Q&A for incoming pharmacy students

by System Administrator 20. May 2010 14:29

Hi everyone! Here are some questions that I had about pharmacy/pharmacy school, so hopefully this list helps.

For which subject should I use my AP credit?
General Biology seems to be the popular pick. Because it's memory-intensive and coupled with a lab course, General Biology is very time-consuming. The Biology course at Rutgers is much more detailed and more difficult than a high school AP Biology class. I also don't think it's necessary to memorize photosynthesis and plants again because it's irrelevant to the pharmacy major (from my perspective). If you cannot or choose not to use AP credit for Biology, you will be taking one of the hardest course sets in your first semester: Biology, its recitation, and its 3 hour lab; Chemistry, its recitation and its 3 hour Lab; Calculus and its recitation, and Expository Writing. Replacing Biology will free up a lot of time for extracurriculars, sleeping, working at a job, and socializing.

It is not recommended using AP credit for Chemistry because you must still take Chemistry Lab, and taking lab with the course will be much better for your lab grade. Also, you need General Chemistry to prepare for Organic Chemistry in the second year.

But it depends on your strengths/weaknesses, and you are most comfortable with doing.

What are the required textbooks for first-year students?
Calculus: Calculus Volume 1, Second Custom Edition for Math 135 by Strauss, Bradley, and Smith. ISBN: 0-536-80120-7. There's a solutions manual as well: ISBN is 0-13-067245-9.

The Calculus textbook and solutions book are not entirely necessary. You probably won't do the homework problems in the textbook because 1) it's optional; 2) you're assigned problem sets online called WebWork; 3) you won't know the answers because many of the assigned problems are not in the solutions book. However, the textbook is a good reference.

Chemistry: General Chemistry: Custom Edition by Hill, Petrucci, McCreary, and Perry
The Chemistry textbook and solutions book are very important! You also need to buy the Mastering Chemistry code, which is $40. If you buy it in a set at the bookstore, it should cost about $150 for everything. Buying the books used is a good option, but you need to buy the online code separately.

Chemistry Lab: Introduction to Experimentation by Donald Siegel
The Chemistry lab manual is part of your tuition's lab fees, and it will be distributed along with your goggles on the first day of lab.

General Psychology: Textbooks vary from professor to professor. Check the syllabus first.

Expository Writing: The New Humanities Reader by Richard E. Miller and Kurt Spellmeyer. ISBN is 0-618-98856-4.

(Sorry, I did not take General Biology so I do not know the required texts.)

I recommend purchasing used books from students and online sources instead of the University bookstore because you'll save a lot of money.

Where do most pharmacy students dorm?
Busch and Livingston. Busch is usually the first choice, though. However, in the first two years of the program, the courses are spread out on the campuses. So just pick the campus you like most and not just for ease of commute because it will be generally balanced.

Can you study abroad?
You cannot study abroad during the school year. The 6-year program is very inflexible in the aspect that you must complete all your prerequisites of your pre-professional years as according to the curriculum timeframe. However, you can study abroad during the summer after freshmen year.

Is housing guaranteed for Pharmacy?
Housing is guaranteed for freshmen. After freshmen year, it is based on a lottery system. The University also changed the policy this year to ensure that 20% of Busch will be reserved for engineering and pharmacy students. However, pharmacy majors are still susceptible to the RU Housing Screw (aka, you got a lottery number so high you have no chance at housing).

Can you manage a part-time job with the curriculum?

If you're able to get a job through the school's work-study program, working at a part-time job is not too big a problem because the hours are really flexible. If you're lucky to get a work-study position at a library, you will literally be paid to study. So, it's not that bad. However, if you have a job outside of the University, you just need to exercise careful time managment and good communication with your boss. I actually do not recommend getting a part-time job your first semester if you are taking the whole set of Bio, Chem, Calc, Expos all in one semester. The expectation of how much you need to study is alarmingly higher than that of high school. It's better to start off college with balance than trying to juggle everything immediately. Again, it's personal preference.

Should I get a job at a pharmacy?
It's recommended to be exposed to retail pharmacy (or even hospital pharmacy) during your pre-professional years. Call retail pharmacies and supermarket pharmacies around the neighborhood and ask if they are hiring any technicians. Also remember that this is not a summer job type of deal; you need to be available throughout the school year. Good luck!

What are the Pharmacy organizations on campus?

There is a Pharmacy Involvement Fair in the beginning of the school year that showcases all the Pharmacy organizations. They publicize it very well, so you can't miss it, especially if you got to the Big/Little picnic in the beginning of the year. Pharmacy Governing Council has selected officers and representatives for each class if you're interested in getting involved during the preprofessional years. I am currently a member of the professional pharmacy fraternity, Phi Delta Chi.

How much do you study?
A lot, especially during midterms and finals. There's a lot of material to learn. I no longer cram because it's impossible. The material goes into such depth that you cannot possibly "learn" all of it the night before an exam. Difficulty of the material is relative to each person. Once you fall behind, it's very difficult (not impossible, but challenging) to catch up again. I wish I took more AP classes in high school so I could be more comfortable with the material.

Are most of your friends pharmacy majors?
It's a balanced mix. I have a couple of pharmacy friends, but most of my friends are those who live in the same dorm and those I met at orientation. It depends on each person. Your classes are also mixed with everyone else, so you're not limited in any way.

How many people are dropped from the program?
I don't know and I try not to think about it.

Where do you get help for classes?
Professor and TA's Office Hours; Learning Centers on every campus; smart friends

How difficult is the placement exam?
I did not take the reading portion, but the math section was not too difficult. The first two sections are not too bad because they are mainly basic algebra problems. You cannot use a calculator so just be careful on arithmetic. The last part was harder because it was entirely precalculus. Remember logarithms, trig/unit circle. Do your best because placing into Calculus I is important to keeping with the preprofessional set curriculum time frame. Also, pharmacy has designated placement exam date, so it's a good opportunity to talk to some of your future classmates that day.

Why pharmacy?
A Pharm.D. opens up many opportunities for interesting and rewarding careers. I'm currently the most interested in clinical pharmacy. However, I'm still not 100% sure about my major because I'm interested in a lot of subjects, not just pharmacy. It's not set in stone. But I am happy with my major right now. You can ask me again next year when I'm taking orgo whether I feel the same way or not.

Location: SinglePost



J United States
5/20/2010 9:50:00 PM #

Phyllis, you're so helpful. You always give great insight Laughing

A United States
5/22/2010 9:50:48 AM #

I'm looking into pharmacy but im enrolled in SEBS, is there anyway I could transfer && if so how long will it take?

phylee United States
5/22/2010 10:51:58 PM #

A, email one of our admission counselors, Lee:

Linda United States
6/16/2010 5:49:46 PM #

Oh my effing lord this helped a lot (the textbooks question specifically) THANK YOU PHYLLIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to find you when I get to Rutgers and thank you personally. You've helped me so much!

phylee United States
6/17/2010 7:29:49 AM #

No problem Linda! Have a great summer and see you next year.

Linda United States
6/22/2010 7:26:06 PM #

hey phyllis i have two questions --

1) What exactly is the Mastering Chemistry code? I think you said it's online... But what is it? Can I buy it beforehand?

2) Where did you find the Calc textbook? I tried searching for it online but I can't find it.

phylee United States
6/23/2010 12:14:09 PM #


1) You don't have to buy it right now. You can wait for semester to start and there will be information posted about how to buy/access it. It's the online homework system that drives people insane, haha.

2) I bought it from a student. It's a Rutgers custom edition so you might not find it online. I would go on the FB group and see if one of the 2015s can sell it to you.

Susan United States
6/24/2010 5:55:19 PM #

Hi Phyllis,

I have a question about the AP Biology credit. What do you have to get on the AP exam in order to use the credit for the General Biology class?

Thanks a bunch!

phylee United States
6/26/2010 6:50:29 PM #

Susan, either a 4 or 5 if I am not mistaken. I would call them and ask. They should mail you something to ask what course you would like to use for credit.

phylee United States
7/2/2010 11:38:10 PM #

It is not absolutely necessary to take AP Bio or AP Chem to be admitted to the pharmacy program. If you can though, use your AP Physics credit if you choose to enroll at the Rutgers pharmacy program.

I did not take Calc.

I believe the SAT score is weighted very heavily for admission at Rutgers and for RU pharmacy.

doreen United States
7/3/2010 1:34:17 PM #

around what sat score would an instate person need? around what did you get?

phylee United States
7/3/2010 11:57:25 PM #

Priya, I forget what the average is. You can email admissions or use the contact box on the top of the page. I also don't remember whether they consider writing... ah, it's been so long.

lee United States
7/5/2010 7:22:01 AM #

Hi Doreen,

Of course SAT's (or ACT's) are not the only criteria: grade-point-average, course selection and grade pattern are also very important. Historical SAT score ranges for admission to the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy are available here:

In 2010 it was higher, and we will post those soon.

Lee United States
7/6/2010 10:43:17 AM #

We always consider the highest of your scores, Doreen.

Dev United States
8/15/2010 2:26:34 PM #

Is it possible to accept AP credit for Gen Bio I and II AND take Calculus II? It seems that we have to take a Calc class no matter what, so why not take II without it counting toward the 8-credit cap?

Rutgers Student Blogs
4/20/2011 1:12:46 AM #

My pharmacy experience

My pharmacy experience

11/4/2011 12:52:09 AM #

This share about famous poetry is really beautiful... I admire poetry... One other    blog i check out a ton is   known as Poetry of the day ..

m.D United States
3/17/2012 10:06:42 PM #

i wanted to buy "ernest mario" or Rutgers pharmacy apparel..
Whereabout could i purchase that?


Lee Ann Dmochowski United States
3/19/2012 10:53:34 AM #

Hi! You can "get your gear on" at the Busch Campus Center store, or visit us during Open House (if you're an admitted student) or Rutgers Day.  For more about Rutgers Day, see http://rutgersday.rutgers.edu

Eureka Lighting United States
3/24/2012 12:13:18 AM #

Do you plan out your title (rutgers student blogs | q&a for incoming pharmacy students) to be for SEO purposes or do you just post whatever you want to post and hope it shows up?

Kyoung United States
5/3/2012 10:00:40 PM #

Is the FIGS course only mandated for first year student?  If so, would living in Douglass under the Bunting Cobb community be difficult to manage if I am a Pharmacy student(taking woman's leadership course and FIGS as well as the regular Pharmacy courses)?  How is the rigor of the courses of a first year Pharmacy student?  What would you recommend?  I feel extremely confused how to manage this dorm/housing with the rigors of Pharmacy.  Thank you so much!!!

Alphonso United States
5/11/2012 2:26:26 AM #

As an AP student, you will automatically receive an AP Score Report by mail that lists your cumulative AP Exam scores and any colleges to which your scores were sent. You can also find information about score reporting services in the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents and in your AP Student Pack.
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