MEDSCI 719 : Pharmacometrics

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester Two (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to the application of mathematical models used in the interpretation of pharmacological observations. Computer-based analysis methods are investigated using individual and population-oriented approaches.

Course Overview

Pharmacometrics is the science of applying quantitative principles to the interpretation of pharmacological observations. Rutherford said "Science is either stamp collecting or physics". Pharmacometrics provides a bridge between the stamp collecting (observations) and the physics (understanding) of medical science.
The course is a mix of theory and practice. Students will learn the fundamentals of modelling biological phenomena using examples from pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The methods taught have wide application in all areas of medical and biological science.

For a broader perspective, see:
Holford N, Karlsson MO. Time for quantitative clinical pharmacology: a proposal for a pharmacometrics curriculum. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Jul;82(1):103-5 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Prof Nick Holford
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-229
Phone: +64 9 923-6730
Dr Jacqui Hannam
Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology
Room: 503-296
Phone: +64 9 923 2869

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Differentiate and explain the principles of pharmacology applied in a quantitative fashion (Capability 1)
  2. Identify, critique and evaluate their own models for simulation and parameter estimation (Capability 2)
  3. Design and implement models for observations of the time course of drug concentration and response (Capability 3)
  4. Identify and critically evaluate literature data in a presentation to the class (Capability 4)
  5. Summarise an appropriate modelling procedure, outlining how this is driven by the aims of the analysis (individual reports of coursework assignments) (Capability 5)
  6. Critically evaluate a published pharmacometric analysis (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories, Presentations, Reports 50% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Laboratories, Presentations, Reports
Final Exam

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.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lecture and workshop and  2 hours of reading and thinking about the content per week and 102 hours of work on assignments and exam preparation. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including labs.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.


Attendance is expected at scheduled online activities including labs to complete components of the course.
The course will include live online events including  labs and these will be recorded.
Attendance on campus is not required for the exam.
Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement and released progressively throughout the course.
This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

  1. Bonate P.L. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modeling and simulation. Springer. New York, 2005
  2. Gabrielsson J, Weiner D. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data analysis: concepts and applications.(4th Edition) Swedish Pharmaceutical Press, Stockholm, 2006
  3. Bourne DWA. Mathematical modelling of pharmacokinetic data. Technomic, Basel, 1995
  4. Rowland M, Tozer TN. Clinical Pharmacokinetics (2nd or 3rd Edition), Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 1995
  5. Schoenwald RD. Pharmacokinetics in drug discovery and development. CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2002

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.

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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

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.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.