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Professional Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

The University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CU SSPPS) has an ability-based outcome and assessment driven curriculum. Students' progress is continuously evaluated in mastering the 14 ability-based outcomes with the goal of developing competent pharmacists of the future.

* Although annual changes are made to the curriculum based on feedback and information from a variety of sources, it is standard practice at all top pharmacy schools across the country to reevaluate the curriculum approximately every 10 years in order to keep it innovative, rigorous and aligned with contemporary practice. Our renewed curriculum started with the Class of 2016.

* The curriculum includes courses in fields that are rapidly expanding within the profession of pharmacy such as Pharmacogenomics, Clinical Decision Making, Public Health and Outcomes, and Evidence Based Medicine.

* The curriculum consists of 150.6 credit hours of which approximately 35% experiential training, 25% integrated clinical sciences, 20% foundational clinical sciences, 10% pharmacy & health care topics, and 10% communication and informatics topics. As a result of increased prerequisite requirements and, therefore, higher level preparation of incoming students, the integrated clinical sciences will start in the P1 year.


Curriculum Map 
(updated 8/5/2016)


First Year (P1)

Introduction to pharmaceutical sciences (0.6 credit hour)
Cell biology; Mechanisms of diseases (3 credit hours)
Applied biological chemistry (3 credit hours)
Pharmacy law and regulatory standards (3 credit hours)
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)
Pharmacotherapy self-care 1 & 2 (3 credit hours & 2 credit hours)
Pharmacy practice fundamentals and drug information (4 credit hours)
Pharmaceutics (4 credit hours)
Modern drug design and drug action (2 credit hours)
Pharmacology and toxicology (2 credit hours)
Professional development 1 through 5 (1 credit hour each)
Pharmacotherapy 1 (4 credit hours)

Second Year (P2)

Medicinal chemistry of drug classes (2 credit hours)
Pharmacokinetics (3 credit hours)
Evidence-based medicine and literature evaluation (3 credit hours)
Public health and health outcomes 1 (3 credit hours)
Clinical reasoning and decision making (2 credit hours)
Professional development 1 through 5 (1 credit hour each)
Pharmacotherapy 2 through 5 (variable credit hours)
Seminar research (1 credit hour)

Third Year (P3)

Public health and health outcomes 2 (3 credit hours)
Pharmacy management (2 credit hours)
Pharmacogenomics (2 credit hours)
Seminar research (1 credit hour)
Professional development 1 through 5 (1 credit hour each)
Pharmacotherapy 6 and 7 (variable credit hours)
Advanced introductory pharmacy practice experience (6 credit hours)
Health care informatics (2 credit hours)
Clinical Capstone (6 credit hours)

Fourth Year (P4)

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences
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