Experiential Program

Experiential education is hands-on learning that takes place outside of a classroom. The CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Office of Experiential Programs focuses on providing clinical training opportunities for pharmacy students early and throughout the PharmD program. The goal is to ensure that students will have the self-confidence and ability to practice independently upon graduation.

To achieve that goal, students are placed in community pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other innovative interprofessional pharmacy practice settings in local, national and international locations. Students are supervised by licensed healthcare practitioners, the majority of whom are pharmacists. 

Why our Experiential Program is different:


Advanced Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (aIPPE)

Third year pharmacy students will complete a full 6-week immersive clinical experience in a practice setting of their choice to prepare them for their fourth and final year.


The Colorado Commitment

Every CU Pharmacy student will have an opportunity to train in rural areas throughout Colorado.


International Opportunities​

CU Pharmacy has relationships with healthcare practitioners all over the world. Students will have multiple opportunities to learn how pharmacy is practiced in other countries, and provide advanced level patient care.


Interprofessional Collaboration and Training

Pharmacy students will interact with and be supervised by physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists in a variety of practice settings during the experiential phases of the program.

Experiential Program at-a-glance​

exp programs

Exploration of pharmacy practice

The Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) program exposes students to a wide variety of clinical experiences, with the primary focus balanced between community and health system practices. Students will apply concepts and skills learned in the classroom setting with real patients in various pharmacy practice settings under the supervision of licensed pharmacists.

Community IPPE

When: Summer between P1 and P2 year
Duration: 80 hours completed over two weeks
Where: Community, retail and independently owned pharmacies throughout Colorado, including metro Denver, rural Colorado, or, for distance-based students, in your home state!

Health-System/Hospital IPPE

When: Summer between P2 and P3 year
Duration: 80 hours completed over two weeks
Where: Hospitals and Ambulatory Care clinics throughout Colorado

In addition, students participate in virtual lab settings to prepare them for IPPEs


Application of acquired knowledge and skills

The Advanced IPPE (aIPPE) allows the student to engage in clinical practice under the supervision of a preceptor during an extended and concentrated six-week experience, mimicking the experience of a fourth-year clinical rotation. Students choose which practice setting in which to complete the experience.

When: P3 Spring; 6-weeks, January-February

Where: Various practice settings including community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, and ambulatory care clinics.

Delivery of direct patient care

The Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) program consists of a variety of extended pharmacy practice experiences throughout the fourth year. In contrast to the IPPE program, the APPE program allows the student to apply both the professional and technical skills needed to practice pharmaceutical care independently upon graduation.

When: May-May during P4 Year

Duration: Seven, 6-week APPEs

Where: Various practice settings including 1 community pharmacy, 2 hospital/health-system pharmacies, 1 ambulatory care clinic, and 3 electives (including additional experiences from above or non-patient care APPEs such as industry, research, legislative and education rotations as well as international and other unique experiences.)



The Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences gives back to Colorado by ensuring that rural areas of the state have access to healthcare and health professionals. Through our “Colorado Commitment”, students are given the opportunity to complete pharmacy rotations in underserved communities throughout the state. In these unique practice settings, students will become part of the community itself, experiencing the challenges and rewards of the expanded scope of practice required of rural pharmacists, many of whom serve as their community’s primary point of access to healthcare.

Through a partnership with the Colorado Area Health Education Center, the school is able to provide complimentary housing while students complete rural rotations.

Whether placed in the high plains or the high country, students will experience the beauty of Colorado firsthand, in places such as Alamosa, Aspen, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Durango, Grand Junction, Lamar, Montrose, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, Telluride, and Vail—just to name a few! Colorado has so much to offer, and our program encourages you to get out and experience it all while giving back to our special state.

Rotations are an important part of the PharmD curriculum. They begin the summer following completion of the third year of studies and include real-life clinical experiences. Working under the supervision of preceptors, senior pharmacy students rotate through hospitals, pharmacies, and specialty clinics throughout the state. Spending six weeks at each rotation site, fourth year pharmacy students receive essential on-the-job training and experience and are exposed to a variety of fields.

Learn more about preceptors and specific rotations from our students.

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences recognizes the value of a global education. Academic learning experiences abroad expose students to pharmacy practice in a different cultural context and provide opportunities to experience healthcare from an international perspective.

When: During the P4 APPE year

Duration: 6-weeks

In addition to the established international partner sites listed here, students can work with the Office of Experiential Programs to establish a new site. Contact the Office of Experiential Programs for more information.​

​​2024-2025 Request for Preceptor IPPE and P4 APPE Availability

  1. Current pharmacy preceptors: Please review the Descriptions of Experiences 2024-2025 and provide availability in CORE. Review both sets of instructions below:  
    1. Preceptor and Site Information and Update Review
    2. Add Availability to CORE
  2. New preceptor to CU? Apply to be a preceptor here. Enter Code CUPRECEPTOR.
  3. Additional information, including syllabi, may be found in  CORE's Document Library. Log in is required.

General Preceptor Information

The work performed by preceptors in supervising and training pharmacy students is valued by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Accreditation standards require students to complete substantial amounts of experiential training and it is recognized that CU Pharmacy would not meet accreditation standards without the support of the practice community in providing practice sites and preceptors, including community pharmacists, health systems pharmacists and providers in the medical community.

Preceptor Licensure

Beginning July 1, 2012, the State of Colorado no longer requires preceptors to be licensed. CU Pharmacy asks that preceptors be practicing for at least 1 year before becoming a preceptor. Please contact Wendy Anderson to become a preceptor.

Did you know?

  • Student pharmacists will spend nearly 1/3 of their educational time in pharmacy practice sites.
  • ​We strive to provide the highest quality education to our students and support to our preceptors.
  • Our preceptors partner with us to:
    • educate our students
    • define the profession of pharmacy
    • create a strong curriculum

Preceptor Development (FREE CE!)

  • CU Preceptors are eligible to receive discounts on CE through the School of Pharmacy’s Office of Continuing Education. For more information about topics and preceptor discounts, please visit their website at https://pharmacy.cuanschutz.edu/academics/continuing-education.
  • CU Pharmacy is pleased to provide access to the TRC Pharmacy Academic Program through Pharmacist's Letter. The Academic Program provides training materials as well as resources for clinical instruction and teaching literature evaluation. We welcome you to take advantage of this resource provided by the Office of Experiential Programs:
    • New user: click here to register.
    • Returning user: call 1-800-995-8712 to have your user ID information merged with their new portal.
  • The updated 2022 Preceptor Orientation module has been accredited for CPE. Instructions can be found in CORE at the REQUIREMENTS tab on the left. Click "View" on that page for details on the 2-step process:
    • Complete training at the listed Lecture Panda link, then
    • Upload certificate of completion to CORE ELMS Requirements.

Library Resources

  • The SSPPS is happy to provide free access to the Strauss Health Sciences Library to preceptors. Please contact SOP.Outreach@cuanschutz.edu to request access.
  • Resources available to preceptors include:
    • Off-campus free access to PubMed as well as free online journals.
    • Other databases and electronic journals are available in the library.
    • Free borrowing card, may check out materials.
    • Librarian-assisted literature searches are available for a fee.
    • Current list of classes, which may be viewed by clicking on the 'Anschutz Medical Campus Health Sciences Library' link above.
    • Interlibrary loans and photocopies of library materials are available for a fee. Copies can be delivered electronically, by fax or by U.S. mail.

Student Privacy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the release of information about a student to any person outside the university community or to any university personnel without a legitimate educational reason to know. Think of it as HIPAA for non-medical student records. More detailed information is available on the university’s FERPA page.​​

Preceptors and students may find the Experiential syllabi on CORE's home page in the Document Library tab on the left after logging in: https://www.corehighered.com/login-elms.

Office of Experiential Programs

Phone: 303-724-2655

Email: sop.experiential@cuanschutz.edu

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