Frequently Asked Questions

Dear prospective student:

At the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences we are committed to ensuring you have information available to you in a variety of formats. Please have a look at our FAQs. We have compiled these based on the questions we receive. We hope you find them helpful and informative. However, if you find there is a question not addressed on your appropriate admissions topic, email us at

Thank you for considering the University of Alberta's Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for your studies.

What is the main difference between Pharmacy and Pharmacology?

Pharmacology is a biological science and academic discipline that deals with the properties, uses and action of drugs and chemicals in living systems. A degree in pharmacology is a science degree that does not enable you to practise as a pharmacist. 

Pharmacy, which does require knowledge of pharmacology, is a profession that requires registration with a provincial regulatory college in order to practice as a pharmacist. Only by obtaining the PharmD degree are you eligible to register and thus practice as a pharmacist. Subjects studied in pharmacy include the pharmaceutical sciences (pharmacology, pharmaceutics, drug metabolism, medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics), but also pharmacotherapy, law, communications, pharmacoepidemiology, management, and others focused on the skills you need to provide patient care. The main responsibility of a pharmacist is to ensure safe and effective use of medication for the patient. A pharmacist is also responsible for the legal distribution of scheduled drugs.

How many years is the Pharmacy program?
The PharmD degree takes four years, full-time to complete. This does not include the pre-professional courses (minimum two years 60 UCW).
How many students do we accept?

We admit 130 students per academic year.

Can I apply to start in January?
No, there are no winter intakes. All students begin the program in the fall (September).
How do I know if my courses are transferable?

If you are a student attending a university or college in Alberta, there is an Alberta Transfer Equivalency Guide available online at If you attend a postsecondary institution outside of Alberta, please compare your course descriptions with those listed in the course catalogue.

In taking these prerequisites at another post-secondary institution, it is your responsibility as the applicant to make sure they are transferable to the University of Alberta.

Our office does not keep a record of transferable courses from outside Alberta.

Do I need letters of reference?

We do not ask or recommend letters of reference in the application procedure.

Where and when do I send in my transcripts?

Official transcripts are due by June 15 of the year you wish to apply. If you are currently a U of A student, we will automatically pull your transcripts. Transcripts will also be sent on your behalf if you apply through ApplyAlberta. However, out-of-province students must request their transcript be sent directly from the issuing institution to:

University of Alberta
Administration Building
11487 89 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E6

Do I need to take the PCAT or CASPer test?
Can I take Spring and Summer session courses as part of my application?

Prerequisites can be taken in the spring or summer term. However, final transcripts must be in to the University by June 15 of the year you apply, so it is not possible to take spring and summer term courses the year that you are applying.

Can I apply directly from High School?

No. The Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences requires specific pre-professional courses taken at the university and/or college-level.


Which courses should I take in my Grade 12 year?
For students completing Grade 12: Register in the Faculty of Science for Pharmacy pre-professional courses.
What is the GPA "cut-off" for applying to Pharmacy?

Students who present an overall GPA lower than 3.1 will not be considered for admission. Alberta students who present an overall GPA of 3.5 or out-of-province students who present a 3.7 or higher, are best placed for competitive admission.

What courses should I take in university in order to prepare for Pharmacy?
Other than the prescribed prerequisites, you can take any courses that interest you as long as they are approved university-level courses. We suggest you consider courses in the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology) to help prepare you to meet the challenges of medication use in our society.
If I didn't do well in a Pharmacy prerequisite, should I retake the class?
If you did not do as well as you wanted in a pharmacy prerequisite, but still passed, you can explore taking the next level up in that subject area.  
Taking an advanced course of a prerequisite class will be assessed on a case by case basis and students should consult with the Faculty before proceeding.
You cannot retake a course that you did not fail; even if you are taking the equivalent course at another institution.  It will be considered a repeat and ignored.
Do we accept out of province students?

Yes. All highly ranked out of province students are considered for admission.

Is there an Out of Province quota?

No. However, a minimum GPA of 3.7 is suggested for out-of-province applicants (i.e., those attending a Canadian post-secondary institution outside of Alberta).

Do I need to have work or volunteer experience in a pharmacy in order to apply?

No. However, it is deemed to be very important and helpful to have an awareness of the pharmacy profession and the responsibilities of being a pharmacist before you apply.

When will I be advised if I am admitted?
The admissions committee generally meets in June and applicants are notified shortly after decisions are made. Applicants on the reserve list will receive notification if/when another applicant declines an offer of admission.
What are the tuition costs?
Estimated costs are available through the University of Alberta's online calculator.
Where can I obtain information about housing?
Is there a specific program offered at the University of Alberta for the pharmacy pre-requisite courses?

No. To complete the pharmacy prerequisites courses, you will enrol in another faculty wherein you can take the required classes, e.g., Faculty of Science or the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.

If you are applying to the Faculty of Science for your prerequisites, you are not expected to declare a major or minor but may choose to do so.

Am I required to take all of my Pharmacy pre-requisite courses in two years at college or university?
No. Many students take more time to achieve the minimum number of credits and prerequisites, many even completing a degree, before they apply to Pharmacy. What we want to see is that all the required courses are completed and that, if you choose to meet the requirements in more than the minimum time period, you have maintained a full-time course load of, preferably, *30 credits or five courses in two consecutive terms, at least for one of those years.
As a licensed pharmacist what would be the average income I could expect to earn?

This is variable. Please see the Government of Alberta, Wage Information webpage.

Does it impact my admissibility if I take my prepharmacy education at a school other than the University of Alberta, or the University of Calgary, or another larger University?

No. We do not discriminate based on the school you come from, as long as the courses are approved as university-level courses or equivalent to our prescribed prerequisite courses.

International Students

Steps when applying to the Entry-to-Practice pharmacy program:

Like domestic applicants, international students need to complete the required pre-pharmacy coursework and also meet the English Language Proficiency and Spoken English Proficiency requirements. These prerequisites can be taken at any university.

Applications must be received by March 1 of the year you wish to apply. Once you have applied, your application will be reviewed by an admissions advisor in the Office of the Registrar and they will let the applicant know what additional documents will be required for submission. Your transcripts would also be assessed for the required prerequisite courses.

Can I transfer into the Pharmacy program?

Unfortunately, due to differences in pharmacy practice, it is not possible to transfer from a pharmacy program at another university outside of Canada or the United States and receive transfer credit for the Pharmacy program offered by us.

I have taken my Pharmacy degree in another country; how can I practice in Alberta?

The Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) is responsible for all requirements, processes and decisions pertaining to the registration of pharmacists in Alberta. Please refer to the ACP website for current information and to obtain support related to Applying to ACP.

As part of the process in applying to ACP, internationally educated pharmacists are required to complete our Certificate to Canadian Pharmacy Practice (CCPP) program.

For general undergraduate information contact:

Undergraduate Student Services Office
2-55, Medical Sciences Building
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1
Tel: 780.492.7757