Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Elizabeth Davis


This unit provides an introduction to the pharmacological principles underlying drug action, as well as drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Specific examples of drugs used for therapeutic and social reasons are discussed with an emphasis on the social issues associated with drug availability and use. How new drugs are discovered and the processes by which they are taken from the bench to the marketplace are discussed.


On completion of this unit, students will have: gained knowledge of the history of drug use and abuse; developed a broad understanding of how drugs affect the body and how the body affects drugs; developed an understanding of how drugs affect neurotransmission processes; developed a conceptual framework in which to consider the various ways drugs are used in society; developed a basic understanding of drugs of abuse and how tolerance and dependence to drugs develops; developed some knowledge of where drugs come from; their development; how drugs are regulated and how new drugs are brought onto the market; gained some understanding of how drugs produce toxic effects; toxins present in venomous creatures and plants; drug toxicity in the environment; principles of selective toxicity; developed skills to critically evaluate the scientific literature in the area of pharmacology; gained some understanding in designing, performing and evaluating experiments to determine the mode of action of drugs; developed skills in obtaining and using scientific information to write and present reports and essays.


Written examination: 40%
Test: 15%
Written assignment (2000 words): 15%
Laboratory work: 15%
Student debate: 15%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Elizabeth Davis

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures per week and three hours of laboratory or self-directed learning/ tutorial per week


BIO1011 and BIO1022, or BMS1021 + Recommended: PHY2011 and/or BCH2011 or BMS2031