Frequently Asked Questions – PharmD Admissions

General Questions

1. What is the difference between a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and BScPhm program?
2. Why should I apply to the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy?
3. How do I apply to the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy?
4. When can I apply to the PharmD program?
5. How many people apply and how many new students are admitted each year?
6. I have completed a university degree. Does this make it easier to gain admission to the PharmD program? 
7. Is preference given to University of Toronto students or students from any other universities?
8. Will I get special consideration as a “mature” student?
9. I am not an Ontario resident. Can I still apply to the PharmD program?
10. Do you require letters of reference or do you consider other non-academic criteria?
11. If I am admitted to the PharmD program, what costs should I expect?
12. Are there any post-admission requirements for PharmD students?

Academic Requirements

13. How long does it take to meet all academic requirements for admission? 
14. What average must I have to gain admission?
15. Is there a minimum course load that I must take to be eligible for admission consideration?
16. What is a ‘full-credit equivalent’ and how can I determine my course load? 
17. How can I find out if the courses offered at my university meet the subject requirements for admission?
18. How are the required subjects used in the selection process?
19. How will ‘Credit/No Credit’ designations affect my application?
20. Will summer courses be considered for admission purposes?
21. Can online courses be used to meet academic subject requirements?
22. Will any of my previously completed university credits be considered as transfer credits?
23. Can I transfer from another Pharmacy program?
24. Can I apply directly to an upper year if I have completed one or more degree programs?
25. Does it matter how long ago I completed the academic requirements?

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

26. I have written the PCAT previously – do I need to re-write it?
27. How should I prepare for the PCAT?
28. When should I write the PCAT? 
29. What score will I need on the PCAT and will I be provided with a score report?

Admission Interviews

30. It would be difficult for me to travel to the interview sessions in March or May. Are there any alternatives to these interview sessions?
31. How and when will I know if I am among the applicants chosen for an interview?
32. What kind of questions will be asked during the interview session?
33. How can I prepare for the interview? 
34. What does the admission interview process assess and how can I find out how I did?

Selection Process

35. When and how will I be notified of the decision on my application?
36. What criteria are used to determine who is admitted to the program?
37. What average must I have at the university level to gain admission?
38. How will repeated or failed courses affect my application?

 

General Questions

1. What is the difference between a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and a BSc in Pharmacy?

Both degree programs are designed for individuals wishing to pursue careers as licensed pharmacists. The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program has a more advanced curriculum and includes a significantly greater experiential learning component than BScPhm degree programs.  The University of Toronto was among the first Pharmacy schools to convert to a PharmD program.  All Canadian schools of Pharmacy are now offering  PharmD programs although the BScphm degree continues to be a recognized entry-to-practice degree program.

The PharmD program at the University of Toronto focuses on today’s most pressing healthcare issues. Students enrolled in this four-year program participate in 43 weeks of hands-on clinical training and graduate with an extensive knowledge of pharmacotherapy and medication therapy management. Graduates have the skills, knowledge, and experience to become successful front-line healthcare practitioners in community, hospital, and family health team environments; they may also choose to work in many other settings where pharmacists are integral members. Pharmacists from our PharmD program deliver the enhanced scope of practice called for by the Canadian healthcare system.

2. Why should I apply to the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy?

We suggest that when deciding upon the Pharmacy school(s) to which you will apply, you consider a number of factors, including the details of the curriculum offered. Our PharmD curriculum, established in 2011, has met expected academic outcomes and continues to be evaluated and improved each year.  As an aspiring pharmacist, here are some of the reasons why you should apply to the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy:

  • The Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy is one of the most respected pharmacy schools in Canada, and one of the best faculties of pharmacy in North America
  • The breadth of our PharmD program is unmatched in Canada – in addition to pharmaceutics, pharmacology, and patient-focused medication therapy management, our students learn about all aspects of the pharmaceutical field including the sociological, economic, and political facets involving the profession of pharmacy
  • We offer a wide range of elective/selective courses in third an fourth year so that you may specialize in areas of your interest
  • Our curriculum emphasizes practical experiences for students (43 weeks of hand-on clinical training in various placement sites), ensuring that graduates from our program not only have the skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom, but also the experience to succeed in practice
  • Qualified students have the opportunity to apply to our combined  MBA/PharmD degree.
  • Our courses are taught by the Faculty’s award-winning professors, instructors and lecturers, and augmented by lectures from experts in specialized disciplines from the University of Toronto and Toronto’s world-renowned hospital system
  • In addition to teaching in our academic programs, many of our faculty members are leading researchers in pharmacy practice, biomolecular sciences, and social/administrative pharmacy, with thriving research programs
  • Students at the Faculty have incredible opportunities to become involved in student-led pharmacy activities like the IMAGINE Clinic and SOAPE, professional organizations, international internships, and summer research experiences
  • As part of the University of Toronto, students have access to the largest academic library in Canada,, an incredible multidisciplinary research network, and an interprofessional education program that brings together students from all other healthcare disciplines
  • Our location at the corner of University Avenue and College Street provides students with phenomenal opportunities for experiential learning in Toronto’s teaching hospitals and at innovative  community pharmacies; in addition, practice sites are available in a diverse range of health facilities throughout Ontario
  • The Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building contains some of the most advanced teaching and laboratory space in the country, and also provides students with dedicated study space on many of the floors
  • Studying in Toronto provides students with the opportunity to experience one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in the world that includes a vibrant artistic and cultural community, professional sports teams, a robust public transit system, limitless dining experiences, and a diverse parks and recreation system
  • Click here to hear what our students have to say about the Faculty and the PharmD program.

The relative performance of all eligible applicants will be considered when selection decisions are made.

3. How do I apply to the PharmD program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Applicants must apply using the online Application which is accessible directly from the Pharmacy website.  Please note that this application is not accessible through the OUAC system. The online application is available in mid-September of each year.  For admission in September 2020 admission, the application deadline is January 10, 2020.

In addition to completing the online application, candidates must also register for and write the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). The PCAT is an independently operated test, so candidates must register to write the PCAT through the PCAT website in addition to submitting the Faculty of Pharmacy application.  Remember, the online Application to the PharmD program and the registration procedure for the Pharmacy College Admission Test are separate processes with different deadlines that must be completed independently of one another.  The final deadline for registration for the PCAT occurs prior to the final PharmD application deadline.

4. When can I apply to the PharmD program? 

As admission to the PharmD program requires the completion of several first- and second-year university courses, most applicants will not become eligible to apply until their second year of university study. Students who have already completed all required courses, or who expect to complete all required courses by the end of the second term in the 2019-20 academic year (i.e. by the end of April 2020), would be eligible to apply for admission for September 2020.

The online application process opens in mid-September 2019, and closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on January 10, 2020.  Applications received by the ‘early bird’ deadline of December 2, 2019 will be charged a $250.00 application fee.  Applications received after Dec 2, 2019, up to the final deadline of January 10, 2020, will be charged a $300 application fee.

5. How many people apply and how many new students are admitted each year?

In recent years the number of applications has ranged from approximately 500 to 700 applications per year. A total of  approximately 240 students are admitted to the PharmD program each year.

6. I have completed a university degree. Does this make it easier to gain admission to the PharmD program? 

No. All applicants who meet admission requirements will be placed in the same applicant pool. Those who have completed one or more degrees will have no advantages over someone who has completed the minimum requirements for admission.

7. Is preference given to University of Toronto students or students from any other universities? 

No. No preference is given to University of Toronto students, or students from any other university.

8. Will I get special consideration as a “mature” student?

No. No special consideration is given for “mature” students. All applicants must meet the same requirements and will be considered in the same manner.

9. I am not an Ontario resident. Can I still apply to the PharmD program?

Yes. All qualified applicants – from Ontario, from other provinces, from outside Canada – may apply for admission to the PharmD program.  However, the class of approximately 240 will be comprised mainly of domestic students.  (Canadian citizens or Permanent residents).  All applicants should be aware that they may need to travel to Canada or the United States to write the PCAT, as this examination may not be offered where they reside.  As well, all applicants must be prepared to travel to Toronto to participate in the admission interview process.  Qualified applicants may be selected to attend an admission interview on any one of the dates given in the interview section. Applicants whose first language is not English may also be required to provide proof of English facility.

10. Do you require letters of reference or do you consider other non-academic criteria?

Reference letters and other materials (e.g. award letters, personal profiles etc.) are not required and not considered in our selection process. Please do not send these items in support of your application. Although ‘soft skills’ are important, they are assessed through our interview process.  We encourage you to learn as much as you can about the profession of Pharmacy so that you will be making an informed decision when applying, and we suggested a good understanding of the profession will help you  prepare for the admission for the interview.  Note, however there is no specific requirement for direct Pharmacy experience.

11. If I am admitted to the PharmD program, what costs should I expect?

Tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year is $18,060.00 CDN for domestic students. The cost for international students is roughly double the cost for domestic students. In addition, there is a non-academic incidental/ancillary fee that is payable once per session. This fee for the 2019-20 session is approximately $1,416.36 CDN.

There are additional fees associated with course or program requirements that students will be required to pay.  These fees include:

  • Immunization requirement (see Q #12 below). There may be some costs associated with obtaining required immunizations (per your health care provider).
  • CPR/First Aid certification (see Q #12 below). This fee varies depending on the organization; however, you can expect to pay approximately $100 plus applicable taxes.  Students must be certified in CPR/First Aid throughout their registration in the PharmD program which means that there will be an additional fee for re-certification.
  • You will submit your Immunization and CPR/First Aid certification to the Verified by Synergy Gateway platform.  You can expect to pay a document verification fee of approximately $47.50 per year while registered in the PharmD program
  • Registration as a pharmacy student with the Ontario College of Pharmacists (see Q #12 below). This fee is currently $469 plus applicable taxes.
  • Personal Professional Liability Insurance.  This fee varies depending on the supplier; however, you can expect to pay up to $120.
  • Fobs to access designated student areas in the Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building. This fee is $20 (refundable).
  • In Year 2 students must purchase equipment for the lab component of the course PHM241H1 Topics in Pharmaceutical Quality and Clinical Laboratory Medicine. In 2019-20, these fees are approximately:  Safety glasses – $6; and Spatula – $3.
  • Students must be fitted for masks prior to beginning their Early PracticeExperience 2 (EPE-2) rotation during the summer at the end of Year 2.  This process takes place in the winter term of the second year.  In 2019-20, the fee is approximately $25.
  • Some experiential sites require students to obtain a Police Record Check. The fee for this varies depending on the city in which the Police Record Check is conducted and can cost up to $65 (see Q #12 below).
  • Students are required to pay a fee for course materials in certain courses.  In Year 1, students must pay for course notes for PHM140H1 Molecular Pharmacology (in 2019-20 this fee is $17.00).  In Year 2 students must pay for the lab manual for PHM241H1 Topics in Pharmaceutical Quality and Clinical Laboratory Medicine (in 2019-20 this fee is $7).  Fees for course materials are added to the fees invoice you will be able to access on ACORN July each year.

12. Are there any post-admission requirements for PharmD students?

Yes. All applicants should be aware of the following post-admission requirements:

  • Pharmacy students are required to be certified in Level C CPR and Standard First Aid
  • Pharmacy students must register with the Ontario College of Pharmacists by January of Year 1 to participate in curricular components at practice sites
  • Pharmacy students must comply with the Policy on Immunization and Communicable Diseases to be involved in direct patient-care activities
  • Pharmacy students may be required to provide a Police Record Check/Vulnerable Sector Screening (PRC/VSS) by some experiential sites where they may be in contact with children or vulnerable persons
  • Pharmacy students are required to complete practice-based, Early Practice Experiential (EPE) rotations between May and August following Year 1 and Year 2 (160-200 hours each)
  • As part of the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations in Year 4 (35 weeks), Pharmacy students may be required to travel and/or relocate to  locations at various practice sites within Ontario

Academic Requirements

13. How long does it take to meet all academic requirements for admission? 

With careful timetable planning it is possible to complete all requirements within two years of university level study. You may apply during your second year of study if you have either already competed all required subjects, or if you are registered for required subjects to be completed by April of your  second year. For details related to the academic requirements please click here.

If you compare our requirements with those of other PharmD programs you may find that we require more courses than most schools, including some very challenging subjects, such as Physical Chemistry. You may wonder why such courses are among our requirements if pharmacists don’t ‘do science’ or use this specific knowledge on a daily basis. Each of the requirements has been carefully determined, based on the nature of our curriculum, to include the subjects that provide a broad foundation for our program. Students will draw knowledge and skills from science and other prerequisite courses throughout the PharmD program, and beyond into their practice. Although we have more specific subject requirements than some other Pharmacy schools, this allows our PharmD curriculum to include courses that are truly unique to Pharmacy.

14. What average must I have to gain admission?

There is no average which can guarantee admission as decisions are based on overall performance.  The minimum published requirement for initial consideration is 70% (equivalent to a ‘B-’ at the University of Toronto); however, depending on the applicant pool, the average required for consideration for an interview, or for consideration in the final selections, may be higher. In recent years, the median average of those offered admission has been in the A- (80-83%) range, with a very small number of students in the B- range.

15. Is there a minimum course load that I must take to be eligible for admission consideration?

While there is no published minimum course load, it is important that you have experience with successfully managing a full course load (e.g. 5.0 full-credit equivalents over one academic year) as this will prepare you for the challenging course load in our PharmD program which includes up to 6.5 full-credit equivalents per year.

16. What is a ‘full-credit equivalent’ and how can I determine my course load? 

Different universities use different course weighting systems.  When we refer to a ‘full-credit equivalent’ we refer to a full year course that typically runs in the regular academic session from September to April, or two half-year courses that typically fun from September to December plus January to April.  Full year courses typically include at least two lecture hours per week over a period of 24-26 weeks (i.e. a minimum of 48-52 lecture hours in total) to qualify as a full-credit course.

At universities employing a semester system, two courses, each with a minimum of two lecture hours per week, over 12-13 weeks each will qualify as one full-credit equivalent. While some courses may include three hours or more of lectures per week over two terms (i.e. 78 or more lecture hours), plus labs and tutorials, these courses are still classified as 1.0 full-credit equivalents. Extra credit is not given for lab or tutorial hours and no single course can count for more than 1.0 full-credit equivalent.

If labs that complement courses are reported separately on your transcript, they are not included in the calculation of course load, but are included in the calculation of the cumulative average. For example, at the University of Waterloo a student taking 10 half-credit (0.5) courses in the regular academic year, in addition to any required labs, would have a course load of 5.0 full-credit equivalents. The following table illustrates some common weight conversions:

Credit System Example Full-Credit (1.0) Equivalent at University of Toronto Half-Credit (0.5) Equivalent at University of Toronto
9.0, 6.0, 3.0 4.0 York University 9.0, 6.0 3.0, 4.0
3.0 and 1.5 University of Victoria 3.0 1.5
2.0 and 1.0 Ryerson 2.0 1.0
3, 4, and 5 United States universities on semester system  – 3, 4, and 5

All courses are considered as full-credit (1.0) equivalents or half-credit (0.5) equivalents. For example, at some universities employing a 6.0 and 3.0 weighting system, there may also be courses at a weight of 4.0.  For the purpose of determining course load, a 4.0 credit course would be a half credit (0.5) equivalent.

17. How can I find out if the courses offered at my university meet the subject requirements for admission?

We provide a table with examples of acceptable course codes at all Ontario universities, as well as a few non-Ontario institutions – Click here to access this information. The table provided lists examples of various courses that are known to meet the specific subject requirements for the current admissions cycle (for admission in September 2020).

If you have studied at an institution outside of Ontario, not listed on the table, please view the ‘Information for Candidates Who Have Studied Outside Ontario (Non-Ontario and International)’ section for general information. Due to the large number of post-secondary institutions we are unable to provide a listing of courses for all institutions outside of Ontario. Also, please note that due to time and resource limitations, the Faculty cannot conduct formal reviews of academic qualifications until after an official application has been submitted. Applicants are required to carefully compare the courses completed with those on our list of required subjects to determine, to the best of their ability, whether or not the courses align.  To help you organize your information we suggest you use page 7 of the Worksheet which lists the required subjects for the 2020 admission cycle (click here to access Worksheet). If you require guidance, after attempting a course-by-course comparison on your own, you may contact the PharmD Admissions Office directly with specific questions by sending an e-mail message to adm.phm@utoronto.ca (use subject line ‘Course equivalence inquiry’). While every effort will be made to respond to e-mail messages in a timely manner, applicants should understand that there are many factors that influence response times and therefore must send inquiries well in advance of  deadlines.

18. How are the required subjects used in the selection process?

We do not calculate a separate average on the required subjects alone – they are included in your cumulative average calculation.  The minimum  requirement for individual required subjects is a passing grade.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to successfully complete all published required subjects in time for the final transcript to be received no later than our final transcript deadline.  This means that your courses must be completed by the end of the second term of the 2019-20 academic year (i.e. by the end of April).   You cannot use a summer course taken in the same year for which you are applying for purposes of meeting a subject requirement (also see FAQ #20).

19. How will ‘Credit/No Credit’ designations affect my application? 

If you choose to have your final course result reported as a Pass/Fail or CR/NCR, where a letter or percentage grade is normally reported, the following will apply:

For all courses beginning September 2015 and later:

If you are a University of Toronto student and you elect to have final course result(s) reported as a CR/NCR Credit/No Credit), where a letter or percentage grade is normally reported, the Faculty will assign the percentage grade(s) available in the student record system. These grades will be included in the calculation of the cumulative average. This applies to all courses. Students from other universities who elect to have their final course result(s) reported as a CR/NCR (or Pass/Fail), where a letter or percentage grade is normally reported, will be required to request that their home university release the grade(s) to our office. These grades will be included in the calculation of the cumulative average. This applies to all courses.

For all courses completed prior to September 2015:

For students from all universities who elected to have a final course result(s) reported as CR/NCR (Credit/No Credit) where a letter or percentage grade would normally have been reported, no grades will be formally calculated into the average. However, the CR will be interpreted as the lowest passing grade and NCR will be counted as a fail.

20. Will summer courses be considered for admission purposes?  

Summer courses are considered to be of the same difficulty and rigour as courses taken during the fall/winter. Any summer courses must be reported to us by the final transcript deadline to qualify to meet subject requirements and be included as part of the cumulative university average calculation.  Due to the timing of the release of summer course grades, only those taken at least one year in advance of the application year can be considered (e.g. summer courses completed by August 2019 will qualify for 2020 admission consideration).

21. May I complete academic subject requirements through online studies?

Yes, if scheduling all needed campus-based courses becomes difficult due to timetabling issues, we encourage you to consider completing some of the academic subject requirements through online studies at a recognized university (or at the high school level for Physics). Do, however, take note of the following:

  • Courses must be degree credit courses offered at a recognized university –for example, U of Waterloo, Queen’s University and Athabasca U are well-known Canadian online course providers.  (The University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies is an exception; although known for offering non-degree, non-credit courses, we do accept Human Physiology SCS2159 and Biochemistry SCS2472 for purposes of meeting these two respective subject requirements.  Although we do allow these two SCS courses we do not include the grades for the SCS credits in the calculation of the overall average).
  • MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) such as those offered through FutureLean, EdEx and Coursera are not recognized for purposes of meeting any of the academic subject requirements.
  • The ‘Challenge for Credit’ option offered by some online course providers (e.g. Athabasca University), is not acceptable.  You must complete all course components.
  • For the courses which require labs (Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry) we require a wet lab rather than virtual labs.
  • There is no known online equivalent to the Physical Chemistry subject requirement.
  • For purposes of meeting the Grade 12 Physics subject requirement you may register for SPH4U through the Independent Learning Centre (see information at www.ilc.org) and you may complete the course at the same time you are taking university courses.  You must arrange to complete all components of the course and write the exam far enough in advance to allow for the final grade to be received by our office no later than the final transcript deadline.  This requires that you write the final exam no later than early May.  There is no extension of the deadline for high school credits.
  • The transcript deadline for receipt of final grades remains the same for all applicants regardless of the method of taking the course.  Remember that to take into consideration extra time for scheduling a final exam for any online course(s) you intend to complete. It will also take time for the institution to mark the exam and issue the grade. There is no extension of the deadline for receipt of grades for online credits.
  • It is suggested that you begin any needed online courses in the fall term to ensure you will be able to complete them on time.

22. Will any of my previously completed university credits be considered as transfer credits? 

Due to the specialized nature of the PharmD program, there are few equivalent courses offered in other programs. Most of the courses which were considered equivalents to courses in our program in the past have become  admission requirements! Of the courses remaining in our program, for which similar course offerings are given elsewhere, the most common course exemption is currently Human Histology and Anatomy (PHM145H1), and some students also qualify for exemption in Pharmacology (PHM146H1). There are a few other courses which may be considered for students who were enrolled in a Pharmaceutical Chemistry program.  In addition, students who have successfully completed one or more years of a CCAPP- or ACPE-accredited Pharmacy program may be eligible for transfer credit assessment on a case-by-case basis. For details of transfer credit assessment and eligibility please click here. All applicants should note, however, that it will normally take four years of study to complete our PharmD program regardless of whether any transfer credits are awarded.

23. Can I transfer from another Pharmacy program? 

Candidates from other Pharmacy programs may apply, although  there are no direct ‘transfers’ to our PharmD program from other Pharmacy programs; this is due to differences among the sequencing of courses and differences in course material or assessment methods among the various Pharmacy programs. Candidates from other Pharmacy programs do not have any advantage in the selection process; all applicants must follow all application processes and meet all published requirements and deadlines when applying for admission. If offered admission, candidates who have successfully completed one or more years of a CCAPP or ACPE-accredited Pharmacy program may be considered for course exemption on a case-by-case basis. Please note that this assessment cannot be done prior to the time admission is granted. Candidates from non-CCAPP or non-ACPE accredited Pharmacy programs would be considered only for the same course exemptions as those applying from general science programs.

Due to the differences in course material and sequencing in Pharmacy programs, it is unlikely that any admitted candidate would be eligible for direct entry into an upper year. Instead, all candidates (even those from other PharmD programs in Canada or the USA) who are offered admission should expect to begin their studies in Year 1 of the program. As a result, it will take a total of four years to complete the PharmD degree at the University of Toronto, though it is possible that you may be eligible for a slightly reduced course load in one or more years. As well, please note that there are no exemptions from the experiential components of our program. In the unlikely event an admitted candidate was granted exemption for all Year 1 courses, s/he would still be required to complete EPE1 (Early Practice Experience) before proceeding to Year 2. The maximum number of allowable course exemptions for any candidate is 9.0 full-credit equivalents. As a result, no candidates will be able to directly enter Year 3 of the program.

Also note that in addition to other published criteria, and regardless of other academic credentials and/or work/personal experience, candidates with previous registration in a Pharmacy program must have been in good standing during the most recent session/year of the Pharmacy program to be eligible for admission consideration.

If you are an international student you should be aware that although all qualified students who meet published requirements and who are competitive within the applicant pool will be considered, the class of approximately 240 will be comprised mainly of domestic students (Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents).

24. Can I apply directly to an upper year if I have completed one or more degree programs? 

No. All applicants are considered for admission into Year 1 including those who have already completed one or more degree programs.

25. Does it matter how long ago I completed the academic requirements?

Courses taken more than 10 years ago will be flagged for individual consideration and may not be acceptable in meeting admission requirements. Prospective applicants who have completed their university studies more than ten years ago, or who completed the university-level required courses more than 10 years ago, are advised that upgrading in some of the required subjects may be required to qualify for admission. As a result, preference may be given to those with recent full-time study in relevant courses.

Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

26. I have written the PCAT previously – do I need to re-write it?

If you have written the PCAT between January 2016 and January 2020, test results for these examinations will be valid for the 2020 admission cycle. If you are not satisfied with your scores on previous tests, however, you may choose to re-write the PCAT. Although the minimum required PCAT scores for each year are decided based on the performance of the applicant pool in each given year (and therefore are not available for publishing ahead of time), as a general guideline you should anticipate that required scores would be no lower than those required in the most recent past admission cycle (see FAQ#29 below).  Please ensure that the University of Toronto (code 278) is selected as a score recipient each time you register for the PCAT and ensure that the Candidate Identification Number (CID) is the same for all tests you write.

27. How should I prepare for the PCAT?

Your university background is your best preparation, though candidates may choose to review the PCAT study guide, test overview, and testing tutorial, and write a practice test on the PCAT website. Although the Faculty does not endorse specific products or services, there are also preparatory study guides and courses available through various test preparation agencies aimed at preparing applicants to write the PCAT.

To perform well on the PCAT, candidates must be able to read, think and write effectively. As these abilities are also critical to the many pharmacy roles available today, it is strongly recommended that candidates incorporate courses in their pre-pharmacy program of study that help build or further develop the ability to read, think, and write effectively. Courses such as Philosophy, History and Political Science are good examples of courses that may help you develop these required skills and will also serve towards meeting the Humanities/Social Science subject requirement.

28. When should I write the PCAT?

The latest you may write the PCAT, for admission in September 2020, is January 2020.   Note that the February 2020 test scores are not valid for the 2020 admission cycle.  First time test-takers are encouraged to write the PCAT early, i.e. before January of the year for which application is made.  This will allow you time to receive scores and register to re-write the PCAT if the results are not satisfactory. There is no penalty for re-taking the PCAT should you choose to write more than once; however, you must pay the relevant PCAT registration fee for each test attmept.

As the PCAT may include questions on Microbiology, Anatomy/Physiology, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry –  areas generally covered in second year university courses – first year students may not have as strong  an understanding of all material as candidates from upper years. However, you may certainly write PCAT at a time of your choosing.

29. What score will I need on the PCAT and will I be provided with a score report?

Individuals writing the PCAT will be provided with percentile and scaled scores for the multiple-choice sections of the PCAT, as well as a separate score for the writing subtest. Minimum score requirements for each section of the PCAT will be established. We are unable to tell you specifically what the minimum requirements for the current year will be as this cannot be determined until after all results are received and assessed within the applicant pool. Please click here to view minimum score requirements in previous years. Candidates who meet minimum requirements, as established after all PCAT results are received for the current year, and who also meet minimum academic requirements will be invited to participate in an interview session.

Admission Interviews

30. It would be difficult for me to travel to the interview sessions for the scheduled dates. Are there any alternatives to the published interview sessions? 

No. Due to the nature of the multiple-mini interview format, and the methods of assessment, alternate arrangements are not possible. As there is a short turnaround time from the time the interview confirmations are posted and the time the first interviews take place, candidates who will need to travel long distances are advised to choose the May interview session as their first preference to allow sufficient time to make travel arrangements. While interview dates cannot be guaranteed, candidates from outside the province of Ontario will be given priority for the May interview date if selected as the first preference on the application.

31. How and when will I know if I am among the applicants chosen for an interview? 

Notifications will be posted on the Applicant website early in March. Candidates are advised to hold all of the published dates in the Interview section until the notifications have been posted. Assigned interview times and dates cannot be changed once they have been posted.

32. What kind of questions will be asked during the interview session?

The admission interview format used by the Faculty focuses on non-academic attributes. There are different possible types of interview questions including discussion, debate and collaboration. The following is an example of a discussion type question that may be posed during an interview session:

Dr. Jackson frequently recommends homeopathic medicines to her patients. There is no widely accepted theory to suggest how homeopathic medicines work; indeed Dr. Jackson does not believe these medicines do work. She recommends homeopathic medicine to people with mild and nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and muscle aches, because she believes that it will do no harm but will give them reassurance. Consider the ethical problems that Dr. Jackson’s behavior might pose. Discuss these issues with the interviewer.

33. How can I prepare for the interview?

There is no specific method of preparation for multiple mini interviews. The Career Centre offices at some universities offer ‘mock’ MMIs which some students may find helpful. There is also a wealth of information regarding the MMI format of interviewing accessible to the public on the web.   The purpose of the admission interview is to assess skills and attitudes that are important for Pharmacy students as they prepare to become healthcare professionals. As a result, these interviews are not intended to assess any specific knowledge area. Applicants are evaluated based on their thought process when faced with a given situation, and their ability to effectively communicate within the time allotted.

34. What does the admission interview process assess and how can I find out how I did?

The admission interview process is designed to measure many different non-academic attributes which may include, but will not necessarily be limited to; conscientiousness, accountability, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, ethical reasoning, communication skills, leadership, and resilience. Students who possess desired skills and qualities, along with a strong academic background, will be better prepared to succeed within the challenging PharmD program and as a front-line healthcare practitioner.  Information recorded on scoring forms from each mini-interview is compiled and used by the Admissions Subcommittee during the selection process; however, there is no feedback or information of any kind provided to individual candidates regarding their interview rating or performances.

Selection Process

35. When and how will I be notified of the decision on my application? 

All candidates who submit the online application by the deadline will have access to the Applicant website that will contain important information, notices, and communications about admission matters. Minimum PCAT score requirements for the current year and Interview notices will be posted on the Applicant site early in March. Candidates who have been selected to participate in the interview stage will be provided detailed information related to the procedures for the interview day via this site. Final admission decisions will be posted on the Applicant website in mid-June after the final transcripts deadline.

36. What criteria are used to determine who is admitted to the program?

Applicants will be assessed on their academic performance (i.e. successful completion of required subjects and cumulative university average), performance on the Pharmacy College Admission Test, and (for those who meet all initial academic and PCAT standards) performance during the interview process.

Applicants must meet minimum standards in all sections of the Pharmacy College Admission Test, have completed (or be in the process of completing) all required subjects, and must have (or be able to attain prior to the final deadline) a competitive cumulative university average.  The published minimum average is 70% (equivalent to a ‘B-’ at the University of Toronto); however, depending on the applicant pool the minimum for interview eligibility may be higher. Candidates invited to an interview must then meet minimum standards in the interview, and may need to meet further standards in the PCAT and/or in university performance during final selection.  The relative performance of all eligible applicants will be considered when selection decisions are made.

Those who do not meet minimum standards in one or more of the criteria will not be considered in final selections. For example, an applicant who has performed extremely well academically will not be further considered (i.e. would not be invited to participate in the interview process) if one or more of the components of the PCAT do not meet minimum required standards.

If you are an international student you should be aware that although all qualified students who meet published requirements and who are competitive within the applicant pool will be considered, the class of approximately 240 will be comprised mainly of domestic students (Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents).

37. What average must I have at the university level to gain admission? 

There is no average which can guarantee admission. The minimum published requirement for initial consideration, is 70% (equivalent to a B-at the University of Toronto); however, the average required for interview selections, and/or the average required for consideration in final selections may be higher. Applicants are assessed within the applicant pool in the year in which they are applying. In recent years, the median average of those offered admission has been in the A- range (80-83%), while a very small portion of the class is comprised of those in the B- range.

38. How will repeated or failed courses, affect my application?

The grades from all attempts at individual courses, including failures and repeats, are included in the calculation of the cumulative university average.  Also refer to FAQ #19 for information on how courses with a ‘CR’ designation are considered.