The Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance (GPA) program is a unique initiative designed for exceptional high school students who are committed to pursuing a career in pharmacy.
The GPA program is an early assurance program intended to encourage students who have achieved academic distinction by issuing a provisional early acceptance into the UofSC College of Pharmacy Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program.
Candidates who are admitted into the GPA program and meet all 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 admissions requirements.
Students enrolled in the GPA Program 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 completion of all maintenance requirements
- Exemption from the required Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
- Ability to better prepare for the rigors of the Pharm.D. Program by focusing on pharmacy prerequisite courses instead of the admissions process
- Professional, pharmacy, and leadership skill-building experiences through completion of the PreParE Certificate
- Eligibility for membership on select UofSC College of Pharmacy Committees
- All advantages provided to traditional pathway pre-pharmacy students
To receive an invitation to apply for the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance (GPA) Program, students must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Earn a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 3.5 on a weighted core.
- Receive acceptance into the University of South Carolina Columbia campus
- Declare the major of B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pre-Pharmacy)
- Other areas considered in the selection process include extracurricular activities such as leadership, community service, student organizations, as well as honors and awards, pharmacy exposure, and the supplemental material(s) submitted to the University of South Carolina.
To be eligible to participate in our Pharm.D. program and sit for the pharmacist licensure exam, you must possess certain cognitive, behavioral and technical skills and abilities.
The Technical Standards [pdf] of the College of Pharmacy describe the essential functions you must demonstrate in order to fulfill the requirements of a general pharmacy education, and are thus prerequisites for entrance to, continuation in and graduation from the UofSC College of Pharmacy. You must meet or exceed the required aptitude, abilities and skills outlined in our standards. Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems may interfere with completing your didactic studies, delivering or providing patient care or compromising patient safety and may be incompatible with pharmacy training or practice.
Students invited to apply for the Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance (GPA) Program must complete the following steps:
- Complete the GPA Program application (in addition to the UofSC undergraduate application) by specified deadline(s)
- Upon extended invitation, fully attend the GPA Program interview components with the UofSC College of Pharmacy *see note
- Attend all Information Session(s) hosted by the UofSC College of Pharmacy *see note
- Receipt of letters of recommendation (additional details and instructions can be found in the GPA Program application)
Students who are extended an invitation to apply to the GPA Program and meet or exceed the UofSC College of Pharmacy Technical Standards are encouraged to submit application materials as soon as possible. Interview seats are limited and will be issued on a rolling basis.
The Gamecock Pharmacy Assurance (GPA) Program consists of required didactic classes, laboratories, extracurricular activities, and out-of-the-classroom experiences. The structure of the program allows students to fully explore the profession of pharmacy, while strengthening knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the Pharm.D. Program.
GPA Program students are encouraged to engage in 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.
Didactic and Laboratory Curriculum
GPA students will complete 66 credit hours of pharmacy prerequisite courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, general biology, microbiology, English composition, English literature, public speaking, economics, psychology, human anatomy & physiology, and liberal arts electives.
These courses are taught at the undergraduate level by faculty in various colleges throughout the university. Course enrollment will include individuals from various majors thereby encouraging and promoting collaboration amongst a diverse student body.
Upon entering the Pharm.D. program, GPA students transition to professional Pharm.D. students and join a small cohort of around 100 students. Didactic courses expose students to skills in pharmacy mathematics, science of drugs, evidence-based treatment, and laws and regulations. Laboratories allow students to learn and practice skills necessary for various fields of pharmacy. Pharmacy practice experiences encourage students to investigate various fields of pharmacy through working alongside pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to provide hands-on, actual patient care. Almost one-third of the UofSC College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. curriculum is composed of pharmacy practice experiences.
In order to ensure preparedness for the rigors of the Pharm.D. curriculum and eventual practice in the profession of pharmacy, GPA students must complete the Pre-Pharmacy Education (PreParE) certificate requirements.
Components include, but are not limited to:
- Exposure to the pharmacy profession through shadowing, volunteering, or working in a pharmacy
- Required reading that culminates with critical thinking and discussion with current pharmacy students
- Training on research rules and policies
- Professional development workshops
- Active participation in the Carolina Association of Pre-Pharmacy Students (CAPPS)
- Community service
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 program will be at the rates established for the general undergraduate population at UofSC.
In order to continuously create and maintain the highest quality experiences for GPA program students, a program fee of $350 per semester will be required of every student during the two years of prerequisite coursework. This program fee includes the $100 per semester advisement fee that is required of all UofSC pre-pharmacy students.
Prior to matriculation into the Pharm.D. Program, all GPA Program students will be required to submit an application to our national application system, PharmCAS, which costs approximately $160 and a supplemental UofSC College of Pharmacy application, which costs approximately $65.
Students enrolled in the GPA Program may benefit from various cost savings mechanisms, including:
- The transfer of remaining years of UofSC 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
- A savings of approximately $500 due to PCAT exam exemption
- The elimination of the need to apply to multiple Pharm.D. programs, avoiding unnecessary application costs