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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC1212 Introduction to Pharmacology

10 creditsClass Size: 350

Module manager: Dr Aaron Drovandi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

BMSC1205 and BMSC1208

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will include an introduction to the principles of how drugs produce beneficial effects in disease and how drug action is quantified. The lectures will provide explanations:- of how drugs such as curare produce muscle paralysis, an effect that is useful in general anaesthesia; - of how adrenaline stimulates the heart; why Botox is a biological warfare agent and a cosmetic treatment and - why beta blockers are widely used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- provide students with a sound understanding of the basic principles of cellular communication; that is, the concept of receptors and how their interaction with endogenous ligands and synthetic drugs is measured;
- illustrate the mechanisms and clinical uses of drugs which act to modify or mimic peripheral nervous system function.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should be able to:
- define all aspects of cell signaling/neuronal communication;
- explain concepts of agonist/antagonist concentration effect curves, techniques used to derive them and mechanisms relating to efficacy and signal transduction;
- appreciate the basic pharmacology of the peripheral nervous system;
- describe how drugs mimic or modify peripheral nervous system function, including the various actions and clinical uses;
- have a basic understanding of the routes of administration, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs;
- take more responsibility for their own learning.


The lecture course will cover:
- an introduction to drug absorption and disposition;
- cellular receptors as sites of drug action;
- the nature of agonists and antagonists;
- concentration response relationships;
- drug-receptor binding;
- basic pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system;
- distribution and classification of peripheral nervous system receptors and subsequent effects following activation;
- detail of the types and mechanism of action of drugs which modify peripheral, autonomic and somatic nerves, including the clinical uses of such drugs.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours67.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 5 hours: online interactive tutorials associated with lectures and practice MCQs
- 46 hours: reading associated with lectures (23 x 2 hours)
- 3 hours: revision for formative MCQ
- 5 hours: revision for in course MCQ
- 7 hours: preparation for final MCQ
- 1 hour: class tests, exams and assessment (2 x 0.5).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formative MCQ/EMQ exam will highlight areas of weakness to students and provide an opportunity for the module leader to provide additional resources in areas where the cohort show weaknesses.

The in-course summative MCQ/EMQ exam will provide a further opportunity to monitor student progress prior to the final examination period.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQOne formative0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)0.00


Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 05/04/2023 13:34:37


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