Course Title: Principles of Pharmacology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Principles of Pharmacology

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


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Paul Wright

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6512

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 220.04.019

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required Prior Study

You should have satisfactorily completed following course/s before you commence this course.

Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course.

Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning.

Course Description

The principles of pharmacology and toxicology provide the scientific foundation for understanding the actions of drugs, therapeutic practice, the assessment of adverse events and drug interactions. There are 3 main topics in this course: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and human toxicology. 

  • Pharmacodynamics is the study of how drugs affect the body and the mechanisms of drug action. Pharmacodynamics explains how drugs interact with target molecules to produce a biological response, and the relationship between the concentration of a drug and its effect. 
  • Pharmacokinetics is the study of how drugs enter, move through, and exit the body. The pharmacokinetic principles of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion influence drug dosing, drug interactions, and adverse effects. 
  • Human toxicology is the study of the toxic effects of chemical, physical or biological agents. Human toxicology is essential for ensuring the safe use of drugs and medications. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH122CEH23 Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering(Honours)/Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, BP231P23 Bachelor of Biomedical Science, BP293SBT24 Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology)/Bachelor of Biomedical Science and BP311P23 Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences:

  • PLO 1 Apply a breadth and depth of pharmaceutical science knowledge, concepts and evidence in various real world settings using a scientific approach. 
  • PLO 2 Apply systematic thinking and a range of high-level analytical skills using a blend of digital and traditional tools and technologies to solve complex scientific and medical problems related to pharmaceutical science

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH102P24 Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours):

  • PLO 8 Demonstrate an ability to formulate, prepare, and deliver medications, therapeutic products, and services according to ethical codes and practice guidelines

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BH130 Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours):

  • PLO1 Apply breadth and depth of biomedical science theories, concepts and evidence in various real world settings using a scientific approach.
  • PLO2 Apply evidence-based knowledge to conceptualise and undertake practice in biomedical science in a variety of contexts, independently and collaboratively, with emerging technological advancements.

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

  1. Discuss the key sites and major mechanisms of drug action.
  2. Apply concepts of agonism and antagonism to drug action and the quantification of drug effects.
  3. Analyse the entry, distribution, metabolism and removal of drugs from the body.
  4. Discuss toxicological principles, and adverse drug effects and interactions in humans. 

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in a range of learning activities such as lectorials, tutorials, practicals, laboratories, seminars, project work, class discussion, individual and group activities. Delivery may be face to face, online or a mix of both. 

You are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in your learning, asking questions of your lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required, especially from the numerous sources available through the RMIT library, and through links and material specific to this course that is available through myRMIT Studies Course

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Topic quizzes (3) 
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 

Assessment Task 2: Drug brochure 
Weighting 50%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 

Assessment Task 3: End of semester invigilated exam  
Weighting 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.