module specification

CY5011A - Principles of Pharmacodynamics and Drug Actions (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Principles of Pharmacodynamics and Drug Actions
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
6.5 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
106 hours Guided independent study
37.5 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 30%   Test (1 hour)
Unseen Examination 30%   Semester 1 exam (1 hour
Coursework 40%   1 x practical report
Running in 2021/22
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, linking this with drug formulations and 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.

Prior learning requirements

Cell and Molecular Biology (CY4003)


• 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

LO 1 - LO 5

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), practicals (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).

Practical sessions 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.

PDP: on completion of this module students provide an on-line evaluation of how the module allowed them to develop skills such as information technology, organisational skills, team building, communication, time management and working under pressure.

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: two unseen written exams (the first exam during the semester and a second exam at the end of the semester – 30% each) and one practical report (40%)

All unseen written exams will examine the specific material covered during that particular part of the semester (e.g. exam 1 will cover material between TW 1 – 5 and exam 2 will cover material between TW 7 – 12). The exams will be comprised of SAQs and LAQs.

One practical report on pharmacology (30%) 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%.


Core Texts: Rang, H. P., Ritter, J. M., Flower, R. and Henderson, G. (2016). Rang & Dale's Pharmacology, 8th Edition. London: Churchill Livingstone.

Other Texts: Washington, N., Washington, C. and Wilson, C. G. (2001).  Physiological Pharmaceutics: Barriers to Drug Absorption, 2nd Edition. London: Taylor Francis.

Online resources: (data base) (BNF)