Pharmacology BSc/MSci

Core Skills in Pharmacology (Drug Discovery & Development) 4X core BIOL4182

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course covers core concepts in modern pharmacology set within the context of drug discovery and development. Pharmacology is a quantitative discipline and a key element of this course will be to develop skills and understanding of the quantitative aspects of pharmacology. Another strong theme is the understanding of drug action based on knowledge of drug structure and drug-receptor interactions and the discovery of good drug targets. 


Normally, there is one 3-hour session on Mondays.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a data handling and interpretation written assignment (25%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with a thorough background in advanced concepts in modern pharmacology and drug discovery, coupled to a detailed theoretical background, and containing a strong numerical component.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Plot graphs, handle data sets and calculate key pharmacological parameters; 

■ Discuss the fundamental role of chemistry in drug discovery; 

■ Evaluate the power and theoretical basis of modern drug screening approaches; 

■ Discuss how drug:protein interactions can be identified and quantified, both in vivo and in vitro; 

■ Illustrate the power of bioinformatics in drug discovery, with a clear appreciation of the technology, strengths and limitations of the approaches; 

■ Discuss the principles of key stages of the drug discovery process from target identification and compound screening to preclinical and clinical testing. 

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.