MEDSCI 303 : Drug Disposition and Kinetics

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Topics include: passage of drugs across membranes, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interactions, novel drug delivery systems, pharmacogenetics, drug analysis, drugs in selected populations, including the elderly, children and neonates, in pregnancy and in various pathological conditions.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: MEDSCI 204

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Summarise the role of input, distribution, and elimination (IDE) processes on drug concentration and explain how physicochemical properties of drugs relate to pharmacokinetic principles (Capability 1 and 4)
  2. Explain and apply knowledge of the principles of pharmacokinetics (PK), and its relationship with IDE, to design appropriate dosage regimens and solve PK problems. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Articulate and discuss the patient and environmental factors that influence pharmacokinetics, including the problems encountered with the use of drugs in selected diseases and populations. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 6)
  4. Apply scientific reasoning and methods to experimental design and data analysis, and be able to present work appropriately through scientific report writing. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Demonstrate competency of a selected range of skills, including observation and measurement, an appreciation of variability, precision and inaccuracy, data analysis and interpretation. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Explain and demonstrate safe and effective animal handling skills, and discuss the ethical use of animals in pharmacology in the New Zealand context. (Capability 1, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Lab Reports 15% Group & Individual Coursework
Quizzes - In lab MCQ tests 12.5% Individual Coursework
Practical - Short Answer lab test 10% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Coursework
Mid Semester Test 12.5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Lab Reports
Quizzes - In lab MCQ tests
Practical - Short Answer lab test
Final Exam
Mid Semester Test
To pass this course, students must
1. Achieve an overall minimum of 50% in the practical component (lab reports + in-lab tests + lab test)
2. Achieve an overall minimum of 50% in the written component (mid-semester test + exam) , and 
3. Attend a minimum of 75% of the laboratory sessions

Learning Resources

We do not recommend the purchase of any one particular textbook to support course content. However, you may find the following textbooks useful for helping with laboratory write-ups or for background reading for the lecture/laboratory material: 1. Rang HP, Ritter JM, Flower RJ, Henderson G. Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology. 8th ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016. 2. Katzung BG, Trevor AJ. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. 13th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. 3. Brunton LL, Chabner BA, Knollman BC. Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 12th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2011. N.B. Copies of Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology are available in the library or online via Clinical Key (connect via the library’s website).

Course Contacts

We recommend you contact the course coordinators using our course specific email:

Course Coordinator: 
Dr. Leslie Schwarcz (Senior Tutor & Course Co-ordinator)
SMS Teaching Hub, Rm 501.002, Ext 83715
  Please note: Leslie is employed part time

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in and a total of around 150 hours, which includes revision and examination time. 

For this course, you can expect a total of 20 hours of lectures, 24 hours of laboratory time, 9 hours of laboratory related tutorials, 2 hours of test revision tutorials, 4 hours of tests/exams, 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 31 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Laboratory manuals are provided in either printed or electronic form. Class discussions are facilitated through Piazza, an online discussion forum moderated by teaching staff.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

2019 SET evaluations: 
Here’s what students said they liked about the course: Those of you who responded to the SET evaluations (36%) found 303 to be well organised, with clear aims and assessments. Major themes of your open ended comments were that you appreciated (1) the integration between lecture content and laboratories because this allowed allowed you to build on and extend your understanding of concepts covered; (2) feedback on work submitted; (3) and the teaching staff. Several of you commented on the animal labs which is excellent – we are delighted you found these informative and positive because we believe these labs incorporate several skills that are important for pharmacology graduates. 
Changes to be implemented in 2020: You suggested a tutorial on statistics to support your report writing toolkit would be good, and we agree! We will add support for statistical analysis to the lab report writing tutorial. 

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.