Pharmacology BSc/MSci

Pharmacology 3B BIOL4237

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting 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.

Excluded Courses





The course will be assessed by means of a 3-hour examination (50%) in the spring diet, a 2-hour open-book Molecular Methods test (7.5%), and in-course assessment (42.5%). The in-course assessment comprises a lab report (15%), literature review (15%), poster presentation (7.5%) and a creative assignment (5%).

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

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, including molecular techniques;

■ 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;

■ Solve problems of a numerical or logical nature using statistics where appropriate;

■ 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.