This unit provides an introduction to the study of pharmacology. Four important areas of pharmacology are covered: (1) an introduction to drugs and medicines; pharmacotherapy and the legal and ethical foundations of pharmacotherapy; (2) the principles of pharmacology-pharmacodynamics: the molecular aspects of drug action and fundamental concepts of drug-target interactions, receptor families and signalling pathways; (3) the principles of pharmacology-pharmacokinetics and routes of administration and (4) Drugs affecting the peripheral nervous system - an overview of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


HBM1001 - Anatomy and Physiology 1

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Explain how drugs are sourced, named and classified and discuss the quality use of medicines and authoritative sources for drug information;  
  2. Articulate the basic principles of pharmacological concepts: pharmacokinetics & pharmacodynamics and associated medicinal chemistry;  
  3. Apply knowledge from other scientific disciplines to explain the potential therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs;  
  4. Interpret and explain the clinical indications for and adverse effects of autonomic nervous system agonists and antagonists and somatic agents.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Professional Website Based Module (120 mins) 20%
Exercise Worksheet 25%
Test Test 3 MCQ Test (40 minutes) 20%
Presentation Case Study Presentation (1000 words) 35%
To obtain a passing grade or higher in this graded unit, students must achieve an overall accumulative mark of at least 50%.

Required reading

Pharmacology for health professionals. 5th ed.
Bryant, B. and Knights, K. (2018)
Sydney: Mosby Elsevier

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.