One of the questions I’ve fielded from prospective pharmacy students is, “What’s the deal with 3 year pharmacy schools?” Three year pharmacy programs are an intriguing opportunity for students.

There are a handful of schools in the United States offering accelerated programs. These 3 year PharmD programs allow students to graduate with a PharmD in as little as three years.

What are the best 3 Year Pharmacy Schools in the USA

What are the benefits of accelerated programs?:

It’s no secret that a traditional 4 year pharmacy program is difficult enough to navigate. Many students remark, “Pharmacy school is hard enough! Why would I want to condense it?!” There are several potential benefits to consider when looking at 3 year pharmacy schools.

There are several potential benefits to consider when looking at 3 year pharmacy schools.

  • It’s less time in school! It’s a fact 3 years is shorter than 4 years.
  • Earning instead of learning! Students electing to complete a 3 year pharmacy program begin earning that PharmD paycheck an entire year before their 4 year counterparts.
  • Now that school is out of the way! Completing a 3 year PharmD program allows student to go on to the next phase. Whether it’s residency or enjoying life as a PharmD, a 3 year PharmD program affords students the opportunity to get there quicker.

Three year pharmacy schools are designed to get students to the end result quicker. This route is optimal for students who can handle an intense course load, are disciplined, and want to move on to life after pharmacy school.

Silver linings come with storm clouds:

While three year pharmacy schools offer unique advantages, they also come with some draw backs.

  • Only 3 years tuition, right? Wrong. Three year pharmacy schools are not in business to save students money. Tuition is higher per year, as there are 3 “semesters” of tuition.
  • Summer time, my salvation! Three year PharmD programs come with significantly less time off than traditional four year programs. Students can expect to trade summer vacations for time in the classroom.
  • Stress! Cramming four years of education into three years of school can be taxing for anyone. Accelerated programs do not offer much time to relax and “” It’s a grind!

While three year pharmacy schools can be a convenience for students, it doesn’t mean that the program is convenient itself.

Students interested in 3 year PharmD programs must evaluate all aspects of the program before deciding to enter an accelerated program.

If Im Going To Do This, Im Going To Do It Right!:

Most students with the ambition to tackle a 3 year PharmD program want to know they’re attending a top school.

Whether we admit it or not, there are people who value the prestige of some schools over others. So what are the top 3 year pharmacy schools?

As with any list of rankings, it’s important to denote which qualities bring value. It’s also important to note that the “Top Schools” for someone else may not be the same for you and your needs.

US News and Report publishes an annual review of the best pharmacy schools in the country.

This is a tool students can utilize to see where a prospective school ranks in comparison to another. Of note is how these ranking are determined. Here is how these rankings are determined.

The best, of the best, of the best, sir!

In an honest moment, most will tell you that there is enjoyment in saying, “I attend the number one school in the country!” Us smarty-pants type tend to be competitive.

Furthermore, we like to have the ego stroked from time to time. But, when looking for the best 3 year pharmacy program, remember that “best” is relative. When deciding what makes a top program, there are things to consider:

  • What does the curriculum look like? Research prospective schools and make sure the course load is manageable.
  • How much is tuition per year? It is important to make a responsible financial decision. Make sure that choosing a three year pharmacy program doesn’t leave you worse off than the alternative.
  • Will I like living in the city where the school is located? This one sounds silly, but you will be living here during a stressful time. Students need to be able to enjoy “free time” in an accelerated program.
  • Is the school accredited? It would sure be a bummer to be done a year early and not be able to sit for the board exams!
  • Is the school reputable and well connected? We’ve all heard, “it’s not the grades you make, but the hands you shake.” Pharmacy school is no different!
  • Am I an attractive applicant for this school? Self-awareness is key here. If the average accepted applicant has a 3.8 GPA and 85th percentile PCAT score and you’re at a 3.0 GPA and 55th percentile PCAT score, odds will not be in your favor. The (first) most important thing about a three year pharmacy school is being accepted.


The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth

Choosing a three year pharmacy school requires thought and dedication. Students thinking about this venture must allocate the necessary time to make an informed decision.

When looking to find the top three year pharmacy programs, do not solely rely on someone else’s algorithm. Create your own! Decide what is important to you, rank your criteria, then do the research! Before long, you’ll have your very own list of the top three year pharmacy programs!