Academic Prerequisites

In order to be eligible for admission, you must satisfactorily complete a minimum total of 88 quarter units (equivalent to 59 semester units) of academic course work at another college. Our prerequisites are a part of this required minimum number of units.

Prerequisite course requirements can be in-progress when you submit the application, as well as planned after you submit the application, but all prerequisites must be satisfactorily completed by July 1 of the year of entry into the program. Our admissions director's blog provides more on this topic, Finishing Those Prerequisites!

Overview of academic prerequisites

Information for 2023-24 applicants

Pass/Fail grades

UCSF School of Pharmacy does not have a policy regarding pass/fail grades. We have always dealt with this issue/question on a case-by-case-basis. At this time, we will accept pass/fail grades, without prejudice, for courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has always been our practice to consider grades in the context of numerous other aspects of the application, and an international crisis certainly provides a unique and compelling context.

Online courses/labs

Most undergraduate schools moved to online instruction during the pandemic. Many have continued to offer online courses. UCSF School of Pharmacy will accept online courses/labs, at this time, while the pandemic continues to affect the delivery of in-person courses. If you are uncertain about the suitability of your specific plans, please contact us at [email protected].

One semester unit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter units. To convert semester units to quarter units, multiply the semester units by 1.5.

Min qtr units


Must include

More info


General Chemistry

1 year of lecture and lab

  • 2 semesters or 3 quarters with labs in each term.

  • Should be a course sequence designed for science majors.

  • Should be a course sequence for pre-health majors.

  • Must be a full sequence with lecture and lab.


Organic Chemistry

1 year of lecture and lab

  • 2 semesters or 3 quarters with labs in each term.

  • Should be a course sequence designed for chemistry or biology majors.

  • Should be a course sequence for pre-health majors

  • Must be a full sequence with lecture and lab.



1 lab

  • 2 semesters or 3 quarters of biology with at least 1 lab.

  • Should be a course sequence designed for biology majors.

  • Must include cell and molecular biology and the study of the biology of whole animals or humans.

  • Courses in human physiology, botany and microbiology do not meet this requirement.



mammalian (whole animal or human)

  • Must be a minimum 4-quarter-unit (3-semester-unit) physiology course.

  • Some schools only offer a 2-part anatomy/physiology series. In this case, both courses will be required.

  • Human physiology is preferred.

  • Anatomy, plant physiology, or cell physiology courses may not be used to fulfill this prerequisite.

  • Must be a course for pre-health/science-majors.

  • We will not accept a survey or general education course.

  • We do not require a physiology lab.



1 course in microbiology including lab

  • Minimum of one 3-semester-unit course or one 4-quarter-unit course

  • Must include lab

  • Note: Students who completed a microbiology course in 2016 or earlier will be exempt from lab requirement



1 course in calculus

  • One course in college calculus (e.g. Calculus 1).



1 course in statistics

  • Minimum of one 3-semester-unit course or one 4-quarter-unit course



2 courses in college composition

  • Technical, professional, science, creative, and ESL writing courses are not eligible to meet this English requirement.

  • We will consider a literature course if English composition instruction is included in course syllabus.


Humanities and/or Social Sciences Course Work

Questions? See our blog post Humanities & Social Sciences.

1 course in economics (macro- or micro-), and

  • Minimum of one 3-semester-unit course or one 4-quarter-unit course in either micro-economics or macro-economics.

1 course in public speaking or debate, and

  • Must be one 3-semester-unit course or one 4-quarter-unit course.

  • Interpersonal communication does not fulfill this requirement.

  • "Real life" experiences will not exempt applicants from this requirement.

1 course in psychology, sociology, or cultural anthropology, and

  • Must be the introductory course in psychology or sociology. Advanced courses will not be accepted.

  • For anthropology, must be cultural anthropology.

courses in the humanities and/or social sciences

  • Technical, professional, math, and science-related courses are not eligible to meet Electives in the Humanities and/or Social Sciences requirements.

88 quarter units total

Course substitutions

We rarely accept petitions for course substitutions.

These are minimum units only

The number of units listed above is the minimum number of units required in each subject area. There are several factors that are used to determine if a course, or series of courses, may be used to fulfill a prerequisite. As such, in order to fulfill the content requirement of a prerequisite subject area, some applicants may be required to complete more than the number of units listed.

Why must I verify prerequisite course work?

The descriptors provided for the prerequisites are only some of the factors considered to determine if a course is acceptable to meet a prerequisite. When fulfilling these pre­req­ui­sites with course work from your college or university, there may be differences in the names of courses, the number of courses you are required to take, and the number of units you must complete.

The only absolute way to ensure that you are taking course work that will meet these prerequisites is to only take course work approved by the Office of Student Affairs.

How to verify prerequisite course work

To determine if you’ve met our prerequisites, see Verifying Your Prerequisite Course Work.

More on this topic in our admissions director’s blog

Although not required reading, you’ll find additional comments in Humanities & Social Sciences, a blog post by Admissions Director Joel W. Gonzales.

Go to: Step 1: Minimum Eligibility Requirements