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Drugs and Behaviour

Course Code: PSYC 3341
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This is an introductory course in psychopharmacology. Topics include the neurobiology of drug action and psychotropic drugs--their pharmacology, metabolism, interactions, adverse effects and therapeutic uses.

Course Content

  1. Neurotransmitters and Receptors
  2. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  3. Biology of Mental Disorders
  4. Sedative Hypnotics, Anxiolytics and Alcohol
  5. Psychostimulants
  6. Opiates
  7. Marijuana, Hallucinogens, Phencyclidine and Inhalants
  8. Antidepressants
  9. Mood Stabilizers
  10. Antipsychotics and Anticholinergics
  11. Dementia
  12. Herbal Medications

Methods of Instruction

The primary methods of instruction will be lecture and seminar. The course will also involve group activities, presentations, audiovisual media and guest lectures.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. Evaluation will be based on course objectives and include some of the following:

1. multiple choice, short answer, or essay exams

2. term paper, research project, or written assignments

3. oral presentation or teaching demonstration

The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme is as follows:

Research paper                                      20%

Three exams at 20% each                       60%

Presentation                                           20%

Total                                                     100%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic neural structure and function, with a particular focus on cellular level events  such as neurotransmission.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic mechanisms of drug effects, including routes of administration, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and neurophysiology.
  3. Describe and demonstrate an understanding of the major classes of psychotropic drugs, their mode of action, effects and side effects.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of psychotropic drug abuse, dependence and treatment, including both prescription and street drugs.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of drug research including clinical trials.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to obtain, critically evaluate  and understand current information regarding drugs.

course prerequisites

PSYC 2315

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.

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There is an upcoming curriculum change scheduled for .
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