Queen's University
PHAR 100 Introductory Pharmacology

PHAR 100, Introductory Pharmacology, is designed as a general interest course that introduces the subjects of pharmacology and toxicology, with emphasis on common drugs used and abused by society. Pharmacology is broadly defined as the effect of drugs and chemicals on living organisms, while toxicology is the study of the deleterious effects of drugs and chemicals on living organisms. No prior knowledge of physiology is required to understand the drug action described in this course. This 12-week course consists of six modules, which student will work through online. Students will participate in two activities throughout the course that will encourage communication and teamwork, as well as ensure concepts have been understood and can be applied to real life scenarios. In addition, students will be required to submit one individual assignment, answering assigned questions about the course material. At the end of the course, students will have a basic understanding of pharmacology and toxicology.

There are no prerequisites for this course. However, it is recommended that students have 4U Biology.

ONE-WAY EXCLUSION May not be taken with or after: PHAR 230/3.0; PHAR 270/3.0; PHAR 340/3.0; PHAR 450/3.0.

Online format with materials, communication and assignment submissions all via Brightspace (onQ).

After completing PHAR 100 Introductory Pharmacology, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the pharmacological principles of drug abuse to advocate for healthy and appropriate drug use. (PLO 4, 6; Assessment 2)
  2. Describe the mechanism of action and physiological effects of classes of drugs to be able to summarize the reason(s) for their use and abuse in society. (PLO 4, 6; Assessments 2–5)
  3. Apply learned knowledge of the essential elements of a phase 3 clinical trial to design a hypothetical clinical trial for a new drug to treat a specific disease or condition. (PLO 4, 8; Assessment 1)
  4. Effectively discuss and apply relevant pharmacological principles within a group to successfully complete collaborative assignments. (PLO 4; Assessments 1, 2)


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Leaders, health professionals engage with others to contribute to a vision of a high-quality health care system and take responsibility for the delivery of excellent patient care through their activities as clinicians, administrators, scholars, or teachers.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Phase III Clinical Trial Poster (10%)

Working in groups of 5, students will be assigned a condition or disease for which a hypothetical new drug has been developed to treat. Groups will be responsible for discussing and designing the basic elements needed for a phase 3 clinical trial to test the efficacy and safety of the theoretical new drug in treating the assigned condition or disease state. Each student will then create an aesthetically pleasing and professional poster that conveys the design elements incorporated into their phase3 clinical trial. Each student will peer review 4 other posters.

Assessment 2 – Online Discussion: Should marijuana be legalized? (20%)

The purpose of this assignment is to look at the scientific evidence regarding marijuana use and based on the scientific evidence, decide whether or not the recreational smoking of marijuana should be legalized. Students will be placed in groups of 5 and will be assigned a specific topic regarding marijuana. Topics can range from the effects of marijuana on motor skills and cognitive functioning to the effects of smoking marijuana on cancer risk. Groups are responsible for obtaining published scientific articles and discussing the evidence for their assigned topic. Each student will write and submit an individual formal report focussing on two key papers outlining the findings of their research topic. The last page of the report should explain whether or not, based on their research, the recreational smoking of marijuana should be legalized.

Assessment 3 – Individual, Submitted Assignment (20%)

Working individually, students will prepare a document that answers questions posed by the instructor that test understanding and application of course content. The assignment will consist of 9 questions, of which each answer should be a maximum of one double-spaced page.

Assessment 4 – Midterm Exam (10%)

The midterm exam will be conducted online and will consist of well-designed multiple choice questions.

The midterm exam will be conducted online and will consist of well-designed multiple choice questions.

The final exam will be proctored and will include well-designed multiple choice and short answer questions, emphasizing understanding and application of knowledge learned throughout the course.

A minimum of two tutorials will be run by the instructors during the course, one before the midterm and one before the final exam, providing students with an opportunity to clarify any concepts or questions.

Required Texts

PHAR 100 course notes via modules posted online.

Optional Texts

Primer of Drug Action, 12th Robert Julien et al., Worth Publishers, 2010.

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for PHAR 100 Introductory Pharmacology, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.