UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Conceptions of curricular integration in an undergraduate degree program : a case study in Pharmaceutical Sciences Pearson, Marion Louise


This study examined conceptions of curricular integration held by actors in an undergraduate pharmacy program, and the relationship of those conceptions to observed integration in a curriculum espoused in program documents, enacted by instructors, and experienced by students. Points of convergence and divergence between the espoused, enacted, and experienced dimensions of the curriculum were also examined. The conceptual framework used was Hubball and Burt’s curriculum design model, with data collection and analysis further informed by Chinowsky’s practice implementation matrix. Qualitative case study methodology was employed, using the baccalaureate program of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia as an instrumental case. Data sources included documents, such as curriculum planning records and course syllabi; classroom observations; interviews with curriculum planning leaders, course coordinators, and external stakeholders with supervisory roles as preceptors and employers; and focus group interviews with students. Findings suggested that individuals’ conceptions of curriculum integration related to their experiences and were uninformed by scholarship or theoretical models. Curriculum planning leaders’ and course coordinators’ understandings emphasized horizontal integration across disciplines, reflecting their experiences as disciplinary experts and teachers in a discipline-based curriculum with some multidisciplinary components. External stakeholders had little understanding of curricular integration, reflecting their minimal connection to the curriculum. Students co-constructed broader notions of curricular integration that included horizontal and vertical dimensions, reflecting their holistic experiences of the curriculum. Structural, content, and pedagogical strategies supported integration within the curriculum. Comparison of the espoused and enacted curriculum showed that intended structural and content aspects were implemented, while the pedagogical promise of the espoused curriculum was not fully realized in the enacted curriculum, with integrative pedagogies often missing. Although most curriculum planning leaders and course coordinators appeared satisfied with their efforts, students described missed opportunities for integration and expressed strong interest in integrative learning through arrangement of content by disease states rather than disciplines and by case-based teaching and assessment. Implications for curricular redesign in higher education include the need for effective curriculum leadership and scholarship, and attention to perspectives of key stakeholders, especially students, to ensure congruence between the espoused, enacted, and experienced curriculum.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada