Students who may be interested or are preparing to enter pharmacy school may be asking the question, “is pharmacy school hard?” I guess this all depends on the work ethics and aptitude of each individual. The PharmD curriculum is typically designed to a be four year program: three years of didactic teaching and one year of clerkships (rotations). Most often, when they ask this question, they are referring to the didactic portions. Each PharmD program may be different, some programs could be tougher than others. The level of difficulty for each PharmD program is generally based on the following factors: the student’s work ethic, difficulty of pharmacy course instructors, and the PharmD program itself.
Getting into a PharmD program requires a student to have the ‘right’ stuff. Students who are accepted obviously have the aptitude and X-factor to successfully complete the PharmD curriculum in the eyes of their admissions committee. Therefore, the only ingredient needed is a consistent work ethic to study hard in order to meet the passing requirements each year in the program.
Many people know from experience that some instructors or teachers are tougher than others. The curriculum designed by the instructor may be difficult for some, maybe due to tougher examinations, shorter intervals between exams, or projects that may be added on to their courses. Some students may have a more difficult time in understanding how an instructor teaches a course, and some instructors may be poor teachers.
PharmD programs may vary in their level of difficulty. This usually, but not always, mirrors the level of difficulty with the PharmD programs admission process. Nationally ranked universities such as Harvard and Yale are obviously tougher on admissions than many other universities or colleges. Although PharmD programs are ranked, and may not necessarily have the same variance in admission acceptance rates as national college rankings, many PharmD programs may still differ in level of difficulty.
In summary, there are many variables to know whether a pharmacy school is hard or not. Probably the most important factor depends on the student. The work ethic of the student is extremely important to know whether a program may be difficult or not. Of course, some students may appear ‘smarter’ than others by not having to work as hard and still do well in their courses. However, most if not all students, whether born with ‘genius’ genes or not, have to work hard every year in any PharmD program.