How to become a pharmacist in Canada

To become a licensed pharmacist in Canada, you are required to successfully complete an accredited university level entry-to-practice pharmacy degree program, followed by national board exams, as well as successful completion of the requirements of the provincial licensing body of the province in which you wish to practice.

The professional entry-to-practice degree program offered at the University of Toronto is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. The PharmD program is four years in length (consisting of three years academic courses, with experiential rotations at the end of years one and two, plus one year experiential rotations comprising year four) and follows two years of initial university study.

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Why should I become a pharmacist?

As trusted healthcare professionals, pharmacists occupy a special place in the community and in the broader healthcare system. Today, pharmacists apply their skills in a variety of work environments including community practice, primary care, hospital, education and the pharmaceutical industry.

A degree in pharmacy gives you the opportunity to build a rewarding and diverse career based on your interests. Pharmacy is a people-oriented profession, Today, pharmacists use their skills to support patient health and wellness in a wide variety of roles and settings, like:

  • Community Pharmacy
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • Primary Care
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Long Term Care Consultants
  • Health-focused Companies
  • Education and Teaching
  • Canadian Armed Forces


What are the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy admission requirements?

To be eligible for admission consideration into the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, candidates must:

  1. have obtained a cumulative university average of at least 70% (equivalent to a ‘B-’ at the University of Toronto);
  2. have successfully completed, (or have successfully completed by the end of 2nd term of the year for which application is made) a minimum of 8 FCEs (full-credit equivalents)* at the university level;
  3. have successfully completed (or have successfully completed by the end of 2nd term of the year for which application is make) the minimum required number of FCEs* in all required subject areas as follows below:
  • FCE - Full-credit equivalent
  • 1.0 FCE = 2 terms / semesters
  • 0.5 FCE = 1 term / semester

For admission to the PharmD program, applicants are considered by three key factors:

  • Academic performance
  • CASPer (situational-judgement) test score, and;
  • Online Individual Assessment

Learn more about the academic and admissions requirements for the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of pharmacy

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What high school courses are required to become a pharmacist in Canada?

To best prepare for the required university courses needed to apply for pharmacy school, students should include the following high school courses within their studies at the Ontario Grade 12U level (or equivalent in other provinces or educational systems:

  • English
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Math (in Ontario this includes ‘Calculus and Vectors’ and ‘Advanced Functions’)

By taking all of the sciences and maths listed above, you will be prepared for entry to a general science program (i.e. any Life or Physical Science program) at university which will serve as an excellent foundation for entry to Pharmacy. 

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What University program should I take before applying to pharmacy school?

Most students applying to pharmacy school are enrolled in or have completed a BSc (Bachelor of Science) degree, from a discipline within a Life or Physical Science program.

From high school, you would apply to the ‘Faculty of Arts and Science’ (or at some universities it may be called ‘Faculty of Science’) for a Physical or Life Science program. Physical and Life Science programs include many areas of study.  Some of the most commonly taken programs include,  but are certainly not limited to; Chemistry. Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology,  Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Provided you apply to any general science program (i.e. any program within Life and Physical sciences), you should have the flexibility within your program to enable you to register for the specific required subjects which include:

  • Biology (1.0 FCE)
  • Chemistry (1.5 FCE)
  • Math (1.0 FCE including 0.5 FCE Calculus)
  • Humanities/Social Science (1.0 FCE). 

Students pursuing a Humanities/Social Science stream can also meet the requirements, provided appropriate high school pre-requisites in sciences/math have been completed and your university allows you to incorporate the required Math, Biology and Chemistry subjects into your timetable.

You do not need to complete a degree before applying to pharmacy.  You can apply the second of year of your program, as long as you will have completed all of your pre-requisites.

If you choose a very specialized program– for example, another professional program such as Engineering – you may not have the flexibility to choose courses that meet our academic requirements.


How much is pharmacy school tuition?

There are 3 levels of tuition fees.  For students who enter Year 1 of the PharmD program for the 2023-2024 academic year, the tuition fee for domestic Ontario residents is $18,060.00 CDN. The tuition for domestic non-Ontario students is $19,530 CDN.  The tuition for international students is $49,480 CDN. In addition, there is a non-academic incidental/ancillary fee that is payable once per session. This fee for the 2023-24 session is approximately $1,416.36 CDN.

Check out our PharmD FAQs for more information on tuition and additional fees

Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I choose to earn my PharmD at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy?

Unlike any other faculty of pharmacy U of T Pharmacy in the heart of Toronto's Discovery District, a nexus of scientific innovation and entrepreneurial creativity. As part of this unique health and research ecosystem, we partner with 12 affiliated teaching hospitals, many within walking distance from our building. This gives our students access to the some of the best hands-on learning opportunities in the country.

Hear why the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy is Canada’s top pharmacy school from some of our students


Many people think of pharmacy teams as being responsible for filling prescriptions. What else can pharmacists do?

Pharmacists are medication experts who support their patients' health and wellness. As trusted health-care professionals, pharmacists occupy a special place in the community and in the broader health-care system as the most accessible health-care professionals.

The role of pharmacists in the health care system continues to expand. For example, in 2023, pharmacists can now assess and prescribe for minor ailments in the province of Ontario. This gives people new ways to access primary care, by saving patients a trip to the doctor for common treatments.

These minor ailments include:

  • Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
  • Oral Thrush (Candidal stomatitis)
  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
  • Eczema or Allergic Skin Rash (Dermatitis)
  • Painful Periods or Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
  • Acid Reflux (GERD)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Cold Sores (Herpes Labialis)
  • Certain Skin Infections (Impetigo)
  • Insect bites and Hives (Urticaria)
  • Tick Bites (Prevention for Lyme disease)
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Urinary Tract Infections (uncomplicated)
  • Acne (mild)
  • Aphthous Ulcers (canker sores)
  • Diaper dermatitis
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis (yeast infection)
  • Pinworms and threadworms
  • Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy

Today pharmacists leverage their skills in a wide variety of roles and settings including:

  • Community Pharmacy
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • Primary Care
  • Long-term Care
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Health-focused Startup Companies
  • Education and Teaching
  • Canadian Armed Forces

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