A Pharmacotherapy Capstone Course to Target Student Learning and Programmatic Curricular Assessment

Am J Pharm Educ. 2017 Apr;81(3):45. doi: 10.5688/ajpe81345.


Objective. To describe how a pharmacotherapy capstone course was used for student learning and programmatic curricular assessment. Design. A pharmacotherapy capstone course was included in the University of Colorado curriculum for 13 years from 2002 through 2014. This 9-credit hour course was the last course prior to Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). Students were held accountable for prior learning using complex patient cases and other activities that are seen in APPEs. Application of knowledge, skills, and critical thinking were integrated in this course using exclusively active learning methodologies. Students were expected to actively participate and learn independently, from peers and through self-assessment. Assessment. Evidence of student learning was demonstrated based on student performance on written and verbal evaluations analyzed from 2012 to 2014. Survey and self-evaluation data indicated that students learned within the course. An increase in student confidence in critical thinking, problem-solving, decision making, and lifelong learning was also seen during APPEs. Student performance in this course prompted changes to prerequisite courses and guided development of a renewed curriculum. Conclusion. The University of Colorado pharmacotherapy capstone course prepared students for the rigor of APPEs, provided insight that facilitated improvements in prerequisite courses, and was a nexus for the development of a renewed curriculum, which includes a new clinical capstone course.

Keywords: capstone course; curricular assessment; curriculum; education; pharmacy.

MeSH terms

  • Colorado
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Pharmacy, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Schools, Pharmacy*