Biological Psychology & Pharmacotherapy

Subject PSYC90016 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1.5 hours of lectures/seminars per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

54 hours

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Completion of APAC approved psychology studies to fourth-year (Honours) level.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements, Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 6377



Subject Overview:

This subject will provide students with an introduction to medications used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. The subject allows students to understand the biological basis of psychiatric disorders as derived from studies on the mechanism of action of the major classes of psychotropic medications.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this subject the student should be able to:

  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the classes of psychotropic medications;
  • Develop an appreciation of the indiciations for the use of psychotropic medications;
  • Have some understanding of the pharmacological basis of the mechanism of action of psychotropic medications and their common side effects;
  • Develop an understanding of drugs of abuse their effects and putative mode of action;
  • Develop critical skills in the evaluation of published material relating to the evaluation and use of psychotropic medications;


A mid-semester essay of up to 1500 words on a set topic (60% of assessment)

An end-of-semester written examination of 2 hours duration comprising short answer and multiple choice questions (40% of assessment).

Prescribed Texts:

No prescribed texts.

Recommended Texts:

The following volumes are useful for consultation during the course:

Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology, 3rd Edition Cambridge University Press; SM Stahl

Introduction to Neuropsychopharmacology, Oxford University Press; Iversen, Iversen, Bloom, Roth

Therapeutic Guidelines: Psychotropic; Therapeutic Guidelines Limited.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Time management skills by planning and submitting work by the required deadlines.

Related Course(s): Master of Psychology (Clinical Child Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Psychology (Clinical Child)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy

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