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.

  • Patient Care: The graduate will provide patient care in cooperation with patients and other members of an inter-professional health care team based upon sound therapeutic principles and evidence-based data, taking into account relevant legal, ethical, social, cultural, economic, and professional issues, emerging technologies, and evolving biomedical, pharmaceutical, social/behavioral/administrative, and clinical sciences that may impact therapeutic outcomes. Our graduates are experts in the pharmacists' patient care process.
  • Systems Management: The graduate will manage and use resources of the health care system, in cooperation with patients, other health care providers, and support personnel, to promote health; to provide, assess, and manage safe, accurate, and time-sensitive medication distribution; and to improve therapeutic outcomes. The graduate must demonstrate expertise in informatics.
  • patient-care-processPublic Health: The graduate will promote health improvement, wellness, and disease prevention in cooperation with patients, communities, at-risk populations, and other members of an inter-professional team of health care professionals.
  • Professionalism and Communication Skills: The graduate will exhibit effective communication skills, professional behaviors and attitudes that promote successful patient and professional interactions. They must bring to the practice of pharmacy the necessary values, attitudes, and behaviors to discern and manage ethical and evolving issues of pharmacy practice.
  • Scholarship: The graduate will exhibit intellectual curiosity by approaching problems from a scholarly perspective, applying scientific principles and methods to identify and solve problems.

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Introduction 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
Cell 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.
Applied 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.
Pharmacy 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.
Patient-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.
Patient-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
Pharmacotherapy 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.
Pharmacy 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.
Pharmaceutics (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.
Modern 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.
Pharmacology 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.
Pharmacotherapy 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)
IPPE 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.
Interprofessional 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.
  
Medicinal chemistry of drug classes (2 credit hours)This course is an application of medicinal chemistry concepts using clinically relevant case studies, designed to examine mechanism(s) of drug action and resistance, structure activity relationships, and other concepts related to the pharmacology and clinical use of modern drugs.
Pharmacokinetics (3 credit hours)This course provides students with a conceptual, working knowledge of drug disposition in the human body and how drug dosing corresponds with the time course of drug concentrations in patients. The influence of physiological and pathophysiological factors on drug concentrations and resulting pharmacological effects is considered. Knowledge gained from this course allows students to assess the appropriateness of drug dosing regimens in patients, calculate appropriate dosing of drugs in specific patients in order to achieve therapeutic goals, and anticipate whether drug doses should be adjusted in the presence of disease states or other drugs.
Evidence-based medicine and literature evaluation (3 credit hours)This course provides an introduction and step-wise approach to evidence-based medicine. Knowledge gained from this course allows students to understand published medical studies, commonly-used statistical tests, and their application to clinical practice. Students demonstrate this ability by critically appraising journal articles, answering short drug information questions, presenting a journal club and writing a drug information paper.
Public health and health outcomes 1 (3 credit hours)This course introduces students to health care delivery systems and discusses the social, political, and economic factors that influence these systems. The course draws upon core principles of epidemiology, health care economics, public health practice, and health policy development and implementation. As a result of this course, students will be able to link various medication use systems to their role in the development and participation in health promotion, disease prevention and public health policy.
Clinical problem solving skills (2 credit hours)This course builds upon the principles and skills from PHRD 5055/6065 and includes application inside and outside the classroom of drug information, effective search strategies and literature evaluation, critical appraisal of scientific literature, and applying evidence in clinical practice.
Pharmacotherapy 2 through 5 (variable 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:
  • Nephrology and Cardiovascular 1 (Pharmacotherapy 2)
  • Endocrinology, Gynecology, and Urology (Pharmacotherapy 3)
  • Cardiology 2 and Infectious Diseases 1 (Pharmacotherapy 4)
  • Psychiatry and Neurology (Pharmacotherapy 5)
Seminar research (1 credit hour)During this course, students will apply their ability to retrieve, evaluate, and utilize professional information in a critical and scientific manner as well as their ability to communicate this information to other health care providers effectively. This is a self-paced course in which students independently determine how to best solve a pharmacy-related question using scientific principles, and present their findings to a large audience.
Experiential IPE (1 credit hour)This experiential-based course aligns with the CU Center for IPE. Students complete interprofessional simulation training (Clinical Transformations) at the Center for Advancement of Professional Education and practice with a clinical team during the IP Provider IPPE Program (Clinical Integrations).
IPPE Health System (2 credit hours)This experiential-based course provides 80 hours of health-system pharmacy practice, focusing on the delivery of patient care and systems used to provide care to multiple patients. Course further develops professionalism, communication, and skills needed for advanced experiential training.
Interprofessional 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.
  
Public health and health outcomes 2 (3 credit hours)This course introduces quantitative methods and applications for the clinical and economic evaluation of health care interventions, including pharmaceuticals. Concepts covered are comparative effectiveness, cost effectiveness, efficiency, affordability, value, and coverage decision-making. As a result of this course students are able to analyze formulary decisions by weighing clinical effectiveness, safety, and costs; critically evaluate economic literature; and compare health care interventions on clinical, economic, and humanistic outcomes.
Pharmacy management (2 credit hours)The course provides an introduction to management in community pharmacy practice, hospital pharmacy management, and other business and management skills needed to be successful in a variety of different practice settings. Particular attention is given to key business relationships; business planning; market analysis; forms of ownership; service offerings; competitive strategies; operational issues such as promotion and marketing, customer service, financial, inventory and human resource management, drug plan and reimbursement challenges; establishment and management of Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services; technology and informatics; and professional advocacy to support pharmacy entrepreneurship.
Pharmacogenomics (2 credit hours)This course provides students with an understanding of how genetic factors influence drug disposition, response, and adverse effects. Knowledge gained from this course enhances students’ ability to apply genetic information to pharmacy practice and select the most appropriate therapeutic intervention(s).
Seminar research (1 credit hour)During this course students will apply their ability to retrieve, evaluate, and utilize professional information in a critical and scientific manner as well as their ability to communicate this information to other health care providers effectively. This is a self-paced course in which students independently determine how to best solve a pharmacy-related question using scientific principles, and present their findings to a large audience.
Pharmacotherapy 6 and 7 (variable 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:
  • Infectious Diseases 2 (Pharmacotherapy 6)
  • Hematology, Oncology, Rheumatology, and Transplantation (Pharmacotherapy 7)
Advanced introductory pharmacy practice experience (6 credit hoursStudents are placed in a 6-week, full-time (40 hours per week) patient care experience in which they can begin to apply their didactic knowledge. This advanced IPPE is the culmination of the introductory pharmacy practice program where students demonstrate competency to meet pre-APPE core performance domains and abilities which include 1) patient assessment; 2) medication information; 3) identification and assessment of drug related problems; 4) ethical, professional and legal behavior; 5) communication abilities; 6) counseling patients; 7) drug information analysis and literature research, and 8) health and wellness.
Health care informatics (2 credit hours)This course provides introductory content about informatics topics including a working understanding of knowledge systems for students to be able to manage medication use systems to optimize patient and population outcomes. Students learn to use tools to assess and address change, increase competitiveness, improve quality, and optimize patient services.
Clinical Capstone (6 credit hours)This course is designed to be a capstone that integrates essential core pharmacy practice topics. The philosophy of this course is to facilitate student learning and hold students accountable for prior learning in an integrated manner using complex patient scenarios. It is designed to mimic clinical experiences encountered during the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations that occur the following semester. There are neither lectures nor handouts in this course. Student are presented with patient scenarios in the form of mock medical records and are expected to critically evaluate (which includes assessment of disease and drug therapy) and prioritize problems and incorporate clinical evidence into their therapeutic recommendations. Students are assessed using both short answer written examinations and verbal evaluations.
  
Advanced Pharmacy Practice ExperiencesStudents are placed in a six, 6-week, full-time (40 hours per week) patient care experiences in a variety of practice settings during the fourth year. Students will also be placed in one, 3-week, full time (40 hours per week) medication therapy management (MTM) experience their fourth year. Students are required to complete the following rotation types: ambulatory care, community, hospital/health-system pharmacy, elective, and medication therapy management.
Intersession (2 credit hours)This 1-week course is a culminating experience. Students present clinical cases, clinical pearls, and drug information questions from their APPEs in a formalized manner that instills professionalism through collegial interactions, allows students to re-engage with the campus community, and cultivates a spirit of community.

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.

The PharmD Honors Research Program of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) aims to enrich the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) curriculum by offering students the opportunity to design, execute, and present a research project. In addition to fulfilling the normal coursework requirements of the PharmD curriculum, students in the PharmD Honors Research Program complete a research project under the direction and guidance of a faculty mentor. The PharmD Honors Research Program is designed for select students of strong academic merit who choose to pursue a longitudinal research project in addition to the required curriculum. Students in the program complete hands-on original research using contemporary and advanced scientific methods. It is an expectation of the PharmD Honors Research Program that projects should lead to presentations at national meetings and/or publications in a professional scientific journal. Students often find the PharmD Honors Research Program to be an avenue towards expanded career opportunities and specialization. Students successfully completing the PharmD Honors Research Program will be recognized at graduation, on their transcript and diploma as having “Graduated with Honors in Research.”

Honors Program Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)* - Coming Soon

Honors Thesis Study Course (2 credits)

Interested students should email the PharmD Honors Research Program Committee Chair at: sop-pharmd.honorsresearch@cuanschutz.edu

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.