University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Study in the Discipline of Pharmacology is offered by the Sydney Medical School. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

Program structure and content

Students enrolled in undergraduate science degrees may elect subjects in this discipline in the second and third years of their study. Pharmacology is the study of the properties and biological actions of drugs and chemicals. A drug is any agent (it may be biological or chemical) that modifies the function of living tissues. 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.The science of pharmacology is closely linked with chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and toxicology.

At the intermediate level, students may study pharmacology through two intermediate six credit point units of study or, for BMedSci students, in the BMED240X core units of study. At the senior level there are eight six credit point units of study, four standard and four advanced units.

First year planning for a Pharmacology major

Essential: 6 credit points of Junior BIOL OR MBLG1001/1901/1991 and 6 credit points of Junior Chemistry.

Requirements for a major

The intermediate units of study form the prerequisites to the senior units that comprise the major. For a major in Pharmacology, the minimum requirement is 24 credit points from the senior units of study listed in this subject area in Table 1.


Subject to a satisfactory standard being attained in Pharmacology, a student may undertake the Honours degree in this subject area. Much of the work will be arranged to suit the interest of the individual.

The student will participate in a research project in progress in the discipline. Written assessments include a research proposal, literature review and 50-page thesis based on the research topic. The students will also be required to give an introductory talk and a final talk about the progress of the project.

Honours contact

Associate Professor Rachel Codd

P + 61 2 9351 6378

Contact and further information

Ms Beverly Hehir

Phone: +61 2 9351 3819