The drug release characteristics of calcium alginate hydrogels, (Ca-Alg), under an electric field assisted transdermal drug delivery system were systematically investigated. The Ca-Alg hydrogels were prepared by the solution-casting using CaCl(2) as a crosslinking agent. The diffusion coefficients and the release mechanism of the anionic model drugs, benzoic acid and tannic acid, and a cationic model drug, folic acid on the Ca-Alg hydrogels were determined and investigated using a modified Franz-Diffusion cell in an MES buffer solution of pH 5.5, at a temperature of 37°C, for 48 h. The influences of the crosslinking ratio, -the mole of the crosslinking agent to the mole of the alginate monomer-mesh size, model drug size, drug charge, electric field strength, and electrode polarity were systematically studied. The drug diffusion coefficient decreased with an increasing crosslinking ratio and drug size for all of the model drugs. The drug diffusion coefficient is precisely controlled by an applied electric field and the electrode polarity depending on the drug charge, suitable for a tailor-made transdermal drug delivery system.