In Virginia, pharmacy degrees are offered at the doctoral level, and programs take 3-4 years to complete. One school listed in this article also offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree combined with a master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences or business administration. Individuals who already possess a Pharm.D. degree can gain additional training by taking part in residency programs. Students learn through a combination of lectures, labs, and clinical experiences.
Applicants to a Pharm.D. program need to have completed certain prerequisite coursework, the equivalent of 2-3 years of study, and some schools offer an undergraduate pre-pharmacy track. Additionally, program applicants need to submit scores for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test. Interested students may need to meet minimum GPA requirements and provide letters of reference. All of the Virginia schools listed in this article have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
Appalachian College of Pharmacy
This Oakwood college specializes in providing graduate programs to future pharmacists. To be eligible for the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, applicants must have completed 72 credits of pre-pharmacy coursework in areas including microbiology, statistics, chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry. Additionally, prospective students must submit scores from the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) and register as interns with the VBP.
Once enrolled, students complete 150 credits of coursework, including almost 2,000 hours of practical training. Foundational courses cover topics in pharmaceutics and the biomedical sciences. Industry regulations are covered as well. A significant portion of the curriculum provides students with practical training applicable to both beginning and advanced pharmacy practice. It takes approximately 3 years of year-round study to complete the program.
The school also offers a 1-year residency program to applicants with an ACPE-accredited Pharm.D., eligibility for licensure, a resume, recommendation letters and registration with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' Resident Matching Program.
This Hampton-based university offers a Pharm.D. through its School of Pharmacy. This entry-level program takes about 6 years to complete and consists of a pre-professional and professional portion. Incoming freshmen can apply to the 2-year pre-professional program to complete prerequisite coursework in such areas as physics, organic chemistry, calculus, and biology. To advance to the program's professional portion, students must submit PCAT scores and meet minimum GPA requirements.
The 4-year professional curriculum includes coursework, laboratory classes, and practical training. Topics of study cover methods for preparing and dispensing prescribed drugs, anatomy and physiology, lawful and ethical pharmaceutical practices, patient evaluation and medicinal chemistry. Students in their final year can obtain advanced-practice skills by working in clinical settings.
This Winchester university's Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy is housed on the medical center campus, a facility that features state-of-the-art labs and equipment. Students in its Pharm.D. program can choose from among 2 pathways. In the 2+4 option, students spend the first 2 years completing 65 credits of prerequisite coursework. The 3+4 option allows them to complete all prerequisite classes in the first 3 years while earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry with a pre-pharmacy concentration. Students in both tracks must apply to the 4-year Pharm.D. program after completing the pre-professional portion.
The Pharm.D. curriculum requires 142 credits worth of lectures, laboratory classes, and practical training. First-year students examine topics in biochemistry, pharmaceutics and pharmacy procedures. Practical training in the form of community service also begins this year. Second-year classes cover industry laws, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics. Patient assessment laboratory courses comprise a large portion of the third year, and students can also learn about pharmacy management and how the healthcare system works. In the final year, students participate in an advanced practice experience, which consists of 7 clerkships in supervised professional settings.
Several residency programs are also available at SU's pharmacy school. Individuals can choose post-graduate residency programs focusing on psychiatric pharmacy, ambulatory care or community pharmacy.
Virginia Commonwealth University
This Richmond university is the only public school in the state to offer pharmacy degree programs. As undergraduates, students can enroll in the pre-pharmacy program through the College of Humanities and Sciences. This curriculum helps students meet prerequisite requirements for the university's Pharm.D. program. Other admissions considerations include PCAT scores and recommendation letters.
Once admitted, students must earn 155 credits to graduate, and the curriculum requires 4 years of full-time study. Lecture and laboratory classes primarily make up the first 3 years, though students may gain hands-on experience through an introductory pharmacy practice course. The fourth-year requires students to work full-time in professional settings where they can learn about specialties in the field, such as geriatric, community, acute care, and ambulatory pharmacy practice.
Pharmacy students can also enroll in one of the school's joint degree programs, which lead to a Pharm.D. and either a Master of Business Administration or a graduate degree in pharmaceutical sciences. Students interested in studying pharmaceutics, or the science of preparing drugs for use by the public, may be interested in earning a master's or doctoral degree in this field.
Postgraduate year 1 and year 2 residency programs that focus on pharmacy practice, community pharmacy practice and other specialty areas are also available. Residents may be eligible for clinical faculty positions, and those interested in pharmacotherapy research can take advantage of fellowship opportunities.
Before individuals can obtain employment as pharmacists in Virginia, they must first become licensed through the Virginia Board of Pharmacy (VBP). To qualify, candidates will need to complete a 5-year bachelor's degree or doctoral pharmacy program that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
They must also earn at least 1,500 hours of work-related experience after registering with the VBP as a pharmacy intern. Recognition as an intern is granted if the individual is a student or graduate of an ACPE-approved pharmacy program. The final step towards licensure is to pass both the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the state-issued Virginia Federal and State Drug Law Examination.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Pharmacy Degrees Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Appalachian College of Pharmacy||4-year, private nonprofit; rural remote||Doctor of Pharmacy||$39,600**|
|Hampton University||4-year, private nonprofit; midsize city||Doctor of Pharmacy||$11,916|
|Shenandoah University||4-year, private nonprofit; small city||Doctor of Pharmacy||$22,250|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||4-year, public; midsize city|| Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Doctor of Pharmacy,
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences
| $14,496 in-state
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **School's website