Pharmacy

What is Pharmacy?

Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing and dispensing drugs. It is a health profession that links health sciences with chemical sciences and aims to ensure the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs. The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy.

What are the common academic requirements for Pharmacy?

  • Minimum of two years of University with a GPA of 3.5 (A-)
  • Specific course requirements can include general Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, English, 2-3 Biology courses, Biochemistry and Mathematics.
  • Most universities outside Ontario allot a high percentage (ranging from 75 to 99%) of their program spaces to provincial residents (with the exception of the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia). Entry requirements for students from outside the province are significantly higher.

Where can I study Pharmacy?

There are 2 pharmacy schools in Ontario:

Be sure to visit each university’s website for more information on their program and specific admission requirements. Note also that there are 10 Canadian Council Accreditation of Pharmacy accredited Faculties of Pharmacy in Canada and 2 in the Middle East.

How do I apply?

Visit each school’s website to learn about their application processes and register for an account.

Applications are typically due at the beginning of January every application year.

Typical Application Timeline
Begin 1 year prior to your desired Fall start:

  • September – Register for online application account at school(s) of choice
  • By early January – Finalize your application and submit all supporting documents
  • March –Attend interviews
  • April – Admission decisions are made, conditional on academic performance
  • June – Submit final transcript to confirm strong academic performance

Application Components
Application components vary by institution but may include:

  • Autobiographical Sketch
  • PCAT Score
  • Personal Statement
  • References
  • Official Transcript(s)

Pharmacy Admission Test (PCAT)

  • Measures general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education
  • Includes the following components:
    • Writing
    • Verbal Ability
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Quantitative Ability
  • Offered 5 times per year – preparation and registration are required in advance

Personal Statement
Admission committees are looking for statements that demonstrate:

  • Your interest in pharmacy, future goals and career plans.
  • Why their school fits your goals and career plans.
  • What you will contribute to the program in terms of experiences, related knowledge, and personal characteristics.
  • Your commitment to your community, shown by involvement.
  • Writing Ability.

How do I become a Pharmacist in Ontario?

  • Earn a pharmacy degree from an accredited institution
  • Gain practical experience through an internship/apprenticeship
  • Register with the provincial association with the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP)
  • Pass the Pharmacy Qualifying Examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada

Start Early!
Pharmacy schools require a high GPA. Many look for demonstrated interest in pharmacy on your application.

Improve your GPA:
Visit the AA&CC and the Centre for Teaching & Learning to improve your academic skills.

Cultivate References:
Get to know a few professors early so that they write a strong reference letter for you.

Get Involved:
Join volunteer and co-curricular activities that demonstrate your skills and ongoing interest in a career in Pharmacy.

How much does it cost?

All health care programs have a significant tuition cost, because hiring strong instructors and providing up-to-date facilities cost a great deal. Each institution’s fees are different. Annual tuition for Ontario students ranges $13,000-$16,000

What other considerations are there?

  • The MScPT program generally takes 2-years to complete on a full-time basis.
  • The program consists of courses and field placements.
  • To call oneself a Physical Therapist or Physiotherapist, which is a protected title, registration with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario is required.

Where can I find more information and resources?

The AA&CC can help!
Attend the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair (October), go to a Preparing for Professional & Graduate School workshop, meet professionals in the field through Extern, or speak with a Career Counsellor to learn how to get relevant experience!

Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit individual pharmacy school websites for detailed, up-to-date information about admission requirements and application procedures.

Last Update: May 2015