Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) - Application requirements

Application requirements

The deadlines and requirements specified on this page pertain to the 2023/2024 PharmD admission cycle for January 2025 entry and are subject to change on an annual basis. Please ensure you review this website and check regularly for the most up-to-date information.

The intent of this page is to provide clear guidance on how to successfully complete all components of the application to Waterloo’s PharmD program.

The PharmD program has a two stage admissions process:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 1 is an open call to all applicants to submit a variety of academic and non-academic components. See detailed information below so you can ensure your application is complete and sent forward for consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Stage 2 is reserved for a select number of candidates invited by the School to participate in the interview weekend which is comprised of two virtual components: a live, synchronous interview and an asynchronous Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA).

To get started, the first step is to submit your pharmacy application through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). Once your application submission has been received, Waterloo’s Science Admissions Office will email you within 2-3 weeks. You will receive your Waterloo ID number as well as next steps and key contact information. However, all information about application requirements, deadlines,  and key preparation steps are all made available in advance.

Accommodation for admission requirements

You can request special consideration for admission (including the application components) if you have had significant circumstances that affected your grades and that were not accommodated through your school or relevant services.

Requests must be submitted by the document deadline. Submissions that are incomplete or received after the deadline may not be considered. For questions please contact

Indigenous admissions pathway (PharmD)

Waterloo Pharmacy is committed to cultivating a sense of belonging and inclusion, and attracting members of equity-deserving groups and supporting their future admission to the PharmD program.

Waterloo Pharmacy recognizes that deliberate equitable admissions procedures are required to increase the admission of students who identify as Indigenous. The School is committed to improving the representation of Indigenous peoples descended from the first inhabitants of North America including people of Métis, First Nations, and Inuit heritage.

If you would like your application to be considered through the Indigenous Admissions Pathway, the first step is to complete the Indigenous identification section of the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) application for Waterloo’s PharmD program. These applicants who wish to pursue the directives of this policy, will be required to submit one form of supporting documentation that is confirmed by the University of Waterloo’s Office of Indigenous Relations.

Once your application is received by Waterloo, a representative from the admissions team will reach out to applicants who identify as Indigenous to support you through next steps. The table below lists the application options available through the Indigenous Admissions Pathway:

  Indigenous Admissions Pathway Non-Indigenous Admissions Pathway
Admission fees OUAC fees are waived.  OUAC fees are at the expense of the applicant.
Admission Average & Prerequisite courses

Consideration will be given to applicants whose cumulative average falls in the range of 70.0% to 74.9%.

Completion of all prerequisite courses listed for admission.

A minimum 75.0% cumulative average is a mandatory admission requirement.

Completion of all prerequisite courses listed for admission.


One reference required; There will be no conditions on the type of reference submitted.

One reference required; Reference from a pharmacist (preferred) or other healthcare professional familiar with the role of a pharmacist (i.e. physician, nurse).

Experience No experience requirement.

Experience in a pharmacy setting or health-care setting that involves direct patient-care.

Full-time work experience for some period of time.

Experience in extra-curricular activities to demonstrate a well-rounded background, such as: community service/volunteering; leadership endeavours; athletics; clubs; and/or hobbies.


Register and complete Casper for the given admission cycle.

Registration fees will be reimbursed by the School.

Register, complete, and achieve satisfactory performance on Casper.

Registration fees are at the expense of the applicant.
Interview & FSA Indigenous applicants who meet minimum performance standards on the interview and Fundamental Skills Assessment will receive an offer of admission to the PharmD program. Offers of admission are extended to applicants who achieve a competitive performance on the interview and Fundamental Skills Assessment.

Indigenous applicants who elect to pursue the PharmD Indigenous Admissions Pathway will receive reimbursement of all fees associated with their application (i.e. OUAC application fee; Casper assessment fees).

Many scholarships and awards exist for Indigenous applicants. They include:

Tuition waiver for eligible Indigenous students (University of Waterloo)
Indigenous Pharmacy Scholarship (Canadian Pharmacists Association)
Indigenous Student Bursary (University of Waterloo)
Government funding for Indigenous students (Ontario)

If you would like to discuss the Indigenous Admissions Pathway before submitting your OUAC application, contact

Admissions eligibility

To be eligible for admission consideration into the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, candidates must meet the following academic requirements:

  1. Have obtained and continue to demonstrate a minimum 75.0% cumulative post-secondary average (Note: grades achieved in every post-secondary course and all course attempts will be included in the cumulative average calculation);

  2. Have successfully completed, (or have a plan in place to successfully complete by the end of the winter term of the year for which application is made) a minimum of 8.0 FCE* of university level courses;

  3. Have successfully completed, (or have a plan in place to successfully complete by the end of the winter term of the year for which application is made) an acceptable course for each required prerequisite listed below.

  4. Have successfully maintained, a full course load (minimum of five lecture courses per term) of study throughout the majority** of time spent in undergraduate studies.

*FCE - Full-Credit Equivalent, 1.0 FCE = 2 term/semester course, 0.5 FCE = 1 term/semester course

**Minimum full course load guidelines: 2 years of study – 3 out of 4 terms; 3 years of study – 4 out of 6 terms; 4 years of study - 5 out of 8 terms

The above academic requirements must be minimally met in order for complete applications to be sent forward for consideration by the Admissions Committee.

Stage 1 requirements

Required courses

Course descriptions and codes listed below are for the exact Waterloo examples of acceptable prerequisite courses. To see a list of examples of other acceptable courses at Waterloo and other Ontario universities (and a select number of Canadian Universities), view our Examples of Acceptable Courses web page.

FCE - Full-Credit Equivalent, 1.0 FCE = 2 term/semester course, 0.5 FCE = 1 term/semester course

Required Courses

Detailed descriptions of the required courses listed below can be found on the Undergraduate Calendar

Biology 1.5 FCE

•    Introductory Cell Biology (BIOL 130)
•    Genetics (BIOL 239)*
•    Fundamentals of Microbiology (BIOL 240)*

*A full list of alternate 300- or 400-level BIOL courses can be found on the UW Biology course listing.

Math 1.0 FCE

•    Calculus 1 for the Sciences (MATH 127)
•    Introductory Statistics for Scientists (STAT 202)

Chemistry 2.0 FCE

•    Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter (CHEM 120 or CHEM 121)
•    Chemical Reactions, Equilibria and Kinetics (CHEM 123 or CHEM 125)
•    Introductory Biochemistry (CHEM 237)
•    Basic Organic Chemistry 1 (CHEM 266)

Science labs

•    Lab 1 – An Introductory Chemistry Lab (example: CHEM 120L or CHEM 123L)
•    Lab 2 – A Biology Lab (example: BIOL 130L)
•    Lab 3 – Any other Biology or Chemistry Lab

English 0.5 FCE

  • Any ENGL course (0.5 credit) that requires a significant amount of reading, critical thinking, analysis, and writing.
    • The following are considerations when choosing a course to fulfil the English requirement:
      • The course must be offered by the English Department.*
      • Must have writing assignments, exclusive of exams, that comprise a minimum of 30% of the final course grade.
      • High school English courses (such as IB, AP or British A-level) cannot be used to satisfy this requirement, but instead may be used to fulfil one of the two half-credit Social Science/Humanities requirements.

*COMMST or Social Science/Humanities courses may be used to satisfy the ENGL course requirement, however the course must meet the criteria listed above. In addition, honour’s thesis and master’s thesis courses can also be considered for meeting the requirement.

Social Sciences and/or Humanities 1.0 FCE

The following are considerations when choosing a course to fulfil the Social Sciences and Humanities requirement:

  • Courses should focus on society and how humans interact and develop as a culture. They should not focus on natural sciences, mathematics, computing, or finance.
  • Courses can be introductory (100-level) or advanced level (200+ level).
  • No more than one additional 0.5 FCE (one half credit) in English may be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • You may combine one term/semester of Humanities with one term/semester of Social Sciences, or two terms/semesters in the same discipline or subject area.

•    A broad range of courses can be used to fulfill these requirements. Examples include:

  • Anthropology
  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Fine Arts
  • History
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Language courses - all
  • Music Theory
  • Peace & Conflict Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Speech Comm or Communications
  • Women's Studies

Transcripts (Stage 1)

  • All applicants are required to submit their transcript(s) including final fall grades and winter enrolment by the first transcript deadline of Mon Feb 5, 2024. Important notes:
    • Transcripts are required from all post-secondary schools attended.
      • High school transcripts are not required for admission (you can disregard the high school upload field in your Quest account). The exception is for students who received transfer credit for IB, AP or A-level courses. If you fall into this category, please forward your official examination results to the Registrar’s Office.
    • Current and former Waterloo students are not required to submit official transcripts because we have access to your Waterloo record (including any applicable transfer credit information).
  • Transcripts must be received by the Registrar’s Office before the deadline. Here are the different methods you can submit transcripts:
    • Automatic submission through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC)
      • If you requested your transcripts through the OUAC (by checking “End of fall term”), you need not send/upload duplicate copies for the first transcript deadline. 
    • MyCredsTM (if your school uses it)
      • Waterloo is a registered organization with MyCredsTM. When sending transcripts through the MyCredsTM portal, please select "send my documents to a registered organization." Do not select "generate a link to my documents".
    • Upload unofficial copies of each transcript to your Quest account.
      • You may upload only ONE unofficial transcript per institution per day in the Documents section of your Quest account.
    • Email unofficial transcripts to
    • Mail official or unofficial documents to the Registrar’s Office, University of Waterloo mailing address:

Office of the Registrar
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave W
Waterloo ON   N2L 3G1 CANADA

Find out more about submitting documents to Waterloo, as well as a tutorial on uploading your transcripts to Quest.

English Language Requirement (ELR) - IF APPLICABLE

If the last four years of your education have not been taught completely in English, you must provide a score from an acceptable test of English proficiency. View Waterloo’s official English language policy, acceptable tests and required scores.

You are not required to provide an English language test score if:

  • you are a bilingual Francophone Canadian OR
  • your first language is French and you have completed four or more years of full-time studies in a high school in Canada.

NOTE: If you were educated in English in a country outside of Canada, you may be asked to provide evidence of the medium of instruction at that institution.

Admission Information Form (AIF)

The AIF provides the Admissions Committee with insights into the applicant's personal qualities, extracurricular accomplishments, and motivation for a career in pharmacy.

  • For guidance on how to complete your AIF, please visit the Waterloo AIF information web page. A sample of pharmacy AIF questions is also included.
  • You will want to use a laptop or desktop computer to fill out and submit your AIF, as mobile phones are not compatible with the platform.
  • After you have thoroughly read the instructions on the Welcome page, complete all of the questions on the Pharmacy page. Before you begin this task, we recommend that you first write out a rough draft of your answers and save them for your records in a program such as Microsoft Word or OneNote.
  • Most pharmacy applicants will see only the Welcome and Pharmacy tabs. However, if you have previously applied to the University of Waterloo for an undergraduate program you may see the About You – Part A/B tabs on your Quest account, please disregard them and complete only the Pharmacy page.
  • The Save - Page in Progress button is available if you wish to go back to your answers and modify them. The admissions committee cannot access your answers until you have pressed the Submit - Page Finished button.
  • Before you submit your AIF, if you wish to change any of the information you previously saved in the questions that contain charts, you must DELETE the row(s) you wish to change, and click SAVE. Then you may ADD the new row(s) at the bottom of the chart and click SAVE. Please do not copy and paste any information into these charts, or you will receive an error message. If you receive an error, we recommend that you log out of Quest, clear your computer’s cache, log back in, and proceed with the deletion and addition of the row(s) in question.
  • Please be aware that no amendments can be made to the AIF after you submit it. Please ensure that all of your information is correct and up-to-date before pressing the Submit button.

Tips for filling out the course equivalencies chart on your AIF:

  • The grade field is mandatory and must be filled out for all of the corresponding courses listed on the AIF or you will receive an error when you attempt to submit the form.
  • All prerequisite courses must be accounted for, including courses you are currently enrolled in, or are planning to take in a future term.
  • If your course is in progress, input the grade as IP.
  • If you are missing a course, input the grade as NA.
  • You may input your grades in alpha or numerical format depending on how your institution reports them on your transcript.
  • If your institution grades labs separately from lectures, you may indicate this by using a slash (e.g. course code: BIOL 130/130L and grade: 75/95).
  • If you are using a full-year (two-term) course to fulfill two 0.5-unit electives, you may identify the course in two rows.
  • If you are using a high school transfer credit to satisfy a prerequisite, indicate the IB, AP or A-level course in the University column and input CR as the grade.


A section within the AIF asks you to provide the name and contact information for someone who will serve as your reference. The individual is required to be a member of a regulated health profession.

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.

Once you complete the AIF, your reference will automatically receive a link to complete an online form.

The reference form serves to help the Admissions Committee understand the applicant’s suitability for a career in pharmacy. References from pharmacists are likely to offer better insights into the applicant’s fit for the profession, and are therefore preferred. Those from other health professionals likely to be familiar with the role of pharmacists (i.e. physicians and nurses) are also acceptable, if they speak to the candidate's likely success as a pharmacist.

You must indicate one Reference Type when completing your AIF. When filling out the information for your reference, you do not need to use the Occupation pull-down menu items, as you have already chosen the Reference Type.

When you press the Submit – Page Finished button on the Pharmacy page, your reference will receive an email from Waterloo (normally the following business day) that will direct them to a secure online form that they must submit by Feb 5, 2024.

Your references will receive a confirmation email after they have submitted the form (normally the following business day), and will be provided with an electronic copy of their letter.

When the reference form has been received, the Documents section of your Quest account will be updated to show its receipt (normally the following business day).

IMPORTANT: References must be submitted using the online reference system. Letters on stationery and hard copy forms are NOT acceptable. Relatives are not accepted as references.


Successful completion of Casper is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility for the PharmD program.* This assessment complements the other tools that we use for applicant review and evaluation. Through the use of Casper, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

*Casper results are only valid for the current admissions cycle. Applicants who have taken them in previous admissions cycles are therefore required to re-take the test that is specific to the current admission cycle.

Casper is a 90-100 minute online open-response situational judgement test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics. We believe these skills and characteristics are important for successful students and graduates of our PharmD program.

How to complete Casper

  1. Navigate to to sign up for Acuity Insights Assessments for CSP-10201 Canadian Professional Health Sciences, under your specific country, and register using your Waterloo ID and a piece of government-issued photo ID. 
    • When you book your Casper test, it will ask you for a Waterloo ID number. If you are not already a UW student, you will need to first submit your pharmacy application through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). Once you have submitted, Waterloo’s Registrar's Office will email you within 2-3 weeks with your Waterloo ID number.
  2. Select a Casper test date from the available testing dates and times. We recommend using the same email address for both your Acuity account and your application. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule. To account for identity verification and payment processing timelines, ensure that you register for your test at least 3 days before your preferred test date and time. Last-minute bookings are not recommended.
    • Available test dates for PharmD (2023/2024) - CSP-10201 Canadian Professional Health Sciences:
      • Oct 5, 2023 - 8:00 PM EDT
      • Oct 12, 2023 - 5:00 PM EDT
      • Oct 19, 2023 - 8:00 PM EDT
      • Nov 23, 2023 - 5:00 PM EST
      • Dec 7, 2023 - 8:00 PM EST
      • Jan 10, 2024 - 8:00 PM EST
      • Jan 25, 2024 - 5:00 PM EST (Last possible test date available)
      • These are the only testing dates available for PharmD applicants. There will be no additional tests scheduled. You can only take the test once (from the dates above).
  3. Ensure you have selected University of Waterloo for distribution before the posted distribution deadline.

  4. Input your Waterloo ID number on your Acuity profile.

    • It is the applicant’s responsibility to update their Acuity Insights account with their Waterloo ID number before the distribution deadline.

    • Casper test scores will automatically by transmitted to Waterloo, for applicants who have included their Waterloo ID number on their profile.

  5. Direct any inquiries on Acuity Insights Assessments to Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right corner of your screen on the website


Applicants requiring testing accommodations to complete their Acuity Insights Assessments should submit an Initial Request Form (Part 1 and 2) at least four (4) weeks prior to their scheduled Casper test date. More information regarding the accommodations policy can be found in this help article here.

Resources to help you prepare

Stage 2 requirements

Interview and Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA)

  • Select applicants will move to the second stage of the admissions process. These applicants will be invited to participate in a virtual interview and to complete a Fundamental Skills Assessment.
  • The virtual interview will be hosted live in a synchronous fashion using the Kira Talent online platform. Candidates will be interviewed by practising pharmacists and current pharmacy students in a panel-style interview. Candidates will be given a set date/time to participate in their interview. More details will be provided closer to interview weekend to applicants who were specifically selected and confirmed their interview offer.
  • The Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA) is a separate component of the virtual interview weekend that will test for reading comprehension, written communication, and basic mathematical skills. This will be an asynchronous virtual assessment completed using the Kira Talent online platform. Candidates will be given a window of time to complete the FSA during the virtual interview weekend.

Transcripts (Stage 2)

  • Applicants who receive an invitation for an interview will also be required to submit a transcript at the end of the winter 2024 term.
    • Exception: if the candidate was not enrolled in any winter 2024 courses AND the transcripts previously submitted at the first deadline were considered official documents.
  • Note: unofficial transcripts are acceptable to meet the deadline of May 31, 2024. However, official transcripts are required if candidates receive an offer of admission. Without an official transcript on file, the admission offer will be “conditional” until official transcripts are received, processed, and confirmed.
    • What is an official transcript? An official transcript is a complete academic record issued by your educational institution/Ministry of Education and they are sent (electronic/mailed) directly to Waterloo’s Registrar’s Office by the appropriate agency. Emailed, faxed, and/or uploaded academic documents will not be accepted as official.
  • Please see the transcript section above in Stage 1 for the various methods of submitting unofficial and official transcripts to Waterloo.

You may view the receipt of your AIF, transcripts, reference, and ELR through the Documents section of your Quest account. Casper test reports will automatically be transmitted to Waterloo and will not be visible on Quest. It is your responsibility to check to see that all of your documents have been received.