courses, particularly in the sciences, tend to be in high demand. Many departments give priority to students declared in specific majors over those needing prerequisites for healthcare programs. Keep in mind that registration policies and procedures for impacted courses can change, so check the department’s website or contact the program coordinator to ask about course enrollment processes.

Repeating/Dropping Courses

When you repeat a course, only your most recent grade is used when Western calculates your GPA. However, the class still shows up on your transcript. Although some students think that repeating a course will help them get into professional schools, this is almost always untrue. Professional schools will take into account all college-level coursework when performing their own calculation of your GPA, and this will include any courses you have repeated at Western. Still, in some circumstances it may be appropriate to repeat a course so talk to an advisor to be sure. Also, dropping a course can have an impact on eligibility for financial aid, scholarships, and athletic participation so consider your options carefully and speak with an advisor before making a decision.

Community Involvement

What students pursue outside the classroom will be considered by professional programs along with what is accomplished in the classroom. It is important to choose extracurricular activities out of genuine interest - not all activities need to be healthcare-related or clinical in nature. Some agencies that welcome WWU pre-health students as volunteers include the Sea Mar Community Health Center, the Unity Care NW Community Health Center, and a variety of adult care facilities in the area. Your volunteer experience does not necessarily need to be healthcare related, but should be in something you are passionate about and interested in. Find experiences that allow you to serve your community and learn more about how to relate to others different from yourself.


Students should gain shadowing experience with a non-relative pharmacist. This helps you gain exposure to the field and can possibly generate a professional letter of recommendation. For their first shadowing experience, students often ask a family friend or someone with a personal connection to shadow. Many students have also had success calling local pharmacies to ask whether they can shadow. You may need to call several so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time. In addition, many students work as a Pharmacy Assistant to learn more about the field and give them closer relationships with pharmacists.


Research experience is not required to develop a strong application for professional school, but can be a great way to enhance your application if you are interested. Many opportunities exist both on campus through individual departments and programs, and off campus. Contact your major department, or speak with a faculty member about participating in undergraduate research.

Letters of Recommendation

Western does not participate in a committee letter process for professional programs, so it is important for students to develop a good relationship with faculty members, supervisors and volunteer coordinators throughout their time as an undergraduate in order to have strong letters of recommendation. 

Note: The above information is for preliminary advising purposes only. We encourage students to meet with a Health Professions Advisor on a regular basis to develop an individualized plan.