- Program structure
- Careers in pharmacy
- Awards and special financial services
- Frequently asked PharmD program questions
We are the only co-operative education pharmacy program in Canada. The entry-to-practice Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program includes 8 academic terms and 3 co-op work terms in the following sequence:
|Year 1||Winter||Academic (1A)||January–April|
|Year 2||Winter||Work Term 1||January–April|
|Fall||Work Term 2||September–December|
|Year 3||Winter||Academic (3A)||January–April|
|Spring||Work Term 3||May–August|
|Year 4*||Winter||Academic (4A)||January–April|
Review the Degree Requirements for the PharmD professional program to see the breakdown of courses by year.
We are living in one of the most dynamic and exciting periods in the history of pharmacy. Graduates of the program will have a wealth of career opportunities open to them, including clinical patient care, public policy, regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, research, academia, and clinical specialties such as infectious disease or pediatrics.
With an aging population, the importance of medication management for chronic diseases, and the expanding scope of practice for pharmacists in every province, the demand for pharmacists' services is expected to increase.
As of January 1, 2019, there are over 44,600 licensed pharmacists in Canada. Over 16,000 practise in Ontario, of which approximately 60% are female. The average age of a pharmacist in Ontario is 44. [source: National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities and Ontario College of Pharmacists Annual Report]
Graduates will have a solid foundation for a range of career options including clinical patient care (general or specialist) in a variety of practice settings (community pharmacies, family health teams, hospitals, long term care institutions), health informatics, research, public policy, regulatory agencies, professional associations, the pharmaceutical industry, and academia. As pharmacy technicians become a regulated profession (in provinces like Ontario), and governments enhance their payment systems beyond dispensing, the clinical (direct patient care) role of pharmacists will undoubtedly increase. This includes more involvement in patient health management, chronic disease prevention and management, prescribing, physical assessment, immunization, and other types of services for which pharmacists are trained. The Canadian Pharmacists Association provides an overview of the expanding scope of practice across Canada.
1. How many spaces are available each year? How many applications are received?
The School plans to admit 120 students each January into the first-year class of the program. The application process is competitive, as we receive approximately 600 applications each year.
2. How many years does it take to complete the PharmD program?
The PharmD program is a four-year professional degree program. More specifically, it runs over a course of 44 months. To be considered for admission, a minimum of two years of post-secondary level study is generally required. The pre-Pharmacy years are typically taken through a Faculty of Science, although this is not an absolute requirement as long as the specific prerequisite courses are successfully completed.
3. What is the tuition fee?
Please reference the Student Financial Services' website for current information about tuition and incidental fees. A number of financial institutions offer low interest lines of credit for Pharmacy students. There are also bursaries and scholarships available for financial assistance. During the paid co-op work terms, students earn money which can help cover the costs of their next academic term.
4. Can I secure a space in one of the University of Waterloo residences?
Since all pharmacy students have been previously enrolled in post-secondary studies, they are considered 'second-entry'. While pharmacy students are not guaranteed a space in residence at the main Waterloo campus, there are a limited number of these residence spaces accessible to pharmacy students each year. The main campus in Waterloo is located about 5 km from the Downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Campus and is accessible by public bus and ION light-rail transportation. Most students choose to live in off-campus housing which can be found in closer proximity to the Health Sciences Campus. Waterloo has a very active Off-Campus Housing office that works to help students find suitable accommodations near the School.
5. Can I arrange to go on a tour of the School of Pharmacy or schedule an appointment with an academic advisor?
Tours of the pharmacy building are offered at the University's March Break Open House and Fall Open House. Due to the heavy use of the building, tours cannot generally be arranged at other times.
Unfortunately, in-person appointments are not available to prospective students. After a thorough review of our website, we ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (519) 888-4848 if you have questions or require clarification.
6. Why does your program start in January?
The historical sequencing of the academic and co-op work terms makes it desirable to retain the January start date for subsequent admission cycles.
7. What are some examples of potential co-op jobs for pharmacy students?
- Community pharmacy practice, working with licensed pharmacists in settings such as a retail pharmacy or a family health clinic
- Institutional pharmacy practice, working with licensed pharmacists in hospitals specialty facilities, or long term care institutions
- Working at insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies
- Working at national, provincial, or local pharmacy organizations such as professional associations or regulatory agencies
- Working with federal or provincial government agencies in the areas of drug approvals, health policy, or health informatics
- Working across the country, the continent, and the world, as we will support and encourage international co-op work experience initiatives
8. What is the difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician?
A pharmacist is a university-trained health professional. Practicing pharmacists are licensed by a provincial regulatory body (e.g. Ontario College of Pharmacists) as health care providers who are held accountable for the skills required to ensure a patient receives optimal drug therapy. To become licensed, one of the requirements is that the candidate be a graduate of an accredited pharmacy degree program.
A pharmacy technician is typically community or business college-trained in the technical aspects of drug distribution in a community or hospital pharmacy practice site. These health professionals complete the ‘mechanics’ of the acquisition/distribution of drugs through a pharmacy, including the administrative aspects of documentation and third party billing. In Ontario, and some other provinces, pharmacy technicians can take responsibility for dispensing functions, freeing up the pharmacist to focus on direct patient care through the application of their therapeutic knowledge.
9. What is the difference between pharmacy and pharmacology?
A degree in pharmacy (available from only ten universities in Canada) provides the academic preparation required to become licensed as a pharmacist.
Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their actions within the body. Pharmacology is a component of the PharmD program, and other Science degree programs. A degree in pharmacology on its own would not fulfil the academic requirements to become a licensed pharmacist. A pharmacologist typically holds a graduate degree, and conducts research.
10. What graduate study opportunities in pharmacy exist at the University of Waterloo?
The School of Pharmacy is pleased to offer a broad-based Master of Science in Pharmacy program that offers courses and research opportunities in various Pharmacy disciplines. We also offer a PhD in Pharmacy program. For more information, please see the graduate section of our website.
11. Are pharmacy students eligible for financial assistance?
Prospective students are encouraged to review the Student Awards & Financial Aid Office website, to explore financial assistance options, including OSAP. In addition, a number of financial institutions offer special programs for professional pharmacy students, further information about which can be found on the Special Financial Services page.
12. Is the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program a graduate or doctoral program?
The PharmD program is a second-entry professional degree program, which prepares students for entry into the professional practice of pharmacy. It is not a graduate degree, as a student is not required to complete an undergraduate degree prior to admission. For graduate programs, the University of Waterloo offers an MSc in Pharmacy and a PhD in Pharmacy.
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