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Unit information: Advanced Concepts and Skills (Pharmacology) in 2020/21

Unit name Advanced Concepts and Skills (Pharmacology)
Unit code PHPHM0009
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Brennan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


This unit aims to provide training in core skills and techniques that are vital to effectively read, interpret and criticise the scientific literature, as well as to analyse and communicate scientific findings. It includes: statistics, data quantitation, limits of scientific understanding, critical reading of research literature, scientific writing and presentation and ethics of animal and human experimentation.

In addition, there are lectures and demonstrations to provide training in laboratory techniques used in research. This includes advanced technical workshops, where students gain insight into the use of the latest techniques.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit:

  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to apply common statistical and analytical methods relevant to biomedical science
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to design scientific experiments incorporating a critical approach to scientific literature and self-assessment and critique of proposed experimental design.

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and online tutorial exercises on statistics

Assessment Details

  • Timed assessment in the January exam period (50%), consisting of statistical analysis, graphical representation and interpretation of a data set. Short answer questions will be used to assess interpretation of statistical methods. This summative examination assesses statistical understanding and is preceded by a formative examination in November, using the same format.
  • Poster presentation of experimental design with self-assessment and critique of strengths and weaknesses of proposed experiment (50%)

Reading and References

Intuitive Biostatistics (Harvey Motulsky, Oxford University Press: ISBN 978-0-19-973006-3)

Understanding the New Statistics: Effect Sizes, Confidence Intervals and Meta-analysis (Geoff Cumming, Routledge, New York; ISBN 978-0-415-87968-2)

Reviews and primary articles from the current scientific literature.