The Rinker Health Science Campus building front featuring Chapman logo
School of Pharmacy

» Frequently Asked Questions

See below for a list of frequently asked questions for the School of Pharmacy. For any additional questions or more information, feel free to contact us at or call (714) 516-5487

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Is the School of Pharmacy on the Chapman University Campus in Orange, CA?

No. CUSP is located on the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine, CA, 15 miles south of the Chapman main campus in Orange.  The Rinker Campus currently consists of 3 buildings located at 9401, 9501 and 9701 Jeronimo Road.  CUSP is conveniently located 1.5 miles east of the I-5 Freeway off of Alton Parkway, within 2 miles of the Irvine Spectrum.

Is there student housing near the School of Pharmacy?

Currently there is no official Chapman student housing near CUSP. However, there are several apartment complexes within 1 to 3 miles of CUSP, including "The Park" and "The Village" apartment complexes located at the Irvine Spectrum. More housing is being developed commercially in the Great Park area of Irvine.


Does CUSP require a background check?

CUSP does not require a criminal background check to apply to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.  However, those individuals selected for admission to the program are required to complete one.  Additionally, the California State Board of Pharmacy requires fingerprints and a criminal background check to obtain an intern pharmacist license which will be required in the first year.  In addition, many of the clinical facilities affiliated with CUSP may require additional background checks and/or drug testing for student placements.

What are the criteria for admission?

The CUSP admission criteria include academic strength, motivation to pursue pharmacy, maturity, communication skills, special talents, achievements and the unique contribution you will be expected to make to the profession. Students who have a desire to use the clinical and communication skills they acquire during pharmacy school to provide medication therapy management to patients as part of a health care team within an Accountable Care Organization, Patient Centered Medical Home, Care Transition Organization, or a Medical Group, are highly encouraged to apply. For more information, see the CUSP admission requirements.

What are the options for admission?

CUSP has two different pathways to gain admission.

1) High school students can apply as a "Freshman Early Assurance Program" (FEAP) admission directly to the Doctor of Pharmacy Program via the Common Application with a conditional admission for the Pharm.D. program provided they maintain academic standards and complete their pharmacy school pre-requisite courses in two years at Chapman University. These students would then continue into the pharmacy program following a second interview in their third semester as long as they fulfill the pre-requisite requirements and Special Admission Requirements for Freshman CUSP Admission before starting the pharmacy program the next fall. Early Action Freshman applicants will not receive a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree but will receive the terminal Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 5 years if they continue to meet the academic and professional standards of the program.

2) Students who have completed their prerequisites, with or without obtaining a BS Degree, at any accredited institution including Chapman University can apply using the PharmCAS system and will be required to take the PCAT exam. For more detailed information, see the CUSP Admission page.

Where do I send my transcripts?

Official copies of your transcripts should be sent to PharmCAS when you apply. You should also send your fall transcripts as soon as they are available. Your final spring and summer transcripts must be sent directly to the School of Pharmacy Office of Student Affairs.

When do I need to complete my pre-pharmacy courses?

All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed before you can start the pharmacy program, but can be "in progress" or "planned" when you apply. Typically, all pre-req courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester before school starts. Prior approval from the CUSP Office of Student Affairs must be given for students who need to complete one course over the summer before school starts. More than one summer course is rarely allowed.

How many students are accepted each year?

The CUSP program is expected to accept 100 students per year.

Is preference given to California residents?

No. The School uses the same criteria to evaluate out-of-state applicants as California residents.

Do California residents pay less tuition than out-of-state students?

Chapman University is a private university; therefore, tuition and fees are the same for all students regardless of state or country of residence.

Does the School of Pharmacy, Pharm.D. program accept international students?

No. Students must have U.S. citizenship or Permanent Resident status.

Is a bachelor's degree required?


Can I enter with advanced standing status or as a transfer student?

No. Due to the unique nature of our curriculum, CUSP is not able to accept students who will not be starting the pharmacy program from the first trimester.

Do you have a rolling admission?

Yes. Applications through PharmCAS are typically accepted from mid-July through early March.  The deadline for Early Decision applications is typically in early September. It is advisable to submit your application as early as possible since students are reviewed and invited to interview on a weekly basis.

Do you give preference to any major?

No, CUSP does not give preference to any major. Most applicants are science majors. The most common majors are biology, chemistry, or biochemistry.

I already have a bachelor's degree. Do I still need to complete all the prerequisites?

Yes, all applicants regardless of degree or major must complete all of the pre-pharmacy required courses before they enter the PharmD program.

Where do I take the pre-pharmacy courses? How do I know if my classes have met your pre-pharmacy requirements?

You may take your pre-pharmacy courses at any accredited institution in the United States, except vocational or technical schools. All pre-pharmacy coursework must be completed for a letter grade. The course descriptions must meet CUSP transfer requirements. You may contact the CUSP Office of Student Affairs if you have questions:

Can I meet with a counselor to go over my transcripts and application?

Absolutely!  Contact Student Affairs staff by emailing us at or calling (714) 516-5600 to make an appointment for a transcript review. Your coursework/transcripts will be formally evaluated once your application is submitted.

Does CUSP offer information Sessions?

Yes! CUSP offers information sessions for prospective applicants. These sessions give you an opportunity to visit the Rinker Health Science Campus of Chapman University, meet with faculty and admission staff, and learn about the CUSP program and the application process.

Email us at or call (714) 516-5600 to find out about our next date. 

Can I submit my application before I complete my pre-requisites?

Yes. You should have completed most of your pre-pharmacy coursework by the time you submit your application. You must indicate on your application when and where you will be taking the remaining pre-requisites. All pre-pharmacy courses must be completed before you can start the pharmacy program.

Applicant Interviews

Do I need an interview?

To be accepted into the PharmD program, you must be interviewed.  However, due to the large number of students who apply, not all applicants will be invited to be interviewed.

Is there a minimum grade point average required for an interview?

There is no minimum GPA, however preferred applicants have an overall GPA and a prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or greater. Competitive applicants who meet a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and above, possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, and have a general knowledge of the field of pharmacy are the most sought-after candidates. Unfortunately, CUSP is unable to interview all qualified applicants.

How do I know if I am selected for a CUSP interview?

You will receive email updates through PharmCAS as your application moves through the review process.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive an email invitation through PharmCAS at least two weeks prior to the interview date.

What should I expect during the CUSP interview?

The interview consists of three parts: the oral interview, a group session, and a group presentation.  The purpose of the interview day is to assess your oral communication skills, teamwork skills, critical thinking skills, leadership attributes and your motivation or potential to be a pharmacist.

Can I reschedule my CUSP interview appointment?

Yes, if you notify us ahead of time.  If you miss your assigned interview or arrive late, your application may be canceled.  Under some rare circumstances, such as a medical emergency, the CUSP Admission Committee will make an exception.

If you know you will be attending an important event or studying abroad during one of CUSP's interview sessions, please inform us early so that we will not schedule your interview during that time.

How should I dress for the CUSP interview?

Professional attire is required.

When will I be notified of my admission status?

All applicants are typically notified of admission decisions by email within 48 hours after the interview.  CUSP does not release admission status information over the telephone.

What does "Pool Status" mean?

Pool Status is assigned to those candidates who have been interviewed but are not admitted after an interview. Pool Status applicants are placed on a hold/wait list until a final admission decision can be made. Pool Status applicants are re-evaluated after each subsequent interview session conducted by CUSP and could receive admission, denial, or continued pool status.

What can I do if I'm assigned Pool Status?

The CUSP PharmD program is highly competitive. Not all applicants are accepted.  When you are in Pool Status, you should continue with your unfinished coursework. When you finish an academic term, please send in your updated transcript(s) as soon as the grades and/or your degree are posted.

What if I have a change of home address or email address?

You should notify the CUSP admission office at of all changes of home address, email addresses and phone numbers.

How do I withdraw my application? Do I need to notify PharmCAS?

You should notify the CUSP admission office at as soon as possible with your decision to withdraw. An explanation and/or information about what school you choose to attend is appreciated. You do not need to notify PharmCAS about your decision to withdraw.

May I apply again if I am denied the first time?

Yes. Denied applicants can apply again during the next admission cycle.  It is expected that re-applicants would have accomplished things that would improve their chances of getting accepted such as repeating courses, re-taking the PCAT, improving their communication and teamwork skills, and/or learning more about the pharmacy profession.

What is the difference between a Pharmaceutical Scientist and a Pharmacist?

Pharmaceutical scientists are typically involved in the development of new drugs: discovery, drug delivery systems, characteristics related to drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. They spend most of their time conducting research in a laboratory or office setting. Pharmaceutical scientists focus primarily upon the product design and development. Students who are interested in becoming a pharmaceutical scientist should inquire about our Masters of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (MSPS) program.

Pharmacists work with existing drugs, patients, and other healthcare practitioners to advance health and patient care through the appropriate use of medications. They often work face-to-face with physicians (drug selection and use) and patients (appropriate medication use including adherence). However, there are an array of non-direct patient care roles for pharmacists including research. Pharmacists primarily focus on the patient.

Will I be able to work while I am enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy program?

While it is possible to work during the program, typically, students are on campus 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  Nights and weekends may be open, depending upon experiential educational (IPPE) requirements that occur during the first two years of the program.  In some instances, student pharmacists may need to spend time in pharmacy practice setting depending upon the availability of teaching partners and practice sites.