Queen's University
PHAR 270 Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

PHAR 270, Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, is an interdisciplinary course that introduces the basic principles and clinical applications of pharmacology. This 12-week course covers six themes or topics. Students will work through the topics online, using a combination of online modules, readings, and short video clips. Students will participate in a variety of assessments 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. At the end of the course, students will have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of pharmacology and therapeutics.

Corequisite: PHGY 215/3.0 and PHGY 216/3.0; KNPE 225.

No more than 3.0 units from PHAR 230/3.0; PHAR 270/3.0; PHAR 340.

May not be taken with or after PHAR 450/3.0.

After completing PHAR 270 Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the principles of drug therapy to solve basic pharmacokinetics problems.
  2. Source and critically analyze phase 3 clinical trials to recognize a well-designed, valid study for a new drug.
  3. Describe how drugs affect the body and how the body affects drugs to predict beneficial and adverse drug effects.
  4. Discuss the use of therapeutics in a variety of physiological systems and processes to propose basic therapeutic plans for common diseases or ailments.
  5. Explain how drugs target and combat infections and cancers to evaluate the pros and cons of available treatment options and to advocate for appropriate use to decrease the emergence of resistance.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


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 – Pharmacokinetics Problems and Simulations (10%)

Working individually, students will be required to answer a set of pharmacokinetics problems online, and to complete a series of pharmacokinetic simulations.

Assessment 2 – Drug Literature Evaluation Presentation (15%)

Working in pairs, students will be assigned a current drug with specific indications.

Week 1

Pairs will be asked to find and select two randomized clinical trials regarding their assigned drug and will be expected to critique the trials.

Week 2

Pairs will prepare and record a ten-minute Powerpoint presentation on their findings, which will be posted in Moodle. Specifically, the presentation should include:

  • A brief description of the mechanism of action of the drug being evaluated
  • Describe the two clinical trials that were chosen
  • Comment critically on the design of the clinical trials
  • Discuss the therapeutic uses and adverse effects of the assigned drug, based on the clinical trials
  • Summarize your conclusions, including a statement on the usefulness of the drug in therapeutics

Week 3

Pairs will be asked to view three other group presentations, and provide written constructive feedback. Pairs will have the opportunity to incorporate any student feedback into their presentations that they wish to. At the end of the week, all recorded presentations will be evaluated by teaching assistants or the course instructor for completeness and accuracy.

Assessment 3 – Virtual Ileum Lab (15%)

Each student will be given an unknown autonomic drug. Working individually, students will work through the virtual ileum lab, in which the goal is to determine what their unknown drug is, by comparing to known drug responses in the ileum. Students will discuss their results and conclusions within a group. After discussion, a written lab report will be submitted for evaluation by teaching assistants or the course instructor.

Assessment 4 – Written Report: Solve the Clinical Case (10%)

Week 1

Students will join together in groups of 4 or 5 and will be given a clinical case with a set of questions to answer based on information covered in the course. Groups will be responsible for discussing, researching and answering the questions to their clinical case.

Week 2

Each group will write a formal report, addressing the questions for their clinical case to be handed in at the end of week 2. In addition, each group will be responsible for formulating one multiple-choice question regarding their clinical case to pose to their classmates. This has to be a new question (i.e. not a question that the group has been asked to answer in their assignment), and has to be a question that the other students in the class can answer based on the information provided in the clinical case scenario, and the information learned in class. The multiple-choice question is to be submitted along with the formal report at the end of week 2.

Week 3

Following review by the teaching assistants or instructors, each group’s clinical case scenario and multiple choice question will be combined into one practice quiz and posted on Moodle. Each student will then have to answer the questions posed by their classmates regarding the clinical case scenarios. This will serve as a practice quiz, and will be marked for completion only. In addition, each group’s written report will be marked by teaching assistants or instructors.

Assessment 5 – Midterm Exam (10%)

The exam will be conducted online and will consist of multiple choice questions.

Assessment 6 – Final Proctored Exam (40%)

Must pass final exam.

The final exam will include well-designed, case-based multiple choice questions and short answer questions that will test the students’ overall understanding and application of the course material, rather than rote memorization.

Two tutorials will be run by the instructor 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 270 course notes via modules posted online.

Optional Texts

Katzung, Bertram G., Masters, Susan B., and Trevor, Anthony J.  Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 12thedition. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 2009 (available online through Queen’s library).

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 270 Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 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.