The Destination for Pharmacy Education

Doctor of Pharmacy Program Practice Ready Curriculum

Pharmacy Students sit around a conference table with laptops, discussing work Students work together in a team room on a group project.

The Practice Ready Curriculum, or PRC, is the Harrison College of Pharmacy’s bold vision for Pharmacy Education. The Practice Ready Curriculum is designed to provide Auburn Pharmacy students high quality, modern, diverse, and relevant learning experiences, opportunities to work with other health care professionals in areas of direct patient care, opportunities for leadership both inside and outside the classroom, and a curriculum that effectively integrates foundational knowledge, clinical sciences, behavioral sciences, and other topics vital to success as a Pharmacist.

Why did the Harrison College of Pharmacy implement the Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum?

The profession of Pharmacy is changing, as is the entire Health Care System. While Pharmacists will always be responsible for the safe and effective distribution of medications, the role of the Pharmacist is expanding. Pharmacists now function as key members of interprofessional teams working to optimize patient health outcomes. Pharmacists are also playing an increasingly vital role in the management of chronic disease, preventative health and wellness, public health, and other areas of direct patient care.

In addition to changes in the profession, new theories of teaching and learning, powerful new technologies for communication and collaboration, and changes in student learning styles and preferences, among other factors, offer exciting opportunities and challenges for pharmacy schools seeking to modernize their courses.

Any pharmacy school that wants to stay relevant has to change. Traditional teaching models are increasingly inadequate at providing Doctor of Pharmacy students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences they will need to meet the challenges they will face in the future. In addition, changing the curriculum fosters reflection, discussion, debate, innovation, and growth – all the things required to provide a high quality education.

What does it mean to be "Practice Ready"?

In 2014, the Harrison College of Pharmacy faculty developed a vision for the “Practice Ready Graduate.” The Practice Ready Vision outlines 10 broad categories in which a Pharmacist entering the profession will need to be competent. These categories include vitally important areas such as:

  • Provide Direct Patient Care
  • Provide Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy Services
  • Distribute Medications Safely and Effectively
  • Manage Pharmacy Practice

Each of these broad categories contains a number of more specific “Ability-Based Outcomes” that provide further detail into the skills a Pharmacist will need. Taken as a whole, the Practice Ready Vision provides a detailed, comprehensive, and powerful framework for understanding the role of the Pharmacist in the future and for preparing new Pharmacists who are ready to enter a demanding profession from the time they graduate.

The entire Practice Ready Vision is available HERE.

What is the Practice Ready Curriculum?

The Practice Ready Curriculum is Auburn University’s innovative Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) curriculum. The curriculum is based on the “Practice Ready Vision” that describes the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes a Pharmacist will need to successfully enter the profession.

The goal of the curriculum is: To produce Practice-Ready Pharmacists who have a positive and enduring impact on patients, communities, and the health care system through the advancement of the profession.

The Practice Ready Curriculum is characterized by:

  • Active Learning
    Learning experiences that place the responsibility of learning on the learner by providing ongoing opportunities for interaction, exploration, discovery, creativity, application, and reflection.
  • Critical Thinking
    Learners who are challenged to analyze and synthesize information, experiences, scenarios, and cases, both as individuals and in groups, to form judgments, evaluate options, solve problems, and develop solutions.
  • Integration
    Learning experiences that incorporate aspects of multiple disciplines within HCOP and other health professions to ensure relevance.
  • Community
    The design, development, implementation, evaluation, and revision of the curriculum is be characterized by collaboration between students, faculty, staff, administrators and external stakeholders with shared professional interests with an emphasis on ongoing, open communication and positive, collegial interactions.
  • Flexibility
    The curriculum enables the creation of multiple types of learning experiences that are exploratory, interprofessional, co-curricular and authentic to provide opportunities for enrichment, autonomy, and success.
  • Innovation
    The curriculum enables cutting edge learning experiences that employ the latest developments in technology and learning theory, encourage creativity in teaching, learning and assessment, support risk taking by faculty and learners, and allow for meaningful changes from traditional ways of teaching and learning.
  • Professional Learning Environment
    Learning experiences that take place within an open and safe learning environment where students are treated as junior colleagues. Faculty that work to build a positive rapport, allow for open communication and accessibility, and create a spirit of enthusiasm, trust and connection.
Pharmacy Students stand in front of a TV monitor, presenting to their classmates Students present a team project to their classmates.

What are the Advantages of the Practice Ready Curriculum to a Pharmacy Student?

There are several advantages.

First, the entire curriculum is focused on the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and experiences a Pharm.D. student will need to enter the profession of as a “Practice Ready” Pharmacist. This results in a modern curriculum that focuses on not only on the most important skills a pharmacist will need, but also the most common disease states and drugs a Pharmacist will encounter on the job.

Second, the Practice Ready Curriculum provides meaningful opportunities to be involved in direct patient care from a student’s first days in the program. The Harrison College of Pharmacy has long had a strong emphasis on innovative patient care models, as evidenced by our Health and Wellness and Population Health introductory experiences.

Third, every course in the curriculum is designed to provide a strong linkage between learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment. Each course has been developed to introduce, reinforce, or benchmark a set of related skills. Learning activities and assessments are developed to ensure each student understands and is able to achieve each competency.

Fourth, the integrated nature of the Practice Ready Curriculum means that students will not learn new material in isolation or without relation to “real world” practice. Each core course includes relevant information from basic sciences, clinical sciences, and behavioral sciences to support deeper learning and enhance long term retention and application of the material.

A pharmacy student and a medical student discuss a patient's chart while a faculty member observes Pharmacy students and medical students work together in interprofessional practice settings.

What Courses are in the Curriculum?

The Practice Ready Curriculum is a four-year curriculum with three years of didactic coursework and one year of experiential rotations.

Doctor of Pharmacy Curriculum (Effective August, 2020)
First Professional Year (33 Hours)
Fall Semester (17 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9000 Orientation 1
PYPD 9200 Integrated Learning Experience I 6
PYPD 9210 Integrated Learning Experience II 6
PYPD 9320 Longitudinal Experience I 3
PYPD 9400 Workshop I 1
  Total Hours 17

Spring Semester (16 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9220 Integrated Learning Experience III 6
PYPD 9230 Integrated Learning Experience IV 6
PYPD 9330 Longitudinal Experience II 3
PYPD 9410 Workshop II 1
  Total Hours 16

Second Professional Year (37-41 Hours)
Fall Semester (19-21 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9240 Integrated Learning Experience V 6
PYPD 9250 Integrated Learning Experience VI 6
PYPD 9340 Longitudinal Experience III 3
PYPD 9420 Workshop III 1
PYPD 9160 Community Pharmacy IPPE 2
PYPD 9180 Health and Wellness IPPE 1
- Professional Electives* 0-2
  Total Hours 19-21

Spring Semester (18-20 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9260 Integrated Learning Experience VII 6
PYPD 9270 Integrated Learning Experience VIII 6
PYPD 9350 Longitudinal Experience IV 3
PYPD 9430 Workshop IV 1
PYPD 9080 Population Health IPPE 2
- Professional Electives* 0-2
  Total Hours 16-18

Third Professional Year (35-39 Hours)
Fall Semester (19-21 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9280 Integrated Learning Experience IX 6
PYPD 9290 Integrated Learning Experience X 6
PYPD 9360 Longitudinal Experience V 3
PYPD 9440 Workshop V 1
PYPD 9170 Health System Pharmacy IPPE 2
PYPD 9180 Clinical Pharmacy IPPE 1
- Professional Electives* 0-2
  Total Hours 19-21

Spring Semester (16-18 Hours)
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9300 Integrated Learning Experience XI 6
PYPD 9310 Integrated Learning Experience XII 6
PYPD 9370 Longitudinal Experience VI 3
PYPD 9450 Workshop VI 1
- Professional Electives* 0-2
  Total Hours 16-18

* Doctor of Pharmacy Students must complete a total of 6 hours of professional electives during the second and third professional years.

Fourth Professional Year (46 Hours)
Students complete 40 weeks of Practice Experiences during Summer Term, fall semester and spring semester, plus a Summative Experience Sequence.
Course Number Title Credit Hours
PYPD 9600 Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences 40
  PYPD 9600: a 5-hour course repeated 8 times for a total of 40 hours  
PYPD 9700 Summative Experience I 3
PYPD 9800 Summative Experience II 3
  Total Hours 46

For more information about each of the courses, please consult the Auburn Bulletin.

What is an Integrated Learning Experience?

Integrated Learning Experiences, or ILEs, are a unique and powerful feature of the Practice Ready Curriculum. “Integrated” refers to the combination of basic sciences, administrative & behavioral sciences, clinical sciences and other topics throughout the curriculum. Instead of using separate courses to teach various topics in isolation, the Practice Ready Curriculum uses a model in which topics are taught together within the context of diseases that Pharmacists commonly see, such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and pneumonia.

This integration makes learning more relevant, encourages critical thinking, enables the development of more robust mental models, fosters long term retention of material, and makes it easier to transfer learning to diverse patient care settings.

Integrated model shows Basic Biomedical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Science, Social Behavioral administrative Sciences, and Clinical Sciences as bubbles with all meeting in the center to represent collaboration.
Integrated Model

How were the courses in the Practice Ready Curriculum Developed?

All core courses in the Practice Ready Curriculum were developed through an incredibly rigorous and thorough process. Based on the concept of “Backward Design,” every core course is designed to have a clear connection between learning outcomes, instructional activities, and assessments. Interdisciplinary teams of faculty, called Learning Communities, supported by specialists in education and technology, are responsible for the design, development, delivery, and evaluation of each of the core courses.

Each core course has competencies that are mapped across all four years of the curriculum to ensure a logical progression of learning from novice to advanced level. Competencies are prioritized from Relevant (the lowest level) to Essential (the highest level). A student is assured of having multiple opportunities to learn and practice Essential competencies throughout the curriculum so they will be ready to perform these vital skills on the job. Assessment data are used to make data-driven decisions about student progress and course revisions.

Are Basic Sciences Still an Important Part of the Curriculum?

Yes. The basic sciences play an important role throughout the entire Practice Ready Curriculum. Every core course in the first three years of the curriculum includes at least one unit that describes the foundational scientific knowledge related to the drugs and diseases that will be covered in a course. This foundational knowledge spirals throughout the curriculum so that new learning builds on previous learning. The HCOP faculty developed a creative stair-step model to demonstrate how this spiral process works.

Three step model. Bottom level/Year 1 includes Big Picture, Physiology/Pathophysiology, Broad MOA, How MOA affects pathophysiology, Introduction to ADME/Physiochemical Properties/Drug Interactions, Broad Monitoring. Middle level/Year 2 includes Deeper Knowledge of MOA, additional ADME, Medicinal Chemistry (related to ADME), Additional Physiochemical Properties. Top later/Year 3 includes Genetics, Drug Interactions, Medicinal Chemistry, ADME.

The P3 year will drive the student to a deeper understanding regarding patient-specific pharmacotherapy. Students will further investigate drug-specific factors and patient-specific factors affect on drug safety, efficacy, drug interactions and ADME. The students will further develop an understanding of the relationship between patient-specific factors, including genomics affect on drug selection and monitoring. Drug interactions will be explored deeper as students understand how to predict and resolve DDIs based on drug-specific and patient-specific factors.

The P2 year will provide students more depth regarding drugs and diseases as they further investigate variability between and within drug and drug classes. They will begin to understand the relationship between medicinal chemistry, and the properties which affect ADME and how these relate to differences between drugs. They will dig deeper to explain why specific drugs are effective for a chosen disease state.

The P1 year will set the foundation for an understanding of drugs and diseases as students will understand the big picture of the relationship between the disease and the drug therapy. Students will be exposed to the concepts of pathophysiology and mechanism of action and monitoring through the relationship with the pathophysiology.

Who Can I Contact?

Mallory Hawkins headshot

Mallory Hawkins
Director of Recruiting

To speak with someone in more detail about the Auburn University, Harrison College of Pharmacy, the Practice Ready Curriculum, or the Doctor of Pharmacy program, please contact Mallory Hawkins. She can be reached by email at and by phone at 334-844-8378.

Standardized Patient Program Information

As part of HCOP's Performance Based Assessments, or PBAs, the college utilizes standardized patients to simulate situations and scenarios with students. Standardized patients are integral to the college in providing real-life environments for students to learn and implement their knowledge and skills from the classroom. Learn more about the Standardized Patient Program.

Last Updated: May 26, 2022
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