Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) FAQ

1. What are the admission requirements? 

For details on the eligibility requirements, please carefully read the current Applicant Information Bulletin that is posted at the link below.

Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements as outlined will not be considered for selection.

High School Prerequisites
High school prerequisites*: Biology 40S, Chemistry 40S, Pre-Calculus 40S (min. 60%)

How do I apply?
All applications are facilitated through the University of Manitoba, Office of Admissions. The application opens approximately Nov. 1 each year, and can be accessed at the link below.

2. What is the difference between a Doctor of Pharmacy program (PharmD) and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program (B.Sc. Pharm.)?

The PharmD program has a more advanced curriculum that will expand the breadth and depth in clinical and advanced therapeutics, scientific literature evaluation, pharmacogenetics, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacoeconomics, patient care-related practice skills laboratories, simulation training, and Indigenous health. The experiential learning components of the program will increase to 1600 hours (40 weeks) from 640 hours in the current B.Sc. (Pharm.) program.

Through competency based training and advanced experiential opportunities, graduates have the knowledge, skillset and potential to advance participation on the healthcare team actively contributing to improved patient care and safety.

3. How many people apply to the program and how many are accepted?

On average we receive approximately 285 applications each year and admit 55 students into the Pharmacy program.

4. What is the "cut-off" to get into Pharmacy? 

All applicants must have an AGPA of at least 3.50.

5. How is the AGPA calculated?

The Adjusted Grade Point Average (AGPA) will be calculated as follows:

(0.55 x Core GPA)   PLUS   (0.45 x Cumulative Elective GPA) = AGPA

The Core GPA represents the average grade for the 12 required core courses (36 credit hours). 

  • For a maximum of two repeated three credit hour core courses the higher grade(s) obtained will be used.
  • If more than two core courses are repeated, the two repeated course grades chosen will be the ones giving the applicant the greatest advantage.
  • In all other cases of repeated attempts of core courses, the grade obtained on the initial attempt will be used.

The Cumulative Elective GPA represents the average grade for all other courses (i.e. all courses except the core courses) completed at the university level in the past 10 years including the original grades of repeated courses.  

6. If I have a question about the admissions process or about how my grades are calculated, whom do I contact? 

Please email your inquiry to

7. Am I required to take all of my Pharmacy pre-requisite courses in two years at university? 

No. Many students take a few years or even complete a degree before they apply to Pharmacy. However, you do have to complete a minimum of 2 Regular Fall/Winter sessions (Sept-April) where each Regular Fall/Winter session contains a minimum of 24 new credit hours with no grade less than a “C”.

8. Do I have to be taking a full course load (i.e. 30 credit hours) during the year that I am applying for admission? 

No. As long as you have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours of university studies including the required courses no later than April 30th, with no grade less than “C”.

However, you do have to have a minimum of 2 Regular Fall/Winter sessions (Sept-April) where each Regular Fall/Winter session contains a minimum of 24 new credit hours with no grade less than “C” at some point in your academic history to be eligible for admission.

9. Who can apply under the “Special Consideration” category?

a) Canadian Indigenous People who are Manitoba residents including Manitobans who apply through the Health Careers ACCESS Program (HCAP) of the University of Manitoba. A maximum number of five successful applicants will be admitted each year under the Special Consideration Category.

10. Do you take work experience, volunteer work or any pharmacy technician courses into account in the selection process?

No, we do not consider any of these during the selection process. All applicants are ranked for selection according to the following criteria:

  1. Adjusted Grade Point Average (AGPA) 60%
  2. A written critical skills essay 10%
  3. PCAT 30%

11. Do people with undergraduate or graduate degrees have a better chance of admission and are they given priority?

No additional weighting or consideration is given to applicants holding a degree. All applicants are ranked for selection according to the following criteria:

  • Adjusted Grade Point Average (AGPA) 60%
  • A written critical skills essay 10%
  • PCAT 30%

12. Can I get special consideration as a 'mature student'? 

No, all students are selected using the criteria listed above, regardless of their age. To view the parameters of the Special Consideration Category refer to question #10.

13. Your web site doesn’t say what the essay topic will be. How can I find out?  

The essay topic is confidential and will not be distributed prior the essay writing session.

14. Do you provide information on how to prepare for the written critical skills essay?

Out of fairness to all applicants, we do not provide specific advice on how to prepare for the written Critical Skills essay. The information below is listed in the Applicant Information Bulletin:

This exercise involves using one's best English language skills, arguing for or against a selected proposition. The essay should be in the form of a formal, persuasive, academic essay.

The essay will be assessed on these criteria:

  1. the precision of one's response to the topic,
  2. the focus, organization, and development of the argument,
  3. the technical proficiency of language (the control of expression, grammar, and mechanics exhibited in the response) ,
  4. Write a legible essay of 300 to 500 words. Essays less than 300 words will not be read and essays cannot significantly exceed 500 words.

The time limit set for the essay is one hour. Candidates are only permitted to use a pen and the supplied essay book for writing the essay. No electronic devices are permitted.

15. Is there a minimum essay score required?

Yes. The Admissions Committee establishes the minimum essay score required for an applicant to be eligible for admission each year, based on that year’s applicant pool. Only the students who meet the minimum essay score will be ranked for admission. Essay scores are only valid for the application year in which they are written.

16. Can I bring a dictionary to the essay writing? 

No, books or electronic devices are not allowed. 

17. Do you offer alternate essay writing dates? 

No, we only offer one date. The essays are written at the College of Pharmacy, usually on the next business day after the last day of the April final exam period at the University of Manitoba. Requests to write the essay off-site are considered on a case by case basis.

18. Do I have to write the PCAT®? 

Yes. Information regarding the PCAT® should be accessed at:

The PCAT® must be completed by January 17, 2020. Your score must be released to the University of Manitoba by March 15, 2020 or your application will be withdrawn by the Admissions Office.

If multiple test scores are received, the best single overall PCAT® attempt obtained from the official submitted score reports within the last three years (until mid-January), will be used to calculate the overall score for admission.

19. Is there a minimum PCAT® score required? 

Yes. The Admissions Committee establishes the minimum PCAT® score each application year. The minimum required score may fluctuate from year to year based on the applicant pool.    

20. When will I be advised if I am admitted? 

The Pharmacy Admission Committee generally meets in mid-June and all applicants are notified approximately one week later.  

21. If I am accepted into the College of Pharmacy but can’t attend, can I transfer my admission to the following year

No, admission is valid only for the year you apply. 

22. How many years does it take to complete a PharmD degree? 

The program takes a minimum of six years – two years of university pre-requisite courses and four years in the pharmacy program. 

23. Can I do this degree as a part-time student? 

No, the program is full time. Note: All course work for any given year of the Pharmacy program must be completed in order to progress into the next year of the program.  

24. I have already taken some of the pre-requisite courses, but they are from another university. Are they acceptable? 

If you have taken the required courses at a university outside of Manitoba they will need to be evaluated at the time of application to see if they are equivalent.  You can also check the University of Manitoba web site to see if the courses you have completed have already been evaluated: 

If your courses have not been evaluated you will need to submit course syllabus to  after application to the College of Pharmacy. 

Due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot offer preliminary advising. Applicants must first complete and submit an application for admission before we will assess their post-secondary courses for equivalence. Due to the very competitive nature of the application, applicants who do not have all of the requirements will not be considered for admission.

25. What kind of electives do you suggest for pre-Pharmacy program?

We do not suggest specific electives. Elective means the course is your choice, and we do not give consideration to any electives taken in one faculty over another.

26. How much tuition can I expect to pay? 

The 2019-20 PharmD program includes a program tuition rate of $15,500, a Clinical fee of $3,600 and other compulsory university fees set by the Registrar’s Office. As fees may vary from year to year, please check the websites below where updated fees are posted for each academic year.

27. I am an out-of-province student, what are the chances of me being considered for a position?  

Preference is given to residents of Manitoba, but we will consider outstanding out-of-province applicants who have met all of the posted eligibility requirements.

A Manitoba resident shall be defined as a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada who, at the application deadline, meets any one of the following four descriptions:

  1. Has graduated from a Manitoba high school; or
  1. Has a recognized degree from a university in Manitoba; or
  1. Has completed at least one consecutive year of full-time academic studies in a recognized program at a university in Manitoba, while physically residing in Manitoba; or
  1. Has resided continuously in Manitoba for any two year period following high school graduation. The two year residence period shall not be considered broken where the program’s admission committee is satisfied that the applicant was temporarily out of the province on vacation, in short-term volunteer work or employment, or as a full-time student.

NOTE: Active Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their direct dependants will be considered as residents of Manitoba, but must meet all normal academic requirements for entry, and take part in the competition with regular applicants for entry.

28. Can international students apply for admission to the Pharmacy program? 

Historically due to the large amount of applications and the small numbers of positions in the class, we have been unable to offer admission to International Applicants.

29. I am a foreign trained pharmacist and would like to practice in Manitoba. Who should I contact? 

You should contact the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba and the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada

College of Pharmacists of Manitoba
Telephone: (204) 233-1411
Email: info@cphm.caZ

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada
Telephone: (416) 979-2431

30. I am currently in a Pharmacy Program at another university. Can I transfer into the University of Manitoba’s Pharmacy program? 

No. We do not facilitate "transfers" into our program due to differences in program structure and requirements. Applicants will only be considered for entry to the first year of the program, regardless of previous academic background. 

31. How do I obtain a license to practice as a pharmacist? 

During the fourth year of the program you will apply to write the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC and OSCE) exams. The exams are usually held in Winnipeg in late May. If you do not pass the exam, you cannot be licensed but you can write the exam again. After you pass the exam, you must register with the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba and complete all of its requirements for licensure. Please note that each province has its own requirements. 

32. What if I want to move to another province or country after graduation? 

You would still have to be licensed with the PEBC, but other provinces and states have their own rules and regulations. Some may require further examinations. You should research this at least a year before graduation if you intend to leave the province and work elsewhere. 

33. Why does it matter how effective applicants’ language skills are for admission to the College of Pharmacy? 

Effective communication skills wouldn’t matter if pharmacists did nothing more than count pills. However, Pharmacists require excellent communication skills. You will be giving out drug and treatment information in a variety of situations and settings - poor communication skills can have disastrous and life threatening implications. If you work as a hospital pharmacist, you will be required to write full and precise treatment plans for patients that can be quickly and accurately understood by other medical staff. You will need to be able to communicate efficiently and precisely, verbally and in writing. If you work in a community pharmacy, you will need to explain to people everything they need to know about the medications they are receiving; including the benefits, dosage, potential side effects, storage, etc. Your instructions may not always be to people who have good comprehension skills. Your ability to make yourself understood by a wide array of individuals and in a variety of situations will be critical to your success as a Pharmacist. Accordingly, the College of Pharmacy has a professional obligation to assess future pharmacists on their language skills and problem-solving abilities.