This program (PIA) addresses analytical methodology, instrumentation, computation and interpretation. The PIA program serves the needs of academic, clinical, government and industrial analysis.

The main objective of the PIA program is to provide students working in pharmaceutical laboratories with fundamental training in the theory and practice of modern, instrumental methods of analysis. The PIA program stresses the importance of instrumentation in the solution of problems encountered in the workplace.

Students must wear lab coats and safety glasses in the lab. These items may be purchased in the Seneca@York bookstore.


Information Session

Students are invited to attend an information session.

Career Opportunities

Graduates are of great interest to employers in the pharmaceutical industry for responsible positions in analysis, development, and quality control.

The following is the list of career opportunities that may be available for the student after completing the Pharmaceutical Instrumentation Analyst Certificate. 

Program Specialization

Industry Department

Titles Used in Industry

Pharmaceutical R&D

Pharmaceutical Quality Control
R&D Support, Quality Control, Stability Testing Analyst (at different levels), Quality Control Chemist, Quality Control Technician

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Entry Requirements

Students must have a diploma or degree with a focus on Chemistry, Biology or Pharmaceutical studies.

Professionals working in the pharmaceutical industry may register for individual courses to upgrade their skills but must meet Entry Requirements and contact the coordinator for program eligibility.


It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Knowledge of the prerequisite material is assumed by your instructor and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or Transfer Credit for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty.

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Due to COVID-19, all Part-time Studies courses are being offered online until further notice, in one of the following two formats: online virtual classroom and online self-directed. Click Availability below to see current offerings.


Laboratory Quality Assurance

This course focuses on the quality assurance and quality control techniques used in a pharmaceutical analytical laboratory. Guidelines for the calibration and validation of laboratory equipment and methods are discussed. Students also learn to write SOP's and the application of GLP's in an analytical laboratory. (Lectures only)

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Applied Pharmaceutical Analysis


Strongly recommend students have Basic HPLC experience

Students learn the theoretical, practical and industrial applications of pharmaceutical compound analysis using various HPLC systems with a focus on UV absorbance detection. (Lectures and Labs)

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Gas Chromatography in Pharmaceutical Analysis

Gas Chromatography is the most widely used analytical technique for the separation and analysis of organic compounds. The efficiency of capillary columns, the sensitivity and selectivity of the detectors and the fully automated GC systems available makes the Gas Chromatography indispensable for any analytical laboratory. (Lectures and Labs)

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Separation Chromatography / Spectrophotometry

This course provides a theoretical and practical study of separation chromatography and spectrophotometry used in the testing and development of pharmaceutical products as well as evaluation of the chromatographic results by spectrophotometry. This course concludes with the study of accelerated testing of pharmaceutical shelf-life stability. (Lecture and Lab)

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Dissolution Testing of Pharmaceutical Products

Starting with the history of dissolution testing of pharmaceutical products, this course takes the student through the theory and concepts such as bio availability and bio equivalence and in vivo and vitro correlation. Experiments are designed with emphasis on thorough understanding of the working of the apparatus, the experimental variables and their control in order to achieve consistent results. Beginning with the USP Apparatus I and Apparatus II to test immediate release products this hands on course leads the student through dissolution profiling and dissolution testing of modified release tablets such as enteric coated and sustained release tablets with strong emphasis on the requirements of the United States Pharmacopeia, FDA and Health Canada a. ( Lecture and Labs)

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Fundamentals of Physical Testing

This course provides a theoretical and practical study of some of the most commonly used, but critical physical testings in the pharmaceutical industry of solid, semi-solid and liquid dosage forms. Such testing is mandatory as per regulations and critical from a quality point of view and includes in-process testing of bulk product, finished product and raw-material. In recent years, testing also focused on pre-formulation studies and physical characterization of pharmaceutical active ingredients. Students practice using instruments such as a microscope, particle size analyzer, viscometer, moisture analyzer and various tabletting in-process test instruments including disintegration tester, hardness tester and friability tester. Students gain theoretical knowledge of x-ray diffraction, particle size analysis by laser defraction and differential scanning calorometry (DSC). Students also learn about applying these various techniques for analytical and formulation purposes. (Lecture and Labs)

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Introduction To Mass Spectrometry in Drug Analysis

This course is an introduction to the basic principles of mass spectrometry with detailed interpretation of each of its components. Topics include various modes of mass spectrometric detection such as electron impact (EI), electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) as well as selected ion mode (SIM) and selected reaction mode (SRM). Emphasis is on the principle and theory in interpretation of mass spectrum with examples of some commonly known drugs . A demonstration of GC-MS provides students with a first hand introduction to this powerful analytical technique.

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Drug Assay by UV

This course describes, through practical lab sessions, the use of spectrophotometry by compendium (USV-BP) methods of assay identification. Features include alternative procedures where inferences occur due to excipient and degradation of products. (Lectures and Labs)

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Note: These Instrument and Lab courses cannot be challenged: PFT830, PFT902, PFT503, PFT504, PFT505 and PFT931.

If your degree is older than 8 years, you are not eligible for Transfer Credit. You can still earn a credit by applying through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process.

Program Outcomes

The main outcomes of the PIA program are to:

  • provide a sound theoretical basis for analytical measurements.
  • develop an understanding of the operation of modern analytical instrumentation and how it can be interfaced with computer hardware and software.
  • develop competence in the application of modern techniques of data analysis in analytical method development.
  • develop analytical problem-solving skills.

As well the PIA program will focus on method selection, development and validation for pharmaceutical compounds, as required in quality control and drug analysis. Practical training in modern analytical techniques used in the quality control laboratories of the pharmaceutical industry is provided, with lectures on the principles behind each method.

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Office of the Registrar.


When you meet all program requirements and become eligible for a certificate, diploma, or degree, you must inform the Registrar by completing a Graduation Application form and paying the graduation and alumni fee. Certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees are issued twice a year in the Fall (October) and Spring (June).

For further information including deadlines and fees, please visit the  Convocation website or contact the Convocation Office at 416-491-5050 ext. 77461.

Minimum Performance for Graduation

A student will be eligible to graduate from a certificate, diploma, advanced diploma or graduate certificate program if they have achieved a minimum graduating GPA of 2.0.

A student will be eligible to graduate from a degree program if they have achieved a minimum graduating GPA of 2.5, which includes a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the courses in their main field of study and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in breadth courses.

Program Contacts

Maria Graziosi
Program Assistant
416-491-5050 ext.22512

Melanie Rubens
Program Coordinator
416-491-5050 ext.22589

For more information about this program, fill out the following form.

Information Session

Students are invited to attend an information session.