Course Title: Principles of Pharmacology 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Principles of Pharmacology 1

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Joanne Hart

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7545

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

ONPS2303 Pharmacology and Toxicology for the Biosciences and BIOL2369 Foundations of Human Biology or equivalent are required prior study prerequisites. Students who have not successfully completed the prerequisites must withdraw, or will be withdrawn if they incorrectly enrol in this course.

Course Description

The principles of pharmacology provide the scientific foundation for therapeutic practice, the assessment of adverse events and drug interactions as well as drug design, discovery and development. In this course there are 2 broad topics: pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.
Pharmacodynamics includes the study of drug targets, the molecules that are altered by drugs to produce an effect. Pharmacodynamic principles are a set of tools used to describe, measure and understand drug action.
Pharmacokinetics is the study of the processes which affect absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. The genetic influences on drug responses, pharmacogenetics, is also covered in this course.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


Pharmaceutical Sciences (BP184): This course contributes to the following program level outcomes

  • Exhibiting depth and breadth of scientific knowledge (PLO1)
  • Critically analyse and solve scientific problems (PLO2)
  • Communication and teamwork (PLO3)


Pharmacy (BH102): This course contributes to the program learning outcomes based on the following Domains of the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia:

  • Review and supply prescribed medicines (Domain 4)
  • Deliver primary and preventive health care (Domain 6)
  • Promote and contribute to optimal use of medicines (Domain 7)
  • Critical analysis, research and education (Domain 8)


Chem Eng/Pharm Sci double degree (BH095): This course contributes to the following program level outcomes

  • Exhibiting depth and breadth of scientific knowledge (PLO1)
  • Critically analyse and solve scientific problems (PLO2)
  • Written communication (PLO3)


Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. identify sites and major mechanisms of drug action
  2. relate concepts of agonists and antagonists to the quantification of drug effects, consistent with pharmacodynamics principles
  3. analyse entry, distribution, metabolism and removal of drugs from the body
  4. relate genetic influences to predict the action of drugs


Overview of Learning Activities

Key concepts and their application will be illustrated in lectures, then opportunities to discuss and apply  this knowledge will be provided in workshop and laboratory classes.

You will undertake the equivalent of 5 hours per week for one semester, comprising lecture, practical and workshop sessions. In addition you can expect to spend a minimum of five 5 hours per week in independent study.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources in this course include lecture notes, workshop and practical exercises and handouts, and references on selected topics. 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 Pharmaceutical Sciences Subject Guide ( also provides useful references.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment activities are conducted throughout the semester so that you can review and evaluate your progress and ability to demonstrate that you adequately understand the material presented.

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks

Assessment Task 1: In semester tests

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-4

Assessment Task 2: Workshop and practical exercises

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1-4

Assessment Task 3: FinalExam

Weighting 50% 

This assessment supports CLOs 1-4