Introductory Pharmacology

PHAR 100/3.0

Topics covered include central nervous system stimulants and depressants, narcotics, alcohol, cardiovascular agents, contraceptives, environmental toxicants, mechanism of drug action and disposition, antibiotics, drugs used in sports, over-the-counter drugs, food additives, and vitamins.


PHAR 100, Introductory Pharmacology, is designed as a general interest course that introduces the subjects of pharmacology and toxicology. 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, as the physiology needed is covered in the course notes and the textbook. This 12-week course consists of six modules. Students will work through the modules online, using a combination of course notes, text book readings and short video clips. 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.


Students will be evaluated on two active learning activities (25%), one individual written assignment (15%), one midterm quiz (10%), and a final proctored exam (50%). One of the active learning components will include peer critique. Students will also have multiple opportunities to self-assess their progress through small quizzes.

2 Active Learning Activities25%
Individual Assignment15%
Midterm Quiz10%
Final Proctored Exam50%

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.

Final Examination Format

The three-hour final exam will consist of multiple-choice questions of the type given as practice questions at the end of each lesson, and four short-answer questions. The multiple-choice questions will be worth 80%, and the short-answer questions worth 20% of the final exam.


Learning Outcomes

After completing PHAR 100, students will be able to:

  • Describe the history and general principles of pharmacology.
  • Explain how drugs can be therapeutically used in the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Illustrate how selectively toxic drugs can be used to combat infections and cancer.
  • Discuss current topics of interest in pharmacology, such as drugs in sports, food additives, vitamins, and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Recognize the abuse potential of drugs.
  • Identify adverse effects of drugs and explain why they occur.
  • Describe the role of drugs and chemicals in cancer.
  • Gain an understanding of the impact of drugs on both the individual and society.


Section A. History and General Principles of Pharmacology

  • History of Drug Use and Development
  • Drug Advertising, Drug Trials, and Placebo Effects
  • Dose-response Curves and Selective Toxicity
  • Drug Toxicity and Routes of Drug Administration
  • Drug Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion.

Section B. Drugs and the Nervous System

  • Physiological and Pharmacological Aspects of the Central and Peripheral Nervous System
  • Drug Dependence and Drug Abuse
  • Sedative-hypnotics and Anxiolytics
  • Narcotic Analgesics (Opiates, Opioids)
  • Classification of the Major Psychoactive Drugs
  • Classification of Mental Disorders
  • Antipsychotic and Antidepressant Drugs
  • Stimulant Drugs
  • Alcohol (Ethanol)
  • Cannabis
  • Nicotine

Section C. Drugs and the Cardiovascular System 

  • Drugs for the Treatment of Angina Pectoris and Congestive Heart Failure
  • Drugs Used for the Treatment and Prevention of Atherosclerosis
  • Antihypertensive Drugs

Section D. Antimicrobial Agents

  • Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Antimalarial Agents

Section E. Topics of Current Interest in Pharmacology

  • Vitamins
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Food Additives
  • Drugs in Sports
  • Regulation of Fertility

Section F. Environmental Toxicants and Cancer

  • Chemicals and Cancer
  • Drugs used for the Treatment of Cancer


Dr. Racz obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan. After three years of practice, he returned to university and obtained a Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry and a doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University. His interest in educating physicians, nursing science and life science students, and the public in the area of pharmacology and drug use spans almost four decades. His research interests include heavy metal toxicity and drug induced liver injury. He is a past president of the Society of Toxicology of Canada, a consultant to the Committee for The Evaluation of Drugs, Ministry of Health, Ontario and has served on several expert panels.

Dr. Mulder obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences, and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Queen’s University. Dr. Mulder is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor and Research Associate in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University. Her current research interests include environmental toxicants and drug-induced lung and liver toxicities, including cancer. She has been involved with the online version of PHAR100 for over five years and is enthusiastic about teaching pharmacology and toxicology.  

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9 - 10 hours/week in study, practice and online activity for PHAR 100.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.