University of Technology Sydney

91707 Fundamentals of Pharmacology

6cp; 2hpw (lecture, online), 3hrs (laboratory practical, on campus), 2 x 3hrs (workshops, on campus), 1 (tutorial, online), 10 x 1hr (interactive Zoom sessions)
Requisite(s): 91161 Cell Biology and Genetics
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.
Anti-requisite(s): 91181 Principles of Drug Actions AND 91182 Mechanism of Drugs in Treatment AND 91183 Drugs in the Human Body AND 91823 Principles of Drug Actions AND 91824 Mechanism of Drugs in Treatment AND 91825 Drugs in the Human Body


Fundamentals of Pharmacology is a biomedical discipline that is involved with the study of the effects of drugs on living systems. This subject provides the introductory principles governing drug action that are developed further in 91709 Advanced Pharmacology. These subjects are designed to foster a problem-solving approach to pharmacology with particular emphasis on applying molecular pharmacology concepts to pathophysiological problems.

The major objectives of this subject are to develop the concept of dose-response relationships and an understanding of the sites, mechanisms and specificity of drug action. Students examine the concept of drug targets and the importance of receptors in drug action. The chemical nature of drugs, the relationship between structure and activity, and how the physicochemical properties of drugs affect their distribution and metabolism in the body are discussed. Other topics covered include toxicology, precision medicine, drug design, development, registration, and marketing and drugs of abuse and addiction. Lectures are complemented by a tutorial/practical program which emphasises the clinical nature of the subject and develops lecture material using a variety of experimental and tutorial approaches.

The study of pharmacology is a desirable part of any general medical or bioscience education and is also relevant to those intending to follow careers in teaching, law, and local government. For this reason, this subject is directed not only towards training specialist pharmacologists but aims at providing a broad education about drugs/chemicals that may affect living organisms and impact on society. In order to do this, the fundamental principles of pharmacology must be fully understood before the applied aspects of drug action can be discussed.

Scientists can communicate their research findings to other scientists in the form of structured scientific reports that are published in peer-reviewed journals, but it is becoming increasingly important to also communicate science effectively to the general public and to people working in other disciplines. Students learn the principles behind effective communication of scientific concepts to the general public and submit scientific content on a pharmacology topic in a style suitable for online delivery, e.g. website, blog, message forum or social software.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.