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Career goals start early


Pre-pharmacy student Brianna O’Gary knew she wanted to be a pharmacist. A new option offered in the NDSU School of Pharmacy will help her get there sooner. 

Two paths are now available to achieve a pharmacy degree from NDSU. Known as the Early Admission Pathway, the new option provides advantages to students, while helping to strategically plan enrollment for the School of Pharmacy. 

The new program focuses on early admission of high-achieving high school students who want an expedited path to achieve their goals. 

“In our biochemistry class, we do a case study about a condition and a drug in every class and connect that to the current topic we are learning about. Also in our English class, we just completed a project of writing SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, and plan) notes. This allows us to have a foundation to build upon prior to entering the program,” says O’Gary. 

“NDSU School of Pharmacy maintains its high admissions standards for students seeking this new pathway, while providing students the opportunity to manage their investment in their future,” says Charles Peterson, dean of the School of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions at NDSU. 

Students applying to the program must have high academic credentials, including high school grade point averages and ACT or SAT scores. Students are evaluated during the spring before they enroll at NDSU as first-year students. To be considered, students must be admitted to NDSU and must complete the PharmDirect application and submit fees by February 1 each year.  

Students can complete the required pre-professional pharmacy courses in two years, rather than the traditional curriculum that takes students as many as three years or more to complete. The Early Admission Pathway includes four semesters of full-time academic work.

It’s a path that appealed to Keila Phillips. “Through taking Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry for Pharmacists and Writing and Professionalism in Pharmacy, I believe I have an excellent foundation to enter into my P1 year successfully. I would not be as prepared for my P1 year if I had rejected the pathway option and not taken these classes,” says Phillips. 

Upon successfully completing their first year at NDSU, students who maintain academic and professional requirements then transition into a five-year professional program. Students complete all remaining pre-professional requirements in year two, along with expedited coursework to prepare them for the final four years of the professional program. Students also complete the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) and they are interviewed on-site.

NDSU’s traditional three-year, pre-professional curriculum and admissions process also remains in place.  Students who are not offered the opportunity to participate in the EAP, or who decline to participate in the EAP, will have access to the same pathway to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as they did before the implementation of the EAP. 

For her part, Phillips augments her early pathway option by working in an outpatient pharmacy.  She achieved her minor in Spanish previously and hopes being bilingual will open additional career doors in the future.  

O’Gary also enjoys her internship at a local pharmacy and is interested in exploring ambulatory care and psychiatric pharmacy. 

To learn more about the Early Admission Pathway, visit  


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Last Updated: Friday, August 30, 2019 3:33:28 PM
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