Pharmacy School Spotlight: The #1 Pharmacy School is University of North Carolina Eschelman School of Pharmacy

Once again, the University of North Carolina Eschelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill held their #1 pharmacy school ranking yet again according to the 2020 U.S. News and World Report Graduate School rankings; they have been ranked the top pharmacy school for many years in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. To highlight their achievement for maintaining the highest level of academic excellence in the world of pharmacy education, we will honor them as our spotlight school in this post.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Eschelman School of Pharmacy is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which also happens to be a top five public undergraduate university according to U.S. News and World Report and being highly ranked in countless other categories including #1 in Medical Schools for Primary Care. The “Tar Heels” are well known as being a top athletic university, boasting 6 NCAA national basketball championships, and 21 out of the 38 women’s soccer championships in NCAA history. As a fun fact, it is also the university that produced arguably the greatest basketball player and athlete of all time, Michael Jordan.

The UNC Eschelman School of Pharmacy holds classes in Chapel Hill, with a satellite campus in Asheville, North Carolina. It offers a traditional 4-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, as well as a dual degree program combining the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or a Masters in Public Health (MPH) with the PharmD program which would take a total of 5 years. According to their curriculum website, the 4-year program consists of the following:

Curriculum Overview

Year One: Foundations of Pharmacy

  • Introduces you to the foundational pharmaceutical sciences, which are the building blocks of pharmacy
  • Gives you the solid foundation you’ll need to start working with patients and health-care professionals

Years Two and Three: Immersion in Patient Care and Engagement in Inquiry and Innovation

  • Early experiences in the real-world practice of pharmacy followed by reflection and discussion
  • Small-group and large-classroom experiences to further learning, professional development, and career-path exploration
  • Immersion begins the summer after the first year.

Year Four: Advanced and Elective Pharmacy Practice Experiences

  • Numerous advanced patient-care and elective rotations
  • Opportunities for you to mature your approach to pharmacy practice and to define your career path

The curriculum format appears to have well-suited their students to prepare for examinations and the real world. For example, in the past 5 years the graduation rate has consistently exceeded 90%:

Post-graduates of UNC have also consistently exceeded above 90% pass rate on both the national board examinations (NAPLEX) and the state board examinations (MPJE):

Compared to the national average of all pharmacy schools, graduates of UNC have had much superior first-time pass rates in the past 4 years:


UNC is located on a beautiful campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is one of the oldest public universities in the United States, being founded in 1789. Students at this university have a wealth of activities to participate in, and access to many championship-level caliber sporting events. The food scene and nightlife is robust, and an easy short walk or bus ride from their apartments or dormitories, to the famous Franklin Street, which has plenty of cafes, coffee shops, fast foods, restaurants, and bars. Students could also visit the Franklin Street staple, the famous Sutton’s Drug Store for some amazing handcrafted burgers or hot dogs, frequented by many former and current UNC basketball players and athletes.

So if you’re looking to pursue a challenging but rewarding academic career, and also have some fun and be a part of an amazing and rich academic and athletic program history, UNC may be a great option for you!

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