Pharmacology (PHS1)

Academic Year 2019/2020

Pharmacologists study the nature, actions and uses of drugs. This degree starts you on the road to a highly active field of research.

If you are interested in doing an Internship as part of Stage 4, you must indicate your interest now (in Stage 3).
See full details www.ucd.ie/science/careers/internships/students/

Curricular information is subject to change

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This aim of this programme is to educate and train students in the discipline of Pharmacology to pursue careers in scientific research, the pharmaceutical sector, education and related professional degrees. We value students who are expert, independent, critical thinkers, motivated to acquire and develop a deep-understanding of drugs, their mechanisms and applications.  We aim to provide a learning environment combining state of the art laboratories and research facilities and multifaceted teaching methodologies that encourage questioning and investigational skills with an integrative approach to problem solving. Our graduates will exemplify academic integrity, with excellence in laboratory skills and core competencies in research.


  • Develop a critical knowledge of pharmacological principles, drugs, their mechanism of action, experimental and therapeutic uses.
  • Apply new and emerging modalities including gene and cell therapies for therapeutic benefit.
  • Effectively and accurately communicate the science of pharmacology to the scientific and wider communities verbally and in writing.
  • Understand the research method and apply new practical skills and knowledge of experimental methods in pharmacology.
  • Critically analyse scientific process of increasing complexity and use evidence based approaches to interrogate pharmacological problems.
  • Apply and integrate contemporary, multidisciplinary knowledge to the investigation of pharmacology.
  • Understand and comply with current policies on the rights of research subjects, copyright, ethics, malpractice, data ownership and use of animals.
  • Appreciate how scientific hypotheses and research outcomes result in novel therapeutics.
  • Interpret, analyse and organise scientific data accurately and precisely.
  • Integrate theoretical, experimental and clinical pharmacology to promote the discipline of pharmacology in its fullest diversity and to foster basic research and the development of theory.
Approved Additional Standards for Continuation in undergraduate degree programmes in Science (all majors):

Students who return failing grades in a semester amounting to 15 credits, or more, will be identified under the UCD Continuation and Readmission Policy. Students whose rate of progression and performance over two academic sessions (2 years) is deemed unacceptable will be referred to the Academic Council Committee on Student Conduct and Capacity for exclusion from the programme.
Pharmacologists study the nature, actions and uses of drugs. This degree starts you on the road to a highly active field of research.

Pharmacology deals with the study of drugs and their action on living systems. A drug is any substance that is given to a human or animal with the intention of changing the state of its body function: to relieve pain, treat cancer, eliminate infection or improve health. A science-based pharmacologist is concerned with investigating how drugs act at different biological levels, ranging from cells and genes up to tissues and even human populations.

Pharmacology is also concerned with the use of drugs as investigative tools to obtain a better understanding of cellular and physiological processes in both health and disease. Toxicology is an important component of the discipline of Pharmacology. This is the study of the harmful effects of chemicals, including drugs, pesticides and toxins, on living organisms.

As a discipline, therefore, Pharmacology underpins many of the medical advances that have led to improvements in the quality of life for us all.
STAGE 1
Stage 1 of the BSc Pharmacology degree includes core modules in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. Since drugs are chemicals, and since the cellular processes that they modify are chemical / biochemical in nature, the pharmacologist requires some knowledge of Chemistry, Biology and Physiology, as well as Mathematics and Statistics.

With the exception of Mathematics, it is not necessary for you to have studied these subjects before coming to UCD; the modules studied in Stage 1 will ensure that all students have sufficient understanding of the relevant basic sciences to master the discipline of Pharmacology.

STAGE 2
In Stage 2 you begin your studies in Pharmacology in depth. Topics covered include pharmacodynamics (how drugs work at a molecular level), pharmacokinetics (what the body does to drugs), the effects of drugs on the different body systems, endocrine and immune pharmacology, genetics and biotechnology. In addition, you will also have an opportunity to take other modules in related biomedical sciences such as Biochemistry, Microbiology or Physiology, or in Chemistry.

STAGE 3
Areas studied in Stage 3 include chemotherapy, toxicology, drug treatment of endocrine and neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, advanced CNS pharmacology and molecular pharmacology.

STAGE 4
As you progress to Stage 4, the modules you study are increasingly based on 'hot topics', introducing you to the many exciting developments taking place the field of Pharmacology and related disciplines.

Topics include:
- Receptor-based cell signalling
- Developmental biology/pharmacology
- Ophthalmological pharmacology
- Cancer biology and pharmacology
- Advanced neuropharmacology
- Drug discovery

In addition to these courses, you also gain direct research experience by undertaking a laboratory-based research project.

PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE
A limited number of opportunities exist for you in Stages 2 and 3 to gain additional laboratory experience during the summer holiday period; funded schemes are organised by public and private bodies, e.g. The Irish Health Research Board and The Wellcome Trust (UK). In addition, occasional opportunities arise within individual research groups.
You may apply to study abroad for either a semester or a year through the Erasmus programme or on a non-EU exchange.

UCD has over 200 Erasmus partners in Europe and an increasing number of non-EU exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and elsewhere.
Please visit the Erasmus section by clicking on the International Office link at the top of this page.
Pharmacology graduates pursue careers in many different fields. Career opportunities include:
- Research in institutes, universities or the pharmaceutical industry
- Management
- Product development, registration or marketing within the pharmaceutical industry
- Regulatory agencies involving drug information / registration
- Publishing and science journalism
- Teaching
Dr K. M. O'Boyle UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research Belfield, Dublin 4 Tel: +353 1 716 6744/6760 Email: koboyle@ucd.ie Web: www.ucd.ie/horizons
Stage 3

Students take eight core modules and at least two optional modules. Additional option modules can be selected form the list below or alternatively, students can select 10 credits from elective modules.
If you are interested in doing an Internship as part of Stage 4, you must indicate your interest now (in Stage 3). See full details www.ucd.ie/science/careers/internships/students/

Stage 4

Students take a total of 60 credits of modules (core and options) from within the Stage 4 Pharmacology programme.

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 3 Core Modules
     
BMOL30040 Receptor-mediated cell signalling Autumn

5

PHAR30010 Chemotherapeutic Agents Autumn

5

PHAR30080 Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric Illness Autumn

5

STAT20070 Data Modelling for Science Autumn

5

PHAR30020 Endocrine, Renal and Reproductive Pharmacology Spring

5

PHAR30030 Toxicology Spring

5

PHAR30040 Development and advanced pharmacology of the nervous system Spring

5

PHAR30050 Experimental and therapeutic strategies in molecular pharmacology Spring

5

Stage 3 Core Modules
     
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN2OF:
     
BMOL30030 Regulation of Gene Expression Autumn

5

BMOL30090 Immunology Autumn

5

GENE30010 Genetics and Recombinant DNA Autumn

5

MEIN30240 Bioinformatics Autumn

5

PHYS30010 Cardiovascular Physiology Autumn

5

BMOL30020 Molecular basis of disease Spring

5

NEUR30070 Higher Cortical Function Spring

5

PHYS30040 Endocrine Physiology Spring

5

Stage 3 Options - A)MIN2OF:
     
Stage 4 Core Modules
     
PHAR40030 Advanced cardiovascular pharmacology: mechanisms and pharmacotherapy in atherothrombotic disease Autumn

5

PHAR40070 Advanced Neuropharmacology:Cognition, Neurodegeneration and Psychiatric Disorders Autumn

5

BMOL40050 Advanced Cancer Biology and Pharmacology Spring

5

GENE40030 Advanced Mechanisms of Gene Regulation Spring

5

PHAR40040 Emerging therapies: Cloning, gene therapy and stem cells Spring

5

PHAR40050 Drug Discovery and Development I Spring

5

PHAR40060 Advanced Renal Pharmacology: disease development and treatment Spring

5

Stage 4 Core Modules
     
Stage 4 Options - A)1 OF:
Students taking BMOL40090 (Research Project Erasmus) OR BMOL40200 (Industry Research Project) are exempt from Autumn core modules in their respective disciplines. These students should select additional option modules in Summer to a total of 60 credits.
     
BMOL40090 Research Project (Erasmus) 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)

25

BMOL40200 Industry Research Project 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)

25

PHAR40020 Pharmacology Research Project 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr)

20

BMOL40100 Biomolecular Sci Research Proj Autumn

15

Stage 4 Options - A)1 OF:
Students taking BMOL40090 (Research Project Erasmus) OR BMOL40200 (Industry Research Project) are exempt from Autumn core modules in their respective disciplines. These students should select additional option modules in Summer to a total of 60 credits.
     
Stage 4 Options - B)MIN1OF:
Students taking BMOL40100 should select two modules from Set B. Students taking PHAR40020 should select one module from Set B
     
BMOL40040 Cell growth, differentiation and death Autumn

5

NEUR40080 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Neurodegenerative Proteinopathies Autumn

5

BIOC40030 Advanced Cell Signalling Spring

5

BIOC40060 Advanced Neurochemistry Spring

5

BIOC40220 Hot topics in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Spring

5

BMOL40340 Regenerative therapeutics Spring

5

GENE40050 Human Genetics & Disease Spring

5

MICR40040 Microbial Pathogenicity Spring

5

NEUR40030 Modulation of Synaptic Signalling Spring

5

NEUR40100 GPCR's as Therapeutic Targets Spring

5

PHAR40160 Drug Discovery and Development II Spring

5