Monash University

Undergraduate - Area of study

Students who commenced study in 2013 should refer to this area of study entry for direction on the requirments; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your area of study.

print version

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered byDepartment of Pharmacology
CoordinatorDr Wayne Hodgson (Department of Pharmacology)


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.


Pharmacology and toxicology has a broad contemporary educative function, teaching how a wide variety of chemicals and drugs produce their effects on living organisms.

An understanding of the way in which drugs produce their effects in the body is becoming increasingly important as the use and abuse of drugs becomes more widespread in society. The science of pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on living organisms where the term drug can be defined as a chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which affects a biological system. Pharmacology is an interdisciplinary science that employs experimental approaches common to chemistry, biochemistry and physiology.

Learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of endogenous substances in health and disease
  • use knowledge from other scientific disciplines in pharmacological contexts
  • apply concepts in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to explain the action of substances on biological systems
  • collect, organise, analyse and interpret pharmacological data meaningfully using experimental and computational approaches
  • demonstrate through written and oral tasks the relevance of pharmacology for the prevention, management and treatment of disease
  • communicate pharmacological principles effectively to diverse audiences in a variety of formats
  • work and learn in both individual and collaborative ways, with others of diverse abilities, recognising a variety of perspectives and attitudes to issues relating to the use of drugs
  • demonstrate through written, oral or interactive exercises responsible personal and ethical approaches to pharmacological research and therapeutics.


Level two

Level three

  • PHA3011 Principles of drug action
  • PHA3021 Drugs in health and disease
  • PHA3032 Neuro and endocrine pharmacology
  • PHA3042 Modern drug development
  • PHA3990 Action in pharmacology research project

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in pharmacology (24 points)

Major sequence in pharmacology (48 points)

Details of the PHY units, and some related sequences, are described in the 'physiology' entry in the Science areas of study section of the Handbook at

Requirements for honours in pharmacology

  • 24 points of relevant level-three units, of which normally 18 points are pharmacology units

Additional information

Level two

The Department of Pharmacology offers one 6-point unit - PHA2022 - at level two. This unit is of interest to all students taking biomedical science units (physiology, biochemistry, developmental biology, microbiology) but also as an adjunct to a degree in law or psychology. PHA2022 is not a compulsory prerequisite for further study in pharmacology but is highly recommended.

The prerequisites for PHA3011 and PHA3021 are normally an adequate performance in two units of physiology and pharmacology at level two. Units studied at level two may also include biochemistry or chemistry.

Students planning to complete major sequences in both physiology and pharmacology must take all three level-two physiology units and PHA2022.

Level three

The first semester units, PHA3011 and PHA3021, lay the foundations for understanding how drugs act and the use of drugs to treat disease; PHA3011 is a prerequisite for all second-semester units offered by the school. In second semester students may elect to take any combination of the three units PHA3032, PHA3042 and PHA3990. These units may be combined with units in other disciplines such as any of the biological/medical disciplines, chemistry or law.

Students intending to proceed to honours in pharmacology must complete at least 24 points of relevant level-three units, of which normally 18 points are pharmacology units.


Coordinator:Associate Professor Robert Widdop

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the Science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. See the entries for:

  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.

Relevant courses

Single degrees

  • 0050 Bachelor of Science
  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 1120 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Double degrees

  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 3537 Bachelor of Arts (Global) and Bachelor of Science
  • 1469 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • 3517 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 3711 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 1633 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 3278 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 3282 Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 0085 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering
  • 0086 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws

Honours degrees

  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)