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Experiential Education


Preceptors are essential for the Pharm.D. program to augment student's classroom education by providing learning experiences in the real pharmacy practice setting.

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Brice Arbuckle with Staff 2020

Preceptor Awards

Annual awards recognizing outstanding and exemplary preceptors who have distinguished themselves are nominated by students according to specific criteria. 

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Office of Experiential Education
VCU Health Sciences Research Building
1112 E. Clay St.
Suite 201

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Experiential Education

Experiential Learning

"Experiential education is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values."
– Association of Experiential Education


Experiential education provides students with real-life active participation and in-depth exposure in a variety of pharmacy practice settings. Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) of 300 hours are required of students in their first three years of pharmacy school (P1, P2 and P3). Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) of 1,600 hours are required of students in their fourth year of pharmacy school (P4).

IPPEs and APPEs augment students’ classroom education by providing experiences in many aspects of contemporary pharmacy practice, and together represent approximately one-third of the four-year curriculum. Knowledge, practice skills and professional attitudes and values must be integrated and applied, reinforced and advanced throughout the didactic and experiential curriculum. 

To enable practice experiences, the school must have sufficient numbers and mix of preceptors and affiliated practice sites for students’ IPPE and APPE assignments to support achievement of educational outcomes:

  • 1,400 rotations (IPPE and APPE) each year
  • 1,000 active preceptors
  • 120 fully executed site affiliation agreements

  • 850 affiliated practice sites

Practice sites include: community pharmacies (independent, chain, outpatient, supermarket), correctional facilities, hospitals (community and academic health centers), out-patient clinics, specialty pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, FDA, home infusion centers, Indian Health Service, long-term care companies, managed care companies, military bases, pharmaceutical companies, research sites, national professional associations and academic teaching sites.

For a copy of the Experiential Education manual, please email

Experiential Education Inforgraphic