Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) - Before you apply

Before you apply

The School of Pharmacy welcomes PharmD applicants from all programs and backgrounds! Our holistic and inclusive admissions process assesses applicants using a variety of academic and non-academic components.

Plan when you will apply

  • The PharmD program is a second-entry professional program requiring that students first complete a specific set of courses at the post-secondary level.
  • Students can normally begin the application process during their second year of undergraduate studies.
  • An application submitted in fall 2023 will be considered for admission to the program in January 2025.

Build a relationship with a health professional

  • You will be asked to provide us with the name and contact information for a health professional of your choosing who is prepared to submit a reference on your behalf.
  • This health professional ideally would be a pharmacist, so that they can comment on your suitability for the profession. Alternatively, another health professional who can endorse your fit for pharmacy such as a physician or nurse may also act as your reference.

Obtain pharmacy and other work experience

  • Acquire work and/or volunteer experience in a pharmacy setting to demonstrate your motivation for and insight into the profession of pharmacy.

  • Note: a competitive application would usually have 200 or more hours of pharmacy-related experience documented in its AIF submission

  • In addition, full-time work experience for some period of time, is an important element to include on your application in light of the PharmD program's focus on co-op education.

Get involved in extra-curricular activities

  • Pursue a variety of activities to demonstrate your well-rounded background, such as: community service/volunteering; leadership endeavours; athletics; clubs; and/or hobbies.

Maintain your average

  • A minimum 75.0% cumulative average is a mandatory admission requirement.
  • Grades achieved in every post-secondary course you have taken and all course attempts will be included in the cumulative average.
  • Due to the rigorous nature of the PharmD curriculum, applicants must show evidence of taking a full course load during the majority of their undergraduate studies.
  • Applicants are encouraged to receive the numeric or letter grade value for all required courses and avoid opting for credit/no credit (CR/NCR) where this is permitted by their home institution.

Create a plan to complete all prerequisite courses

  • Students can complete the course requirements at any accredited post-secondary institution.
  • Use the Course Requirement Checklist to stay on track.
  • Applicants for January 2025 must have a plan to complete any remaining prerequisite courses by the end of the winter 2024 term to be considered eligible for consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Consider adding a “recommended” course to your schedule

  • Faculty and current students of Waterloo’s PharmD program have put together a list of recommended courses that they believe will help future PharmD students achieve academic success.
  • Although these courses are not required for admission, both faculty and current students have found that PharmD students who have background knowledge in these subject areas are able to transition to the PharmD program content with more ease. If you have capacity in your schedule, consider adding:
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Physiology
    • Organic Chemistry 2
    • Introductory Physics
    • Communication courses or certificates that include public speaking/presentations
    • Leadership courses or certificate
  • St. Jerome's University at the University of Waterloo offers a Health Humanities Diploma
    • The program enables students to distinguish themselves by providing them with a credential to showcase their training in humanities related to health. As a diploma, the program requires a relatively small number of courses (5), making it accessible to both current undergraduates and non-degree or post-degree students at the University of Waterloo.

Next steps

  • Reach out to an academic advisor at your institution to find out how they can support your goal of applying to Waterloo's PharmD program.
  • Contact community pharmacies and explore other health-care-related volunteer or work opportunities.
  • Plan ahead if you may need special accommodations for any of our admissions components. Contact special with questions.
  • Email us at for clarification on information presented on our website.

School of Pharmacy building

University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy