ARU home page | ARU Profile | Addiction Primer | Biological Basis | Research Findings
University Courses | Opportunities | Research Reports | Feedback

Psychology 402 
Fall 2003 Term 
Department of Psychology 
State University of New York at Buffalo
Michael A. Bozarth, Ph.D. 
B-77 Park Hall, North Campus 
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:15-3:00 p.m. 
plus most T/R 3:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Telephone: 645-3650 ext. 677 

Online Course Material
Introduction Neurocytology
Neurophysiology Neuropharmacology
Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics
Dose-Response Analysis (efficacy vs. potency) Classification of Agonists & Antagonists
Tolerance & Sensitization Additive Effects, Synergism & Potentiation
Drug Classification Clinical Psychopharmacology

Course Description

This course surveys basic neuropharmacology, the effects of various psychotropic drugs, and the actions of drugs used to treat mental disorders. The emphasis of the first part of the course is on basic principles of neuropharmacology, distribution and elimination of drugs, drug-receptor interactions and dose-response relationships, structure of neurons, neurophysiological mechanisms involved in synaptic activity, and the distribution of specific neurotransmitter systems. The last two-thirds of the course examines the actions of specific drugs and their effects on behavior and their uses in biological psychiatry. This course is designed to provide a foundation for advanced study in behavioral neuroscience, neuropsychopharmacology, physiological psychology, and related areas and to provide an introduction to the pharmacological treatment of mental disorders for clinical students. The course also provides part of the requisite training for prescribing privileges currently awarded clinical psychologists in some states.


Introductory Psychology, Research Methods or equivalent, Biopsychology or Behavioral Neuroscience; or by permission of instructor. A background in biological sciences is strongly recommended. Highly motivated students lacking the formal course prerequisites should contact the instructor prior to enrollment.

Instructional Format

This is a lecture course with student presentations and limited group discussions. Reading assignments from the textbook and from supplementary readings are an important part of this course. Video recordings and laboratory demonstrations may be used to enhance the presentation of some material. Some material will be available only on the Internet and students are required to have an active computer account. An Internet-based discussion group will also be used to address questions regarding the reading assignments and the lecture material.


Changing classroom dynamics necessitate posting some explicit expectations for student behavior. Click here to read principles of student conduct in effect for this course that supplement those outlined in the University at Buffalo Undergraduate Catalog. Continued enrollment in this course presumes the student has read and will adhere to these principles.

Required Reading

A Primer on Drug Action, Ninth Edition (Julien, 2000) is the required text for this course. Supplementary readings will be assigned when appropriate. Students should be prepared for a heavy reading load throughout the semester.

Course Grade

Grades are determined by performance on three equally weighted examinations (25% each), unannounced 'pop' quizzes (15%), and class presentation material (10%). The three term exams will be scheduled during regular class periods and should require about an hour to complete. The 'pop' quizzes will be given during the beginning of some classes throughout the term and should require 15 to 20 minutes to complete; the lowest two quiz grades will be dropped from the grade calculations (this includes any missed quizzes). The test format may vary using any combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Quizzes cannot be made up, and makeup exams are allowed only with permission of the instructor prior to the scheduled test date. Extraordinary circumstances, along with the appropriate documentation, should be brought to the attention of the instructor for special consideration.

Grade Components
Term Exams 
Pop Quizzes 
25% each (three exams)

Copyright Notice

The material contained on this web site and the material presented in class are protected by Federal copyright laws. Students are expressly prohibited from compilation and distribution of class material except for their own private use.

Tentative Course Outline

Brief Overview of Fundamental Disciplines

Cell biology
physiology & cell metabolism
cell potentials
electrophysiological techniques
synaptic transmission
signal transduction
central nervous system (CNS)
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
endocrine system
Basic Principles of Pharmacology
drug absorption & distribution
drug elimination
receptor binding
signal transduction

Basic Principles
Unit Study Guide
25 September Exam #1 Exam Scores
30 September Review & Presentation Guide 
Chapter Selection
  Presentation Guide


Clinical Psychopharmacology
Date Topic Reading Assignment Online Material
02 October Group Meeting Day    
07 October Ethyl Alcohol & Abused Inhalants Chapter 4 student outline
09 October Barbiturates, General Anesthetics, & Antiepileptic Drugs Chapter 5 student outline
14 October Benzodiazepines & Second-Generation Anxiolytics Chapter 6 presentation
student outline
16 October Psychomotor Stimulants Chapter 7 student outline
21 October Opioids & Other Analgesics Chapters 9 & 10 student outline
23 October Module Overview   Special Notes for Exam #2
28 October Exam #2   Exam Scores
30 October Review & Group Work    
04 November Drugs Used to Treat Depression Chapter 15 student outline
06 November Drugs Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder Chapter 16 student outline
11 November Drugs Used to Treat Schizophrenia Chapter 17 student outline
13 November Drugs Used to Treat Parkinsonism Chapter 18 student outline
18 November Clinical Psychopharmacology: 
Issues and Answers
20 November Module Overview   Special Notes for Exam #3 
25 November (optional) Graduate School & Careers in Psychopharmacology
27 November Class Canceled: Fall Recess
02 December Exam #3    Exam Scores
04 December Review/Course Overview
 Course Grades

ARU home page | ARU Profile | Addiction Primer | Biological Basis | Research Findings
University Courses | Opportunities | Research Reports | Feedback