PSC1011 - Physiology I - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Dr Jennifer Short

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


Previously coded PSC1081


This unit lays a foundation of knowledge about mammalian systems and provides the relationship between pathophysiology and the rational design and use of drugs. Students will be introduced to the physiological basis of disease. Each organ and system will be considered, and one or more examples of disease states which are amenable to pharmacotherapy will be discussed in detail. The course aims to provide a basic understanding of the functions of organs and systems such as the nervous, cardiovascular and endocrinological systems; however, an equal emphasis will be placed on one of the key components of drug discovery, the choice of therapeutic target based on a thorough understanding of the disease process. The principle aim of this subject is to provide students with an understanding of basic biological principles and how these can be applied in pharmaceutical sciences as a basis for later work in other subjects within the course.

Topics to be covered include:

  • cells, tissues, organs and systems
  • membranes
  • DNA replication, gene transcription and translation
  • the nervous system
  • cardiovascular physiology
  • endocrinology


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

  1. Describe the structure of each major organ / organ system considered within the course;
  2. Explain the function of each major organ / organ system considered within the course;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the physiological basis for the most common disease states to affect each organ / organ system considered within the course;
  4. Provide a detailed explanation of the rationale for the use of at least one drug therapy for each organ / organ system considered within the course, relating the drug target to the disease state;
  5. Research a topic in the area of physiology, and present the findings of such research to peers at an appropriate scientific level.


Final examination (2 hours): 50%; revision quizzes: 10%; physiological research project: oral presentation 10%; written essay 10%; practical/PBL classes: 15%, and in-class assessment 5%.

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Twenty hours of lectures (with ten hours allocated for preparation)
  • Three hours of oral presentations
  • Six hours of practicals
  • Three hours of problem based learning
  • Two hours of tutorials
  • Five hours of introductory sessions (to unit, practical classes, PBL, etc.)
  • Six hours of optional examination preparation and feedback sessions

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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