Course Syllabus


Psychopharmacology: Substances and the Brain, B

DIS Logo


Semester & Location:

Spring 2022 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

 Western Denmark and Germany

Major Disciplines:

Biomedicine/Biotechnology, Neuroscience, Pre-Medicine/Health Science


One year of biology and one year of chemistry at the university level. A course in neurobiology is recommended, but not required

Faculty Member:

Jesper T. Andreasen (

Bettina Hornbøll Borch (

Program Director:

Susana Dietrich (

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 10:05-11:25,

Location: Fi6-Metro105


jesper.jpg Jesper T. Andreasen
Ph.D. (Psychopharmacology, University of Copenhagen, 2009). M.Sc. (Psychopharmacology, University of Copenhagen, 2004). Associate professor at the Institute of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. With DIS since 2012.


Faculty responsible for study tour and study tour assignment


Bettina Hornbøll Borch

Ph.D. (Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, 2017), MSc. (Neurobiology, University of Copenhagen, 2006), BA (Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2004). Has been conducting neuroscience research for approx. 10 years, investigating emotion processing in the brain using imaging. With DIS since 2012.

Course Description

This course examines neuroscience with a molecular approach. The course will focus on psychiatric disorders and their pharmacological treatments. Besides covering basic brain anatomy and function, the link between dysfunctional brain regions/circuits and different psychiatric symptom will be discussed. A strong focus will be on neurotransmitters and their receptors, as well as how the neurotransmitters interact. This will be used to discuss the diverse pharmacological profiles of psychotropic/psychoactive agents, and how these profiles couple to their effects on perception, emotion and behavior, and to their adverse side-effects.

Expected Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the structure and function of the brain with emphasis on neurotransmitters and synaptic transmission
  • Review the different types of psychiatric disorders, their symptoms, the neurotransmitters involved, and the way they are treated
  • Explain how psychoactive drugs affect the function of the brain i.e. the mechanisms believed to underlie the therapeutic and adverse effects of psychopharmacological drugs


Required Readings

Stahl’s “Essential Psychopharmacology”, 4th ed., 2013

- Chapters 1-7, 9, 12, 14.

Stahl’s “Essential Psychopharmacology”, 3rd ed., 2008

- Chapter 7 (On Canvas)

Canvas: Any relevant reading material will be posted on the course page; please check it regularly.

Approach to Teaching

Class will be taught such that students will be engaged and therefore master course material. Course topics will be covered in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, the following: lectures, class discussions, case studies, critical analysis of research work (individual/groups), field studies, and group presentations.


Evaluation and Grading

The final grade for this course will be based on in-class tests, an assignment, and participation:



Test 1


Test 2


Test 3


Study Tour Assignment




Final Exam






All the tests will be at the beginning of class unless otherwise stated.
Tests will be a combination of information recall, concept explanation and synthesis, and problem analysis.


Participation is determined by attendance, tardiness, and engagement in class. To prepare for each day, you are required to read all assigned material.

You are expected to attend all DIS classes when scheduled, and attendance and participation will be consistently monitored: in class, at field studies, and on study tours. If you miss multiple classes, the Office of Academic Support will be notified and they will follow-up with you to make sure that all is well.  Absences will jeopardize your grade and your standing at DIS. Allowances will be made in cases of illness; however, for multiple absences, you will need to provide a doctor’s note.

Core Course Week and Study Tours

Core Course Week and study tours are an integral part of the core course as we take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom is translated to practice in the field. You will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on two study tours: a short study tour during Core Course Week and a Long Study Tour to relevant European destinations.

Expectations for study tours

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Represent yourself, your home university, and DIS in a positive light

One of the learning objectives of Psychopharmacology: Substances of the Brain is for you, the student, to be able to describe medical practice in a social, international, and scientific context. The study tours are a way to achieve this learning objective.

Learning Objectives

The objectives of both Core Course Week and the Long Study Tour are:

  • To showcase examples of psychopharmacological research, treatment, and education
  • To broaden the students’ view of the challenges face by psychopharmacology regarding research, treatment options, and sociological attitudes.
  • To show examples of novel research methods and findings with both laboratory and clinical relevance
  • To explore and learn more about Scandinavia and other societies in Europe

While on a program study tour, DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. two meals per day, and entrances, guides, and visits relevant to your area of study or the destination. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.

The dates for Core Course Week, including Short Study Tour, and your Long Study Tour are below for your reference.

Core Course Week:

                Short Study Tour: Århus and Odense, Denmark
                Copenhagen Portion

Long Study Tour: Frankfurt and Heidelberg, Germany

Travel policies

You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you have to deviate from the group travel plans, you need approval from the program director and the Study Tours office.   

Study Tour Assignment

Before going on Long Study Tour, you will be divided into groups of three to four people. A more in-depth description will be provided closer to the Short Study Tour.


Late papers and/or assignments

Late papers will be accepted, but your grade for the paper will be reduced by half a letter grade for each day that it is late.

Use of Laptops or Phones in Class

Use of phones in class is not allowed. Laptop use is only allowed for group and project work.


DIS Contacts

Kathrine Whitman, Program Assistant, 
Susana Dietrich, Science & Health Program Director
Science & Health Office: Vestergade 7-37


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

 DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -






Course Summary:

Date Details Due