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Study in the Discipline of Pharmacology, Sydney Pharmacy School, is offered by the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Pharmacology is the study of the properties and biological actions of drugs and chemicals and the key role they play in the prevention and treatment of human diseases. A drug is any agent, either biological or chemical, that modifies the function of living tissues. Increasingly, doctors rely on drugs not only to cure disease, for example antibiotics and infections, but also to prevent diseases, such as lipid lowering drugs in the prevention of heart disease.

Pharmacologists search for and identify new drugs and new drug targets based on knowledge of the nature of particular diseases, and investigate mechanisms of drug action which may lead to greater understanding of disease processes and therapies.

A major in pharmacology will equip you with a thorough knowledge of the discovery, development and testing of drugs, and its importance to the future of biomedical research and practice (medicine, pharmacy or other allied health professions). In this major you will learn about the mechanisms of drug action, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination, drug activity and chemical structure, the effect of drugs on body systems, the toxic effects of drugs and more.

Requirements for completion

The pharmacology major and minor requirements are listed in the Pharmacology unit of study table.

Contact and further information

Sydney Pharmacy School
Pharmacy and Bank Building (A15)
Science Rd
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Associate Professor Tina Hinton
T +61 2 9351 6954

Learning outcomes

Students who graduate from Pharmacology will be able to:

No. Learning outcome
1 Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge of how drugs are discovered, developed, delivered and regulated, analyse new drugs and drug targets for treatment of disease, and explain the toxicological potential of drugs and other agents.
2 Exhibit a deep and integrated knowledge of the pharmacological properties of drugs, their use as experimental tools and in treatment of disease, and their abuse potential, based on drug structure, drug targets, mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenomic aspects, and toxicological features.
3 Select and use appropriate tools for pharmacological enquiry, observe and measure biological and behavioural responses to drugs, and work safely and effectively in a laboratory environment.
4 Collect, analyse, illustrate, describe and interpret data derived from retrospective data collections, clinical trials, forensic problems and experimentation.
5 Source, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate information in pharmacology from a range of relevant sources.
6 Communicate concepts and findings in pharmacology through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
7 Integrate pharmacology knowledge and skills with those in other disciplinary areas to solve a big health challenge or problem in pharmacology research, and communicate a coherent, critical and informative response presenting a recommendation or view.
8 Design and carry out an investigation in pharmacology, appraising the relevant ethical and regulatory requirements and recommending improvements using creative approaches.
9 Develop creative and innovative approaches to problem solving in the field of pharmacological research and work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and collaborative contexts.
10 Address authentic problems in pharmacology, working professionally and ethically within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
11 Examine and evaluate contemporary issues in pharmacology from a range of ethical and cross-cultural perspectives.