PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists

Frequently Asked Questions


What does the PharmD credential represent?
Unlike the PhD that focuses on research, the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree is an undergraduate, professional doctorate. This post-professional (post-BSc Pharmacy) provides advanced education in patient care.

Why should I consider obtaining my Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
Pharmacists are having an ever-increasing role in patient care and the management of more complex medication therapies. The PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program is designed to enhance the skills of practicing pharmacists in patient care.  Areas of focus include patient assessment and pharmacotherapy management. The program also aims to foster critical thinking skills to aid in the development of advanced competencies in: evidence-based practice, the ability to work in teams and the provision of education to patients, families and other healthcare professionals.

What is the difference between the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program and a hospital-based residency program?
Read the fact sheet comparing the: CSHP Accredited Pharmacy Practice Residency Program and the University of Alberta PharmD program.


How are admission decisions made?
Applicants are ranked on academic achievement, professional experience, cover letter, letters of reference, and a personal interview with selected candidates. Please see the Admissions Requirements page for more details.

When is the application deadline?
The application deadlines vary between the full-time and part-time program pathways. Please see the PharmD Admissions Timelines page for more details.

I am not licensed to practice pharmacy in Canada. Am I still eligible to apply to the program?
Admission requirements include licensure to practice pharmacy in Canada, and eligibility for licensure in Alberta. If you have graduated from an international faculty of pharmacy that is not CCAPP (Canadian) accredited, you must pass the PEBC Evaluation Examination before applying to the program. If you are successfully admitted to the program you must be eligible for licensure (successfully pass the PEBC Qualifying Exam) before commencing the experiential placements.

I am not licensed to practice pharmacy in Alberta. Am I still eligible to apply to the program?
Yes. However, if you are successfully admitted to the program, you must obtain your license to practice pharmacy in Alberta prior to commencing the experiential courses. The majority of experiential placements are located at practice sites across Alberta.


What is the cost of the program?
The tuition and fees for the program will total approximately $25,000. In addition, the following fees may apply:

Are there any additional costs for the program?
Additional costs include textbooks and other materials required for the coursework. It is highly recommended that all students own a laptop computer. Students enrolled in the part-time program pathway are also required to have a high quality (external or internal) webcam and microphone. All students are required to pay for their own travel and accommodation expenses for the experiential placements. Students enrolled in the part-time pathway are also responsible to pay for their own travel and accommodations to attend each of the Spring Institutes. 

Is there a confirmation deposit?
A non-refundable, $1000 confirmation deposit (applied to tuition) will be required upon offer of Conditional Admission (fourth-year students) or Final Admission (practicing pharmacists). Payment will be required by the date specified in the letter of acceptance.

What forms of student financial assistance are available?
The Doctor of Pharmacy is a post-professional degree and is classified as an undergraduate degree. There are currently no bursaries available for this program. Students are advised to contact student financial services for eligibility regarding student loans or other financial assistance.


How long will it take me to complete the program?
Pharmacists have up to 5 years to complete the program. The part-time pathway can be completed in as little as 2 years, but, typically will require 3 years or longer. The full-time pathway is typically completed between 12 and 14 months. For more information on time limit for completion of degree, please refer to the University of Alberta Calendar Section - Graduation subheading.

What are the degree requirements?
The program consists of course work (completed in-person for the full-time pathway and primarily online for the part-time pathway) and experiential placements completed at various practices sites (community pharmacies, hospitals and clinics) across the Alberta and Canada.

How many courses will I need to take?
18 credits of coursework are required to complete the degree program. Students in both the full-time and part-time pathways enter the program as cohorts and proceed through the coursework at a set pace and schedule. Students enrolled in the full-time pathway complete the coursework over one 4 month semester. Students enrolled in the part-time pathway complete the coursework over a period of approximately 17 months.

How will coursework be delivered?
Courses in the full-time program pathway are delivered in-person on the U of A campus. The majority of courses in the part-time pathway will be delivered online. Two part-time pathway courses will be delivered in-person in the form of week-long Spring Institutes held on campus each May for the first 2 years of the program.

What experiential placements are required?
36 weeks (6 placements, 6 weeks each) of supervised experiential training is required. This include experiences in inter-professional teams, acute care, community/ambulatory care, as well as electives. Please see the PharmD Program Pathways information for experiential course descriptions.

Students who have graduated from a Canadian accredited program of pharmacy, and have completed a minimum total of 22 weeks of experiential education in their Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy can apply to receive credit for PHARM 514 for work completed in their experiential education coursework. Students must declare whether or not they will transfer credit prior to the match for PHARM 514. Transfer credit cannot be applied to a course for which a student has already matched to a placement. 

Can I challenge any of the experiential placements or courses?
An alternate assessment process will be offered for students wishing to obtain credit for some of the course and experiential education requirements of the program.

Where can I complete the experiential placements?
There are a wide number of experiential sites available across Alberta in both urban and rural locations. "Student Initiated Placements" are available for placements that are out-of-province or at sites that do not have a previously established relationship with the Faculty. Experiential courses are coordinated by the Experiential Education Department at the Faculty.


Will I need to come to the University of Alberta to complete any of the degree requirements?
All of the coursework for the full-time program pathway is completed onsite (typically over one semester) at the main University of Alberta North Campus. The bulk of the coursework for the part-time pathway is completed online from a distance. However, there are 2 mandatory, week-long "Spring Institutes" held on campus each May for the first 2 years of the part-time program pathway. These weeks on campus provide students in the part-time pathway with opportunities to complete course requirements, meet classmates and Faculty, and foster a community of learning among their peers.

Will I have to take time off from work to complete the program?
Students enrolled in the full-time program pathway are required to attend a full-time semester of courses on campus at the University of Alberta. The part-time program pathway is intended to allow more flexibility for working pharmacists to complete coursework while still maintaining their employment. However, students enrolled in the part-time pathway will still be required to be away from work to attend each of the week-long Spring Institutes.

Students completing either the full-time or part-time pathways will also be required to be away from work to complete the experiential placements. The total amount of time required to be away from your current employment will vary depending on the number of experiential courses you will be required to complete. The experiential course work can be completed at any time after the coursework is completed over the remainder of the 5 years of the program. Pharmacists may condense or spread out the experiential courses according to their own needs and schedule.

What is the estimated workload to complete the part-time pathway coursework?

It is anticipated that students enrolled in the part-time pathway will spend a minimum of 25 hours per week to participate in online discussions and to complete required online readings and assignments.

Can I complete the part-time pathway coursework at my own pace and schedule?
The part-time pathway commences in January of each year and coursework is offered in a predetermined sequence, schedule and pace. Pharmacists will proceed through the coursework as a cohort to ensure optimal, timely, and successful completion of all course requirements. The cohort model also helps to build a supportive community of practice with your peers.

Still have questions?
Contact Student Services at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences with any additional questions: