U of S to introduce new pharmacy curriculum

The University of Saskatchewan will launch a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in fall 2017 to replace the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy as the first professional degree required to practice as a licensed pharmacist.

“Pharmacists’ roles are changing and we’re proactively adapting our curriculum for these new roles,” said Kishor Wasan, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. “Our graduates will be competitive in the job market, and they’ll have the skills needed to provide the best possible care to their patients.”

The new program, Wasan said, is designed to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for pharmacists to practice as their roles in the healthcare system expand.

“As recent as 2015, pharmacists in Saskatchewan were granted new responsibilities, such as administering flu vaccines and prescribing medications for minor ailments, such as cold sores or seasonal allergies,” Wasan said.

“In the new curriculum, all four years of the program will be spent learning the science and skills of pharmacy, including a substantial experiential learning component,” said Wasan.

This is a significant change compared to the current pharmacy program in which students take classes in basic sciences, such as chemistry and pharmacology, during their first two years, while pharmacy classes are scheduled in the third and fourth years. Under the new curriculum, students will be required to complete at least two years of pre-requisite classes before applying to the pharmacy program.

The new curriculum will include 40 weeks of experiential learning, with 32 weeks of advanced practice in the fourth year. The first three years of the program include two four-week practice experiences, as well as smaller weekly opportunities.  

Wasan said that out of 10 pharmacy schools in Canada, five have already introduced programs like this (known as entry-to-practice PharmD programs).

“The U of S is keeping pace with a changing industry that requires evolving education,” said Wasan, adding that two other Canadian pharmacy schools will also introduce a PharmD program in 2017.

In the Doctor of Pharmacy program, the tuition rate will be $17,000 per student per year, which is an increase over the current bachelor degree program.

Pharmacists who hold the existing Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy will continue to have their degrees recognized by the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals, the regulatory body for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Saskatchewan. A bridging program for those pharmacists interested in upgrading to the Doctor of Pharmacy will be developed after the new program is implemented.

The new degree program has been passed by the Board of Governors, University Council and confirmed by University Senate. Regular updates on the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum development process are available at: http://words.usask.ca/pharmd.



For admissions inquiries, contact:

Diane Favreau
Undergraduate Affairs
College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
University of Saskatchewan

For media inquiries, contact:

Kieran Kobitz
Communications Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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