We offer two specialised undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (BBioMedSci) majoring in Drugs and Human Health.
A minor in Environmental Toxicology is also available.
First year of study
To study Pharmacology you must take both Chemistry (CHEM 191) and Biochemistry (BIOC 192) courses at the first-year level. You will also need to complete an additional two biomedical science papers in an area such as cell and molecular biology (CELS 191, BIOL 112, BIOL 123), or human body systems (HUBS 191, HUBS 192).
Many students enrol in Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) and this will provide you with the requisite subjects to continue your study in pharmacology and toxicology.
You can choose to pursue Pharmacology as your major, in which case you will take two core papers (PHAL 211 and PHAL 221) which cover the basic principles of pharmacology, toxicology, and drug discovery, and will introduce the major drug classes currently used to treat disease.
For students who wish to include Pharmacology and Toxicology as part of their studies in other areas, the semester 2 paper PHAL 221 provides an in-depth exploration of the process of drug discovery from basic research through to clinical use. This paper is the ideal addition to any biomedical science course.
The four papers on offer allow students to explore key topics in depth, including neuropharmacology (PHAL 303), clinical pharmacology (PHAL 304), molecular and immunopharmacology (PHAL 305), and toxicology (PHAL 306).
As a small department, we have a friendly and helpful relationship with our students and our teaching staff routinely receive excellent feedback.
All pharmacology and toxicology papers are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, and laboratory practical sessions.
Practical sessions range from the use of modern cellular techniques through to human clinical trials.
Research at Otago
All our teaching staff are engaged in cutting-edge Pharmacology and Toxicology research, seeking to develop new drugs and address toxicological problems.
Areas of particular expertise include:
- Cancer drug development and treatment
- Cardiovascular health and cardioprotection
- Environmental toxicology
- Human toxicology
- Inflammation and wound healing
- Neuropharmacology and auditory pharmacology
There are many postgraduate study opportunities including honours, master's, and PhD degrees specialising in either Pharmacology or Toxicology. Research students work in our established laboratories using a range of modern techniques. Interdisciplinary research is available through the MSc in Toxicology which permits study across multiple departments.
There are no secondary school subject requirements for entry into Pharmacology.
Students must meet the prerequisites for entry into second-year papers as outlined in the University Guidelines and are encouraged to maintain Biology and Chemistry to Year 13.