Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) - FAQ

Frequently asked questions

We’re thrilled that you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist!  Please see below for answers to common questions that have been sent to  

Also, check out the following websites to learn more about becoming a pharmacist: 

1. Does it matter which post-secondary institution or program I choose for pre-pharmacy studies?

You can attend any accredited post-secondary institution and enrol in any program of study provided that you take courses that have been reviewed to be acceptable to the PharmD required prerequisite courses for admission.

2. How are courses at another institution evaluated for acceptability?

Acceptable courses are determined through a detailed review of the course outline, or course syllabus. Course outlines should include a detailed course description, number of hours in lecture/lab, prerequisites, textbook, etc.

Candidates who have studied outside of Canada must be prepared to submit detailed course outlines/syllabi for any courses intended to satisfy the subject requirements. These are to be sent after submission of the online application where requested.

For guidance, you may email

3. Can out-of-province and international students apply?

Yes. We admit the most qualified applicants regardless of their place of residence.

All applicants must take the equivalent to all courses listed in the Required Courses section of the Application Requirements page.

Candidates who have studied outside of Canada must be prepared to submit detailed course outlines/syllabi for any courses intended to satisfy the subject requirements. These are to be sent after submission of the online application where requested.

For guidance, you may email

4. Can I apply directly from an Ontario college program?

Candidates who have completed a 2 or 3 year program at the Ontario college level, and have been granted applicable university credit, may have the college credits, upon which transfer credit was based, considered for purposes of meeting the Biology, Chemistry, Math and Humanities/Social Science subject requirements.  These will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, as we do not admit directly from the college level, such candidates must supplement their studies with at least one year at a university (i.e. minimum of 4.0 FCEs) regardless of the number of university transfer credits awarded.  All candidates must have a minimum total of 8.0 FCEs at the University institute level.

If you have questions about supplementing your studies at Waterloo and the possibility of transferring credits to one of our undergraduate programs, please consult the University of Waterloo Transfer student website.

5. Can I transfer from another school of pharmacy or professional program?

Applicants, including those enrolled in pharmacy programs at other institutions, are not enrolled with advanced standing into an upper year of the program.

There are some very specific courses throughout the four-year curriculum that are only available as part of the PharmD program at the University of Waterloo. Therefore, all applicants will be considered for year one.

6. Can I apply as a graduate from a pharmacy degree program?

If you have graduated from a pharmacy program and wish to become licensed in Canada, follow the procedures as set out by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).  If your credentials are recognized you will be allowed to write the relevant Board Exams (Evaluating and/or Qualifying Exam). For more information on this process, please visit the PEBC website.

Note that the Waterloo Pharmacy does not conduct evaluation of international pharmacy degrees.

If you completed a Pharmacy program that was not recognized by PEBC you must complete another Pharmacy degree. To qualify for admission to our PharmD program, you must meet all published admission requirements, including academic requirements completed at a recognized institution.

7. Can I apply directly from a pharmacy technician or pharmacy assistant program?

Pharmacy Technician and Pharmacy Assistant programs do not meet the academic requirements for admission or transfer credit purposes to our PharmD program. Graduates of these programs must supplement their studies with University level study.

See FAQ #4 for information about applying directly from an Ontario college.

8. Are my high school grades required for admission? Do I need to provide a high school transcript?

Normally, high school transcripts are not required for admission to the PharmD program. The exception is for applicants who complete IB (International Baccalaureate), AP (Advanced Placement) or A-level (British Advanced Level) courses and are awarded university transfer credit for these courses. Applicants who fall into this category must arrange to have their official diploma/examination results forwarded to the Registrar’s Office to support their PharmD application.

If your home institution has granted you transfer credits, the School of Pharmacy will respect those transfer credits for prerequisite courses.  High school grades are not used to calculate admission averages for the PharmD program. If a student uses an IB, AP or British A-level transfer credit to satisfy a prerequisite, the grade is designated as a CR (credit), and is not included in the average.

Please note that IB, AP, or A-level high school English courses cannot be used to satisfy the 0.5 credit ENGL requirement, but instead may be used to fulfil one of the two half-credits for the Social Sciences and Humanities requirement.

9. What admission average do I need to be considered?

Applicants must have a minimum 75.0% admission average to be considered by the Admissions Committee. Any applicant who meets this minimum requirement will have their application put forward for consideration providing they submit and complete the rest of the non-academic requirements.

The cumulative average is based on every course taken at the post-secondary level and from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. You are required to disclose all institutions and send transcripts from each school to facilitate this calculation.

There is no grade which will guarantee admission. Admission is granted based on a number of factors including your cumulative average and various non-academic requirements.

10. Is a full course load each term of study an admission requirement?

It is not absolutely necessary to take a full course load (five lecture courses per term) each semester of study. However, applicants will be at a disadvantage if there are no clearly defined semesters of study which include a full course load. It is therefore highly recommended that you complete your post-secondary studies with a full course load in most, if not all, semesters. If you wish, you may choose to provide details regarding a past/current reduced course load semester in your Admission Information Form (AIF) for the Admissions Committee’s consideration.

The PharmD program is fast paced and requires students to take more courses than an average undergraduate program full-course load weighting. We need to ensure that we are admitting students into our program who will be successful in managing the additional course load and increased volume of course hours required in our program.

11. Can virtual or online lab courses be used to satisfy the lab prerequisites for admission?

The Admissions Committee strongly believes that on-campus labs better prepare applicants for the PharmD program. However, lab courses offered only in a virtual or online format have been previously assessed to be equivalent to the PharmD prerequisite lab courses and will be accepted for admission. If the course is offered in multiple formats, we strongly encourage applicants to take on-campus labs as it will better prepare you for future success in the PharmD program.

12. How will courses that are graded on a credit/no credit (CR/NCR) basis affect my application?

If a course is only offered on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) basis the grade will be excluded from the applicant’s cumulative average. If the applicant has elected a CR/NCR grade, the CR will be interpreted as the lowest percentage grade that resulted in the awarding of the CR status.

In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the winter 2020 term only, we will exclude any CR/NCR course from the applicant's cumulative average. 

13. What are the English language requirements for admission to the PharmD program?

14. Am I able use an ENGL course to satisfy both ENGL and Social Sciences and Humanities requirements?

A course cannot be double-counted for the ENGL and Social Sciences and Humanities requirements. If you have taken a full year ENGL course, then half of that credit may be used toward the ENGL requirement and the other half of that course toward fulfillment of the Social Sciences and Humanities requirement.

15. Will prerequisite courses taken more than 10 years ago be accepted?

Courses taken more than 10 years ago will be subject to review once your application has been submitted.