Studying online

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Unit Overview


The academic objectives of this unit are to provide an introduction to the action of drugs in tissues, organs and whole body environments such that the relevance of pharmacological agents to disease therapy is made clear. Topics include pharmacology of the autonomic and central nervous systems (CNS); respiratory; cardiovascular and endocrine pharmacology; drug dependence; cancer and ethics. The material in the unit is the foundation for further study in pharmacology.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Pharmacology major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe drug action as interactions between a xenobiotic chemical (the drug) and normal or pathological physiology and biochemistry in each of the body systems; (2) describe both the effects of the drug on the target, and the effects of disease processes and other drugs on this relationship; (3) discuss responsible conduct in learning and research, particularly with respect to the discipline of pharmacology; (4) apply pharmacology principles to new situations; (5) perform simple laboratory procedures relevant to assessing the actions of drugs; (6) access, select and use recent and authoritative sources of relevant information and compile references in an appropriate style; and (7) evaluate knowledge using critical thinking.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) enquiry-based asessments; (2) tests; and (3) 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)
Associate Professor Lynette Fernandes
Unit rules
PHAR2210 Foundations of Pharmacology
or IMED2002 Blood and Drugs
PHAR2230 Systems Pharmacology
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
labs: 3 sessions, up to 4 hours each
continuous assessments: 2 per semester

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

An earlier edition is also suitable - Dale MM, Flower RJ, Henderson G, Rang HP (2016) Rang & Dale's Ppharmacology. 8th 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.