Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Pharmacology 3A BIOL4236

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course, you will explore the scientific principles that underlie pharmacology. Pharmacology is the study of drugs and other chemicals that influence biological function in living organisms. It encompasses the effects of naturally-occurring compounds as well as synthetic drugs and considers the molecular causes of disease as targets for drug treatment and drug discovery. Pharmacology 3A & 3B build on the Level-2 Life Sciences courses, developing an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the human body, underpinned by a programme of laboratory practicals and discussion of current research and clinical implications.


This course will consist of five two-week teaching blocks, each consisting of approximately 12 one-hour lectures and supporting labs (up to 7 hours in duration) and workshops (2 to 3 hours in duration). Five one-hour tutorial sessions and sessions on scientific skills and graduate attributes (each 2 to 3 hours in duration) will also run throughout the semester. The timetable will vary from week to week to accommodate staff and resource availability and to meet the educational needs of each constituent block.

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to students admitted to Year 3 of a programme for which this is a compulsory course.

Excluded Courses





The course will be assessed by means of a 1-hour examination (10%) in the winter diet, a 3-hour examination (50%) in the spring diet and in-course assessment (40%). The in-course assessment comprises a lab report (15%), essay (10%), oral presentation (7.5%) and critical analysis (7.5%).

Main Assessment In: December and April/May

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

■ To provide a broad-based knowledge and understanding of pharmacology;

■ To develop basic practical skills relevant to pharmacology-focused laboratory techniques;

■ To develop skills relating to the systematic acquisition and analysis of factual information and data;

■ To develop problem-solving skills and to critically analyse, interpret and discuss factual information and data;

■ To provide opportunities to practise and improve written and oral communication skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Discuss the central facts and the experimental basis of modern pharmacology;

■ Appraise the use of modern technologies for the study of pharmacology;

■ Communicate experimental, interpretative and ethical aspects of science using oral presentations, written work and information technology;

■ Plan an experiment and apply appropriate methods to analyse experimental data;

■ Identify and critically evaluate relevant scientific literature.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.