Challenges to Implementation of the Co-Curriculum in Accredited Pharmacy Programs

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective. To determine areas of concern, and challenges to implementing and assessing the co-curriculum in accredited Doctor of Pharmacy programs, along with how confident programs are in their ability to meet the co-curriculum requirement as mandated by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

Methods. A survey was administered to all ACPE-accredited pharmacy programs to collect information regarding areas of concern, challenges, and confidence in their ability to meet the co-curriculum requirement. The frequency of responses to items are presented along with comparisons based on characteristics, including institution type, cohort size, most recent ACPE accreditation review, and supporting offices.

Results. The most common concerns centered on the documentation and assessment process. The most commonly reported challenges were lack of enthusiasm or buy-in from faculty, staff, and students; lack of a clear definition of co-curriculum; and faculty time and insufficient staff. Overall, programs had a high level of confidence in their ability to meet the requirements for co-curriculum. The only differences found were related to supporting offices and cohort size.

Conclusion. The results suggest that having supporting offices may reduce the co-curriculum burden. Similarly, student cohort size may have an impact on the challenges for some programs, particularly those with moderate-sized cohorts reporting challenges related to faculty and staff. Further research is needed to determine how programs address these critical issues, and to explore whether programs report differently on these areas after completing an accreditation review. The study results may be useful to members of the Academy when evaluating co-curriculum.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, volume 85, issue 5, in 2021 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at


American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy