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NSCI 325 The Science of Psychedelics

 Fall 2023
 Year 3
 3 units
On-Campus Course

An active learning-based course aimed at providing a thorough scientific perspective on psychedelics. Students will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of psychedelics, their mechanisms of action, and their current and predicted therapeutic use. Emphasis will be placed rigorously verified knowledge surrounding psychedelic therapy. 

To complete this course students will demonstrate their ability to:
  1. Recognize and appraise the historical and cultural use/significance of psychedelics.
  2. Contrast and compare the mechanisms of action of psychedelics and psychedelic-like drugs.
  3. Compare the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of various psychedelics.
  4. Appraise the demonstrated and proposed psychedelics therapy.
  5. Assess the ratio risk and benefits of psychedelic therapy.

1-Team Based Learning (TBLs)

The students will have to participate in five in-class TBLs during the semester, in groups of 3 or 4. Before every TBL, the students will have to pre-emptively read, discuss, comprehend, and appraise a contemporary scientific article, requiring a thorough understanding of the course material. Students will test their comprehension by completing a short on-line quiz 2 days before the TBLs. While in class, the students work with their group to resolve a question prepared by the instructor and they hand-in a report before the end of the session. 

2-Final Appraisal/Examination

Final examination consists in a home assignment. Students will receive the exam questions at the beginning of the two weeks and are expected to submit individual answers by the due date. The exam consists in two (2) questions based on original scientific articles. The students’ responses to each question require a thorough understanding of the class and TBL material. To complete the exam, the students will need the course material, search outside resources, and if necessary, consult their peers. The students must produce an original and individual document. Turnitin will be always used to help students avoid any sort of plagiarism. The instructor sustains a discussion forum all throughout the semester as where students can request precisions, ask questions, or entertain discussion around the material, including during the take-home exam. To ensure fairness, the instructor ONLY addresses students’ question through the class Forum, especially during exams.

3-Active Learning Lectures (ALLs) Quizzes

ALLs are delivered weekly, and student must complete on-line teaching Modules prior to attending. There will be several quizzes during ALLs and participation in quizzes for a 2.5% mark. The 8 best of 10 marks will be granted towards the student’s final grade in the course.

4-TBL Readiness Assessment Tests (RATs)

Students must read assigned scientific articles and complete RATs prior to attending TBLs. RATs will consist in on-line quizzes worth 2.5% each.