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PharmD Bridging Program

Alumni from the School of Pharmacy Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program have the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree through the PharmD Bridging Program. The Program focuses on the development of advanced clinical expertise. It is flexible and attractive to our graduates regardless of their current geographic or practice location in North America. The program launched in January 2015 and includes a total of five courses.

This Bridging Program is open only to graduates of the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Graduates of other programs cannot be accommodated.

Frequently asked questions

Last updated:  April 27, 2017


Program overview


Library access and WatCard



I graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy.  How can I apply to this program?

You are eligible to apply to our PharmD Bridging Program. Please refer to the application details webpage for instructions on how to apply.

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I did not earn my pharmacy degree at the University of Waterloo; however, I am a licensed pharmacist in Ontario.  Can I enroll in your Bridging Program?

Thank you for your interest; however, you are not eligible to apply to our PharmD Bridging Program. 

The PharmD Bridging Program is tailored to Waterloo School of Pharmacy alumni; as such, graduates of other programs cannot be accommodated at this time.

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I graduated from the Waterloo School of Pharmacy. I am a licensed pharmacist in another province, but I am not licensed to practice in Ontario. Can I still enroll in the Bridging Program?

Yes, you are eligible to apply to the PharmD Bridging Program. Please refer to the PharmD Bridging Program application details webpage.

Note: The School of Pharmacy will not be able to arrange clinical placements outside of Ontario. Please contact to discuss placement options at your geographic location.

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When should alumni consider entering this program?

This program is offered for a limited period to University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy graduates only. Candidates must enter the program within 3 years of earning their BScPhm degree or 3 years from the launch date of the program, whichever is later (see table below). Initial class sizes may be limited, but all those who qualify will be accommodated.  Potential candidates will be asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire to determine their suitability for this self-directed, distance education program.

Eligibility for entry into PharmD Bridging Program
Year of graduation Eligibility for entry into PharmD Bridging Program
2011 January 2015 - September 2017
2012 January 2015 - September 2017
2013 January 2015 - September 2017

January 2015 - September 2017

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When can I apply for re-admission to the bridging program?

Applications are now being accepted on an ongoing basis. Deadlines for particular entry points and additional information are available on the application details web page.

How many enrolment spots are there? If I want to start the program in Fall 2017, do I need to worry that there won't be enough places?

There is no cap on enrolment, however individual courses do have capacities each term. All eligible students who apply for re-admission by the deadline for Fall 2017 will be admitted, BUT, if there isn't sufficient capacity in the first 2 courses, enrolment in PHARM 495 & 496 will be done on a first come, first served basis and some students may have to wait a term to actually take a course. In this situation, the clock would still start "ticking"on their 3 year period to complete the program.

REMINDER - we only have approval to admit students into this program until Fall 2017.

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Program overview

How long will it take to complete this program and earn a PharmD degree?

The maximum allowable time to complete the program is 3 years from your date of enrollment. The minimum time to complete the program has been estimated at 12 months.  Some interim deadlines, e.g., workshop dates, clinical rotation requirements and site availability, may influence how quickly you can complete your degree.

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What courses are included in this program?

PHARM 495 and PHARM 496 are advanced courses offered via distance education through the Centre for Extended Learning.

The three (3) clinical rotation courses are designated as PHARM 497, PHARM 498 and PHARM 499.

See figure 1 below for more details.

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What does the course sequence look like?

Students, who must be graduates of Waterloo BScPharmacy program, are admitted into the Bridging Program.  Students must first complete two (2) advanced online courses, PHARM 495 and PHARM 496 (one per term).  Once these are completed, students can progress to the clinical rotation courses.  There are three (3) clinical rotation courses :  PHARM 497, PHARM 498, and PHARM 499.  Students must earn course credits for all three rotation courses to complete the program.  The first clinical rotation, PHARM 497 involves a recognition of prior learning (RPL) process to assess each student’s clinical competence.  Depending on the result of this assessment, students may earn course credits for PHARM 498 and/or PHARM 499 via RPL.  If course credit is not earned via RPL, students must complete that rotation course (i.e., may be required to complete 0, 1, or 2 rotation courses after PHARM 497).  The maximum time to complete the entire bridging program sequence is 3 years from enrollment.

Waterloo PharmD Bridging Program flow chart showing course sequence. ​

Figure 1. Waterloo PharmD Bridging Program flow chart showing course sequence. ​

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Will I have to take time off from work to complete this program?

PHARM 495 and PHARM 496 are provided in a self-study format to be completed on a part-time basis; as such, participants do not have to interrupt their full-time work schedule.

PHARM 496 includes a mandatory practical workshop over one weekend.  Further information about the workshop is available in the PHARM 495 and PHARM 496 FAQ.

The clinical rotations may require some time away from your usual practice site.

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Will graduates of the PharmD Bridging Program have to “return” their BScPhm degree upon completion of the PharmD program?

No, upon successful completion of the PharmD Bridging Program, graduates will have their original degree in addition to the PharmD.

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Where do I find the tuition costs for the Bridging Program?

Bridging students pay only for the course they're registered for (plus any required incidental fees) in a given term. Fees for the Spring 2017 term can be found on the University’s undergraduate fee schedule page. Look for the "per course" fees.

The total estimated cost to complete the entire Bridging Program is $10,000 to $15,000 + any required incidental fees.

Note:  Due to current demand and class size restrictions, Bridging Program students may only register for one (1) course at a time.

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Will I be eligible for OSAP while taking courses in the PharmD Bridging Program?

When enrolled in PHARM 495 or 496 you are considered a part-time student. Students enrolled in PHARM 497, 498, or 499, each 2.5 credit weight courses, are considered by the university to be full-time students. You may be eligible for some financial assistance, but will have to contact the OSAP website for further information.  Students can also contact the University of Waterloo Student Awards and Financial Aid office.

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Are courses in this program eligible for the AHPDF?

Yes, subject to the usual Allied Health Professional Development Fund (AHPDF) parameters, pharmacists in Ontario may be able to submit their course tuition for reimbursement. For more information, refer to: 

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Will I be paid during the clinical rotation courses?

This depends on the specific clinical rotation course segment you are taking. If you are completing PHARM 497 in your usual workplace, then you can continue to be paid as per your usual work arrangements. If you have been “placed” at an alternate site to generate cases for PHARM 497 – this will be an unpaid placement. Rotations in PHARM 498 & 499 will be unpaid. Please refer to the Clinical Rotations page for more information.

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Library access and WatCard

Will I have access to the library resources at the University of Waterloo?

Yes, you will have access to the University of Waterloo library resources as a Bridging Program student. After you have enrolled in your first course, you will be assigned a library barcode for remote access to these resources. Your access will only be for the terms you are enrolled in a course.

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My WatCard has expired.   Will I get a new one as a Bridging Program student?

Yes, you can obtain a new WatCard as a Bridging Program student.

To obtain a WatCard while enrolled in PHARM 495 or PHARM 496:

The first two courses in this program, PHARM 495 and PHARM 496 are delivered by the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL).

You can receive a WatCard from CEL while you are enrolled in either of these two courses by sending an email to requesting that your card be created and that you would like it mailed out.

Once you let CEL know that you need a WatCard, they will make the arrangements to have your card sent to the address on your Quest account.

Note:  Please visit the WatCard home page for additional information about the card.


To obtain a WatCard while enrolled in a clinical rotation course (PHARM 497, 498, or 499):

The clinical rotation courses are not delivered by CEL. If you would like to obtain a WatCard while on clinical rotation, you will need to do the following:

  1. Visit the WatCard office with your UW ID number, photo identification, and your CEL issued WatCard.

  2. Return your CEL issued WatCard for a new WatCard.

Note:  Please visit the WatCard home page for additional information about the card.

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I cannot come to the main campus to pick up my WatCard, but I need proof of enrollment in this program. What can I do?

You can complete a Proof of Enrolment form from the Registrar’s office. You can still use this form even if you have an active WatCard.


Will my achievements while earning the PharmD in the Bridging Program be eligible for the Dean's Honours List?

To assess a student’s eligibility for the Graduating Dean’s Honours List when earning the PharmD degree via the Bridging Program, the average will include ALL of the BScPhm and PharmD Bridging courses the student has taken. 

Also, students in the 4A academic term within the PHARMBR academic plan (i.e. PHARM 495 & 496) are not eligible for the Term Dean’s Honours List since they are only enrolled in 0.5 course units.  When they reach 4B (the clinical rotation courses PHARM 497, 498 or 499), and are taking 2.5 units, they will be eligible if their course grade is 80 or higher.

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If you have any questions about our PharmD Bridging Program, please contact us.

General inquiries or admissions:
Rosemary Killeen,
Director, Distance Education and Continuing Professional Development

Clinical rotations: