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Pharmacology BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time B210 2019
4 years full time including sandwich year B211 2019
4 years full time including foundation year B212 2019
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

Why choose this course?

This course explores how drugs interact with living systems to treat and prevent disease and also how medicines are discovered and tested. The emphasis throughout is mainly on biological, rather than chemical processes, and includes the option to undertake a year in a work experience placement or studying abroad.

You can choose to study Pharmacology on its own or in combination with Business. See the course combinations for more information.

Professional recognition

This course meets the core curriculum requirements set out by the British Pharmacology Society (BPS) – the professional association for pharmacologists and one of the leading pharmacological societies in the world.

Foundation year

If you would like to study pharmacology at Kingston University but do not meet the entry requirements for the first year of the BSc(Hons) course, you can include an extra foundation year within your chosen degree. Please see the science foundation year course page for details of modules.

What you will study

Year 1 offers essential understanding of how the human body works, providing knowledge to underpin the study of pharmacology. You will gain a comprehensive overview of physiology from cellular to organ-system level, as well as chemistry, genetics and molecular biology. The Scientific and Laboratory Skills module trains you in a number of practical laboratory techniques.

Year 2 introduces pharmacology as a distinct subject, including the action of drugs at their target sites and the actions of the body on drugs once they have been administered. The Systems Pharmacology module covers drugs acting on the major organ systems of the body, including the cardiovascular, nervous, gastrointestinal, renal, respiratory and endocrine systems. Further coverage of immunology, microbiology and molecular biology enables you to study relevant disease and its treatment. A module in Principles of Pharmacology with Research Methods prepares you to undertake an independent research project in year 3.

Year 3 provides further in-depth study of pharmacology drugs used to treat cancer and infectious diseases; drugs acting on the brain and peripheral nervous system, such as antidepressants and analgesics; novel drugs used to treat degenerative brain diseases; and the mechanisms of action of drug abuse. You will be able to investigate emerging new techniques in pharmacology, as well as having the option to study bioinformatics and molecular genetics. The wider impact of pharmacology on society is considered, and key skills needed to communicate with both specialists and the public are developed. Your independent project enables you to gain first hand experience of conducting research in a particular area of interest.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module is a core module taken by students in the fields of Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Science, Forensic Biology, Forensic Science, Medical Biochemistry and Pharmacology. The module introduces students to basic cell biology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, molecular, organismal and population genetics, germ layers and basic tissue types in the human body, and a variety of microorganisms. Core factual material is provided in keynote lectures and supported via material available via StudySpace. Laboratory practicals give students the opportunity to learn selected current techniques used to study cells, tissues, chromosomes and microbial organisms. The module provides an essential introduction to modules at levels 5 and 6 that develop further knowledge in cell biology, anatomy, physiology, genetics and microbiology.

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  • The Chemical Foundations of Life
  • This first year module is a core module for all Bioscience and Forensic Science programmes, and provides a firm foundation in general scientific and laboratory skills that students require to successfully complete their programmes of study.  Students are introduced to the nature of studying in higher education, the need for effective time management and planning of work, the appropriate use of information sources, and to sources of information relating to careers in the biosciences.  Scientific analytical and lab/practical skills are developed, together with essential mathematics and statistical skills for life scientists.  A significant component of the module consists of the development of basic research skills such as practical skills in the laboratory, the principles of experimental design and the statistical analysis of data.

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  • This is a core module taken by students studying BSc Biomedical Science, Nutrition, Medical Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Pharmacology, and Forensic Biology.

    The module introduces students to fundamental physiological concepts which underpin the coordinated functioning of the human body, including homeostasis, cellular communication and movement of molecules through body compartments. The main physiological systems of the body are then covered, including the nervous, muscle, endocrine, respiratory, cardiovascular, renal and digestive systems. Core material is delivered through lectures, problem solving exercises and directed reading. Laboratory practicals provide experience of selected techniques, experimental design and data analysis used in physiological experimental work.

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Year 2

  • This is a core module taken by student in the fields of Biochemistry, Biological Sciences (Genetics and Molecular Biology route), Pharmacology, and is an option module taken by Biomedical Science and Biological Sciences (General route)

    The module builds on topics covered in LS4001 (Genes, Cells and Tissues) and explores more advanced concepts in cell and molecular biology. The module provides insight into the structure and function of cells, and takes an integrated approach to looking at how cells respond to changes in their environment - from receptor interactions and intracellular signalling pathways through to the regulation of gene expression and changes in cellular processes.

    Formal lectures are supported by laboratory classes, tutorials, workshops, independent study and further resources available on Canvas. The module also includes opportunities to develop both data-handling and written skills.

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  • This is a core module for students studying Biochemistry, Nutrition and Pharmacology. It aims to develop the scientific, academic and research skills that were introduced at level 4, and to relate applications of these skills to study and research in pharmacology. Research methods and employability skills are taught within the context of pharmacological research and associated industries.  You will be introduced to the basic concepts of pharmacodynamics (how drugs take their effect at given targets) and drug disposition/pharmacokinetics (the effect the body has on administered drugs), whilst considering the factors which influence such parameters and thus lead to individual variability in drug response. The module goes on to discuss the principles of toxicology, how drugs are discovered and developed, and the role of pharmaceutical sector / regulatory bodies in this process.

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  • This is a core module for Biomedical Science, Biological Sciences (Medical Biology), Medical Biochemistry, Nutrition and Pharmacology, and an option for Biological Sciences (Human Biology). It is a pre-requisite for the level 6 modules LS6003 (Chemotherapy of Infectious and Neoplastic Disease) and LS6006 (Clinical Immunology and Medical Microbiology).

    This module provides an opportunity to learn more about the structure and function of microbiological agents in health and disease and the immunological responses raised as a consequence by the human body. Through the lectures a number of microbiological processes will be examined along with methods of controlling the organisms responsible in the laboratory environment as well as within a patient. Students will also become familiar with the different cells and organs of the immune system and how these function and interact to protect the body from infection. The module also introduces some of the molecular processes and signalling events that are important in communication between cells of the human immune system.

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  • This module complements concepts delivered in Principles of Pharmacology with Research Methods and its application to a number of physiological system disorders. The main focus of the module is to study and discuss the disease pathophysiology and the types of drugs used in therapy of such disorders, alongside a rationale for their usage and any associated side effects.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Discuss the clinical indications for, mechanisms of action and adverse effects produced by drugs acting on inflammatory responses and the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine and nervous systems (peripheral and central).
    • Critically evaluate experimental design and results generated.
    • Assess research based literature, and evaluate current state of knowledge of drugs acting on physiological systems

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Optional sandwich year

Year 3/4

  • This module is a core requirement for students taking Biochemistry, Biological Sciences (Environmental Biology; Medical Biology; Genetics and Molecular Biology), Medical Biochemistry, and Pharmacology.

    The main features of this module are to provide you with insights into the scientific basis of recent technological advances in biomolecular science through selected examples of contemporary scientific research and their impact on society. It will built on key knowledge consolidated at levels 5 and 6 to demonstrate the application of theory to current research, developments in bioindustry and the effect of advancements on society. The scientific areas selected are designed to stimulate topical debate and are blended as a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals. The interaction of science and the media, public engagement, and how these can guide scientific policy will also be discussed together with the challenges facing today's bioindustry including the role of intellectual property rights, bioethics and enterprise. Employability and enterprise are embedded to develop your scientific and professional skills.

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  • This is a core module for Pharmacology and an option for other Life Science degree courses, namely Biological Sciences (Medical Biology route) and Biochemistry.

    This module provides an opportunity to learn about the various chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of both infectious and neoplastic disease. Treatments for infectious diseases will cover drugs that have actions on bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, while the neoplastic disease therapy will include a range of different cancers, including both solid and blood cancers. The lectures will focus on the mode of action, side effects and mechanisms of resistance of both antimicrobials and anti-cancer drugs.

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  • Choose between the following:

    • This module is a core requirement for students taking Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (Genetics & Molecular Biology route), and may be taken as an option by Forensic Biology and Pharmacology students.

      This module introduces you to the processes involved in maintaining genome stability, causing genome variability and controlling the coding potential of the genome. Mutation, recombination and transposition, and the interplay between them, are examined as causes of genome instability. The impact of genome instability/change upon gene expression, and its control, links these two main themes of the module. The module also introduces you to bioinformatics and sequence analysis. The use of sequence databases and analysis tools permits the analysis of gene/genome variability, along with the patterns of variability and conservation of sequences. This strand of the module gives an introduction to an area of increasing importance in many areas of bioscience research, including molecular diagnostics and drug development.

      Core factual material is provided via lectures, including demonstrations of the databases and analysis tools in the case of the bioinformatics elements, with additional resources being placed on Canvas. Over 50% of the teaching time in the module is spent on computer and laboratory practical work.

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    • This module is a core module for Biological Sciences (Human Biology route), and an optional module for Pharmacology and Biological Sciences (Genetics and Molecular Biology route). This research-driven module will provide a thorough background in the fields of neurophysiology and neuropharmacology and introduce a range of current topics in neuroscience, selected from such areas as cellular and molecular neurobiology, sensory and motor systems, cognitive neuroscience and degenerative neuropathologies. You will experience current research techniques and learn to critically evaluate and discuss different ways of studying the brain.

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  • This is a core module in the Biosciences field for a number of BSc (Honours) programmes. The project module forms a very important part of the degree programme and probably constitutes the largest piece of independent work a student is likely to undertake during his/her undergraduate studies. There are several types of projects that may be offered to students: a laboratory or field-based project, data projects involving acquisition of data and information from surveys, questionnaires, computer simulations or bioinformatics, or a systematic review of research literature that includes the collection, comparison and original presentation of reported research data. The end point is the same in all cases; review and critical evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information and data to address a hypothesis or research question, and the production of a written report.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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