Entry to Practice Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

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 FAQ's.  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 studentservices-pharmacy@ualberta.ca.

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

Frequently Asked Questions for international students.

  • 1. 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 cannot be used in applying for a license to practice pharmacy.

    Pharmacy, which does requires a knowledge of pharmacology, is a profession that requires a license in order to practice as a pharmacist. Only by obtaining an Entry-to-Practice Pharmacy degree are you allowed to become eligible for a license to practice as a pharmacist. Subjects studied in pharmacy include the pharmaceutical sciences (pharmaceutics, drug metabolism, medicinal chemistry and pharmacokinetics), but also physiology, pharmacology, therapeutics, disease states, law, communications, pharmacoepidemiology, management, and others, many topics of which are not taught at all nor do they form the main focus of a Bachelors degree program in pharmacology. The main responsibility of a pharmacist is to provide safe and effective use of medication for the patient. The pharmacist is also responsible for the legal distribution of scheduled drugs.
  • 2. How many years is the Pharmacy program?
    An Entry-to-Practice pharmacy degree takes four years, full-time to complete. This does not include the pre-professional courses (minimum of 1 year 30 ucw for BSc(Pharm) or 2 years 60 ucw for PharmD).
  • 3. How many students do we accept?
    We admit 130 students per academic year.
  • 4. Can I apply to start in January?
    No, there are no winter intakes. All students begin the program in the fall (September).
  • 5. What is my first step in applying?
    The first step is to check the University of Alberta Calendar. You should also find out whether you are even interested in becoming a Pharmacist; you are required starting in the 2018 admission cycle to demonstrate that you have done this.
  • 6. How do I apply for admission to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences?

    The application procedure has five parts starting in 2018:

    1. University of Alberta application
    2. Letter of Intent
    3. Pharmacists consultation form
    4. University or college transcripts
    5. Online interview


    The University of Alberta application can be completed in one of two ways:

    • submit an application electronically through the Office of the Registrar

    • download a printable PDF version of the application from the How to apply webpage to submit a paper-based application to the Office of the Registrar

    Applications must go directly to the Office of the Registrar no later than March 1 of the current year. IN FAIRNESS TO ALL APPLICANTS, THERE IS ZERO TOLERANCE FOR LATE APPLICATIONS.

    The Letter of Intent is a necessary component part of the application process. Guidelines to follow for this letter are available on the faculty's web site. Please send your Letter of Intent directly to the faculty by March 1 of the current year. Each year the Letter of Intent is subject to change, so make sure you use the proper version for the year you are applying. You are also required starting in 2018 to have spoken in person to a pharmacist and have them complete a consultation form (avainable from the website) on your behalf, which you submit as part of your package..

    Send your transcripts to the Office of the Registrar. If you are still currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution, it is recommended that you send your most recent transcripts (when Fall grades are available), and then submit your complete transcripts for the second term by June 15 of the current year. 


  • 7. How do I know if my courses are transferable?
    If you are student attending a university or college in Alberta, there is an Alberta Transfer Equivalency Guide available online at www.acat.gov.ab.ca. If you attend a postsecondary institution outside of Alberta, please compare your course descriptions with those listed on Bear Tracks using the Browse Course Catalog feature.

    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.
  • 8. What is the Letter of Intent?
    The letter can be viewed as an opportunity for the applicant to convey career goals, knowledge of the profession, personal experiences, and other additional information that might be relevant for consideration by the Admissions Committee. The letter of intent should be emailed to studentservices-pharmacy@ualberta.ca or dropped off in-person at Student Services office 2-55 Medical Sciences Building.
  • 9. Do I need letters of reference?
    We do not ask or recommend letters of reference in the application procedure.
  • 10. Where and when do I send in my transcripts?

    You send in your official transcripts to the Office of the Registrar by June 15. Send in your transcripts:

    • when you apply

    • when your term is over

    *If you are taking spring or summer session courses, you will need to notify us when your transcripts will be sent in. If you are currently a U of A student, the Office of the Registrar will automatically send us your transcripts.


  • 11. Do I need to take the PCAT?
  • 12. Can I take Spring and Summer session courses as part of my application?
    Spring courses can be taken, but all grades must be in to the University by June 15. Summer courses cannot be accepted because the grades are not available in a time frame fair to all applicants. You are required to send us written confirmation of when we will be receiving your transcripts for Spring courses by email to studentservices-pharmacy@ualberta.ca. The following information should be provided in the correspondence: Your name, ID, courses to be taken, and when we can expect your transcripts to arrive here.
  • 13. 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.

    >> For students completing Grade 11, please review the grade 12 courses required for the pre-pharmacy program in the Faculty of Science

  • 14. What is the GPA "cut-off" for applying to Pharmacy?
    Admission to the program is highly competitive and largely, but not solely, based on GPA. 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. All of our seats will be filled by the applicant pool; we cannot provide a minimum GPA because this depends on the applicant pool, and because we look at several aspects of the prepharmacy grades.
  • 15. How are admission averages calculated?
    We assess several factors, which may change in priority from year to year depending on the committee. Generally we take into account last 2 years of a full load of courses, attainment in the specified preprofessional courses (with a special focus on those we know to correlate with performance in pharmacy; cell biology and biochemistry have recently been identified as falling under that category), and how the applicant did when they took a full load of coursework (defined as 30 ucw in a consecutive Fall-Winter academic session). Students who have also taken a full course load (*30/yr. or 5 courses/term) and achieved a competitive GPA are looked at more favorably. The letter of intent helps us get acquainted with you, your reasons and aims in applying for a professional degree in Pharmacy. The interview is also scored and is a vital consideration in ranking students for admission.
  • 16. 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.
  • 17. 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 take the next level up in that subject area. When calculating the GPA for the required courses, we use the better grade. For example, Biology 107 -> Biology 207.
  • 18. Can I apply more than once?
    Yes. If, however, you applied once and did not gain admission to the Pharmacy program, it is recommended that you contact Student Services, studentservices-pharmacy@ualberta.ca or (780) 492-3362 prior to the start of the next fall term if you intend to re-apply.
  • 19. Do we accept out of province students?
    Yes. All highly ranked out of province students are considered for admission
  • 20. Is there an Out of Province quota?
    No. However, a minimum GPA of 3.7 is suggested for out of province applicants attending Canadian post-secondary institutions outside of Alberta.
  • 21. 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.
  • 22. When will I be advised if I am admitted?
    The Admission Committee generally meets in June and applicants are notified shortly after decisions are made. Sometimes delays of notification are due to the applicant being placed on a reserve list in case applicants offered admission decline the offer.
  • 23. What are the tuition costs?
    Estimated costs are available through the University of Alberta's online calculator.
  • 24. Where can I obtain information about housing?
  • 25. Is there a specific program offered at the University of Alberta for the pharmacy pre-requisite courses?
    No. When you apply to do pharmacy pre-requisites courses, you enroll 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 pre-requisites, you are not expected to declare a major or minor. Leave the Major/Minor field blank. However, if you do not gain admission to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, you will be expected to declare a major for your second year in Science.
  • 26. Am I required to take all of my Pharmacy pre-requisite courses in one year 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 tome period, that you maintain a full-time course load of, preferably, *30 credits or 5 courses in 2 consecutive terms, at least for one of those years.
  • 27. 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.
  • 28. 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:

For general undergraduate information contact:

Undergraduate Student Services Office
2-55, Medical Sciences Building
University of Alberta    
Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1
Tel: 780.492.3362
Email: studentservices-pharmacy@ualberta.ca