Frequently Asked Questions

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The Basics

  1. What is a Doctor of Pharmacy?
  2. How long does it take to complete the PharmD program?
  3. Do you have a PhD or PharmD/MBA program?
  4. Can you complete the program online or part-time?
  5. How many students apply to the PharmD program? How many are accepted?
  6. Am I considered an in-state or out-of-state student?
  7. I really like Marshall, but I heard you weren’t fully accredited. Isn’t it important to go to an accredited School/College of Pharmacy?
  8. What does your academic calendar look like?

The Application Process

  1. When should I apply?
  2. What’s the difference between Early Decision vs. Regular Decision?
  3. Is a bachelor’s degree required for admission?
  4. When is the latest date I can take the PCAT?
  5. I am a terrible test taker. What is the absolute minimum PCAT score you will accept?
  6. Do I need to have all my prerequisites completed before I apply?
  7. Is there a time limit on prerequisite coursework?
  8. Can I take prerequisite courses at the School of Pharmacy?
  9. Do you admit international students?
  10. What are the requirements for letters of recommendation?
  11. Is work experience in the pharmacy field required for admission?

Coursework & Equivalencies

  1. My institution teaches Anatomy & Physiology as one course, not as two separate courses. Will it count?
  2. My institution teaches XXX class for 4 credits but it looks as though I need 5 credits. Will this count?
  3. Is there a time requirement for prerequisite coursework?
  4. I received a D the first time I took XXX prerequisite course, but received a B on the second attempt. Do you take the highest grade?
  5. Do you accept AP scores for prerequisites?

The Interview & Admission

  1. Can you tell me about the interview process?
  2. What should I wear?
  3. I can’t make it to Marshall. Can I Skype my interview?
  4. When will I receive my admission notification?
  5. Is there a waitlist for applicant admission?
  6. If I am not accepted, can I reapply?

Tuition & Financial Aid

  1. How much is tuition and fees?
  2. Is financial aid available?
  3. How do I apply?
  4. I have attended an institution for three years and will enroll my “senior” year as a P1 student into Marshall. Can I transfer my state or federal financial aid money I have left?

Experiential Learning

  1. How do rotations work?
  2. Am I required to have a driver’s license and vehicle?
  3. What is an IPPE and an APPE?
  4. Will IPPEs and APPEs completed within the curriculum meet the requirements for state licensure? Or will I need extra hours in addition to the program?
  5. Where will my IPPE locations be located?
  6. Can I have an APPE rotation in my hometown? OR I know a pharmacist in my hometown. Can I do an APPE rotation with them?

Miscellaneous

  1. Is a laptop required for the program?
  2. Can I work while in the PharmD program?
  3. Do you have block exams?
  4. Do you have any housing recommendations while in the program?
  5. Is parking available at the School of Pharmacy?
  6. What do all of those acronyms mean? [IPPE, APPE, MUSOP, OSCE, etc.]

The Basics

  • What is a Doctor of Pharmacy?

A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) is the required degree necessary to practice pharmacy in the United States. It is an intensive doctoral program similar to that of a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).

PharmD programs include extensive didactic clinical preparation, hands-on clinical practice experience in a wide array of health care settings, and an emphasis on clinical pharmacy practice. Requirements in the US to becoming a pharmacist include: graduating from a Doctor of Pharmacy from an ACPE accredited program, conducting a specified number of hours in internship under a licensed pharmacist, passing the NAPLEX, and passing a Multi-state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE).

Residency is an option that is typically one to two years in length post-graduation allowing a student to specialize in a specific area of pharmacy, such as oncology or pediatrics.

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  • How long does it take to complete the PharmD program?

Marshall’s PharmD program is a four-year program that is in session from August to May. Students have summers free, which helps prevent burnout and allows for summer employment.

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  • Do you have a PhD or PharmD/MBA program?

We currently do not have a Ph.D. program; however, we do offer two dual-degree programs. The PharmD/MBA and PharmD/MPH programs were launched in 2016 and provide students with the ability to diversify their education based on career goals. We also expect to launch a MSPS program in Fall 2018.

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  • Can you complete the program online or part-time?

No. The Marshall PharmD is available only at Marshall as a full-time program.

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  • How many students apply to the PharmD program? How many are accepted?

During the 2016-17 application cycle, we received approximately 300 applicants to fulfill 80 seats in the class. We interview approximately 120-150 to fill those seats.

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  • Am I considered an in-state or out-of-state student?

Residency is determined at the time of application. The Marshall School of Pharmacy provides in-state only to those who reside within West Virginia. There is currently no metro rate for those in nearby communities in Kentucky (Ashland, Cattletsburg) or Ohio (Chesapeake, Proctorville, Ironton). To be eligible for in-state residency, applicants, or the parents of dependent applicants, must reside in West Virginia continuously for twelve months prior to registration. Marriage to a West Virginia resident does not automatically confer resident status upon a nonresident spouse. However, full-time active military personnel assigned to and
residing in West Virginia, their spouses and dependent children, are classified as in-state students. For more information, click here.

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  •  Is your school accredited?

Marshall University’s Doctor of Pharmacy program has been granted Accredited status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, 135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 4100, Chicago, IL 60603, 312/644-3575; Fax 312/664-4652, website www.acpe-accredit.org.

You should feel confident in selecting Marshall as your choice for pharmacy school.

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  •  What does your academic calendar look like?

The School of Pharmacy follows a semester calendar, which coincides with the main University calendar. The Fall semester begins approximately the third week of August and continues through the second week of December. The Spring semester begins during the second week of January and continues until the first or second week in May. The School observes all national holidays, such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas / New Years, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as well as Spring Break (1 week) and Thanksgiving Break (3 days).

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The Application Process

  • When should I apply?

Similar to what you may have experienced as a high school senior, you will apply to pharmacy school the fall before the year you plan to enroll. Marshall has two deadlines: Early Decision in September and Regular Decision in March. You must submit each of the application requirements before the admissions committee will assess your application for an interview. After the interview, the admissions committee will make a decision on your admission status and will provide you with a notice within two to three weeks.

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  • What’s the difference between Early Decision and Regular Decision deadlines?

Early decision (September) is recommended for those who select Marshall as their top choice. You can select only one school early decision. You may be offered early admission, denied admission, or deferred to regular applicant status. If you are admitted, you are obligated to matriculate to the institution. If you are not admitted, PharmCAS reopens your application and allows you to apply elsewhere.

  • Benefits:
    • a guaranteed spot in the class upon admission
    • the first interview date availability in October, and
    • completion of the pharmacy school process by November, allowing you to focus on successful completion of courses through the remaining fall and spring with no interruption.

Regular decision (March) provides students a later date of application and is not binding upon admission. This allows students to apply and interview at multiple institutions. Seats in the class, however, are not guaranteed upon admission. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. The first students to submit their deposit up to the 80-student cap will receive a seat in the class.

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  • Is a bachelor’s degree required for admission?

No. Students can complete their pharmacy prerequisites in as few as two years. However, many students prefer to complete them in three years or continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree. Students with a bachelor’s degree receive a few bonus points in the admissions process for demonstrating their ability to complete a program, but they do not receive priority over students who have only completed the minimum prerequisites.

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  • Do I need to have all my prerequisites completed before I apply?

No. Marshall only requires that you complete your prerequisites by the time you begin the PharmD program in the fall. You may take courses through the summer before you enroll.

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  • When is the latest date I can take the PCAT?

Marshall does not require you to have completed the PCAT prior to application, but does require the PCAT be completed prior to enrollment. We recommend taking the PCAT early, but will accept scores from July – January. Acceptance of the July PCAT of the year of enrollment will be on a student-by-student basis.  PCAT scores must be taken within two years prior to application.

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  • I am a terrible test taker. What is the absolute minimum PCAT score you will accept?

Because we utilize a holistic admissions process, we do not have “set minimums” for the PCAT. However, to be compettive based on our applicant pool history, we recommend a PCAT of 50 or greater. With that said, we have admitted well above and slightly below that composite score. Often, the strength of the rest of your application can make up for a low test score!

Our greatest recommendation regarding the PCAT is to take it at the right time. Students often take the PCAT too early in their academic career, not allowing them to have the coursework under their belt needed to score successfully on the PCAT. We recommend you take a look at the PCAT sub-sections and the percentage of information within each section. Having courses like organic, microbiology, and calculus prior to the PCAT will be extremely helpful in securing a higher score.

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  • Do I need to have all my prerequisites completed before I apply?

Not at all! We expect that you will still have many courses left to complete when you apply.

The pharmacy school application process is very similar to what you may have experienced in high school. You will apply the fall of the year prior to enrolling, then make your decision after you have been admitted. However, we expect you will still be working towards completing the coursework you need.

Marshall allows you to continue your coursework through the summer prior to matriculation. Once you complete your last course, you will submit your final transcripts to the Marshall School of Pharmacy to finalize your admission. You must receive a C or better in each of the prerequisite courses for the course to count towards your application requirements. Marshall does not recognize “minus” or “plus” grades, thus a C- will count toward successful completion. All coursework must be completed prior to arrival at orientation in the fall.

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  • Is there a time limit on prerequisite coursework?

For the application cycle of 2017-18, there is currently no time limit on prerequisite coursework.

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  • Can I take prerequisite courses at the School of Pharmacy?

No. All prerequisite courses must be completed before you enroll as a student in the School of Pharmacy.

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  • Do you admit international students?

Yes. Marshall began admitting international students in Fall 2014. However, standards are very rigorous. Students must complete the admissions requirements as expected of all students, however, they must also submit TOEFL scores. We require a minimum TOEFL score of 80. Students must submit foreign transcripts through PharmCAS and use a foreign transcript evaluation service (World Education Services is preferred). Additional documentation, such as course descriptions and syllabi, may need to be submitted on a case-by-case basis.

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  • What are the requirements for the letters of recommendation?

We require a minimum of three letters of recommendation. Each recommendation is evaluated and scored. The recommendations with the highest scores are allocated to professors and academic advisors who can attest to your academic success in the program. Next preferred are supervisors. Fewest points are allocated to clergy, politicans, family and friends.

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  • Is work experience in the pharmacy field required?

Work experience is not required for admission, but it can show commitment to the field of pharmacy and demonstrate the work ethic of an applicant. Thus, if you have work experience, please note it in your application. It will not count against you, however, if you do not have any.

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Coursework & Equivalencies

  • My institution teaches Anatomy & Physiology as one course, not as two courses. Will it count?

Yes. However, instead of one semester of each individually, you will need two semesters of A&P (I and II) to meet the requirements.

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  • My institution teaches XXX class for 4 credits but it looks as though I need 5 credits. Will this count?

Yes. When looking at the prerequisite curriculum, we recommend you follow the “semester” recommendations if you are not a Marshall student. The credit hours reference coursework and credit hours for Marshall classes only. Semesters are referenced for non-Marshall students only. For instance, if you have a General Chemistry course with a lab embedded for 4 credit hours, but the prerequisite is listed as needing 5 credit hours OR one semester, then the course will count towards “one semester.” (Note for classes with labs: As long as any course description notes that the course includes the lecture with lab in the same course offering, it will be counted for credit as well.)

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  • Is there a time requirement for prerequisite coursework?

Currently, we do not have a time requirement for coursework that was completed as part of a previous degree. We do, however, require that the PCAT have been completed within the past two years.

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  • I received a D the first time I took XXX prerequisite course, but received a B on the second attempt. Do you take the highest grade only?

No, we utilize the standard PharmCAS GPA . If you had multiple attempts of the same prerequisite course, we would average the courses together. For example, if you received a D in Calculus, but retook the course and received a B, you would receive a C.

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  • Do you accept AP scores for prerequisites?

Yes, as long as the AP course was accepted at your home undergraduate institution. For example, if you attend Marshall undergraduate school, and Marshall undergrad accepts AP scores of 4 and above, than we will accept it as well. If your undergraduate institution accept AP scores of 3 and above, and you received a 2, we will not count the course as a prerequisite because your home institution did not.

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Interview & Admission

  • Can you tell me about the interview process?

The interview process is unlike many others. It is a full day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rather than rush you in, bombard you with questions and push you out the door, we want to get to know you. The interview has three main parts:

1) the Standard Behavioral Interview – This is your storytelling time. You will be asked prompts that will require you to tell specific stories. (Ex: “Tell us about a time you had to show initiative on a project.”)

2) the Critical Thinking Test – Are you a critical thinker? Don’t expect to be asked about chemical functions, but rather, questions regarding reasoning. (Ex: “If A = B, and B = C, does A = C?”)

3) the Group Dilemma – Because our classrooms require a team-mentality, we want to see you in action with others. You and several “teammates” will receive a dilemma and will be expected to find a solution and present your findings.

Remember, our students, staff, and faculty will be assessing you throughout the day, so be attentive! From lunch to chit chatting while you try on your Marshall white coat, it’s all game.

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  • What should I wear?

Dress for interview day is considered business attire. What would you wear to a job interview? That’s what we expect on interview day. Appearance is made note of during the process.

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  • I can’t make it to the interview day. Can I Skype my interview? 

Unfortunately, no. Due to Marshall’s unique curriculum, certain portions of the interview process require group interactions which cannot be assessed over a Skype call. We require all candidates to interview with us on-site.

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  • When will I receive my admission notification?

We don’t like to keep you waiting! Each Friday, our admissions committee will gather to determine who will be admitted from the previous weeks’ interviews. You should hear back from us within two weeks maximum. This gives us time to make a decision, construct your admission letter, and send it through mail.

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  • Is there a waitlist for applicant admission?

Instead of a waitlist, the School of Pharmacy maintains a “hold list.” Each admissions cycle, the hold list of individuals are re-assessed each week by the committee, as if they just interviewed, with the most recent set of reviewable students. This keeps the hold list individuals fresh in the minds of the committee, and allows them to be potentially admitted throughout the admissions cycle – rather than waiting for admission at the end of the cycle, like a traditional waitlist.

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  • If I am not accepted, can I reapply?

Absolutely. The Office of Student Affairs is always available to meet with students to outline a strategy for a successful admission. Each year, many re-applicants are successful in gaining admission.

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Financial Aid

  • How much is tuition?

Marshall’s tuition and fees are incredibly competitive. In fact, our out-of-state tuition is often less expensive than in-state tuition in other states, such as Kentucky, Ohio and Maryland. Current tuition and fees for the academic year can be found on the Tuition & Financial Aid page.

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  • Is financial aid available?

Yes. State and federal grants, loans and scholarships are available. More information about available financial aid for students can be found on the Tuition & Financial Aid page.

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  • How do I apply?

First, you will need to file the FAFSA. The FAFSA becomes available each year on January 1. The priority deadline for state and federal awards is March 1, but is accepted through July 1. Any state or federal awards will be presented based on filing the FAFSA form. Marshall has several scholarships available for the P1 through the P4 year. You can find their requirements, deadlines and applications on the Scholarship page.

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  • I plan on attending Marshall after three years in undergrad. Can I transfer any state or federal financial aid money I have left to the program?

Potentially. The first two years of the Marshall program is financially considered undergraduate, while the second two years is considered graduate. If you are a West Virginia resident and have remaining time for state awards (i.e. West Virginia Promise Scholarship), you may use that in your first year of the program. (If you have two years left, you can use it your first two years.) If you are out-of-state, you cannot transfer state awards to West Virginia. However, if you are either an in-state or out-of-state student and receive federal awards, such as grants (i.e. Pell Grant) or loans, you can use these awards toward your first and/or second year of pharmacy school, depending on your remaining years of eligibility. For more information about the School of Pharmacy’s financial aid, contact Missy White in the Financial Aid Office.

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Experiential Learning

  • How do rotations work?

Rotations are simply hands-on experiences in pharmacy. This gives you the opportunity to use what you’re learning in the classroom immediately in practice. It will be time where you will be supervised in a real-life environment practicing pharmacy a few times a semester off-campus. Your supervisor is called a preceptor and will assess you for a grade.

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  • Am I required to have a driver’s license and transportation?

Yes. A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation are required to successfully complete the PharmD program, as is the expectation of most PharmD programs. One benefit of the Marshall School of Pharmacy is the ability for students to experience pharmacy in multiple states. This means, however, IPPE sites can/will be located in an approximate 60 mile radius in Kentucky, Ohio, and/or West Virginia, while APPE locations could be located at sites outside this radius. Local transportation, such as the bus system, cannot reach all experiential sites, and thus should not be relied upon to do so. Students who feel like they cannot meet this requirement are recommended to reconsider application to the program.

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  • What is an IPPE and APPE?

You will hear these terms frequently in pharmacy school. An IPPE is an Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience, which places you in a community or institutional (hospital) setting for several weeks in your first, second, and third year. Your third year is the last year of your didactic classroom work. An APPE is an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience, which puts you in eight 5-week rotations in your fourth year.

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  • Will IPPEs and APPEs completed within the curriculum meet the requirements for state licensure?

Yes. You will receive all hours needed for state licensure (in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio) within the design of the PharmD curriculum. You will not need to complete hours outside of the program.

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  • Where will my IPPE rotations be located?

IPPE rotations are typically located in community (retail) pharmacy and institutional (hospital) settings in your first two years. Your third year, you branch out into additional pharmacy settings such as geriatrics (nursing home, hospice care). Geographically, we do not send our students far for these rotations. You will likely experience time in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia within an hour radius.

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  • Can I have an APPE rotation in my hometown? OR I know a pharmacist in my hometown, can I do an APPE rotation with them?

Possibly. If the Office of Experiential Learning already has a preceptor in that area to host you, then you can request that individual. If they do not, then you will need to speak with the office far in advance of your fourth year to develop a site rotation in that area. If you have someone in mind, you will need to work with the Office of Experiential Learning to have the preceptor fill out the necessary paperwork and undergo the necessary training to host you. Students will not be allowed to have parents precept them for pharmacy school credit.

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Miscellaneous

  • Is a laptop required for the program?

Yes. It is expected that you will complete most exams and major assessments via your personal computer. If you do not have a personal laptop, money is built in to the “cost of attendance” for purchase of one.

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  • Can I work while in the PharmD program?

Pharmacy school is a full-time doctoral program and thus is very intensive and challenging. But, it can be done. We do have students who work up to 20 hours per week to supplement their income. We recommend you adjust to the program in the early stages and speaking with students in the program before you make any commitments outside of the program.

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  • Do you have block exams?

Unlike most pharmacy schools in the region, we DO NOT have block exams. Marshall feels block exams are a disservice to student learning, as it encourages “cramming” rather than fully retaining the information.

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  • Do you have any housing recommendations while in the program?

There are several opportunities for housing in and around the School of Pharmacy and VA Hospital. We recommend you contact one of our Ambassadors to get the student recommendations of housing in the Huntington area.

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  • Is parking available at the School of Pharmacy?

The School of Pharmacy is located adjacent to the federal Veteran’s Affairs Hospital. Because of this, on-site parking lots are allocated to veterans who have bravely served our country, as well as the nurses, physicians, pharmacists and staff of the VA Hospital who provide their care. Because of this, the School of Pharmacy has opted to spend more than a $100,000 per year to provide students with the best available parking and transportation options to and from the building.

All students park at Camden Park, approximately 2.2 miles from the School of Pharmacy. Two continuous shuttles operate daily between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., picking up and dropping students off directly at the School of Pharmacy door.  Students can park at the VA after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

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  • What do all of those acronyms mean?

In pharmacy, you’ll notice we have a lot of acronyms and may throw them around with little explanation. Here is a quick outline of some of them you may hear while chatting with a student, visiting the School, or skimming our website:

  • P#: This indicates your year in pharmacy school. (i.e. P1- first year; P2 – second year, etc.)
  • IPPE: “Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience” – These are introductory rotations you’ll experience from year one through year three.
  • APPE: “Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience” – These are advanced rotations that occur in your fourth year.
  • OSCE: “Objective Structured Clinical Examination” – This is an assessment based on direct observation of student performance to evaluate basic pharmacy clinical tasks, such as taking a patient history, writing a prescription, or advising a patient.
  • MUSOP: “Marshall University School of Pharmacy”
  • ACPE: “Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education” – The accrediting body for all national schools of pharmacy.
  • APhA-ASP: “American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists,” one of the student organizations at the Marshall School of Pharmacy.
  • SSHP: “Student Society of Health Systems Pharmacists,” a branch of the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists

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