Frequently Asked Questions

UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences' Flexible Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program has been approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education. The information provided here is subject to change as the program is implemented.

The Winter 2019/20 application is now open.

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General Questions

What is the Flex PharmD program?
The UBC Flex PharmD program is a professional doctoral degree program for pharmacists.

Who would benefit from the Flex PharmD program?
Registered pharmacists who have a bachelor's degree in pharmacy (with or without a residency), who wish to advance their training, attain a PharmD degree, and do so while continuing to work full-time or part-time.

What is the difference between a Non-Traditional PharmD, a Working Professional PharmD, and a Flex PharmD?
These are all different names for the same concept, a degree program leading to Doctor of Pharmacy credential.

What are the main program components?
The program has two components:
1. coursework, most of which will be completed by distance (online)
2. experiential learning

Students in the program are required to be onsite for a portion of the Patient Assessment Skills and Critical Appraisal of Pharmacotherapy Literature courses. In addition, there will be occasions in which the student will be required to attend seminars at UBC Point Grey campus during the semester.

Will I be required to be at the UBC-Vancouver campus for courses?
The first week of the first term will include both scheduled coursework for Patient Assessment Skills, and a formal orientation program at the UBC Vancouver campus. This orientation will introduce students to the Faculty, its expectations for academic and professional conduct, and some of the skills required to succeed in the program. Students registered in the Critical Appraisal of Pharmacotherapy Literature courses, will also be required to be at the UBC Vancouver campus for scheduled coursework on Day 5. Attendance in-person is mandatory for all sessions.

Flex PharmD Program Orientation & Onsite Coursework
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Click here for more information

How long will it take to complete the program?
We anticipate most students will take between three to five years to complete the program, however, the maximum time allowed for the completion of the program is six (6) years from the date of enrolment in the program. Suggested program schedules are available on the Current Students, Flex PharmD Students page.

How much will it cost?
Please visit our Fees and Financial Assistance page for more details.

How much experiential rotation work is required?
Six months.

Will I be able to do any of my experiential rotations where I work?
Students may be able to complete a portion of their experiential learning requirements in their current practice, provided that the environment and supervision meet the experiential learning requirements and standards of the program.

Could I receive credit for prior experience and learning toward program completion?
Yes. The program has established a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) component. Credit for prior learning will be dependent on the amount and type of learning obtained from formal and non-formal experiences. A maximum of 50% of the program requirements could be waived through PLAR. More information is available on the PLAR site.

Will the program be available to non-BC residents?
In our selection of applicants, we give preference to well-qualified residents of British Columbia who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Admissions is not restricted to BC residents in the first year. We encourage all applicants who meet the admissions requirements to apply for the program, regardless of their current place of residence.

How many intakes are there per year for the Flex PharmD program?
There is only one intake per year for the Flex PharmD program; however, applicants may choose to begin the program either in September or January.

If I am currently practicing pharmacy, why would I need to go through experiential placements?
The Flex PharmD will broaden your scope of practice, and provide you with opportunities to experience different work environments that will help you bring best practices back to your own workplace.

If I'm a current BSc(Pharm) student at UBC, will I get preferential admission to the Flex PharmD?
No. Admission to the Flex PharmD will be competitive.

What will be the enrolment capacity for the Flex PharmD?
We plan to launch with a class of up to 30 students per intake and expand thereafter.

Could someone take the Flex PharmD "full time" (not while working)? Would it take less time to complete?
The length of time it will take for a student to complete the program will depend on the timing of required courses being offered. As the program is designed for a working student, there is no guarantee that someone taking the program "full time" would be able to complete it any sooner than a working colleague could.

Is the UBC Grad PharmD program available?
The Grad PharmD program selected its last class of students in January 2016. The program will cease to exist following graduation of the 2016 cohort.

Will the Flex PharmD degree from UBC allow me to be registered as a pharmacist in other provinces?
The Flex PharmD program prepares students to practice pharmacy as a skilled clinician. Every province has its own registration/licensing body that determines who may and may not practice pharmacy. All questions regarding registration licensing should be directed to the relevant provincial pharmacy regulatory authority.

I am a registered pharmacist in another province/territory in Canada, am I still eligible to apply to the program?
Admission requirements include a current registration as a pharmacist in BC or hold registration with the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada and be eligible for registration with the College of Pharmacists of BC. If you are a registered pharmacist in another province/ territory in Canada, the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) allows your current registration/license to be recognized in BC. Information about registration process for Pharmacist from Canada is available from the College of Pharmacists of BC website.

I'm an International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) who is not registered/licensed to practice in Canada, am I eligible to apply for admission to the Flex PharmD? Should I choose the Flex PharmD program?
If you have graduated from an international faculty of pharmacy that is not accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP), you must pass the PEBC examinations (Evaluating Examination, Qualification Examination 1 & 2), meet the English Language Proficiency assessment, complete a minimum of 500 hours of Structure Practical Training (SPT) and complete the Jurisprudence examination (JE) before applying to the program.

Information about the registration process for IPGs is available from the College of Pharmacists of BC or Pharmacist Gateway Canada’s website. Additional information is available through UBC PharmSci’s Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program, a comprehensive program designed to help IPGs achieve the skills and competencies required to practice pharmacy in Canada.

I completed the Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program (CP3). Do I need to submit CP3 transcripts with my application?
The Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program (CP3) does not issue transcripts. Upon completion of the CP3 program students are provided with a Statement of Completion. The CP3 program will not be evaluated for admission to any undergraduate program at UBC, therefore documentation from this program is not required for your Flex PharmD application. Students who have completed the CP3 program may refer to their learning experiences in their Supplemental Application.


What is the difference between PLAR Credit and Transfer Credit?
PLAR Credit is awarded if learning acquired through formal study (e.g. through structured credit programming by accredited educational bodies) or non-formal study (non-credit learning attained outside of formal studies) meets or exceeds the learning outcomes of the challenge course.

Transfer Credit is a process whereby formal credit awarded by one institution may be applied toward a credential offered by another institution. There are no opportunities for transferring credits from another institution to the Flex PharmD program.

When can I apply for PLAR?
You can initiate a request for PLAR at any time after admission to the program; however, you are advised to decide which challenge option(s) are best for you within your first six months in the program.

What are the main steps in the PLAR process?

  1. Attend PLAR Information Session
  2. Consult with the Flex PharmD Program Manager
  3. Begin PLAR Application for Course Challenge
  4. Review Application Package with the Program Manager
  5. Pay Assessment Fees and Register for Didactic Course (if applicable)
  6. Submit Application and complete assessment: Challenge Examinations; or
    Portfolio Submissions
  7. Assessment Application Reviewed by Assessors
  8. Results Finalized by the Flex PharmD Student Progress & PLAR Committee
  9. Candidates Notified of Results

Which Flex PharmD Program courses are eligible for PLAR credit?

  • Didactic Course Challenges: PHRM 451, 453, and 454
  • Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE): PHRM 491 – 496

The maximum credit that you can attain through PLAR is 50% of the overall credits in the Flex PharmD program. A maximum of 12 weeks of the 26 weeks APPE can be challenged through PLAR. All students are required to complete 14 weeks of APPE to be eligible for program completion.

What is the difference between a Challenge Examination, Abbreviated Portfolio Assessment and Full Portfolio Assessment?
Challenge examination is an assessment option available for Didactic Course Challenge only. This can be completed as a Written or Oral examination or a Performance Assessment such as Skills Demonstration depending on the course and its learning outcomes.

Abbreviated Portfolio Assessment is an option available for either PHRM 454 or APPE Challenges. This option is only available if you have completed an approved residency within the last five years, hold an in-date post-licensure certification or prescribing privilege or have earned an additional degree from Canada/USA. Refer to Table 1 for more information.

Full Portfolio Assessment is available for APPE challenges only, and only if an applicant has not met the maximum PLAR credit through another assessment option. The portfolio is a compilation of your prior learning and supporting evidence that demonstrate your skills and knowledge in relation to the specific learning outcomes for the APPE challenged.

What are the benefits of applying for PLAR Credit?
PLAR Credit provides an opportunity for you to acquire course-credits for your prior formal and non-formal learning. If credit is awarded, it will reduce the amount of time you need to commit to earning the course-credits, or the number of weeks of experiential learning required for program completion.

What type of assistance will I receive if I apply for PLAR?
The Flex PharmD Program Manager provides on-going assistance to students who would like to apply for PLAR challenges, such as review of PLAR process, challenge options, application and/or portfolio development, revisions, application submission, etc. Contact the Program Manager for further details.

How much does PLAR cost?
Depending on what type of assessment method you are applying for, the fees will vary.

  • Challenge Exam $450
  • Abbreviated Portfolio Assessment $450
  • Full Portfolio Assessment $750

PLAR fees must be paid at the time of application submission and are non-refundable.

How much time do I have to complete my PLAR portfolio?
Portfolios must be submitted within six weeks after paying the assessment fee. If additional time is required, please speak with the Office of Student Services. We encourage students to collaborate with the Office of Student Services on compiling a portfolio prior to paying the assessment fee.

Do PLAR credits count towards a GPA?
No, the PLAR credits do not count towards your GPA. If you are awarded PLAR credits, you will receive an "PLA" for the course challenged. There will be no mark or grade indicated on your student record.

Who are the assessors?
Assessors are faculty members who are responsible for assessing a student's prior learning based on evidence submitted. Assessors are individuals with expertise in the profession of pharmacy who have been trained in the principles and practices of Prior Learning Assessment.

What are the assessors looking for?
Assessors are looking to determine if the evidence provided by the student is authentic, comparable, current, sufficient to meet program learning outcomes and qualitative. The quality of the learning experience is more important than the quantity, or amount of time spent in the activity.

How will I find out the results of PLAR assessment?
A letter will be issued to the candidate regarding the results of the PLAR assessment. If credit is awarded, you will receive an "PLA" for the challenged course. If credit is not awarded, you are required to continue with the course as scheduled.

What can I do if I am unsatisfied with the results of my PLAR assessment?
If you are unsatisfied with the results of your PLAR assessment, you may complete and submit an Appeal Application within 10 days of the assessment results. The Dean's Advisory Committee on Student Appeals (DACSA) will commence re-evaluation of your assessment accordingly.

How many times can I challenge a didactic course or APPE?
Students may not challenge a didactic course or APPE more than once.