Pharmacists are a vital part of the healthcare industry. Some work directly with patients after earning a Doctorate of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). These pharmacists dispense medicine and help bring relief to people who are unwell. Meanwhile, those who have earned a Doctorate of Pharmacology (PhD) work behind the lines in academia or research. They play vital roles in discovering the lifesaving medicines of tomorrow.
Who Are These Programs For?
Some of the programs on this list are designed for practicing pharmacists who already have a degree in the field. These courses of study let pharmacists expand their knowledge base, pivot to another part of the field, or learn the skills needed for a higher level position.
Other degrees are designed for students with at least a bachelor’s, but it doesn’t need to be in pharmacy. These programs are a good choice for motivated people with a passion for health care, biology, and chemistry.
Why Choose an Online Program?
Online programs offer a lot of scheduling flexibility. This makes them a good choice for professionals who are balancing a full time job with furthering their education. Some of these degrees have compressed semester lengths and flexible start dates. That allows highly motivated students to earn a degree and get into the field faster.
What is the Pharmacy Job Market Like?
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, practicing Pharmacists earn a median pay of $128,090 per year. However, jobs are in a slight decline. Employment of pharmacists is expected to shrink by 3% by 2029. This will make it a bit more challenging to find work in this field.
However, Medical Scientists including pharmaceutical drug researchers have a rosier job outlook. Although this field has a lower median pay, at $88,790 per year, it is projected to grow by 6% over the next decade.
The Top 15 Online Pharmacy Schools
We’ve gathered a list of the top 15 online pharmacy schools in the nation. These were ranked according to the total program cost and the number of credit hours to earn the degree. We used in-state rates when applicable.
1: The University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming was founded in Laramie four years before the territory became a state. It has seven colleges and an online education outreach school. The U of W issues certificates and a variety of degrees from undergraduate to doctoral level.
Students can earn an MS in Health Services Administration here. This two year program was developed for new to mid-career pharmacists looking to advance. The degree has four specialty tracts include Biopharmaceutical Regulatory Compliance. Further tracks being developed include Clinical Research Administration, Advanced Pharmacy Practice Administration, and Applied Pharmacoepidemiology
Total Cost: $13470
Credit Hours: 30
2: University of Cincinnati
The oldest institution of higher learning in Cincinnati, OH is the University of Cincinnati. A number of its campus buildings in the last decade have been designed by signature architects including Frank Gehry. The UC also regularly ranks in The Princeton Review’s listing for green colleges around the nation.
The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy offers an online MS in Pharmacy Leadership. This degree, designed for working pharmacists or student pharmacists, teaches a number of courses in compressed, 7.5 week semesters. Both leadership and pharmacy economics topics are covered.
Total Cost: $22380
Credit Hours: 30
3: University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is more than a multi-campus public research university in Lawrence. It’s also one of the best regarded medical schools and centers for medical research in the area. The university’s programs reflect that, with graduates often expected to participate in research.
KU offers MS degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacology and Toxicology. Although they are offered through their distance program, students will need to work with an on-site supervisor during their studies. These students will usually need to produce a Master’s Thesis of publication-level quality in their subject.
Total Cost: $33486
Credit Hours: 30
4: The University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is the flagship campus of the state system. It’s also one of the largest in state, with a 933 acre main campus. UW-Madison has over 40,000 students enrolled among its 20 schools and colleges.
You can earn an MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences through their School of Pharmacy’s online program. This curriculum was created to meet the drug development industry’s need for skilled mid-level scientists. Over three semesters, students will learn about many aspects of drug development, safety management, and data analysis with an emphasis on hands-on application.
Total Cost: $45000
Credit Hours: 30
5: University of Florida
As you can expect from one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the country (almost 60,000 students enrolled), the University of Florida offers a vast number of degrees in almost every field. It also maintains several scholarship programs, both merit-based and to support disadvantaged students.
Their College of Pharmacy issues an online MS in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a Pharmaceutical Chemistry concentration. The program accepts students year-round. It offers several areas of focus including Early Drug Development, Management of Preclinical Drug Development, and general interest in Drug Design and Development.
Total Cost: $18400
Credit Hours: 32
6: University of South Florida
The University of South Florida has recently been designated as a preeminent research university. It places 7th in the country for the number of US patents granted. The campus is home for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame as well as the National Academy of Inventors.
USF’s Taneja College of Pharmacy issues an MS in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology. This program has possible concentrations in Drug Discovery, Delivery, Development & Manufacturing (DDD), or Biomedical Engineering (PNB). Highly motivated students can complete the program in as little as a year.
Total Cost: $19905
Credit Hours: 32
7: Michigan State University
Michigan State University was founded in 1855 as an agricultural college. It has grown into one of the largest universities in the country, with 50,000 students. MSU’s sprawling campuses contain a botanical garden, a museum, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.
This university offers an MS in Integrative Pharmacology and an MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology. These are demanding two-year programs created for people with current experience in the pharmaceutical industry. The degrees allow students to climb into more senior roles, enter clinical research positions, or teach in academia.
Total Cost: $27094
Credit Hours: 31
8: The University of Colorado Denver
A 2004 merger created the dual-campus University of Colorado Denver that exists today. The original University in Denver consolidated with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in nearby Aurora. CU has over 100 student honor societies, professional organizations, and volunteer groups.
At CU’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy, students can earn an online MS in Clinical Pharmacy. This graduate program is tailored for licensed pharmacists who hold at least a BS in Pharmacy. The program starts with a foundational core. Students can then focus their studies on either Pharmacotherapy or Healthcare Systems.
Total Cost: $21450
Credit Hours: 33
9: Ohio State University
Ohio State University is a very large institution, with almost 70,000 students a year seeking higher education on its five campuses. Athletes from OSU have won over a hundred Olympic medals. Many of its sports teams compete in the Big Ten Conference.
OSU offers an online MS in Translational Pharmacology, preparing graduates for careers in drug development research. This program has two tracks, one in Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Trial Design, and another in Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology. Students with prior experience may only need 30 credit hours. They could complete the program in a year.
Total Cost: $26010
Credit Hours: 36
10: University of Washington
Ten years after Seattle was founded, the University of Washington was established to support the area’s educational development. It has grown rapidly since 1861 and now has one of the largest library systems on Earth. Over 26 libraries are located on its campuses alongside laboratories, galleries, museums, stadiums, and more.
Their school of Professional and Continuing Education offers a two-year MS of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PharBE). There are two specialization tracks available: Drug Discovery and Design, and Translational Pharmaceutics. This program incorporates both a six credit Clinical Development capstone and relevant Bioengineering seminars.
Total Cost: $31540
Credit Hours: 38
11: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private university in Boston, MA. This institution offers a mix of traditional, accelerated, and online programs in the health field. MCPHS, established in 1821, is the second-oldest college of pharmacy in the United States.
MCPHS’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree is designed for licensed, practicing pharmacists who already have a bachelor’s degree in the field. It’s a part time program that takes two years to complete, allowing students to continue working as they earn their PharmDs.
Total Cost: $45695
Credit Hours: 37
12: Shenandoah University
Although many institutions on this list are large, Shenandoah University bucks that trend. This private university in Winchester, Virginia has an enrollment of just under 3,800 students. Shenandoah was founded in 1875 as a seminary, but pivoted to a college in 1924.
US licensed and practicing pharmacists with a bachelor’s degree can earn a Nontraditional Doctor of Pharmacy (NTDP) here. The program may accept portfolios of prior life experience, allowing you to graduate in 7 semesters. However, an 8 semester or a 4 year course of study is typical.
Total Cost: $38690
Credit Hours: 53
13: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine is a private graduate school for students pursuing medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy related degrees. Although its main campus is in Erie, PN, it has branches in nearby towns as well as in Florida and New York.
This college provides a four year Doctor of Pharmacy program through their online distance education pathway. The program builds a base of knowledge in the health sciences and ends with six rotations in community and clinical settings. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, although not necessarily in Pharmacy.
Total Cost: $110250
Credit Hours: 123
14 (tie): Creighton University
At the heart of downtown Omaha, NE, lies Creighton University. This private Jesuit university has over 200 student organizations. These include honor societies, performing arts, a student newspaper, and an awarding winning literature and arts production.
Students can earn a four year Doctor of Pharmacy degree here. This comprehensive course of study covers all aspects of pharmaceutical practice and patient-centered care. Once a base of knowledge is built, students are expected to complete five required and three elective clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience.
Total Cost: $46656
Credit Hours: 145
14 (tie): Duquesne University
Duquesne University is a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, PA. It opened in 1878 with an enrollment of just 40 students and has grown to over 8,800 across multiple campuses. Duquesne also has an associate campus in Rome, Italy near Vatican City.
The four year Doctor of Pharmacy can be completed online. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and have met certain prerequisite course requirements. These include general biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and various mathematics. Duquesne does not waive these prerequisites or give credit for life experience.
Total Cost: $235436
Credit Hours: 142
Do you need a little more information to find the right university with an online pharmacy program? Take a look at our online colleges rankings.
Our Ranking Methodology
We created a list of universities with online pharmacy programs through Google, .gov databases including the NCES, and by examining programs listed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Schools under probation or those not accepting new students were excluded. We then gathered information about the programs and tuition directly from the universities’ websites.
The 15 universities on this list were ranked by two factors. We assigned points for total tuition cost (cheapest is best) and the number of credit hours needed for the degree (lowest is best). The final score was weighed, with credit hours making 66.7% of the final total.
Do you work at one of these ranked schools and notice an error? Please let us know. We’re happy to update this list with corrected information.