module specification

BC5054 - Fundamentals of Pharmacology (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Fundamentals of Pharmacology
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 35%   In-class Test
Unseen Examination 35%   exam (1 hour)
Coursework 30%   Practical Report
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module will equip students with a fundamental understanding of the fate of drugs in the human body when taken via different routes of administration.  Throughout the module students will develop an ability to collect, manipulate and interpret experimental and simulation data important to the subject matter.
The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
This module aims to equip students with the fundamental information on how drugs work within the body and how the body removes these drugs.

Prior learning requirements



Pharmacodynamics will encompass receptor theory; sites of drug action; G-proteins and downstream signalling cascades; ion channels and transporters; quantitative pharmacology; autonomic pharmacology and will also include an introduction to the concepts of local mediators and CNS pharmacology. LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4
Principles of Pharmacokinetics will be taught with respect to absorption and bioavailability, metabolism, volume of distribution, clearance, and elimination of drugs in the human body.  Dosage regimens for obtaining steady state will be described.  The students will also utilise pharmacokinetic software to investigate drug disposition. LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be provided with a range of activities to accommodate different learning styles. The module delivery will consist of a series of 12 lectures and one revision session (26 hours), workshops (3 hours), dry practical session (3 hours) and tutorials (7 hours).
Lecture and tutorial sessions will include ‘punctuated lectures’ and ‘minute papers’ thus providing opportunities for ‘active engagement’ and to reflect on what has or has not been understood during the sessions. In-class verbal feedback will be provided and students encouraged and directed towards relevant subject matter material. The tutorial sessions will include an emphasis on the principles of understanding scientific literature with a chance to solve problems of various types as well descriptive/discussion elements. Students will be expected to prepare in advance for these sessions.
Peer – peer interactions will be encouraged via group working thus developing communication, data handling and interpretation skills. The practical session (4 hours – directed) will stress the importance of organisational proficiency and augment skills data analysis and interpretation. Students will be expected to interpret the experimental data within context. This session will be summatively assessed via submission of one practical report and will be directed towards relevant literature in order to complete the assignments.
To develop and enhance student engagement, a series research article discussions based on scientific publications will be provided with a formative assessment to analyse the student’s ability to interpret scientific literature. This will be based on a series of questions derived from scientific articles that will be discussed in class. They will be provided in the tutorial sessions and will include material covered in the lectures as well as the scientific literature backing the lecture material up will be discussed.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an appreciation of aspects of receptor biology.
2. Describe different chemical mediators and their functions.
3. Show an understanding of the principles of autonomic nervous system physiology.
4. Predict the fate of specified drugs and routes of delivery using knowledge of pharmacokinetics.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by an in-class test (to be carried out mid-semester), an exam at the end of the semester and a practical report based on the dry practical session.
The in-class test and the exam will constitute the majority of assessment for this module, both comprising 35% each. Both components will contain short answer questions and multiple-choice questions and will last for one hour. The mid-semester in-class test will assess the student understanding of the key topics associated with teaching weeks (TWs) 1-5, including the underlying principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The exam will take place at the end of the semester and will assess the topics between TWs 6-12 which continue on from the basic topics studied in TWs 1-5.
The practical report will make up 30% of the assessment process and will be submitted online as a piece of coursework. The practical report will be based upon the dry practical teaching session and is designed to assess the ability to understand the acquisition of biological data as well as data manipulation and interpretation. In order to strengthen these core skills, workshop sessions looking interpretation of published data will be carried out alongside a formative assessment process to help outline what is expected.

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.

Assignment               Learning Outcomes
in class test              1, 2, 3
One hour exam        1, 2, 3, 4
Practical report         1, 2, 3


Core Texts
Rang, H.P., Dale, M.M., Ritter, J.M., Rod J. Flower, and Henderson, G (2015). Rang & Dale's Pharmacology , 7th Edition. London: Churchill Livingstone.
8Ritschel, W.A. and Kearns, G.L. (2009). Handbook of Basic Pharmacokinetics including Clinical Applications, 7th Edition. Washington D.C.: American Pharmacists Association.
Review Articles
Thomson, A. (2004).  Back to basics: Pharmacokinetics.   The Pharmaceutical Journal, 272, pp.769 – 771.