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Unit information: Pharmacology 1A in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Pharmacology 1A
Unit code PHPH10003
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Steve Fitzjohn
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

'A' Level Chemistry recommended

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Unit Information

This unit provides students with a broad introduction to pharmacology. The unit includes an introduction to the physiology of the different cell types in the body and how drugs modulate their function. The nature of receptors as drug targets and the fundamental principles of drug-receptor theory are discussed. How drugs get into, get around, and get out of the body is also covered, along with the general principles of drug toxicology. Practical work is designed to introduce students to important pharmacological techniques, the handling of experimental data and to reinforce the theoretical material.

The aims are to provide students with knowledge and understanding of aspects of how drugs produce effects on biological systems, how they are processed by the body, how toxic effects are produced and how drugs are designed.


  • The physiology of the different cell types in the body and how drugs modulate their function
  • The nature of the interaction between drugs and their cellular receptors, and between drugs and the body as a whole
  • The adverse effects of drugs and drug toxicity
  • The basic ways in which drug action can be investigated, analysed and presented using tissue preparations

Your learning on this unit

By the end of the unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A thorough knowledge of each of the areas covered in the unit, to enable further study of pharmacology
  • The ability to analyse drug action using data from experimental preparations and knowledge gained from teaching activities
  • The ability to critically assess the work of others by peer marking

How you will learn

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials

How you will be assessed

  • Timed assessment (End of unit) 70%
  • Coursework 30%


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH10003).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.