Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

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 Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
OfferedParkville First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Elizabeth Yuriev


Previously coded PSC1071


This unit provides a basic understanding of physical chemistry and together with Physical Chemistry II (PSC1032) provides the conceptual and intellectual foundation for further studies in pharmaceutical science units in 2nd and 3rd year.

Students will develop an:

  1. Understanding of the physicochemical principles that underpin pharmaceutical chemistry, drug design and formulation design;
  2. Ability to undertake calculations concerning the physicochemical properties of pharmaceuticals and aspects of pharmaceutical products;
  3. Ability to measure some fundamental properties of pharmaceutical materials through practical exercises;
  4. Appreciation of the principles involved in the formulation of liquid products, including one and two phase liquid systems.

This will involve:

  • basics of excipients
  • ionic equilibria
  • states of matter
  • thermodynamics
  • phase equilibria
  • electrochemistry
  • acid-base equilibria of functional groups
  • chemical kinetics.


At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe differences between the various states of matter, and the concepts of phase equilibria (phase rule, degrees of freedom, miscibility, azeotropes, eutectics) and calculate degrees of freedom for systems with defined components and phase behaviour;
  2. Define thermodynamic quantities and laws of thermodynamics, describe concepts of state functions, state variables, and the ideal state;
  3. Define acidity and basicity constants in the context of species in solution, describe the principles behind the role of buffers, and discuss their importance in pharmacy. Perform calculations to describe the influence of pH on properties of species in solution;
  4. Recognise the most common organic functional groups that exhibit acidic or basic behaviour in aqueous solutions;
  5. Describe and perform calculations involving oxidation potentials and discuss their relevance in pharmaceutical products;
  6. Describe kinetics terminology including reaction rate, rate constant, order of reaction, elementary step, rate determining step and catalysis. Describe kinetic theories. Describe the relationships between and conduct calculations involving reaction rates, concentration, and temperature and activation energy;
  7. Be proficient in basic laboratory techniques, including familiarity with SI units.


Written examination (3 hours): 70%; practical test: 10%; practical classes: 10%; tutorial classes: 5%; written quiz: 5%.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Contact hours for on-campus students:
Thirty six 1-hour lectures
Four 1-hour tutorials
One 1.5-hour tutorial
Nine 3-hour practical laboratories
One 1-hour practical workshop



Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: