Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Robert Widdop


This unit provides an historical overview of the use of drugs, with an emphasis on the principles underlying the safe and effective use of drugs for the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease. The importance of evidence-based drug therapy is highlighted with an introduction to statistical and epidemiological concepts. The pharmacological properties of drug classes used to treat specific respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders are studied, concentrating on the rationale for their use. Pharmacological approaches to the study of existing and novel compounds will be reinforced in laboratory sessions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain the major principles underlying the therapeutic use of drugs, including the relevance and assessment of evidence-based medicine;

  1. Apply knowledge of the actions of major drug classes to explain their therapeutic applications and potential adverse effects;

  1. Use knowledge of the mechanisms of drug action to predict effects in intact organisms;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to execute pharmacological experiments to obtain, analyse and interpret data and present this in a written report;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to undertake literature based research to source and critically evaluate information relevant to current topics in pharmacology and to effectively communicate ideas in oral or written forms.


Examination (2-hours): 55%
Essay (2000 words): 15%
Laboratory work and written reports: 15%
Test (1 hour): 15%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

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


BMS2031; or two of PHA2022, PHY2011, PHY2021 or PHY2032; or BTH2012 and one of BMS1052 or PHY2011