The purpose of the curriculum is to prepare graduates to be competent, ethical, contemporary and compassionate entry-level pharmacists. They will be committed to active involvement in the advancement of the pharmacy profession and dedicated to fulfilling the public trust by assuming responsibility for optimizing patient care through provision of appropriate drug therapy and by assuring the safe, effective and efficient use of drug products and drug delivery systems.

PHRD 5001Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences (0.6 credit hour)This course introduces students to how the pharmaceutical, chemical and biological sciences relate to each other and the practice of Pharmacy. Experience gained from this course allows students to comprehend how fundamental sciences integrate to form a foundation for pharmacy practice
PHRD 5015Cell biology; Mechanisms of diseases (3 credit hours)This course introduces students to concepts in cell biology and pathophysiology that form a foundation for understanding the mechanisms by which drugs act or intervene with disease processes. Knowledge gained from this course sets a foundation for understanding disease development and progression in subsequent courses.
PHRD 5025Applied biological chemistry (3 credit hours)This course builds upon student knowledge of biochemistry to explore applications of biochemistry to diseases, drug actions and drug development. Knowledge gained from this course is used as a foundation for understanding the rationale for the therapeutic uses of drugs.
PHRD 5045Pharmacy law and regulatory standards (3 credit hours)This course introduces students to pharmacy laws and regulations and as a result, students are able to carry out their intern duties in accordance with professional guidelines and regulatory standards. The course also explores how to apply ethical and professional principles in various healthcare settings.
PHRD 5065Patient-centered communication 1 (3 credit hours)This course is the first of a two-course series designed to help students develop skills to communicate effectively with patients, caregivers and healthcare providers to facilitate the achievement of optimal patient outcomes. These courses will cover all aspects of professional communication, including gathering, organizing, conveying and documenting patient-related information. The courses emphasize a patient-centered approach to communication and cover social factors such as health literacy, barriers to communication and cultural competency. These courses will foster and develop professional behaviors and attitudes in pharmacy practice. The second semester builds on concepts learned in the first semester, and focuses on obtaining a medication history, providing patient education for prescription medications, motivational interviewing, as well as further developing a patient-specific assessment and plan which is then communicated in a verbal or written format with other healthcare providers. The course integrates concepts learned in Self Care Pharmacotherapy 2 and Pharmacotherapy 1 including prescription medications. This active learning course consists of a one-hour didactic session and a three-hour small group session weekly.
PHRD 5965Patient-centered communication 2 (3 credit hours)This course is the second of a two-course series designed to help students develop skills to communicate effectively with patients, caregivers and healthcare providers to facilitate the achievement of optimal patient outcomes. These courses will cover all aspects of professional communication, including gathering, organizing, conveying and documenting patient-related information. The courses emphasize a patient-centered approach
PHRD 5075Pharmacotherapy self-care 1 & 2 (3 credit hours & 2 credit hours)This course will prepare the student to be able to 1) collect appropriate patient data to make an assessment for self-care (e.g. nonprescription products), 2) conduct a patient-centered assessment, and 3) design, implement, evaluate and adjust a patient-centered self-care plan.
PHRD 5055Pharmacy practice fundamentals and drug information (4 credit hours)Course provides students with the tactics necessary to perform dispensing duties in most pharmacy settings and systems. The fundamentals of the practice of drug information are introduced so that students can retrieve, evaluate, and utilize professional and lay information in a critical and scientific manner that enhances their practice of pharmacy. The pharmacy practice and drug information fundamentals are presented to the students with the context of the history of pharmacy and contemporary pharmacy practice.
PHRD 5925Pharmaceutics (4 credit hours)This course introduces students to biophysical and chemical considerations in the development of pharmaceutical products and compounding of various dosage forms. Principles of parenteral drug preparation and administration are learned. Dosage forms are discussed in the context of formulation and delivery, and laboratory exercises include compounding of sterile and non-sterile preparations. Knowledge gained from this course will allow the student to understand formulation development and optimize dosage forms for individual patients.
PHRD 5915Modern drug design and drug action (2 credit hours)This course explores the modern drug discovery and development processes and utilizes clinical examples to teach students to rationalize and predict how the chemical structure of a drug dictates its medicinal properties and routes of metabolism.
PHRD 5935Pharmacology and toxicology (2 credit hours)Using nervous systems as a model, the course introduces students to the mechanisms by which drugs produce therapeutic effects and side effects. The mechanisms of drug toxicity and how toxicity can be prevented and treated will be explored.
PHRD 5985Pharmacotherapy 1 (4 credit hours)This 7 course series covers core clinical sciences includes pathophysiology, pharmacology, and therapeutics of a range of system based physiological conditions. Standards of care, controversial issues, pharmacotherapy advances, and patient management are covered. Active learning strategies and patient care-related skills activities are incorporated. Courses in this academic year:
  • Gastrointestinal, Pulmonology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Otic Diseases (Pharmacotherapy 1)
PHRD 5010IPPE Community (2 credit hours)This is the first in a series of experiential-based courses, providing 80 hours of community pharmacy practice experience. Students will participate in all facets of community pharmacy practice, with a particular focus on the development of communication and professionalism skills.
PHRD 5002Interprofessional Education & Development (1 credit hour)Interprofessional Education and Development (IPED) is a two-semester course required of health professions students from the dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant programs on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The course is longitudinal and takes place over approximately 15 sessions divided between the spring of year 1 and the fall of year 2. Sessions involve active learning using a team-based learning (TBL) method to engage learners in three competency domains: Teamwork & Collaboration, Ethics & Values and Quality & Safety. These domains are derived from a consensus group representing health professions programs nationwide, are required by many accreditation bodies, and have been vetted by CU schools and programs.

The intent of offering elective courses is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in learning experiences beyond those included in the required curriculum. Consistent with ACPE standards for professional programs leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, multiple opportunities are provided throughout the curriculum for students to take elective courses that develop areas of personal interest, to expand understanding of professional opportunities, and to achieve the outcomes of the curriculum.

The following policies apply to courses that can be taken for elective credit:

  1. A course for elective credit can be offered to and taken by any student in the first three years of the curriculum (P1-P3) provided: a) the student has satisfied the prerequisites for the course and b) the course does not conflict with other courses being taken by the student. NOTE: P1s are not allowed to take elective courses in the P1 fall semester.
  2. Independent study courses may be used to meet elective requirements of the curriculum provided that the course does not conflict with other courses being taken by the student Note: no more than 2 credit hours from any one Independent Study course may be applied toward fulfilling the 6 credit hour elective requirement.
  3. The content of an elective must be tied to the School's ability-based outcomes and complement or enhance the core curriculum. 
  4. Students are encouraged to take elective courses in more than one topic area. In addition, students may take more than the required number of credit hours of elective courses.
  5. For elective courses in which the number of students is limited, those students needing to fulfill their minimal elective requirements (i.e., have less than the required credit hours of elective courses) will be given highest priority and in the following order: P3s first, P2s second, P1s third and lastly any student who has already completed the required credit hours of elective courses. After these criteria have been met, allocation will be on order of registration. Extenuating academic circumstances may dictate a change in this order.
  6. Additional tuition expenses may be incurred for elective courses taken during the summer.
  7. All elective course requirements must be completed before a student is permitted to progress to the P4 year.

Graduation Requirements

Students in the University of Colorado Doctor of Pharmacy program are required to complete a minimum of six elective credit hours, in three different courses, of which two credit hours must be "P3 only" electives offered in the spring of the P3 year.

Elective Course Offerings

Not all elective courses are offered every academic year. The course director’s availability determines when/if the course will be offered. Courses with low enrollment may be canceled prior to the start of the semester.

Independent study is a great way for students to gain additional experience in particular realms of pharmacy practice that interest them and suit their ultimate career goals. Examples of recurring independent study offerings include:

  • APhA Institute on Alcohol & Drug Dependency
  • Kaiser Managed Care

In addition to these, students are welcome to work with an individual faculty member and propose any other independent study consistent with their career interests.

Submissions for a proposed independent study must be made no later than May 1 (for summer semester), August 1 (for fall semester) or December 1 (for spring semester). Please see the guidelines document for more information.