Top 5 Affordable Online Doctorates in Pharmacology

Many online PharmD programs recognize that their primary audience is those who are already licensed and have been practicing, but now wish to up their credentials to compete with the influx of pharmacists who have earned their PharmD.

Before 2006, pharmacists did not need to have earned a Doctor of Pharmacy to gain licensure and practice professionally in the United States. However, an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy is no longer the typical entry-level education of licensed and practicing pharmacists. Now candidates for pharmaceutical practice must have earned a PharmD even to attempt to take the tests required for licensure in the United States.

Many online PharmD programs recognize how their primary audience are those who are already licensed and have been practicing since before 2006, but now wish to up their credentials to compete with the influx of pharmacists who have earned their PharmD.

With these prospective students in mind, online PharmD programs are flexible and provide extensive knowledge in the field accompanied by on-site practice experiences to sure already-practicing pharmacists or those with only a BS in Pharmacy are entering the field with the highest credentials and skill level.


Prospective pharmacists have the benefit of entering a field that is stable in growth and always demanding. Pharmacists are responsible for the prescription of medication to patients, doing so with advanced expertise in the field which typically covers aspects like diseases, drug control and evaluation, physiology, and more. To practice professional pharmacy in the US, candidates must gain licensure after passing two exams, which they may only even attempt to take after completing their Doctor of Pharmacy. Doctor of Pharmacy programs is typically entered after one has completed their Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. However, as the requirement of a PharmD to practice in the US was not implemented until 2006, there are still pharmacists practicing without a PharmD.

Online PharmD programs are usually designed for those who gained licensure before 2006 and are now looking to keep up with their competition by completing the professional degree. Graduates from PharmD programs benefit from having familiarizing themselves extensively with research methods, advanced knowledge in select areas of the field, and professional experiences and expectations. Many online PharmD programs require the completion of an online-based curriculum (that is the same as their on-campus programs) accompanied by an on-campus or off-site practicum and field experience. The field experiences, in combination with the coursework, completed prior allow students to gain experience implementing evidence and knowledge-based praxis. PharmD programs ensure that pharmacists are entering or returning to the field with competitive credentials and an all-encompassing understanding of the industry.


While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia.

Each degree is then ranked using the information provided – primarily – through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit ourmethodology page.


The Doctor of Pharmacy program from the University of Colorado Denver is for already licensed and practicing pharmacists looking to undergo advanced clinical pharmacy education. Applicants must also have obtained a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. The program prepares students for career growth and competitive opportunities in the field, both in the professional setting of offering care but also in research. As the program is designed for working professionals, scheduling is flexible. Online coursework consists of both asynchronous and teleconferenced learning activities. The degree can be earned in two-to-six years, depending on the needs and abilities of the student.

The program does not require students to travel to campus for on-site residencies. However, part of the curriculum is dedicated to Experiential Training. This part of the curriculum takes up 30 of the degree’s 65 credits and consists of on-site pharmacy practice experience rotations. These practice experiences can be completed at different sites throughout the US so long as the department approves it. The Didactic Curriculum, which makes up the 35 credits meant to be completed before the Experiential Training, begins students with foundational coursework in Clinical Skills Foundation, Immunology, Evidence-Based Practice, Drug Literature Evaluation, and Instructional Methods. The Pharmacotherapy Courses address pathophysiology, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacokinetics, and professional skills.

Format: Online

Tuition: $9,283 / $25,771


Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine‘s online PharmD degree can be earned in only four years, and unlike other degrees in this article, is open to students who are not already licensed and practicing pharmacists. Upon graduation, the PharmD degree from Lake Erie is accepted as a requirement to obtain licensure for practice in all states of the US. The curriculum introduces students to the pharmaceutical sciences and the professional field. The first year is focused on basic sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, and biochemistry. The second and third years are dedicated to training students in the clinical sciences and practice of pharmacy, and then the fourth year consists of an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience. The APPE is six rotations lasting six weeks, all in community and clinical settings.

The online coursework uses synchronous and asynchronous technologies, but students are still required to come to campus in Bradenton, FL each summer for one-to-three weeks. These on-campus residencies will fulfill the laboratory, casework, and the presentation portion of the curriculum. Coursework completed online includes topics like Pharmaceutical Calculations, Pharmacy Law, Effective Communications, Drug Literature Evaluations, and Management and Patient Safety. The program is centered around an outcomes-based curriculum, where students are familiarized with the necessary integration of basic sciences, pharmacy practice, and professionalism.

Format: Online/On-Site
Tuition: $14,355


Howard University‘s Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy degree is earned online and can be completed in only two years. The 65-credit program is open to those who are already licensed and practicing pharmacists and would benefit from the flexible schedule of online courses. Students benefit from a PharmD program that incorporates disease state management instruction into the coursework and only requires two visits to campus throughout the entire program. The curriculum learner-and-competency based, using communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills to familiarize students with advanced methods and topics in the field.

Course topics include Principle of Pharmacy Administration, pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy, infectious diseases, and more. There are also courses dedicated to specialized fields within pharmacology, such as Neurology/Psychiatry, Special Populations, and Bone/Joint/Immunology. One of the core phases of the program, the 18-month course of study divided into three semesters, utilizes instructional models unique to Howard. Students benefit from this model and its teaching of the integration of information, concepts, and praxis to implement patient care. Rather than creating a dissertation, students complete a Professional Practice Experience, which makes up the entirety of their course load during their last semester. The on-campus visits include a three-day orientation at the beginning of the program, which provides hands-on workshop experiences.

Format: Online/On-Site
Tuition: $26,756


Shenandoah University‘s online Doctor of Pharmacy program is designed specifically for practicing and licensed pharmacists who already have earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. The degree is dedicated to equipping those already in the field with more advanced skills that’ll give them more opportunity for career growth, as well as careers in research or teaching. The online curriculum utilizes recorded lectures, team-based learning outcomes, and additional types of lecture content to give an education that aims to make pharmacists better decision makers and the new forward-minds of their field. The 53-credit program takes approximately two and a half years to complete.

Courses in the PharmD program at Shenandoah cover clinical disease states and their treatment; necessary skills to assess medication regimens and change if necessary; the current and assumed future state of pharmacy; and more. All students will have to come to campus for two weekend-long residency sessions. The first residency session poses as an introduction to the program and cohort, and the second session is for an experiential rotation overview and physical assessment test. Prospective students must have a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Funding from Shenandoah is very limited to students, and many end up taking out loans or looking to government aid.

Format: Online/On-Site
Tuition: $32,530


Creighton University‘sDoctor of Pharmacy consistently ranks as one of the top private pharmacy programs in the US. The PharmD program is available both on campus or to be completed online through innovative distance education technology. The distance education, however, does require students to come to campus for two-to-four week sessions during the summer for laboratory courses. Coursework covers the same material as the traditional campus program but is designed to ensure maximum flexibility for students who may be working or have other obligations. Graduates may go onto successful careers in private businesses, hospitals, clinics, government settings, or research institutions.

Creighton’s curriculum prepares students with advanced knowledge of the field as well as ethical and informed communication skills, integrative critical thinking abilities, and the necessary empathy and professional attitude to have towards patients. For those students who have particular interests, clinical internship programs are available in fields like family medicine, cardiology, and psychiatry. Course topics cover patient data collection, medication assessment, patient counseling, developing care plans, monitoring and ensuring compliance of patients, and more. Prospective students are not required to submit PCAT scores; however, they must have completed all prerequisite courses, which adds up to a minimum of 63 semester hours or 95 quarter hours.

Format: Online/On-Site
Tuition: $39,916