Course Title: Pharmacology and Toxicology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Pharmacology and Toxicology

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Paul Wright

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6512

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 201.09.004

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required prior study (Pre-requisites)


Course Description

The course is designed to introduce you to the principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the nature and actions of some common therapeutically-used groups of pharmaceuticals. References are made to herbal medicines and to drugs which osteopathic and chiropractic patients may be taking. The syllabus is covered in a program of lectures/lectorials and tutorials/workshops designed to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge in Pharmacology and Toxicology. An additional aspect is an appreciation of drug mechanisms of action and possible interactions between pharmaceuticals and herbal preparations. This course is intended to develop your comprehension of the basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology, as well as the mechanism of action and use of some commonly taken drugs. This course is a core requirement of the respective program accreditation committees for the Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic and Osteopathy programs.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The capabilities that are developed through the program in which you are enrolled, are described in the Program Guide. This course contributes to the development of the Program Learning Objectives in the following way:

PLO2:  gather clinical information to make accurate differential diagnoses, assessment and management plans and carry out effective treatment

- via the Course Learning Objectives 1 to 6 (listed below).

PLO3:  practice as a competent health care professional in a safe, ethical and legally responsible manner; &

PLO5:  communicate effectively in a range of forms (written, online, oral) and with diverse audiences (patients, community/public, agencies and health professionals); &

PLO6:  work independently and in teams, specifically to lead and contribute to inter-professional care partnerships

- via the Course Learning Objectives 1 to 7 (listed below).

This course will contribute to the development of the following RMIT Graduate Attributes:

GA1: Work ready

GA3: Environmentally aware and responsible

GA6: Innovation

On satisfactorily completing the course it is intended that you should be able to comprehend the basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology, as well as the mechanism of action and use of some commonly taken drugs. At the end of this course you should be able to:

  1. describe and use the fundamental principles of pharmacology and toxicology;
  2. display a basic knowledge of the commonly used drugs your patients may be taking, and the implications that this may have on any treatment decisions you make;
  3. understand and describe how drugs are handled by the body, how drugs affect the body, and how drugs interact with nerves and hormones;
  4. understand and describe the general effects of some common therapeutic agents used to treat important disorders of the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, immune system, and in the treatment of pain, inflammation and cancer;
  5. understand and describe mechanisms of toxicity, and toxicity testing;
  6. identify the actual and/or potential interactions for drugs;
  7. demonstrate your understanding of drug development, evaluation and regulation.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities in this course take place in lectures/lectorials and tutorials/workshops.  The tutorials/workshops are designed to enhance and further explore the material delivered in the lectures/lectorials. They are also a forum for receiving feedback on your progress and understanding of the course material. Assessment activities and tutorials are conducted throughout the semester so that you can review and evaluate your progress and ability to adequately understand the material presented.

You will undertake the equivalent of between four (4) and five (5) hours per week for one semester, comprising lecture/lectorial and tutorial/workshop sessions, along with online activities. In addition you can expect to spend a minimum of five (5) hours per week in independent study.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources for this course include textbooks, lecture notes and tutorial assignments. The online course webpage accessed via myRMIT (, provides opportunities for you to independently access much of this material. You are expected to regularly access the course website, which contains announcements, course information such as detailed timetables and prescribed reading, course documents and the grade book. The Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic and Osteopathy Subject Guides ( , , also provide useful references.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment activities and tutorial/workshop sessions are conducted throughout the semester in order to provide you with helpful feedback to support improvement of your skills for subsequent assessments.

Your formative assessment will require you to demonstrate your learning from exemplars of real world scenarios and case studies during your participation in learning forums, such as the tutorial/workshop sessions. You will present your learning in both an oral and written format in these forums. You will also be required to undertake a review of a topical public issue using a Wiki forum. Your summative assessment will be a written piece of work in an examination format and shall cover all objectives associated with this course.

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks

Assessment Task 1: Tutorial reports and MCQs

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7

Assessment Task 2: Pharmacology Wiki Assignment

Weighting 10%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6

Assessment Task 3: Exam

Weighting 50% 

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7