U of S to introduce new pharmacy curriculum

The following information was issued today to media by Marketing and Communications at the University of Saskatchewan. Please share this information with relevant individuals. For more information, news is posted on the U of S news website at: http://words.usask.ca/news/category/media-releases/

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

PharmD program proposal nearly finalized

The Pharmacy Division is in the final stages of developing its proposal for the new PharmD program at the University of Saskatchewan.  At two recent faculty retreats, there was agreement on a draft curriculum structure which includes an expanded experiential education program.  Students will be able to interact with patients, preceptors, and other health professionals throughout the program with weekly experiential activities, two 4-week introductory rotations in the summers between year 1 and 2 and years 2 and 3.  Service learning, an important part of the current BSP program will continue through year one of the PharmD.  After a brief orientation, students in their final year will complete 32 weeks of advanced experiential education consisting of three eight week ‘core’ patient care rotations, and an  elective 8 week rotation.

Prior to submission to the University, the Pharmacy Division will review the full proposal on Oct 23, and the College’s Faculty Council will also meet to approve it on Oct 30.  Our target for submission to the Academic Programs Committee of University Council is November 1, 2015.  Once submitted, the full proposal will be considered by APC prior to their recommending it to University Council. The budget and tuition model will be reviewed by the Board of Governors (Dec 2015 and Mar 2016), and the revised admission requirements will be looked at by University Senate (April 2016).  If this timeline moves forward as planned, we expect full approval by April 30, 2016, for implementation in the fall of 2017.  In addition to extensive consultation within the University, we will also consult with government and the community regarding the proposal.

While the proposal is moving through the various consultative stages, the faculty will continue its work to flesh out the courses,  and teaching and assessment strategies so that a more detailed program document can be submitted to CCAPP for consideration for ‘provisional accreditation’ of the PharmD program, when the CCAPP accreditation team visits the College in the fall of 2016 to review the BSP program.

Further information about the program will be posted as it becomes available.  Watch this site for updates and opportunities to provide feedback!

Linda Suveges
Yvonne Shevchuk
Shauna Gerwing

Brief Progress Report

Progress is underway with our PharmD curriculum.  The faculty and academic staff at the College have formed four content stream working groups.  These streams consist of:

  • Sociobehavioral & Administrative Sciences,
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences,
  • Pharmacotherapeutics, and
  • Pharmacy Practice Skills including: Patient Care and Communications & Evidence Based Medicine.

We are forging ahead with our work within these streams and are planning to come together for our next faculty retreat scheduled for late June.

To date, the Experiential Education Working Group has formed and has held its first meeting. At this time the College wishes to extend thanks to the preceptors across the province and country that have volunteered to help with this project. While it is important to note that not everyone can be actively involved in participation on the Experiential Education working group, we do plan to draw upon your knowledge and expertise for future projects that will stem from this working group.

We wish to thank everyone for their continued involvement and interest in our program development.

Wanted: Volunteers for development of experiential education in the PharmD program


As you know, the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition is currently in the process of curriculum renewal and development, leading to the implementation of the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) as the first professional degree in Pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan.  As is the case with our BSP program, experiential education will be an important component of the PharmD program.

To make the transition to the PharmD and to develop the best structured practices experiences (SPE) program for it, we are seeking active input and participation from pharmacists across the province and throughout Canada.  As a practitioner, we would particularly value your input into the development of a revised SPE program.

There will be many opportunities for input over the next few years including: membership on experiential education working groups or focus groups, or as reviewers/participants in various projects and activities as we work toward and implement the PharmD program. The first step will be to form small committees (we call them working groups), one of which will begin work immediately to outline a plan for the overall SPE program.  We expect to use on-line technology to hold meetings, probably every 2-4 weeks.  Suitable times will be arranged to meet participants’ schedules. Some pre-meeting reading and preparation will be required.

Other opportunities (e.g., responding to ideas via focus groups) will occur over the next few months and we will send out additional calls for volunteers as needed.

If you are interested in helping with this process immediately, please contact Shauna Gerwing at: shauna.gerwing@usask.ca or Linda Suveges at: linda.suveges@usask.ca by March 10th, 2015.

Thank you for your commitment to this important process.  We look forward to working with you.


Shauna Gerwing & Linda Suveges

PharmD Curriculum – What’s Next?

Welcome to PharmD Update! This is the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition’s blog to keep you informed as the new PharmD curriculum is developed. We’ve heard many questions from both students and alumni who are curious about what the new PharmD credential means for them, so we’ve started this blog to provide the necessary answers. We’ll take you through the entire PharmD development process, and this format gives you the opportunity to submit your questions and comments.

In November, the faculty held a retreat to begin work on developing the new PharmD curriculum. After a number of productive meetings the groundwork was laid to begin the curriculum development process. The following email from Professor Emeritus Linda Suveges was recently circulated to the faculty and staff, and it outlines the next steps over the coming months.

Note: We’re even ahead of schedule on the PharmD portal – it’s this blog!



There are two purposes for this message: first I want to thank everyone for all the ideas and your enthusiastic participation in our discussions at our recent retreat. It was awesome! Second, I want to give you an idea of what we propose as a timeline for the ‘next steps”:

  1. An Executive Summary of the retreat, along with a timeline (based on a new implementation date of 2017) and a list of action items will be circulated by December 15, 2014.
  1. A PharmD portal is being set up on our website so we can keep stakeholders informed about developments. It will be ‘live’ after December 15, 2014.
  1. A draft PharmD program will be developed and circulated by January 31, 2015. It will include proposed prerequisites and courses/activities for years 1 through 4,   developed from all the ideas generated at the retreat and any that may follow in the next few weeks.
  1. Certain working groups will be activated (or reactivated) and will report in January so their work can be incorporated into the draft program (e.g., the Admissions WG will provide answers to the action items defined for it.)
  1. We will be making a joint statement with SCP about the Pharm D, the website portal and the College’s plan moving forward that will be circulated to all pharmacists in the province. We hope to make this joint statement either at the end of the year or in early 2015.
  1. The next Faculty Retreat will be held Wednesday February 25, 2015. As you prepare your term 2 courses and activities, please arrange things so you can attend this important retreat where we expect to make decisions about the program so we can move it forward for further development.

If new ideas or questions about the PharmD program have emerged since the Retreat, please forward them to me and I will answer and/or keep track of them as we move forward in our curriculum planning activities.

Thanks again for your help and support as we move forward.  My best wishes to all for the next few weeks as the term draws to a close!  (And no, I am not available to mark any exams!)



Remember, we welcome your questions and comments! Feel free to use the “Leave a Reply” function below, or email our communications specialist at kieran.kobitz@usask.ca. Your questions and comments will help guide us on what to write for future blogs. We may not have the answers yet, but we’ll make it a priority to ensure you’re informed as soon as possible.

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