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The Pharmacy Program at Southwestern

The College of Pharmacy (COP) at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the accrediting agency for Colleges of Pharmacy in the United States, and is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The COP celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1989 and continues to maintain a tradition of excellence in pharmacy education.

The COP offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree, which is a 2 + 4 program. Students must complete 2 years of pre-professional study, which includes general education courses as well as prescriptive courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. This is followed by 4 years in the COP at SWOSU in the Pharm. D. program, which includes courses in the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice and an academic year of full-time experiential education and training. Admission to the Pharm. D. program is competitive. Objective data, particularly performance in required math & science courses, overall GPA, ACT or SAT scores, and PCAT scores are significant. Students are admitted to the Pharm. D. program in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Each year, approximately 85 students are admitted to the Pharm. D. program.

The primary mission of SWOSU and the COP is teaching. All full-time faculty in the COP have earned a terminal degree in pharmacy and provide instruction in all the courses in the Pharm. D. program. Typically, most didactic classes have approximately 60 students, while most laboratory classes taught within the COP have approximately 20 students.

Graduates of COP continue to perform above average on the NAPLEX, the national licensing examination for pharmacy. In recent years, there has been virtually 100% employment for graduates of the COP at SWOSU. Approximately 30 companies a year recruit students for employment in a variety of areas in pharmacy practice. Salaries for new graduates are typically more than $90,000.

The COP has more than 5,000 alumni. Many are leaders in their community, while others are leaders in the state and have attained national and international recognition.

Our History

Career Opportunities

Today's pharmacist is the most accessible member of the health care team. The pharmacist is often the first health professional a consumer will talk to about health questions, and the pharmacist is likely to be the last health care team member to consult with patients about their drug treatment. Today's pharmacist not only dispenses prescriptions, but also provides information and drug-related primary care.

The pharmacist is a specialist in the science of drugs. The educational background of a pharmacist includes knowledge of the chemical structure of drugs. Because the pharmacist often works with a product as well as a service, the pharmacist is educated in business and administration techniques in order to effectively manage a pharmacy operation.

Pharmacy demands that one be dependable and show good judgment. The responsibility the pharmacist has for the health and well-being of people emphasizes the need for accurate decision making and high ethical standards. Above all, since pharmacy involves working with both patients and other health care professionals, a pharmacist must relate well to others.

The majority of pharmacists practice in a community setting. Community pharmacies range in size from the small prescription shop to the large, full-line drug store and can be owned by individuals or large corporations. Community pharmacy requires extensive use of business and management skills. In addition to the dispensing of both prescription and nonprescription drugs, the community pharmacist also has the opportunity to provide advise and information on health matters to the public and provide consultation service to health care facilities.

As a member of the health care team, the hospital pharmacist is directly involved with patient care. The hospital pharmacist works with doctors and nurses to design a program of drug treatment most appropriate to each patient. In addition, the pharmacist is responsible for the drug distribution system of the hospital. Specialized areas, such as nuclear pharmacy, drug and poison information and intravenous therapy, have become a part of hospital pharmacy practice. The hospital pharmacist may also provide training to other staff members in the proper use of medications.

In addition to these two major areas, pharmacists work in industry, education and all levels of government. Many serve as consultants to nursing homes, hospitals and home health care agencies. Individuals with pharmacy degrees may pursue other health careers by entering medical, dental or other professional schools. With their health and science education, pharmacists may specialize in the areas of technical writing, science reporting and editing of professional magazines or journals. Pharmacists with legal training may become experts in pharmaceutical law.

With these multiple opportunities in an evolving health care environment, pharmacy is a rewarding profession.

Click here for a listing of job opportunities currently available.


Legal requirements vary slightly from state to state, and students should familiarize themselves with the laws and regulations of the states in which they plan to seek licensure. In Oklahoma, a candidate for licensure must:

  1. be of good moral character,
  2. be no less than 21 years of age,
  3. be a graduate of an accredited College of Pharmacy,
  4. have experience in pharmacy practice in accordance with the regulations of the State Board of Pharmacy, and
  5. have passed an examination as specified by the State Board of Pharmacy.

Additional information may be obtained through the State Board of Pharmacy of the state in which licensure is desired.

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The Focus Is You