Question 1: Who is qualified to apply for the PIP program?
The PIP program is open to all American and foreign trained pharmacists with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy or the equivalent who wish to progress to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree at the College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences. View requirements for more detail.
Question 2: When can I apply to this program?
Please visit the apply now page for the latest information on application availability and deadlines.
Question 3: Why is the application deadline December 1, when the interviews are in March/April?
The early deadline will allow timely processing of each application to give each selected applicant enough time to prepare for the Internal Assessment (IA) exam. Also, this deadline will allow us to accommodate changes in the rules of purchase of the IA study guide (see under “Admissions Process Information”).
Question 4: I am due to graduate with a BS in Pharmacy this year. Can I apply for the PIP program now?
Yes. However, you must provide evidence, such as a letter from your school/college, stating that you are on track to graduate prior to the start of classes (July) at WesternU. All relevant documents must be submitted by the application deadline. Please visit the apply now page for details.
Question 5: What is the process for admission into the PIP program?
Once your file is complete, the Admissions office will forward your application to the College of Pharmacy for a preliminary evaluation. The college of Pharmacy faculty will evaluate your file and provide a score, whereupon your application may be selected for an interview and internal assessment (IA) exam. If you are not selected for an interview and IA exam, you will be notified of this decision immediately and your file will be closed for that year.
Question 6: How does the December 2nd deadline affect the admissions process?
All completed applications received by the deadline date will be evaluated by the admissions committee. The applicants selected for interviews will be notified by the end of November. This will allow the selected applicants sufficient time to study for the IA exam.
Question 7: When will the interview session take place?
Visit the apply now page for interview dates.
Question 8: Will the interviews and IA exam take place on the same day?
Yes. The IA exam is administered in the morning and interviews (including written essays) are conducted in the afternoon, of the same day. This arrangement is more convenient for applicants traveling from out of town.
Question 9: What can I expect on the day of the IA exam/interviews?
Applicants selected for interviews will be asked to arrive at the campus early in the morning on their assigned interview day. The morning starts with a brief introduction and orientation to the program by the Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management. The IA exam starts immediately after the orientation. Applicants are given four (4) hours to complete the IA exam. During the afternoon session, applicants are separated into two groups to complete the oral interview and the written essay component. Once all activities are completed, applicants are free to leave campus. You may wish to also review our internal assessment (IA) exam FAQ page.
Question 10: How are the oral interviews conducted?
Usually, a team of two members comprise an interview team consisting of one faculty and one current student of the College of Pharmacy. Each interview session lasts approximately 25-30 minutes during which time the applicant is also given an opportunity to ask questions. Although communication skills are evaluated extensively, the interview team also looks for qualities such as motivation, critical thinking, general knowledge, etc. Overall, every effort is made to keep the interview session friendly.
Question 11: How is the written essay session conducted?
As one group starts the oral interview session, another group is administered the written essay component. The essays topics are usually of general interest whereby the applicant is encouraged to provide a balanced view of the topic to the best of his/her ability. The writing session lasts approximately 40 minutes.
Question 12: Where will the interview sessions be conducted?
Interviews will be held at the WesternU campus in Pomona, CA. Other sites may be added depending upon the size of the application pool.
Question 13: When will I know whether I have been admitted into the program?
Admission acceptance letters will be sent out within two-three weeks of completion of the interview/IA process.
Question 14: Where can I get the application for admission?
Visit the apply now page for detailed instructions on how to apply.
Question 1: Am I required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy or equivalent?
Yes. You must provide evidence, such as a letter from your school/college, stating that you are on track to graduate prior to start of classes (July ) at WesternU. All relevant documents must be submitted by the application deadline. Visit the view requirements page for a complete list of requirements.
Question 2: Are there any requirements to pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination (FPGEE) for admission into the PIP program?
No. FPGEE scores are not required or considered for the PIP program.
However, you must obtain a passing grade in the IA exam administered by the College of Pharmacy. For more details see FAQ’s on the IA examination.
Information on pharmacist licensure can be obtained at www.nabp.net especially if you have a BS degree prior to 2003 or graduated from a 5-year pharmacy curriculum.
Question 3: Is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) a requirement for admission into the PIP program?
Yes. TOEFL is a mandatory requirement for all graduates from non-English speaking countries. A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) is required for consideration of admission. For students appearing for the TOEFL exam under the new guidelines, a minimum score of 79 (internet-based) is required for consideration of admission. Scores must be submitted by June 1 of the year of admission. Visit the requirements page for a complete list of requirements. The TOEFL exam will be waived for students who have graduated with a confirmed baccalaureate or higher degree from a United States institution.
Question 4: Is the Test of Spoken English (TSE) a requirement for admission into the PIP program?
No. At this time, TSE is not required for admission. However, the College of Pharmacy places a strong emphasis on communication skills, both oral and written, for all students. We believe that a strong foundation in communication is vital to becoming a competent practitioner of the profession. Good communication skills also facilitate productive interaction with fellow students, faculty, the healthcare team and your patients.
Question 1: What is the PIP program?
The PharmD International Pathway Program (PIP) offers a unique training opportunity for domestic and international graduates with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in pharmacy. Like most Colleges/Schools of Pharmacy in the United States, WesternU requires four years of professional training following a minimum of two years of pre-pharmacy coursework. The PharmD International Pathway Program (PIP) allows the successful applicant to bypass the first year and enter directly into the second year of the traditional program. Thereafter, the program is completed within a three-year duration. The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree awarded to the PIP student is to the same as the degree given to traditional students.
Question 2: How long is the PIP program?
The duration of the program is 3 years. PIP students join the second year of the traditional Pharm.D. program and complete the remainder of the program within the time frame of 3 years.
Question 3: What are the tuition and other fees for the PIP program?
The tuition and other fees are the same as for our students in the traditional program. Visit the financing my education page for tuition, scholarship and loan information. Please also review the international student financial aid page.
Question 4: If I am a foreign student, will you assist me in completing student visa/immigration formalities?
Yes. The WesternU Admissions Office will assist you in completing your immigration formalities. All foreign applicants are required to provide documentation such as financial support no later than the day of the interview/IA to enable the Admissions Office to prepare related paperwork for F-1 visa, should they be admitted. Please see our International Student website for more information regarding requirements for international students. Contact the Admissions Office for additional information. Please remember all required paperwork should be turned in as quickly as possible for the Admissions Office to issue the I-20 form to the student.
Question 5: When do classes begin for the PIP program?
Although classes for the traditional PharmD program students start in early August of each year, the PIP students will start classes early to mid-July. A three to four-week orientation course, PHRM 5601: Overview of Clinical Practice, is offered (1) to orient the new students to the block system, (2) provide other relevant information provided to traditional Pharm.D. students during their first year curriculum and (3) prepare PIP students for the didactic blocks during the upcoming years. PHRM 5601 is a graded course, hence attendance is mandatory. Following the completion of PHRM 5601, all students will be expected to participate in a University orientation session a week before regular classes start in August. More information on this orientation will be provided at a later date.
Question 6: Is attendance at the “Overview of Clinical Practice” course a mandatory requirement?
Yes. This is a graded course based on exams and quizzes. Your grade in this course will be applied towards your overall grade point average (GPA) in the program.
Question 7: Am I eligible for employment as a student on an F-1 visa?
Yes. However, there are certain restrictions on employment. Please visit our F-1 Transfer and Change of Status page for more information on employment and issuance of social security numbers.
Question 8: Is on-campus housing available?
Please refer to our housing website to view housing options for Pomona and surrounding areas.
Question 9: What is your withdrawal/cancellation policy and procedure?
The following policy applies only to applicants who have purchased but not accessed the IA study guide:
A PIP withdraw form must be completed and submitted online to the admissions office at least ONE week before the interview/IA exam date indicating clearly that you have decided to withdraw your application from consideration into the PIP program for that year and that you have not accessed the study guide. (Please note that we can only provide refunds if we have a written official notification from you)
Upon receipt of the email or letter to the admissions office, the College of Pharmacy will refund your exam fee according to the following policy:
- If access to the exam study material HAS NOT yet been established, a 20% processing fee will be deducted from the original exam fee.
- If access to the exam study material HAS been established, you will forfeit the $250 fee as indicated earlier but you would be able to reuse the study guide for the next admissions cycle. All remaining amounts (as applicable) will be refunded to the candidate within 2-4 weeks.
Question 10: Can I visit your campus? We would love for you to visit campus! Attend Preview Day where we will provide you with detailed information on the curriculum and profession as well as the admissions process. You will also have the opportunity to hear from the dean/upper administration and chat with current WesternU students as they tour you through the facilities.
Question 1: What is the IA exam?
The IA exam is a written test that is graded by the faculty of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy. The two main purposes of the IA exam are as follows:
- Since IPBP students bypass the first year of the curriculum, the IA exam is intended to evaluate the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in topics that are taught in the first year Pharm.D. curriculum at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy. The weaknesses identified by taking the IA exam will allow the faculty to advise the student to further review specific basic pharmaceutical sciences concepts and foundation skills in preparation for the rigorous Pharm.D. curriculum.
- The IA exam serves as an entrance exam for admission into the IPBP program. Scores from the IA exam play a significant role in the overall admissions process.
Question 2: Is anyone exempt from taking the IA exam?
No. It is mandatory for all candidates applying for the PIP program to take the IA exam.
Question 3: Is there a fee for the IA exam?
No. There is no fee for the IA exam.
Question 4: Where will the IA exam be administered?
All admission related events including the IA exam will be held on the campus of Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California. Please visit our website for directions to the University.
Question 5: How will the IA exam be graded?
An applicant must achieve a score of at least 60% to receive a passing score for the IA exam. Also, if areas of weaknesses are identified, the candidate may be required to take remedial courses prior to being admitted as a student.
Question 6: Will my IA exam score make a difference in the overall admission process?
Yes. IA exam scores are a significant factor in the admissions process. Therefore, a high score in the IA exam will definitely improve your overall chances of being admitted into the program. How do I study for the IA exam? Upon your selection for an interview/IA exam and subsequent notification from us, you will need to submit your IA study guide access fee (if applicable) to receive online access to an information packet containing study guides, sample exams and a syllabus of review information.
In order to obtain the information packet, all prospective students must have access to a computer and a valid email address (your email address should be clearly filled out in the application form). All relevant study materials will be placed on the Western University of Health Sciences server. No hard-copy documents will be provided. Prospective students will be given “guest student” account access thereby allowing them to download the study material from the server. Detailed instructions will be provided on how to download documents from the Western University of Health Sciences server. Once the study materials are received by the candidate, it will be the responsibility of the candidate to study at his or her own pace and take the IA exam at the designated date and time.
Question 7: What is the format for the IA exam?
The entire examination will consist of approximately 200 multiple-choice questions. The test will be divided into four sections: (A) Pharmaceutics, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacogenomics (B) Immunological Sciences (C) Pharmacology and (D) Acid-Base Chemistry. Most of the questions for the IA exam will be based on the information provided in the study guides.
Question 8: When will the study materials be available for download?
Study materials will be available for distribution by November 1st each year. However, applicants would only be allowed to download the study materials if they have been selected for an interview. This decision will be announced on or before the end of November. Thus, students selected for an interview will have approximately four months to prepare for the IA exam.
Question 9: When will the results of the IA exam be announced?
Results of the IA exam will be available within two weeks after the exam. All applicants will be notified of their scores by email.
Question 10: What is the expiration date on the IA exam score?
All passing IA exam scores are valid for 1 year only. Thus, in the event a candidate is not admitted to the program, he/she must retake the IA exam each time the candidate chooses to reapply for the program provided they have been selected for an interview.