If you have an interest in science and enjoy helping people, a career as a pharmacist may be a good fit. Pharmacists provide a valuable service by assessing and preventing problems with medication while working with patients to achieve the best possible treatment. Pharmacy is a profession that demands a great deal of knowledge and skill, so an extensive post-secondary education is required. There are currently seven universities in Canada that provide English-language pharmacy degree programs.
Prerequisite Coursework and Academic Excellence
In Canada, pharmacy degrees are advanced or “second-entry” programs meaning that prerequisite coursework at the post-secondary level is an admission requirement. These courses are typically completed over one year and include a combination of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, Calculus, Mathematics, Social Science, and English. The specific required coursework varies so be sure to refer to the particular university program you are interested in for the most current requirements. A strong GPA for these courses, depending on the caliber of the program, is also required.
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)
While the PCAT is not a requirement for the majority of Canadian pharmacy degree programs, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto do require it. If you are interested in attending these universities, you will need to prepare for and successfully complete the standardized testing of your knowledge of biology and chemistry, your reading and writing skills, and your verbal and quantitative abilities. Registration information as well as a practice test is available on the official test website.
Almost all pharmacy degree programs in Canada require some form of non-academic admission requirement. Typically, this is one or more of the following: an interview, a personal statement of intent, and reference letters. The most common requirement is an interview, for programs at Dalhousie University, University of British Columbia, Memorial University, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo. Top candidates are further assessed on a variety of non-academic skills and qualities, such as communication, professionalism, leadership, critical thinking, ability to solve problems, and ability to provide service for others. The University of Alberta requires a letter of intent in which the applicant must answer questions designed to assess personal experience and judgment, knowledge of the profession, volunteer experience, and overall career goals. Two universities, the University of British Columbia and the University of Waterloo, also require reference letters. It is important to refer to the particular program website for specific details on these additional requirements.