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Students who commenced study in 2016 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.

Monash University


Commencement year

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2016 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.

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

Managing faculty

Faculty of Science

Offered by

Department of Pharmacology


Dr Elizabeth Davis (Department of Pharmacology)


Faculty of Science

Department of Pharmacology



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. A knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacological concepts is fundamental to the safe and effective use of medicines by health professionals, is essential for the identification of new therapeutic targets and their pharmacological modulation and can lead to increased understanding of human physiology. An understanding of the way in which drugs produce their effects is becoming increasingly important as the use and abuse of drugs becomes more widespread in our society.

Pharmacology at Monash provides students with an understanding of the major pharmacological concepts and how they can be applied to the use of drugs in the treatment of specific diseases and the development of new therapeutics. A variety of teaching modes are used to provide students with opportunities to understand how variety of chemicals and drugs produce their effects on living organisms and to apply this knowledge to critically evaluate information relating to use of drugs. Those involved in the teaching of Pharmacology at Monash are experts in their fields and engaging teachers, thus the content of the available units includes the most recent advances in pharmacology along with ideas as to where studies in pharmacology can lead.

A major in Pharmacology provides a foundation for a career in drug discovery and development either as part of a reseach program in a university or research institute, within the biotechnology/pharmacuetical industry or in government regulatory bodies. In addition, the units included in this major will be of benefit to those wishing to undertake graduate studies in a range of health profession courses.


Pharmacology is listed in S2000 Bachelor of Science, S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours) and S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours) at Clayton as a major or minor.

The pharmacology minor and major is not available in the double degree course S2007 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science.


In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of endogenous substances in health and disease and their relevance as therapeutic targets
  • 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.


Minor requirements (24 points)

12 points at level 1 and 12 points at level 2.

Students complete the following units (24 points):

Major requirements (48 points)

12 points at each of level 1 and level 2, and 24 points at level 3.

Students complete:

(a.) The following three units (18 points):

(b.) One unit chosen from the following (6 points):

(c.) The following level 3 units (12 points):

  • PHA3011 Principles of drug action
  • PHA3021 Drugs in health and disease

(d.) Two of the following level 3 units (12 points):

  • PHA3032 Neuro and endocrine pharmacology
  • PHA3042 Modern drug development
  • PHA3990 Action in pharmacology research project

* Students planning to complete majors in both pharmacology and physiology must complete PHY2011 and PHY2032 plus PHY2042 and PHA2022.

Requirements for progressing to honours

24 points of relevant level three units, of which normally 18 points are physiology or biochemistry, chemistry, developmental biology, human pathology, immunology, microbiology and pharmacology units.

Refer to S3701 Bachelor of Science (Honours) for full details.

Relevant courses


Single degrees

Successful completion of this area of study can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the following single degrees:*

  • S2000 Bachelor of Science
  • S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours)
  • S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours)

Students in other single bachelor's degrees may be eligible to complete the minor or major by using 24 or 48 points of their free electives.

Double degrees

Successful completion of this area of study can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the Bachelor of Science component in the following double degrees:*

  • B2023 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • B2016 Bachelor of Commerce Specialist and Bachelor of Science
  • D3005 Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • E3007 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • C2003 Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Science
  • L3007 Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • S2006 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts
  • S2004 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • S2003 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Global Studies
  • S2005 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Music

* Students cannot complete a minor, major or extended major in the same area of study.