Module summary

Module code: PHAR1008
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Science
Module Coordinator(s): Michael Leach



• To extend knowledge of neuropharmacology in the autonomic and central nervous systems (with an emphasis on the CNS and CNS disorders).
• To increase understanding of neurotransmission in the nervous systems, sites of drug action, drug targets and therapeutic uses.
• To provide an understanding of the pathophysiology and neuropharmacology of various disorders/diseases of the CNS.
• To encourage students to develop a critical approach to the interpretation of pharmacological information.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1. Give an overview of the functional anatomy and neuropharmacological aspects of the autonomic and central nervous systems.
2. Discuss the role of pharmacology in the development of neurotransmitter and receptor concepts.
3. Evaluate therapeutic uses for pharmacological agents used to delineate physiological processes.
4. Have knowledge of various disorders particularly of the central nervous system and the current pharmacological treatment and/or new drug approaches to treatment.

Indicative content

Functional anatomy of the autonomic and central nervous systems. Neutrotransmission in the autonomic and central nervous systems. Neurons, glia, blood brain barrier, synaptic vesicle cycle. Synthesis, metabolism, termination of action of cholinergic, adrenergic neurotransmitters; nicotinic and muscarinic receptors and subtypes; adrenergic receptors and subtypes. Excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in the CNS; transmitter pathways, excitatory amino acid receptors, GABA, 5-HT, dopamine, ion channels, nitric oxide. Pharmacological agents acting in the ANS and CNS. Therapeutic uses of pharmacological agents. Aspects of function and disorder eg. learning and memory, sleep, electroencephalogram, epilepsy, anti-epileptic agents, neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis, cerebral ischaemia, stroke, head injury, depression and anti-depressant drugs, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, pain and analgesics. Drug dependency and drug abuse, brain reward circuit, psychomotor stimulants and psychotomimetic agents.

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures and tutorials, plus computer interactive learning from the British Pharmacological Society (PCCAL and Pharma-Cal-Orgy). Interpretative exercises. E-tutorials will be delivered using Moodle.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)
Scheduled contact hours:

Note: include in scheduled time: project supervision, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in studio or workshop, scheduled lab work , fieldwork, external visits.
lectures 69;
seminars 0;
supervised practical sessions 3;
tutorials 0;
formative assessment 0;
other scheduled time 0.
Guided independent study

Note: include in guided independent study preparation for scheduled sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, revision:
Independent coursework 30;
Independent laboratory work 6;
other non-scheduled time 192.
Placements & year abroad:
Work placements 0;
Work based learning 0;
Year abroad 0;
Other placement 0.
Total hours (’Should be equal to credit x 10’) 300


Seen Essay Test - 20%
LO - 1-4.
Grading Mode -Numerical
Seen Essay on a given topic.

Coursework - 20%
Grading Mode-Numerical
3000 words
LO - 1, 3, 4.
Critical reviews of published literature.

Examination - 60%
Grading Mode -Numerical
LO - 1-4.
3hr Exam.

Pass mark - 40%