Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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

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

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor 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 be able to:

  1. Describe the targets of drug action and the basic mechanisms by which drugs produce their effects;

  1. Discuss the basic principles of pharmacokinetics and their relevance for drug action;

  1. Apply knowledge of drug action to discuss the risks and benefits of drug use and some of the non-pharmacological issues associated with drugs in our society;

  1. Discuss the steps involved in the discovery, development and regulation of drugs from bench to market;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to obtain, present and interpret data from pharmacological experiments;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to source, evaluate and use information from a range of sources to critically analyse media reports of a drug issue;

  1. Demonstrate the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.


Written examination: 40%
Tests: 15%
Written assignment (2000 words): 15%
Practicals and in-class exercises: 15%
Student debate: 15%
A pass in the tests and written examinations as well as the in-semester assessments (written assignment, student debate and practicals and in-class exercises) must be obtained to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


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