Doctor of Pharmacy program approved

Faculty targets 2018 implementation date for incoming students.


The faculty’s proposed Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program was recently approved by the Advanced Education ministry of the Government of Alberta.

This means that new curriculum will be developed for the implementation of three programs: the Bridging Program for BSc in Pharmacy students, Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy for Practicing Pharmacists programs.  

“This is an exciting time for our faculty and our profession,” says Dr. Neal Davies, dean of the faculty. “Over the past two years, we have held consultations with key stakeholders and we appreciate the support they and others like the UAlberta General Faculty Council, Campus Alberta Quality Council and Government of Alberta’s Advanced Education ministry have given on this important change in our curriculum.”

“This is the future of pharmacy practice in North America. This curriculum change will prepare graduates to provide quality and safe patient centered care in Alberta’s dynamic healthcare environment. The program prepares them to be future leaders and lifelong learners who can work effectively in independent, intraprofessional, collaborative, and interprofessional team-based health care delivery models.”

Currently, 50 per cent of all pharmacy programs in Canada  have implemented the degree with all schools committed to implementing it by 2020. The faculty plans to implement the new Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) for incoming students in September 2018 (Class of 2022). The new program will require two years of pre-professional studies followed by 4 years of pharmacy education, including at least 40 weeks of experiential education (with minimum 8 weeks of early practice experiences and minimum 24 weeks of advance practice experiences).

"We are excited to move forward with this change in pharmacy education and are very fortunate to have the support and engagement of so many stakeholders," says Christine Hughes, professor and vice-dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. "The expansion of experiential education is an important component of the PharmD program. The expanded scope of pharmacist practice in Alberta and innovative models of care delivery provide incredible learning opportunities for our students. With the expansion of experiential education, there will be more opportunity for our students to contribute to patient care in a variety of practice settings."

Implementation of the PharmD program for current students in the BSc Pharmacy program will start in spring 2017. This will be known as the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) for BSc in Pharmacy Students (PBS) and will be optional. The Class of 2018 will be the first class eligible for this bridging program.  Students also have the option to continue with their BSc – both options will graduate at the same time.  

Students in the Class of 2017 (and earlier) will have the option to apply for the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program (full time or part time), as a second professional degree.  The BScPharm is the entry to practice degree required for pharmacy practice in Canada.

Alberta’s pharmacists have the broadest scope of practice in North America.