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Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance Pathway

The Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance pathway at the University of South Carolina is a unique initiative designed for exceptional high school students who are considering pursuing a career in pharmacy.

The GPA pathway is an early assurance pathway intended to recruit students who have achieved academic distinction by issuing a provisional early acceptance into the  Doctor of Pharmacy program at South Carolina.

Candidates who are admitted into the GPA pathway and adhere to the maintenance requirements by the specified deadlines matriculate into the Pharm.D. program at the beginning of their third collegiate year without having to participate in the traditional pharmacy school admissions process.

The structure of the GPA pathway allows students to explore the profession of pharmacy, while strengthening knowledge and skills to be successful in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

GPA pathway students are encouraged to engage in the abundant opportunities that are offered at the College of Pharmacy and throughout the university campus to form lasting friendships and acclimate themselves to college life.

In addition to all of the advantages provided to traditional pathway Pre-Pharmacy students, students in the GPA pathway also receive exclusive benefits including:

  • Notification of acceptance into the Pharm.D. program two years earlier than standard admissions processes
  • Assured acceptance into the Pharm.D. program pending adherence to all maintenance requirements
  • Ability to better prepare for the rigors of the Pharm.D. program by focusing on pharmacy prerequisite and preparation courses rather than the admissions process
  • Professional, pharmacy, and leadership skill-building experiences through completion of courses such as University 101 and Introduction to Pharmacy in the U.S.
  • Eligibility for membership on select College of Pharmacy Committees
  • Elimination of the need to apply to multiple Pharm.D. programs, avoiding unnecessary application costs

The application to the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance pathway is separate from your application to the University of South Carolina.

The GPA pathway application will be on the student admission portal for students who meet the eligibility criteria; in addition, an email invitation will be sent: 

  1. Apply to USC-Columbia as an incoming freshman. We strongly encourage students to apply by the freshman early action deadline.
  2. Indicate B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pre-Pharmacy) as first or second choice major or indicate a professional interest in pharmacy.
  3. Earn a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 3.5.

Students invited to apply for the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance (GPA) pathway are encouraged to submit application materials as soon as possible. 

  1. Complete the GPA pathway application through the admissions portal.
  2. Submit names and contact information for two (2) letters of recommendation in the GPA application.
    • Be sure to contact your letter writers in advance to confirm they are willing to submit a letter on your behalf and obtain their preferred email address.
    • Letters of recommendation need to be submitted by February 1, 2024.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis, therefore, applying early in the admission cycle increases chances for an interview and admission consideration.

At the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, we seek students who possess the academic ability to successfully complete the rigorous pharmacy prerequisite coursework as well as the personal characteristics necessary to be a successful practitioner.

The Admissions Committee evaluates each application holistically on the basis of demonstrated academic achievement, evidence of knowledge and understanding of the profession, extracurricular involvement, leadership experience, community service, and letters of recommendation seeking to identify candidates for an admission interview who are well-rounded and expected to meet the demands of a pre-professional program.

  • Academic Considerations: Applicants are expected to possess a solid academic foundation and must have a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 3.5.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required to be submitted. Evaluators should be able to evaluate characteristics such as empathy, ethics, intellectual ability, judgment, oral communication, reliability, and should not include family members, friends, or family friends. Examples of appropriate references include teachers, advisors, employers, coaches, etc.
  • Pharmacy Experience: Prepared applicants should have a basic understanding of the pharmacy profession. Pharmacy experience can be obtained through working/volunteering in a pharmacy setting, shadowing/interviewing pharmacists, and/or researching the profession.
  • Leadership / Extracurricular Activities / Community Service / Scholarly Activity: Well-rounded applicants are those that have a history of leadership experience, participation in extracurricular activities such as concurrent employment, high school athletics, band, and/or philanthropic/service activities.
  • Admission Essays: Applicants should address each prompt in the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance pathway application thoroughly.
  • Interview Component: As expected by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, standardized interviews of applicants are conducted as a part of the admissions process to assess characteristics including self-awareness, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, and professionalism.

    Interviews are by invitation only and scheduled January-April. Not all applicants are invited to interview; applicants not selected for an interview will not be considered for admission. Applicants not interviewed/admitted to the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance pathway are strongly encouraged to pursue the traditional admissions pathway.

    Selected students are invited to the interview day which is approximately half-day in length and consists of an overview, financial information, a tour of the college and two 30-minute, one-on-one interviews. Parents/guardians/supporters are welcome to attend and will have information sessions while applicants are conducting interviews. Interview day activities can be completed either in person or virtually for those unable to make it to campus.
    Applicants are notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision the week following the interview day.

  • Test Scores: Applicants have the ability to provide test scores for any tests such as ACT, SAT, and AP scores that they would like the Admissions Committee to consider.

Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance pathway students receive conditional acceptance to the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of South Carolina as a senior in high school.

Matriculation into the Pharm.D. program is contingent upon satisfying the following program requirements:

  • Must earn a grade of C or higher in each prerequisite course taken at the University of South Carolina on the first attempt. In the event that a prerequisite course is taken at an outside institution that utilizes the +/- grading system, a grade of C- will be accepted as a grade of C for GPA pathway requirement purposes.
  • Must maintain continuous, full-time enrollment at the University of South Carolina as a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (pre-pharmacy) major.
  • Must adhere to the University of South Carolina Code of Conduct and Honor Code, self-reporting any potential violation to the Student Services Manager or Director of Admissions within 48 hours of the event occurring.
  • Must follow all federal, state, and local laws. Any student arrested or convicted for violation of federal, state, or local laws will self-report to the Student Services Manager or Director of Admissions within 48 hours of the event occurring.
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 by the conclusion of each academic year during the first and second collegiate years.
  • Successfully complete, with a grade of C or higher, the following GPA preparation courses:
    • UNIV 101: The Student in the University
    • PHAR 401: Introduction to Pharmacy in the United States
    • PHAR 402: Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance to Pharm.D. Bridge Course I
    • PHAR 403: Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance to Pharm.D. Bridge Course II
  • Must complete and submit their PharmCAS Application prior to the fall semester of the sophomore year.
  • Must meet all admission requirements for students entering the Doctor of Pharmacy program.


Though pre-pharmacy students are advised by individuals within the College of Pharmacy, courses for pre-pharmacy students are taught by multiple departments throughout the university.

As such, tuition for freshman and sophomore years in the GPA pathway will be at the rates established for the general undergraduate population at South Carolina.

Information regarding tuition, scholarships, and estimated costs of education is available from the Bursar's Office and Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

GPA Pathway Fees

In order to continuously create and maintain the highest quality experiences for GPA pathway students, a fee of $350 per semester will be required of every student during the two years of prerequisite coursework. This fee includes the $100 per semester advisement fee that is required of all USC pre-pharmacy students.

Prior to matriculation into the Pharm.D. program, all GPA pathway students will be required to submit an application to our national application system, PharmCAS, which costs approximately $160.

Cost Benefits

Students enrolled in the GPA pathway may benefit from various cost savings mechanisms, including:

  • The transfer of remaining years of USC scholarships towards Pharm.D. tuition rates, if applicable
  • The transfer of remaining years of State of South Carolina scholarships towards Pharm.D. tuition rates, if applicable
  • The elimination of the need to apply to multiple Pharm.D. programs, avoiding unnecessary application costs

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