Doctor of Pharmacy

Experiential Education

The knowledge, professional judgment and skills obtained during pharmacy practice experiences provides the foundation for a lifetime of responsible service in the pharmacy profession.

The Office of Experiential Services at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) coordinates students’ experiential portions of the curriculum, this includes introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPE) and advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE). These are often referred to as rotations and are designed for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life patients and real-world situations. This also provides student pharmacists with the opportunity to be mentored by practicing pharmacists and other health care professionals in a wide variety of practice settings.

Rotations are arranged by Experiential Services with our established partners and take place all over the state of Washington, and parts of Idaho, Oregon, and California. Spokane students should be prepared to temporarily relocate for their IPPE or APPE experiences, while Yakima students typically can stay in Yakima for at least their IPPE Community and APPE experiences. Students do have the opportunity to arrange elective rotations for their PY4 year in coordination with Experiential Services.

IPPE Community

  • 4 week (160 hrs) experience in community pharmacy setting.
  • Summer between PY1 and PY2 (there are some opportunities to complete this concurrently during the PY2 fall)

IPPE Institutional

  • 3 week (120 hrs) experience in a health system setting (i.e. hospital)
  • Summer between PY2 and PY3 (there are some opportunities to complete this concurrently during the PY2 fall or winter)

APPE Rotations

  • 7 rotations each 6 weeks (240hrs each) in length, for a total of 42 weeks
  • Spans the entire PY4 year, starting in May after PY3 year.

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)

The APPE rotations are unlike any other didactic course or IPPE rotation student pharmacists have experienced in the pharmacy curriculum. These rotations are intense, concentrated and highly experiential; meaning, student pharmacists will be faced with many real problems involving the care of actual patients under the supervision of a WSU preceptor which may include WSU CPPS faculty members, adjunct faculty members, volunteer preceptors and practitioners.

Furthermore, a significant portion of the fourth year focuses on a way of thinking—a process of integrating, applying, recognizing, and arriving at decisions that are equally, if not more, important than remembering specific facts about a given disease, drug or product.

Student pharmacists will be expected to be actively involved and take ownership of their own learning process. Those who put a great deal of energy and effort into the experience will gain a great deal more than a student pharmacist who takes a passive approach.

Locations in Washington

The Office of Experiential Services has established a network of quality and unique practice sites geographically and strategically dispersed across the State of Washington. Student pharmacists will have the opportunity to preference their preferred geographical location to complete the majority (if not all) APPE rotations. The Office of Experiential Services cannot guarantee all student pharmacists will receive their preferred geographical location but can offer exceptional and diverse learning opportunities within the following geographical locations: Spokane, Pullman, Tri-Cities/Walla Walla, Yakima, Wenatchee, Olympia, Seattle/Tacoma, and northern California.

Below is a summary of the number of students by cohort assigned to each zone.

SitesClass of 2023Class of 2022Class of 2021Class of 2020
N. Everett811109
Eureka (California)1614
n = numbers of students

What to Expect

While specific rotations cannot be guaranteed, each student pharmacist is able to preference their desired rotation schedule. The majority of rotations assigned have been preferenced by the student pharmacist. The Office of Experiential Services fully supports student success, and strives to ensure all APPE rotations provide the necessary foundation for the student pharmacists’ desired career path. It is our goal to make sure student pharmacists are satisfied with their schedule while also meeting programmatic requirements and the placement needs of our valued practice sites within the established geographical location network.

Student pharmacists will be required to complete a minimum of 1,680 APPE hours of non-paid experience which includes a total of 7, 6-week rotations. APPE rotation requirements consist of the following:

  • 1 – Acute Care (in-patient/internal medicine)
  • 1 – Institutional/Health-System
  • 1 – Ambulatory Care
  • 1 – Community Practice
  • 3 – Elective (patient or non-patient care)

Practice sites will fluctuate in the type of experience they provide. In fact, student pharmacists may be surprised how different their learning experiences are from student to student and preceptor to preceptor at the various sites. Despite these differences, there are many common skills required throughout the APPE rotations the college expects each student pharmacist to perform and master in order to be successful and maximize each learning experience. The student pharmacist will be assessed (at a minimum) two times in the form of a midpoint and final evaluation during each rotation under the following global outcome categories to track progression and competency levels: knowledge application, professionalism, communication, patient care and management of systems.

In addition, each preceptor and student pharmacist is encouraged to create site-specific learning objectives that highlight the unique aspects of a given experience and individual student interests. Student pharmacists evaluate their assigned preceptor and practice site for ongoing quality and compliance.

Setting up Rotations

Third year student pharmacists will be given the opportunity to set up a maximum of two elective rotations outside the established network of approved practice sites during their fourth year if they so choose. This option will allow student pharmacists to explore different practice settings and prospective employment opportunities closer to home or in desired geographical locations inside or even outside the State of Washington. Student pharmacists who decide to pursue this option will be expected to adhere to all required steps within the process of setting up a new practice site. The Office of Experiential Services reserves the right to deny any new practice site if the site and preceptor(s) do not meet required programmatic standards, affiliation agreement requirements and/or the student pharmacist fails to adhere to all required steps within the process. Student pharmacists will not be allowed to individually set up an international rotation, but would be eligible to participate in the existing international rotation opportunities offered through the college.

International/Specialty Rotations

International and camp rotations are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities provided through the Office of Experiential Services. These unique rotations allow student pharmacists the opportunity within their fourth professional year to experience the practice of pharmacy in diverse cultural and clinical settings.

These learning opportunities require interested third year student pharmacists to submit a formal application as well as participate in an interview with members from the Office of Experiential Services, faculty and/or international/camp organization. The majority of our international and camp rotations consist of interprofessional learning opportunities which allow our student pharmacists the ability to work closely with students, faculty and healthcare providers from different healthcare disciplines such as nursing, medicine and dentistry. Informational meetings will be offered during the third professional year so interested student pharmacists can receive detailed information about specific requirements, deadlines and rotation experience.

Currently the following international and camp experiences are being offered and are subject to change:


The goal of this rotation is to provide an intercultural pharmacy experience encompassing medical, social and humanitarian issues. Each student pharmacist becomes an integral part of a medical team consisting of various backgrounds including: medicine, nursing and pharmacy to provide care to those with limited or no access to care and medications in rural regions within Ecuador.


Adventures in the Amazon (People For Peru) – This is a joint experience between the College of Nursing and CPPS through an organization called People for Peru. The goal of this rotation is to provide an experience for both nursing and pharmacy students by assessing and implementing global community health through nursing AND pharmacy services to the people and communities in the Amazon region of Peru.


Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care services and access to the underserved population of Vietnam. The foundation of VHC’s mission is based upon the belief of equal opportunity health care for all. The fourth year pharmacy student will participate as a member of an interdisciplinary medical team made up of students and doctors in a synergistic effort to provide the necessary knowledge and training to minimize health disparities in Vietnam.

Residency Block Scheduling

WSU has a unique program with some hospital partners called Residency Prep Block. This is a competitive program offered for those students interested in pursuing residency or post-graduation training. Students accepted into the program have the opportunity to complete the majority of their rotations within a single hospital/health system setting while being exposed to and working with current residents, residency preceptors and directors.

Rotations will be scheduled in a preferred sequence which builds upon more general and foundational rotations and progresses to more advanced clinical rotations. The opportunity to network, as well as gain valuable experience within this type of pharmacy practice environment, will help prepare our students to attain their desired residency/post-graduate training opportunities. These learning opportunities require an interested third year student pharmacist to submit a formal application as well as participate in an interview with the practice site.

Current Residency Prep Block Partners

  • Virginia Mason Franciscan Health — St. Joseph Medical Center (Tacoma)
  • Confluence Health System (Wenatchee)
  • Kadlec Regional Medical Center (Tri-Cities)
  • Kootenai Health (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Legacy Salmon Creek (Vancouver)
  • Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (Spokane)
  • MultiCare Deaconess Hospital (Spokane)
  • MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital (Tacoma)
  • MultiCare Yakima Memorial (Yakima)
  • Providence Regional Medical Center (Everett)
  • Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center (Spokane)
  • Providence St. Peter/Centralia Hospital (Olympia/Centralia)
  • UW Medicine Student Scholars Program: UW Medical Center & Harborview Medical Center (Seattle)
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center (Seattle)