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.​

The University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences delivers the contemporary, cutting-edge curriculum with the generous support of our robust team of preceptors. 

Our program prides itself on creating a culture of practice, where many preceptors are actual alumni of the School and understand our mission and values. Students’ experiential learning is based on the principle of “trust”, and we advocate for increasing levels of independence for students as they move through the curriculum towards graduation. Only by experiencing practice under supervision and being challenged to practice at higher levels of independence can we best prepare our graduates for high-level independent pharmacy practice.

Interested in precepting for CU?  We are always looking to add to our tremendous core of clinical faculty!

Apply here through CORE ELMS, using code “CUPRECEPTOR”. We do ask that our preceptors have a minimum of one year of practice before taking primary responsibilities for students. There is no independent preceptor license in Colorado. Our application process includes brief required training modules, along with an upload of your CV or resume and a description of your practice site and rotation. We look forward to working with you!!

Questions? Email us at SOP.Outreach@cuanschutz.edu

Further information for preceptors is available within the CORE ELMS system once preceptorship has been granted. You will receive a “New Account Activation” email after you’re accepted which includes instructions to provide availability for students and other information to get started. CORE ELMS has a document library and welcome page with many other resources, including syllabi and instructions.  

General Preceptor Information

The work performed by our preceptors in supervising and training pharmacy students is cutting-edge and diverse. We work with practicing clinicians across many settings (health systems, community, medical offices, and unique practices) as well as research scientists, pharmaceutical industry medical science liaisons and other industry roles, consulting pharmacists, compounding pharmacists, and many more. We recognize the importance of training pharmacy students in pharmacy practice locations and emphasize this clinical training component as a priority.  Pharmacy accreditation standards require students to complete substantial amounts of experiential training and we strive to make the most of this opportunity here at CU Pharmacy! 

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

Benefits for Preceptors

Enrollment details and instructions are in CORE ELMS (login required) and include:

  • CE discounts on a variety of topics through the School of Pharmacy’s Continuing Education office. 
  • Free 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. 
  • The Preceptor Orientation module has been accredited for CPE.

CU Pharmacy is happy to provide free access to the Strauss Health Sciences Library. Details can be found in CORE ELMS (login required). 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.
  • Free parking on the Anschutz Medical Campus during attendance of CU Pharmacy-sponsored meetings or events
  • Volunteer Clinical Faculty appointment within CU Pharmacy (see CORE ELMS for details) 
  • Annual Preceptor Event
  • Opportunities to engage in campus teaching opportunities with students, including small group discussions, grading students’ performance, and helping to teach student to give vaccines!

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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