Pharmacology Specialist (Science Program) - ASSPE2082

Pharmacology is an integrative medical science that builds upon the core foundational disciplines of the basic life sciences. The Pharmacology Specialist program aims to provide students with an understanding of the therapeutic properties and clinical uses of externally administered chemical substances in the whole body, as well as the mechanisms of their actions and interactions with molecular, cellular and tissue targets. This understanding prepares students for a variety of either research-based or non-research-based careers, including positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, in government agencies, in research institutes and in universities. Students learn about both basic and clinical pharmacology through lectures, tutorials, laboratories and independent research projects. The senior research project course enables students to gain valuable research experience while working under the supervision of an individual faculty member in either a laboratory-based or a non-laboratory-based setting.

Pharmacology (and its application in clinical therapeutics) plays a prominent role in society, and a comprehension of drug mechanisms and uses is fundamental to career success in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing. While some students take the Pharmacology Specialist program in preparation for these professional programs, students are advised to contact the respective Faculties directly for questions related to transfer credits.

This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 8.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enroll. Students interested in this program should initially apply to the Specialist in Pharmacology & Biomedical Toxicology Program (ASSPE2340) after their first year of study. Students in ASSPE2340 will have the opportunity to move into the Pharmacology Specialist (ASSPE2082) following their second year of study.

Students who have completed 4.0 to 7.5 credits cannot apply directly to ASSPE2082 and must first apply to ASSPE2340, using the following courses:

Students who have completed at least 8.0 credits and who are already enrolled in ASSPE2340 may enrol in ASSPE2082 themselves on ACORN.

Students who have completed at least 8.0 credits but who are not already enrolled in ASSPE2340 must apply to ASSPE2082 using the following courses:

Variable Minimum Grade and Variable Minimum Grade Average
A minimum grade and minimum grade average in required courses are needed for entry, and this minimum changes each year depending on available spaces and the number of applicants.

To ensure that students admitted to the program will be successful, applicants with a final grade lower than 65% in each course, or a combined grade average lower than 75% in these required courses will not be considered for admission. Please note that obtaining this minimum final grade and minimum grade average does not guarantee admission to the program. The underlying numeric final mark in each of your courses required for program enrolment will be used by the relevant academic unit to determine your eligibility.

Applications from students lacking numerical grades in one or more of the specified enrolment requirements, or students applying in their second or later years, may be considered on the basis of their entire academic record and the availability of space in the program. In addition to applying through ACORN, students applying in their second year or later are asked to please contact the department directly at, specify which program you would like to be considered for, and provide your student number. Please consult the Arts & Science Program Toolkit for more information on program enrolment.

Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP)

Students in this program have the option to request enrolment in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream. Students can apply for the ASIP stream after Year 1 (Year 2 entry) or after Year 2 (Year 3 entry, starting Fall 2024). Full details about ASIP, including student eligibility, selection and enrolment, are available in the ASIP section of the Arts & Science Academic Calendar. Please note that the majority of students enter ASIP in Fall term of Year 2. Space is more limited for Year 3 entry and there are program-specific year 3 entry enrolment requirements. Students applying for Year 3 entry must have been admitted to the Pharmacology Specialist in the Summer after Year 2 and completion of PCL201H1 (with a minimum grade of 77%), PSL300H1 and PSL301H1.


  • While it is difficult to predict what will be competitive course marks and average in a given year, based on previous years, the estimate is: course marks = mid 80s; average = mid 80s.
  • Students wishing to enroll in the Pharmacology Specialist will initially apply to the Joint Specialist in Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology (ASSPE2340). After admission, students can then choose to transfer to the Biomedical Toxicology Specialist. First and second year courses are the same for all Specialist programs within the Department (ASSPE2082/ASSPE2340/ASSPE2573).
  • Students cannot combine the Biomedical Toxicology Specialist with either departmental Major programs (Biomedical Toxicology or Pharmacology).
  • Students wishing to enroll after their second year who have taken PCL201H1 will be considered on a case by case basis. Successful completion of required pre-requisite courses is required to further enroll in upper level program courses. Students may not transfer to the Major program from the Specialist after completion of PCL472Y1 or INT300H1/​ INT301H1 in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP).

(14.5 credits)

First Year: BIO120H1, BIO130H1, ( CHM135H1, CHM136H1)/ CHM151Y1, and 1.0 credit from any combination of ( MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/​ MAT157Y1, PHY131H1/​ PHY151H1, PHY132H1/​ PHY152H1 (see NOTE 1)

Students in this program have the option to enrol in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream.

Second Year: BCH210H1, BIO230H1/​ BIO255H1, BIO260H1/​ HMB265H1, CHM247H1/​ CHM249H1, STA288H1, PCL201H1, ( PSL300H1, PSL301H1) (NOTE: PSL201Y1 is not acceptable)

Third Year: BCH311H1/​ PSL350H1, PCL302H1, at least one 0.5 credit from PCL367H1 or PCL368H1

Third or Fourth Year: PCL469H1 and 3.5 credits with at least 1.5 credits from PCL courses: JPM300H1/​ PCL345H1/​ PCL367H1 or PCL368H1 (see NOTE 2)/ PCL386H1/​ PCL389H1/​ PCL475H1/​ PCL476H1/​ PCL477H1/​ PCL484H1/​ PCL490H1/​ JPM400Y1/​ ANA300Y1/​ BCH340H1/​ BCH450H1

Fourth Year: PCL402H1, PCL470H1, PCL472Y1/​ JPM400Y1 (see NOTE 3)

An Integrative, Inquiry-Based Activity Requirement must be satisfied.

The requirement for an integrative, inquiry-based and/or experiential activity must be met by completing at least one of the following: PCL297H1, PCL389H1, PCL397Y0, PCL472Y1, JPM400Y1. Students who complete the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream will also meet this requirement.


  1. Any PHY/MAT courses should be completed during the first year and included for program enrolment.
  2. At least one 0.5 credit from PCL367H1 or PCL368H1 is required for the program, however if desired the alternative course can be taken as a program elective.
  3. Enrolment in either PCL472Y1 or JPM400Y1 is limited and requires permission from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Students must receive prior consent from course coordinator according to Departmental guidelines before the Department will register them in the course. Students can take either course as their required independent project, or may take JPM400Y1 as an additional elective. It is the student’s responsibility to make all necessary preparations before the session starts (see course description).
  4. Students wishing to apply their Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) towards the requirement to complete PCL472Y1/​ JPM400Y1 should reach out to