module specification

CY5073 - Principles of Pharmacodynamics (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Principles of Pharmacodynamics
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
20.5 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
92 hours Guided independent study
37.5 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Unseen Examination 60%   Autumn Semester exam (1.5 hours)
Coursework 40%   1 x practical report (1000 words)
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

This module will equip students with a fundamental understanding of the actions and fate of drugs in the human body. Throughout the module students will develop an ability to collect, manipulate and interpret experimental data important to the subject matter.


This module aims to equip students with information on how formulated drugs – medicines, (a) get into the body (b) get around the body (c) how they act on the body and (d) how they get out of the body. Understanding and appreciating the physiological aspects of the human body and physicochemical properties of drugs are essential to explaining how these processes affect the behaviour of different medicines.

Prior learning requirements

BE4053 & BE4055.

Available for Study Abroad? YES


Pharmacodynamics (LO 1 – 5)

  • Receptor theory
  • Sites of drug action
  • G-proteins and downstream signalling cascades
  • Ion channels and transporters
  • Quantitative pharmacology
  • Autonomic pharmacology
  • CNS pharmacology
  • Key receptor families
  • Local mediators

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 (23.5 hours), practical classes (3 hours) and tutorials (11 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 various types as well descriptive/discussion elements. Students will be expected to prepare in advance for these sessions (11 hours – directed).


The practical session will stress the importance of organisational proficiency by group working and will augment practical skills to produce reliable experimental data. Peer – peer interactions will be encouraged via group working thus developing communication, data handling and interpretation skills. 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.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and recognise receptor biology in mediated pharmacological actions.
  2. Recognise molecular mechanisms involved in receptor signalling pathways.
  3. Describe different chemical mediators and their importance in pharmacological outcomes.
  4. Recognise quantitative methods with which drug actions are kinetically measured.
  5. Show core knowledge of the principles behind the autonomic nervous system physiology and its measured pharmaceutical actions.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed in the following order: one unseen written exam (at the end of the semester – 60%) and one practical report (40%).

The unseen written exam will examine the material covered throughout the semester. The exam will be comprised of SAQs and LAQs.

One practical report on pharmacology (40%) will be submitted to assess the ability to acquire, manipulate and interpret experimental data. This element will provide a summative assessment.

To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.


To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.