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Fundamentals of Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

  • Course Number: GMS 6551*
  • Credit Hours: 1 credit hour
  • Course Format: This online course is tailored for asynchronous distance learners.
  • Course Syllabus: View Full Course Details

*It is recommended that students take GMS 6551 during their first semester.

Course Description

This 1-credit course studies the basic principles of pharmacology and therapeutics in the context of medicine and biomedical science. Concepts are taught using a combination of online lectures and online problem sets. Topics include the types and nomenclature of small molecule drugs and therapeutic biologics, drug-receptor interactions, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics and the basis of personalized medicine.


This course requires a BA or BS and a strong science foundation with at least 5 full semester courses related to biology, chemistry and/or physics.

Course Highlights Include

Drug discovery, development and medical use.

Who This Course Is For

This course is beneficial for individuals wanting to pursue a career in medicine or pharmacy and for professionals in pharmacy, drug development, biotechnology, pharmacology, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, clinical scientists, professors, and researchers.

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Drug Discovery
  • Nomenclature
  • Translational Research
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics I – Absorption & Distribution
  • Pharmacokinetics II – Metabolism
  • Pharmacokinetics III – Excretion
  • Pharmacokinetics IV – Quantitative
  • Individual Responses to Drugs
  • Pharmacogenomics

Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this course will prepare students to study pharmacology and therapeutics in the context of translational research and specific human physiologies and pathophysiologies. These students will be able to:

  1. Understand the diversity of small molecule drugs and biologics (e.g., antibodies, peptides, viral-based gene therapies), including their nomenclature.
  2. Understand the major steps in the process where basic scientific discoveries are applied towards solving medical problems in patients and society (T0-T2) and the types of knowledge needed to progress through these different steps.
  3. Describe the process of identifying an unmet medical need and identify how scientific knowledge or discoveries might be used to improve upon existing therapies.
  4. Understand the mechanisms by which drugs and biologics act in the body and at their targets (e.g., pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, affinity, agonism, antagonism)
  5. Demonstrate the ability to apply pharmacological principles of clinical and basic science relevancy by multiple choice examinations, research assignments, and quiz exercises.


This is a self-paced course that is offered in the spring, fall and summer.