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PSCI201 Pharmaceutical Chemistry

An introduction to pharmaceutical discovery, design, manufacturing and drug action. Studies will examine the chemical properties of, and analytical techniques used in the pharmaceutical sciences and introduce how drugs act.

PSCI201 will introduce key aspects of pharmaceutical, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry. Students will gain an understanding of drug discovery and drug function, and be introduced to important chemical groups and transformations used in the design of drugs. Fundamental chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques used for purification, analysis and characterisation of drugs will also be taught.

Paper title Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Paper code PSCI201
Subject Pharmacy
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CHEM 111 or CHEM 191
Recommended Preparation
PHSI 132 or PHSI 191

PSCI201 builds on the foundations of first year chemistry, providing fundamental knowledge and skills in drug discovery and development. This paper will prepare students for 300-level papers in the BPharmSc degree and provide other students with a sound knowledge of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry that can complement BSc degrees with a chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry or biology focus.


Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator:Dr Allan Gamble

Professor Natalie Medlicott

Associate Professor Arlene McDowell

Dr Ailsa McGregor

Dr Shakila Rizwan

Paper Structure

PSCI201 will be taught through lectures, laboratories and workshops/tutorials covering the following general topics:

  • Introduction to important functional groups in drugs/pharmaceutics
  • Introduction to drug action
  • Spectroscopy used in pharmaceutical drug development and analysis
  • Purification and analysis of pharmaceutics
  • Introduction to peptide, carbohydrate, polymer and lipid-based pharmaceutics
  • Introduction to prodrugs

Textbooks will be available through the library. Titles to be confirmed.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the drug discovery, design, and manufacture process.
  2. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of pharmaceutical chemistry, which includes bioorganic and medicinal chemistry and basic pharmacology.
  3. Demonstrate basic fundamental knowledge in drug delivery and nanotechnology.
  4. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of spectroscopic methods used in characterisation of small molecules and nanoparticles.
  5. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of analytical methods used to purify, identify and quantify levels of pharmaceutics and formulations.
  6. Demonstrate competent practical skills for drug synthesis, purification, characterisation and quantitative analysis in pharmaceutical science.
  7. Communicate experimental data effectively in lab reports.

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 08:00-08:50 9-14, 16-22
Tuesday 08:00-08:50 9, 11, 13, 16, 20, 22
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 10, 12, 14, 18-19
Thursday 13:00-13:50 9-12, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 11, 13, 16, 20, 22
Wednesday 17:00-19:50 17


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 14:00-15:50 14
Friday 14:00-15:50 10, 12, 18-19, 21