Make a difference in the quality of life—and quality of death—for those in palliative care.

Pharmacists play a vital role for those facing serious illness and end of life. The Micro-certificate in Palliative Care Pharmacy explores the principles of palliative care and equips pharmacists to contribute unique expertise to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Learn what you need to know to improve patients’ quality of life and contribute within the interprofessional palliative care team.

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Program description

Pharmacists are integral members of the multi-disciplinary team delivering palliative care to those facing life-threatening illness, including at the end of life. As more patients wish to remain at home for the end of life, pharmacists are increasingly called upon to contribute expertise in palliative care pharmacy outside of institutional settings.

Developed in partnership between Victoria Hospice and Continuing Studies at the University of Victoria, the online Palliative Care Pharmacy micro-credential program enables pharmacists to acquire the specialized knowledge to support palliative care patients, family, health and community care nurses, and general practitioners. Topics covered include: the pharmacist’s role in a palliative care team; principles of pain management; use of opioids in palliative care; symptom management; deprescribing; drug-related adverse effects; and cancer-associated thrombosis.

Expect to spend four to six hours per week in this program. Upon successful completion participants earn a micro-certificate.

Program highlights

  • Flexible online learning: asynchronous format allows learners to continue working while studying
  • Learn from instructors who are experienced palliative care pharmacists 
  • Opportunity to apply theory into practice with discussions and activities that cover principles of palliative care pharmacy as well as specific assessment and prescribing skills

Program outcomes

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain what palliative care is and the pharmacist's role in the team approach
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the various components of a thorough pain history and the general principles of pain management.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of opioid use/conversions including fentanyl transdermal patches and methadone for pain in the palliative context.
  4. Apply evidence-based management of commonly encountered symptoms 
  5. Identify and be able to advise on drug related adverse effects
  6. Be able to discuss the role of cannabis in palliative care
  7. Distinguish between medications that are non-essential and those continuing to provide symptomatic benefit at the end of life


EP Accredited

The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy has accredited Palliative Care Pharmacy for 18 CEUs.

In partnership with

Victoria Hospice Logo

Victoria Hospice

Who is this program for?

The Palliative Care Pharmacy program is specially designed for pharmacists who work with palliative care patients, their families, health and community care nurses, and general practitioners.

Career options

Some of our learners pursue careers in the following roles:
  • Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Retail Pharmacist
  • Palliative Care Pharmacist


News and resources

Application and fees

Admission requirements

Open to all pharmacists. No prerequisites.

English language requirement for international students

International applicants whose first language is not English must submit proof of English proficiency with either:

  • TOEFL 90 on the online test or 575 on the paper-based test, with no section less than 20, or 
  • IELTS 6.5, with no individual component less than 6.0

How to apply

There is no application necessary for this program. Simply register for the one course below, and upon successful completion, you will receive a micro-certificate.

Registration details

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