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Online course

The Science of Medicines

Learn the science behind how and why medicines work, and what can improve patient's treatment, with this free online course.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

The Science of Medicines

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What do you know about the medicines you take?

The world’s growing population faces major health issues, and medicines are a primary pillar to effect better health. Learn about the science of key medicines used to manage heart disease, depression, diabetes, pain control and smoking cessation.

See each health condition through the eyes of the patient

Week by week you will study a new medicine and health area, starting by looking through the eyes of an affected patient. You will learn the mechanics of a disease and how it affects the world’s population. You will then delve into the science of the medicine to explore the medicine’s chemistry, how it works in the body and why it is formulated in a certain way to become the medicine you see on the pharmacy shelf.

Learn from a diverse team of experts

This course is designed by a team of experts who focus on improving education for pharmacy students at Monash University, Australia. As pharmacists and scientists they bridge the interface between science and the patient.

A valuable course for patients, careers and healthcare workers

The course will be particularly relevant for those who are living with one of the health conditions covered, but it is also extremely valuable for those who care either professionally or personally for people affected by the conditions, as it covers practical patient tips drawn from the understanding of the science.


You can read more about this course in Ian Larson’s article “How much do you know about the medicines you are taking?” on the FutureLearn blog.

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe the physiological impact of common medical conditions on the human body.
  • Investigate the chemical structures of modern medicines.
  • Explain how the chemical structures of medicines make them effective in treating specific medical conditions (pharmacology).
  • Explore how the design, delivery and dosage of medicines influence their effectiveness (pharmaceutics).
  • Discuss the human aspects of taking medicines, including side effects and addiction.

Who is the course for?

No previous knowledge is necessary. Being a course about pharmacy, we discuss a number of important chemistry concepts in the course. If you haven’t studied chemistry for a long time, don’t worry - supporting references will be provided for extra background where needed.

Who will you learn with?

Ian Larson

Ian is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University. He is widely recognised for his innovations in student learning in the pharmaceutical sciences.

Who developed the course?

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $69 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.