module specification

CY6051 - Systems Pharmacology (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Systems Pharmacology
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
116 hours Guided independent study
34 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Data handling and interpretation
Unseen Examination 40%   Unseen exam (1.5 hour)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of how drugs are used to treat key diseases, including cardiovascular conditions, cancer, and infection, and gives students experience at generating and handling pharmacological data. The module provides students with fundamental pharmacological knowledge and skills.

Prior learning requirements



The following core areas will be studied with particular reference to pathophysiology and drug action:

• The cardiovascular system: cardiac function, vascular smooth muscle tone, haemostasis, atherosclerosis; arrhythmias, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, heart failure, hypertension, arterial and venous diseases. LO1, LO2, LO3

• The genitourinary / reproductive systems: urinary disorders, prostate disorders, uterine motility, contraception, HRT. LO1, LO2, LO3

• Bone: disorders and their therapies; bisphosphonates, oestrogens/ anti-oestrogens, vitamin D, calcitonin calcium, effects of glucocorticoids. LO1, LO2, LO3

• The gastrointestinal system: peptic ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea / vomiting. LO1, LO2, LO3

• The chemotherapy of cancer: principles of chemotherapy; alkylating agents, platinum, topoisomerase-active drugs, antimetabolites, tubulin-binding agents, radiopharmaceuticals, monoclonal antibody therapy. LO1, LO2, LO3

• The chemotherapy of infection: antivirals, antibiotics, antimycotics, anti-parasitic agents. LO1, LO2, LO3

• Generating, handling and interpreting pharmacological data. LO1, 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 lectures (22 hours), workshops (2 hours) and tutorials (10 hours). In-class verbal feedback will be provided and students encouraged and directed towards relevant subject matter material. Students will be expected to prepare in advance for tutorial sessions. The workshop will utilise computer aided simulations to contextualise and enhance understanding of the action of drugs in the human body, and provide experience of data handling and interpretation. This will culminate in the submission of a summative assessment consisting of an individual piece of data handling coursework which will include a discussion section to encourage critical thinking. To develop and enhance student engagement there will be a series of formative quizzes plus instantaneous feedback.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. apply knowledge of disease states within a pharmacological context;
2. explain pharmacological treatments of key human disorders at the cellular and molecular level;
3. compare and contrast available pharmacological treatments for specified disorders;
4. critically analyse and interpret pharmacological data.


Core Text: Rang, H. P.; Ritter, J. M.; Flower, R. J.; Henderson, G. (2015) Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 8th Edition. Churchill Livingstone.

Other Texts: Brunton, L. L.; Hilal-Dandan, R.; Knollmann, B. C. (2017) Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics (14th Edition). McGraw-Hill.
Katzung, B.G. (2017) Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (11th Edition). McGraw-Hill.

Journals:  Pharmacological Reviews.


Electronic Databases: