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The Knowledge Objectives in Medical Pharmacology (KOs) are a compilation of pharmacology concepts and content developed to guide faculty members in the education of medical students. The KOs were originally created in the mid-1980s by the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs (AMSPC) to guide the development of core pharmacology content and suggested contact hours for undergraduate medical student education.

The KOs were originally developed and maintained by AMSPC, with the last update occurring in 2012. To bring the KOs up to date, AMSPC and ASPET’s Division for Pharmacology Education (DPE) partnered to revise them in 2022, with ASPET-DPE providing oversight of updates and future efforts. AMSPC and ASPET-DPE formed working groups chaired by content experts with committee members from numerous institutions*. Peer review was integrated into the updating process since each committee was comprised of content experts who currently teach in each area. Bob Theobald (A.T. Still College of Osteopathic Medicine) and Joe Blumer (Medical University of South Carolina) served as Co-Editors and reviewed the documents for formatting, grammar, and spelling, plus any clarification needed. 

Knowledge Objectives

Important drugs in each class are listed along with content recommendations for faculty with suggestions of relevant physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacogenomics. Teaching faculty can modify the knowledge objectives, prototype drugs, and suggestions listed in the KOs to meet the needs of their individual students and/or the culture of their institutions.

The final document contains over 145 pages of guidance in fifteen major areas of pharmacology for undergraduate medical education. It has been compiled and reviewed by content experts who are pharmacology educators in universities across the country. The current edition of the Knowledge Objectives in Medical Pharmacology will be maintained here on the ASPET website as well as the AMSPC website ( and freely available to all. The KOs may also benefit international medical education faculty and curriculum development.

The Knowledge Objectives in Medical Pharmacology have served the discipline of pharmacology well for almost four decades. They provide a guide for consistency in pharmacology education of undergraduate medical students. The 2022 update and the relationship between AMSPC and ASPET-DPE will allow timely maintenance and continued updating of the KOs at regular intervals to the benefit of medical students, faculty, and the public, enhancing the consistency and quality of undergraduate medical education, and hopefully, clinical practice.  

To access the 2022 revision of the Knowledge Objectives, please click here. 

To access the supplement to the 2022 revision (drug list containing 1028 drugs), please click here

*Contributors to the 2022 Pharmacology Knowledge Objectives Update and Members of the Pharmacology Knowledge Objectives Taskforce include:

Gagani Athauda, Sandeep Bansal, Jim Barrett, Jim Beardsley, Carol Beck, Joe Blumer, Linda Bram, Katharina Brandl, Andy Chen, Brian Cox, Ken Dretchen, Michelle Duffourc, Khalil Eldeeb, Sam Enna, Carl Faingold, Joseph Goldfarb, Laurel Gorman, Helmut Gottlieb, Mark Hernandez, Kelly Karpa, Laszlo Kerecsen, Yui-Wing Francis Lam, Sarah Lerchenfeldt, Willmann Liang, Rachel Linger, Henry Matthew, David McMillan, Brooks McPhail, Scott Ochs, Peter Oldenburg,  Pamela Potter, Precious Pringle, Walter Prozialeck, Kelly Quesnelle, Selina Reed, Jayne Reuben, Jennelle Richardson, Daniel Sitar, Stanley Smith, Youssef Soliman, Rheaclare Spears, Robert Speth, Gerald Sterling, Kent Vrana, Lynn Wecker, and Teresa Wilborn. 

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