Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 3 hours / session

Course Overview

The course material will focus on the basic principles of biophysics, biochemistry and physiology related to drug action and interaction, distribution, metabolism and toxicity. The course will consist of lectures, a clinical demonstration session at Massachusetts General Hospital, and lecturer and student-led case discussions.


Students must complete three assignments in this class: a case discussion, a drug evaluation report, and a problem set.

Most class sessions finish with a pair of student-led case discussions. These discussions cover some important topics in pharmacology which are either not addressed or dealt with only briefly in faculty lectures. Each case discussion will be analyzed by 2 students, and each student will be expected to give an oral presentation for about 10 minutes. These presentations may be used to satisfy part of the HST communication requirement

The drug evaluation report is a short paper dealing with a relatively new FDA-approved drug selected from a list provided by the instructors.


Students will take a midterm and final exam.


HST students taking this course will be graded on an Excellent, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory basis. The grade of Marginally Satisfactory may also be given in borderline cases. HST (or HMS) M.D. student grades will be recoded as Pass/Fail. Student evaluations will be based on written homework, classroom work and oral presentations, as well as the midterm and final examinations.



Golan, D., et. al., eds. Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2004. ISBN: 9780781746786.


 Hardman, J. G., et. al., eds. Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 10th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN: 9780071354691.

This work, known as “G and G” (for the original editors, Goodman and Gilman), is an excellent reference many of you will want on your shelves. New editions have been coming out at roughly five year intervals.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

grading Exams with Solutions
notes Lecture Notes
assignment_turned_in Presentation Assignments with Examples
assignment_turned_in Problem Sets with Solutions
assignment Written Assignments