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Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences General Information

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The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has a long and proud history of achievement. It began as a department in the Faculty of Medicine on April 13, 1914. Two programs were offered at that time, a one-year Licensing Diploma (discontinued in 1918) and a two-year PhmB degree. In 1917 the Department became a School under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The first three graduates of the newly approved Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree program obtained their degrees in 1921. The School continued to grow and prosper over the next two decades, with jurisdiction returning to the Faculty of Medicine in 1939. The School received Faculty status in 1955 and moved from a three to a four year program in 1969. Pharmacy became a five-year program (four years in the Faculty plus one preprofessional year) in the 1989-1990 academic year, and has now shifted to a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program (four years in the Faculty following two preprofessional years). For further information on the PharmD see the Pharmacy website at

From the beginning, faculty members hired in pharmacy have had a focus on scholarship and thus graduate studies and research have always been strengths of the Faculty. A 1961 PhD graduate represented the first PhD degree granted by a School or Faculty of Pharmacy in Canada. In recognition of its flourishing graduate program in pharmaceutics, the Faculty received a new title in 1968: The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Since 1970, the Faculty has been active in the delivery of professional development programs for pharmacists.

The Faculty's Vision is: Excellence and innovation in pharmacy education and research through learning, discovery and citizenship.

The Faculty's Mission is: To provide pharmacy and graduate education designed to meet societal needs for safe and effective use of medications and to cultivate research and pharmacy practice.

The Faculty:

  • Fosters high quality education and ongoing development of students and post-doctoral fellows
  • Conducts world-class research in the basic and applied pharmaceutical sciences, clinical pharmacy sciences, and health services
  • Seeks advancements and excellence in practice, research and education
  • Partners with the profession, policy makers, other Faculties and Universities, and the public

Each year the Faculty admits 131 students who have met the prerequisite requirements and currently has about 55 graduate students. There are about 40 teaching and research faculty members. Our students excel nationally and have established a reputation of achieving and being rewarded for excellence.

A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) for Practicing Pharmacists program is available at the University of Alberta. This program includes one term of didactic coursework followed by additional experiential education placements that can only take place after the completion of a BSc (Pharmacy) program. The didactic courses in the distance pathway are scheduled over 18 months.  Students in the PharmD program have five years to complete the degree's requirements. Licensure for the practice of pharmacy does not require the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists degree but it will help graduates to:

  • advance their career, and become leaders in the Pharmacy profession
  • demonstrate a competitive advantage when applying for unique and interesting positions
  • create and shape their career through innovative patient focused practices
  • develop the skills and knowledge to become an advanced practitioner
  • information and clinical judgment to inform decisions
  • possess the skills to be able to make a difference in complex pharmacotherapeutic situations

For more information see the Pharmacy website.

Members of the Faculty

Listings of members of the Faculty can be found at:


Academic Staff

Clinical Academic Colleagues

Professor Emeriti

Teaching and Scholarship

The Faculty's undergraduate pharmacy program is considered one of the best in Canada and has been a leader in developing new curricular approaches and experiential models. An external review committee has ranked our Graduate Studies and Research Programs among the top programs in North America. Faculty members have received numerous awards for their research and teaching in recent years.

The Faculty's researchers attract numerous external research grants and contracts. The Faculty has also excelled in transferring its research technology to the marketplace. Several of the University's spin-off companies originated in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Opportunities in Pharmacy

The practice of pharmacy has grown from the compounding and dispensing of drugs to a "knowledge system" about drugs and drug products. Pharmacy practice has increasingly become oriented to the patient and accordingly requires the aspiring pharmacist to possess excellent communication skills and to be aware of, and sensitive to, the frequent need for compassion and understanding. Various career options are open to the pharmacist on graduation and licensure.

Community Pharmacy and Consultant Pharmacists

Nearly everyone is familiar with community pharmacists and the pharmacy in which they practice. You probably visit the community pharmacist more often than you do any other member of the health team. Pharmacists talk to people when they are healthy and when they are sick; when they are seeking immunizations, such as the influenza vaccine; when they are "just browsing" or when they are concerned with an emergency; when they have specific needs as well as when they are seeking advice or information. Pharmacists are playing an increasing role in the "wellness" movement, especially through counseling about preventive medicine.

Pharmacists serve patients and the community by providing information and advice on health, providing medications and associated services, and by referring patients to other sources of help and care, such as physicians, when necessary. Likewise, advances in the use of information technology in pharmacy practice now allow pharmacists to spend more time educating patients and maintaining and monitoring patient records. As a result, patients have come to depend on the pharmacist as a health care and information resource of the highest caliber. Pharmacists, in and out of the community pharmacy, are specialists in the science and clinical use of medications. They must be knowledgeable about the composition of drugs, their chemical and physical properties, and their manufacture and uses, as well as how products are tested for purity and strength. Additionally, a pharmacist needs to understand the activity of a drug and how it will work within the body. More and more prescribers rely on pharmacists for information about various drugs, their availability, and their activity, just as patrons do when they ask about nonprescription medications.

If pharmacists develop a desire to combine their professional knowledge and skills with the challenge of the fast-moving community pharmacy practice, they will often consider a management position within a chain pharmacy practice or ownership of their own pharmacy. In chain practice, career paths usually begin at the store level with possible subsequent advancement to a position at the district, regional, or corporate level. Many chain companies have management development programs in marketing operations, legal affairs, third party programs, computerization, and pharmacy affairs. The spirit of entrepreneurship and motivation has enabled many pharmacists to successfully own their own pharmacies or, through establishing consultation services, to function independently.

Hospitals and Other Institutional Settings

As society's health care needs have changed and expanded, there has been an increased emphasis on provision of care through organized health care settings. As a result, an increased number of pharmacists now practice in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, neighborhood health centers, and primary care networks. As members of the health care team composed of physicians and nurses, among others, pharmacists have an opportunity for direct involvement with patient care. The knowledge and clinical skills that the contemporary pharmacist possesses make this individual an authoritative source of drug information for physicians, nurses, and patients. In addition to direct patient care involvement, pharmacists in hospitals are responsible for systems which control drug distribution and are designed to assure that each patient receives the appropriate medication, in the correct form and dosage, at the correct time. Hospital pharmacists maintain records on each patient, using them not only to fill medication orders but also to screen for drug allergies and adverse drug effects.

Contemporary hospital pharmacy practice is composed of a number of highly specialized areas, including nuclear pharmacy, drug and poison information, and intravenous therapy. In addition, pharmacists provide clinical services in adult medicine, pediatrics, oncology, ambulatory care, and psychiatry. The nature and size of the hospital helps to determine the extent to which these specific services are needed. Because of the diversity of activities involved in pharmacy departments, there is also demand for management expertise, including finance and budgeting, personnel administration, systems development, and planning. As hospital pharmacists continue to become more involved in providing patient-oriented services, the demand for practitioners in this area of pharmacy continues to grow.

Drug Utilization Review/Drug Use Evaluation

Pharmacists review drug utilization to determine which patients and prescribers are using particular medications. This allows the pharmacist to determine whether some drugs are inappropriately prescribed or used. With this knowledge in hand, the pharmacist and other care providers can then actively intervene in the patient's care process to assure better outcomes.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

Another career option in pharmacy is represented by the pharmaceutical industry that produces chemicals, prescription and nonprescription drugs, and other health products. Pharmacists are engaged in careers such as marketing, research and product development, quality control, sales, and administration. Many pharmacists go on to obtain postgraduate degrees in order to meet the technical demands and scientific duties required in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Pharmacists with an interest in sales and administration can combine this with their technical background in pharmacy by serving as medical service representatives. These representatives call on a variety of health care professionals to explain the uses and merits of the products their firms produce. Experienced and successful medical service representatives with administrative abilities often rise to supervisory or executive posts in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacists are also employed as sales representatives, supervisors, and administrators in wholesale drug firms.

Academic Pharmacy

Many pharmacy-trained faculty members work in the nation's schools of pharmacy. They are involved with teaching, research, public service, and patient care. Others serve as consultants for local, provincial, national, and international organizations. Becoming a member of the faculty at a school of pharmacy usually requires a postgraduate degree and/or training (e.g., PharmD, PhD degree, or residency or fellowship training following the professional degree program).

Pharmacy practice faculty members have significant responsibility for patient care, in addition to their work in teaching and research. These academicians often are called educator/practitioners, and they serve as role models for pharmacy students and residents in many education/practice settings. Faculty members in disciplines other than pharmacy practice are usually involved in pharmaceutical sciences research. The pharmaceutical scientists are mainly concerned with research that includes sophisticated instrumentation, analytical methods, and animal models that study all aspects of drugs and drug products. Moreover, social, economic, and behavioral science research often uses survey methods and statistical analyses to solve complex problems of drug utilization management, health care delivery, marketing, management, and other practice issues. To paraphrase one current pharmacy faculty member, "Perhaps no other job in pharmacy has such far-reaching effects on the profession as that of an educator. It is in academia that one can excite individuals about pharmacy and lay the groundwork for continuing advances in the field."

Other Fields in Pharmacy

Pharmacists use their basic educational backgrounds in a host of federal, provincial, and professional positions.

At the federal level, pharmacists hold staff and supervisory posts in:

  • Health Canada,
  • in all branches of the armed services,
  • many other agencies.

At the provincial level there are agencies charged with regulating the practice of pharmacy to preserve and protect the public health. These legal boards governing pharmacy practice usually have pharmacists employed as fulltime executive officers and inspectors. All provinces have an active pharmacy association that employs a full-time executive officer, usually a graduate of a school of pharmacy.

Several national professional associations are also guided by pharmacists with an interest and specialized knowledge of organizational work. You may know other pharmacists who are engaged in highly specialized tasks. There are pharmacists in advertising, packaging, technical writing, magazine editing, and science reporting. There are pharmacists with legal training serving as patent lawyers or as experts in pharmaceutical law.

By now, it should be clear to you that the diversity of pharmacy is one of its chief strengths. And, in diversity lies your opportunity. In Canada, the vast majority of pharmacists practice in community or hospital pharmacies, or long-term and ambulatory care facilities. The remaining pharmacists follow one or another of the special fields you have just reviewed. The opportunity for success in any of these fields is wide open for men and women with ability, education, and imagination.

†Excerpted with edits from a booklet entitled "Shall I study Pharmacy?" published by the American Association of the Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

Qualifications for Practice in Alberta

The Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy is the minimum academic requirement accepted by the Alberta College of Pharmacy to apply for registration to practice pharmacy in Alberta. To register as a pharmacist in Alberta, a graduate must complete a minimum of 900 hours of structured practical training through university curriculum rotations and placements. In addition, students must complete 100 hours of post-graduate internship. Applicants are required to complete the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada Qualifying Exam Part I and II. This exam is offered twice a year, in May and November. A provincial Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam, administered by the Alberta College of Pharmacy must also be completed. Information concerning the regulations applying to practical experience in Alberta is available from the Registrar, Alberta College of Pharmacy , 1100, 8215-112 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8. Information concerning the Qualifying Examination may be obtained from the Registrar, Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, 717 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4W 2M4.

Pharmacy students enrolled in a university program recognized by the council must register on the student pharmacist register with the Alberta College of Pharmacy prior to commencing structured practical training. Requirements for application as a student pharmacist can be found at

The legislation governing the practice of pharmacy in the Province of Alberta is set forth in the Health Professions Act, RSA 2000 Chapter H7 and the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation (Amended 90/2011).

Faculty Accreditation

On the basis of the Board's review, CCAPP (Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs) wishes to inform you that the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta has been awarded:

  • Accreditation of the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy for a four year term 2018-2022.
  • Provisional Accreditation of the Doctor of Pharmacy for the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program for a four year team 2018-2023.
  • Provisional Accreditation of the entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy program for a five year term 2018-2024.