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Undergraduate curriculum

The Society’s Education and Training committee are keen to ensure that the undergraduate curriculum stays relevant and up to date in between more formal reviews. We welcome all feedback on the below core knowledge. If you would like to send us some feedback, please email

Having successfully completed an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology, graduates will be able to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes detailed in this core curriculum.

Core knowledge

Having successfully completed an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology, graduates will have knowledge and understanding of:

Related disciplines

  • Life sciences e.g. molecular biology, physiology 
  • Relevant mathematics 
  • The basics of medicinal chemistry, including the principles behind structure activity relationships
  • How related disciplines can yield insights in pharmacology and vice versa

Theoretical principles of drug action

  • Drugs that can be used in health and disease, giving examples from body systems
  • How drugs interact with their targets, including drug-receptor theory
  • Pharmacodynamics (molecule to whole organism)
  • Pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion)
  • How physiological and pathophysiological processes are affected by drug action
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Principles of toxicology and their application in safety pharmacology
  • Principles of translational research and experimental medicine

Methodological principles

  • Qualitative and quantitative statistical tools and analytical methods used to interpret pharmacological data
  • The scientific method (hypothesis formulation, hypothesis testing, experimental design, experimental analysis)
  • Appropriate and emerging methods for interrogating the pharmacodynamic effects of drugs
  • Appropriate and emerging methods for interrogating the pharmacokinetic effects of drugs
  • Drugs as pharmacological tools in scientific research
  • The principles of reduction, refinement and replacement in the use of animals in research

Drug discovery & development

  • The multidisciplinary nature of drug discovery and development and the pivotal role played by pharmacology
  • The stages of drug discovery and development
  • Principles of clinical trial design
  • How knowledge of pathophysiology can yield insights into drug targets and new therapeutic avenues
  • Emerging therapeutic avenues
  • The use of gene modification techniques in drug discovery and development
  • Commercial drug discovery techniques
  • How medicine formulation impacts on drug action
  • Regulatory processes to include medicine quality, safety and effectiveness
  • The challenges associated with developing and assessing the efficacy and safety of new therapeutic approaches

The societal impact of the discipline

  • The ethical principles of research, including clinical trials and animal research (design, implementation and reporting)
  • How pharmacology relates to social challenges and public health
  • The impact of pharmacology on patient care with respect to the safe and effective use of medicines
  • The various career paths and opportunities afforded by a pharmacology degree