- How and when do I apply for admission to the PharmD program at the University of Waterloo?
- Must I write the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)?
- I am a high school student who is applying for my first year of post-secondary studies this coming year. Does it matter which institution I choose, or which stream/program of study I choose, if I want to eventually apply for the Pharmacy program at the University of Waterloo?
- I am thinking of starting in a professional program such as Nursing or Engineering, can I still apply to Pharmacy?
- I'm choosing courses for my Grade 12 post-secondary preparation year. Which courses should I choose?
- Which subjects must I include in my first year of university?
- As a 'mature student' will I receive special consideration?
- Can I apply to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)?
- I have completed more than two years of undergraduate studies, will I have an advantage?
- I have already completed several years of post-secondary studies. Can I get advanced standing and start in second year?
- Can I apply directly to an upper year if I am transferring from another school of Pharmacy?
- Must I provide my high school transcript?
- How will my high school grades be used for admission consideration?
- Is it necessary that I take a full course load every term in order to be considered for admission?
- The 'Academic Requirements' section indicates that a minimum cumulative post-secondary average of 75% is required for the application to receive consideration. Since there are far more applicants than spaces available, is it actually necessary to have an 'A' average to be competitive and gain admission?
- What subjects could I use to satisfy the Social Science and Humanities course requirements?
- If I have not taken all required courses, could I complete any missing courses in the summer session prior to admission?
- I finished my degree some time ago, will this be a disadvantage?
- When will I be notified of the decision on my application?
- If I apply one year and am not admitted, will I have a better chance of being admitted the next year?
- How will the different admission criteria be weighted?
- Are repeated attempts of specific courses included in admission assessments?
- How are courses at another institution evaluated for equivalency?
- How is course equivalency confirmed?
- If I do not receive an invitation to an interview does that mean I am not admitted?
- What happens at the interview?
- How important is the Admission Information Form (AIF)?
- How important is the CASPer (Computer Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test?
- How important is the Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA)?
- How important is the Interview?
- How important is the Letter of Reference? What happens if I do not have a Pharmacist as my referee?
- Do I have to go to the University of Waterloo to be accepted into the Waterloo Pharmacy program?
- How does the Admissions Committee deal with courses that are graded on a credit/no credit (CR/NCR) basis?
- Do you accept students from other provinces or other countries?
- What are the English language requirements for admission to the School of Pharmacy?
- What kind of English language course will satisfy the 0.5 credit English requirement?
- Am I able to use my English (ENGL) course to satisfy both the ENGL course requirement and some of the Social Sciences/Humanities course requirements?
- Are courses taken in summer school, at night, or as distance education treated differently than courses taken during the regular school year?
- Can my IB, AP or British A-level courses be used to satisfy the PharmD prerequisites?
- Where do I send my transcript(s)?
Applications typically open mid-August each year and close in early January, for the following January entry point. To access the online application visit the “Admissions process” section.
No. The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy does not require, or consider the results of, the PCAT as part of the application procedure. All applicants will be required to complete an online Admission Information Form (AIF), an online assessment of personal characteristics (CASPer), and arrange for a Reference letter to give the Pharmacy Admissions Committee important information about their motivation and suitability for the profession. Candidates that are selected for the second stage of the admissions process will be invited to the campus to participate in an interview and they will complete a Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA) at the time of their interview.
3. I am a high school student who is applying for my first year of post-secondary studies this coming year. Does it matter which institution I choose, or which stream/program of study I choose, if I want to eventually apply for the Pharmacy program at the University of Waterloo?
You can attend any accredited post-secondary institution. You must ensure that the courses you have taken or are about to take are equivalent to the required University of Waterloo courses as listed in the Academic requirements page. You are encouraged to email us for a list of course equivalencies. Be careful to choose the appropriate courses in cases where more than one first year course is offered. University of Waterloo is structured as a semester-based system where our courses are one term (4 months) in length. Each requirement listed on our website is expressed in those terms. It will be important for you to ensure that the post-secondary program you choose has sufficient flexibility to complete the 4 one-term humanities/social science course requirements. Students choosing to apply to the University of Waterloo for their undergraduate science program are generally advised to select Life Sciences (Biology, or Biomedical Science, as the subject of major interest) or Honours Science. These University of Waterloo degree programs offer sufficient flexibility in course selection to allow for completion of the Pharmacy prerequisite courses within two years.
The Conditional Admission to Pharmacy (CAP) status is an exciting opportunity for top high school students to be pre-admitted into the Pharmacy program. Please check out the CAP section for further details
4. I am thinking of starting in a professional program such as Nursing or Engineering, can I still apply to Pharmacy?
You may apply with a background in any degree program, provided that you successfully complete the courses listed as prerequisites for Pharmacy admission consideration. That said, the courses required for admission are not normally part of the core curriculum in other professional programs and it may not be possible to include the required courses as electives, in an already busy timetable.
5. I'm choosing courses for my Grade 12 post-secondary preparation year. Which courses should I choose?
You will need to ensure that you meet the admissions requirements for a Bachelor of Science program at the institution you wish to attend. These admission requirements vary from school to school but it would be in your best interest to take a range of courses to ensure that you have as broad a perspective as possible. You would be well-advised to include Advanced Functions, Calculus and Vectors, Biology, Chemistry and English as a minimum. For admission requirements to the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo, visit the University of Waterloo Undergraduate Admissions page.
You will need to carefully review the first year courses required for the degree program you are about to begin and also the required courses for Pharmacy admission. Prior to applying to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy you must normally be enrolled in, or have completed, all of the prerequisite courses. You may take as many years as necessary in your undergraduate program to do so, and a significant number of applicants will have completed their BSc degree at the time of admission. A list of the required courses for admission to Pharmacy is found on our website. This list is subject to annual revision, and is finalized by early summer before the next cycle of applications begins. Email us to request a list of course equivalents for other post-secondary institutions.
No. As this is a professional program you will be expected to meet the same minimum admission requirements as all other applicants.
8. Can I apply to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)?
As long as you have completed the academic admission requirements by taking courses deemed by the School of Pharmacy to be equivalent to those offered at the University of Waterloo, this may be possible. Please contact the School to obtain information about course equivalencies at the college you have attended.
No. All applicants who meet the minimum admission requirements will be treated equally.
10. I have already completed several years of post-secondary studies. Can I get advanced standing and start in second year?
No. All applicants will be considered for year one. There are some very specific courses throughout the 4 year curriculum that are only available as part of the Pharmacy program at University of Waterloo. You may, however, be eligible for transfer credit for a very limited number of courses in the Pharmacy curriculum. Under such circumstances you would generally be required to take an elective course of equivalent weight to that for which you received transfer credit.
The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy does not admit any students, including those enrolled in Pharmacy programs at other institutions, to advanced standing into an upper year of the program. This is due in part to potential timetable conflicts and because each year of our program requires completion of courses that are unique to our curriculum.
Normally, high school transcripts are not required for admission to the PharmD program. The exception is for students who complete IB (International Baccalaureate), AP (Advanced Placement) or A-level (British Advanced Level) courses and are subsequently awarded university transfer credit for these courses. Students 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.
Students who apply to the CAP program are required to submit official high school transcripts only if they are not currently completing full-time studies in an Ontario high school. Students who fall into this category are normally studying out-of-province or internationally, or have already graduated from high school.
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.
14. Is it necessary that I take a full course load every term in order to be considered for admission?
It is not absolutely necessary to take a full course load (5 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.
15. The 'Academic Requirements' section indicates that a minimum cumulative post-secondary average of 75% is required for the application to receive consideration. Since there are far more applicants than spaces available, is it actually necessary to have an 'A' average to be competitive and gain admission?
Although 75% is the published minimum post-secondary average required to be included in the initial pool of eligible applicants, the average required for consideration in the final selections may be higher than that. However, the University of Waterloo program is focused on attracting students who perform sufficiently well academically while also demonstrating passion and aptitude for the profession of Pharmacy. Thus, students with superior academic performance may be denied admission if the rest of their application is weak, and conversely, applicants that just meet the minimum GPA may be offered admission if the balance of their application is very strong. There is no grade which will guarantee admission. Admission is granted based on a number of factors including your GPA, Admission Information Form (AIF), Letter of Reference, CASPer test, Interview and Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA).
Please see the Acceptable Humanities and Social Sciences section of this website.Back to top
17. If I have not taken all required courses, could I complete any missing courses in the summer session prior to admission?
Courses completed after the end of the winter term (April/May) cannot normally be used to meet the admission requirements and will not normally be considered by the Admissions Committee. Students who have completed all required courses will have a competitive advantage. In all cases, all of the required courses must be completed by the end of the spring/summer term (August) preceding the start of the Pharmacy program. Applicants who are missing required courses at the time of application should have a clear and feasible plan for completing them.
Possibly. It is preferable for applicants to have a current understanding of relevant course material. Courses taken more than 10 years ago may be subject to additional review.
All applicants to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy will receive notification of their application status in early April. Some will be invited to an Interview as the second stage in the admissions process while others will receive notification that they have been denied admission. The Interviews will take place in late April, and final admission decisions will be communicated to applicants by mid-June. See the "Admissions process" section of our website for specific dates.
20. If I apply one year and am not admitted, will I have a better chance of being admitted the next year?
There is no advantage or disadvantage to applicants based on the number of times you apply to the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Each year there is a separate admissions process through which you are evaluated against the applicants who are applying with you. It is your performance against this cohort, and the admission criteria, that determines your admissibility.
The relative weight of the defined elements of the admissions process is determined by the Admissions Committee and is not publicly available. Generally speaking, an Offer of Admission will not be made to a student who under-performs on any component of the admissions process. No specific information will be passed back to the applicant regarding their individual performance within the process.
Yes. The Admissions Committee will review all academic attempts for prerequisite courses. The school does not recommend that ‘mark upgrade’ attempts be made once the passing grade is achieved. All attempts are included in the admission average calculation and applications with repeated courses will be flagged.
Equivalency is determined through a detailed review of the course syllabus (course description, number of hours in lecture/lab, prerequisites, textbook, etc.) versus the University of Waterloo course. You are advised to confirm the equivalency assessment with the School of Pharmacy’s undergraduate advisor. We maintain a database of equivalencies for ease of responding to individual inquiries, but are restricted from making this publicly available at large.
Applicants are highly encouraged to request an equivalency guide by emailing us. In completing the Admission Information Form, applicants are required to self-report which courses they have taken to fulfill the academic requirements for admission. The Registrar’s Office and School of Pharmacy will assess the submitted information. The Admissions Committee will generally only offer admission to those applicants who meet the minimum standards of all elements of the admission process.
Yes. The initial screening of applicants will be based on academic performance (the GPA, as confirmed by official transcripts), the Admission Information Form, CASPer test results, and the Reference Letter. It is expected that 240 students will be interviewed for the 120 spaces in the program. It is likely that a small group of applicants will be placed on a waiting list, and subsequently invited for an interview in the event that another applicant declines their offer to participate in the second stage of the admissions process.
The specifics of the interview process will be provided to applicants who successfully pass the initial screening. The interviews will take place in late April, and they will be approximately a half hour in duration. The format will be panel-style, and may involve teams of faculty members, pharmacy students, and practicing pharmacists. The purpose of the interview is to explore personal qualities and skills such as communication, leadership, initiative, confidence and critical thinking. The interviewers will not be informed of the applicant’s GPA, and the academic performance will not normally be further considered after the candidate reaches this second stage of the admissions process. A Fundamental Skills Assessment (FSA) is also administered on the day of the interview. Specifics about the interview and the FSA are provided at the time of invitation.
The AIF is an integral part of the admissions process. When properly completed, it provides the Admissions Committee with insights into the applicant’s personal qualities, extracurricular accomplishments, and motivation for a career in Pharmacy. It also includes a table by which the students will demonstrate their self-assessed compliance with the academic requirements for admission.
28. How important is the CASPer (Computer Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test?
The CASPer test is an integral part of the admissions process. CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our pharmacy program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening.
The FSA is an integral part of the admissions process. It assists the Admissions Committee in assessing the applicant’s capacity to comprehend relatively complex written material, communicate in English through a writing exercise, and perform very basic mathematical questions.
The interview is a critical component of the admissions process, for those candidates selected for one after the initial screening phase. Candidates whose performance is unsatisfactory in the interview will not receive an Admission Offer.
31. How important is the Reference Letter Form? What happens if I do not have a Pharmacist as my referee?
The Reference Letter Form is an important component of the admissions process, as it should 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.
32. Do I have to go to the University of Waterloo to be accepted into the Waterloo Pharmacy program?
No. The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy invites qualified applicants from all accredited post-secondary institutions and University of Waterloo students do not receive special consideration for admission. Experience has shown, however, that some students find it challenging to meet all of the academic requirements when studying at other institutions, particularly if they have only completed two years of study. There is one exception to this. High school students that are admitted to the CAP status must attend the University of Waterloo for their first two years of study.
33. How does the Admissions Committee deal with courses that are graded on a credit/no credit (CR/NCR) basis?
The University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy has a comprehensive admissions process designed to attract the most qualified and promising candidates to the School. In order to assess each applicant on a level playing field, it is important for the Admissions Committee to receive comparable information from each applicant. In regard to post-secondary transcripts, the Committee prefers that each course be assessed on a letter or numeric grading scheme, such that the student’s grade point average (GPA) can be calculated.
Where courses are only offered on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) basis, the course will be excluded from the applicant’s GPA.
In cases where the student has elected a CR/NCR course assessment, for any course that is submitted in fulfillment of the School’s specific academic requirements, the Admissions Committee will interpret the CR as the lowest percentage grade that resulted in the awarding of the CR status. For example, if the CR was assessed based on a passing grade of 50%, the course will be assigned a value of 50% for purposes of calculating the applicant’s admission average(s).
In cases where the student has elected a CR/NCR course assessment, for courses other than those that are submitted in fulfillment of the School’s specific academic admission requirements, the course will be excluded from the applicant’s GPA.
In order to fairly apply this practice, the applicant will likely be required to provide additional supporting documentation. The Admissions Committee will need to understand whether the CR/NCR course assessment was optional, and what threshold grade was used as the basis for the CR assignment.
Yes. We admit the most qualified applicants regardless of their place of residence. Out-of-province and international students are encouraged to apply if they believe they are qualified.
Students must meet the English language requirements for the University of Waterloo. As part of the PharmD academic requirements, students must also complete one acceptable university ENGL course (0.5 credit), and must pass all components of the Fundamental Skills Assessment during the interview process.
Please see the English Academic Requirement section of this website.
37. Am I able to use my English (ENGL) course to satisfy both the ENGL course requirement and some of the Social Science/Humanities course requirements?
A course cannot be double-counted for the ENGL and Social Science/Humanities requirements. If, however, 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 Science/Humanities requirement.
38. Are courses taken in summer school, at night, or as distance education treated differently than courses taken during the regular school year?
No. Courses taken in summer school, at night, or as distance education are not treated any differently than courses taken during the regular school year.
Yes. If a student has completed IB (International Baccalaureate), AP (Advanced Placement) or A-level (British Advanced Level) courses and is subsequently awarded university transfer credits for these courses, credits for courses equivalent to our admission requirements may be applied to the PharmD prerequisites. Please refer to Waterloo’s high school transfer credit page for a list of equivalencies granted by the University of Waterloo. If your home institution has granted you transfer credits, the School of Pharmacy will respect those transfer credits for prerequisite courses. In such cases, the courses will be excluded from the admission average and the student will be required to submit their examination results (i.e. IB, AP, A-level) to the Registrar's Office upon application to the program.
Please note that 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 four half-credits for the Social Science/Humanities requirement.
Please do not forward transcripts and other documents to the School of Pharmacy. ALL DOCUMENTS MUST TO BE SENT DIRECTLY TO THE REGISTRAR’S OFFICE:
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Please note that if you requested your transcripts through the OUAC when you applied to Waterloo (by checking “End of fall term” and “End of winter term” on the application), you are not required to send/upload duplicate copies.