Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit provides an introduction to the basic principles of pharmacology, the branch of science that studies the effects of drugs on the human body. Topics covered in this unit include (1) drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion; (2) receptor classification, concentration-response relationships and intracellular signalling; (3) drug-induced toxicities; (4) antimicrobial chemotherapy; and (5) clinical aspects of drug effects. The material in the unit is the foundation for further study in pharmacology but can be taken on its own. Students are introduced to the scientific study of drugs and medicines with an emphasis on general mechanisms, processes and theories accompanied by selected examples.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Pharmacology; Human Sciences (Anatomy and Physiology) major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe the processes that regulate the fate of drugs in the body and the influence of these processes on drug response; (2) describe the actions of drugs at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels, discriminating between the actions of agonists and antagonists; (3) relate therapeutic effects and unwanted adverse effects to drug action, being able to describe the mechanisms underlying drug-induced toxicities and the relevance of genetic polymorphism to drug response; (4) select, critically appraise, and communicate scientific information on a topic related to pharmacology; and (5) perform laboratory experiments relevant to assessing the action of drugs.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tests; (2) laboratory assessment; and (3) end of semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ricky Chen
Unit rules
CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity
and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
CHEX1002 Chemistry Structure and Reactivity
and SCIX1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry
and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
BIOC1001 Introductory Cellular Biochemistry
and SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
IMED1001 Form and Function
and IMED1002 The Facts of Life
Contact hours
lectures: two 1-hour lectures per week

practical labs: four labs per semester, up to 3 hours per lab

computer lab: one 3-hour computer lab per semester

Flower RJ, Henderson G, Loke YK, MacEwan DJ, Rang HP, Ritter J (2019) Rang and Dale's Pharmacology. 9th edn.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.