PSYC3052 Professional Issues and Applications in Psychology

Bachelor Course Unit


One trimester


3rd year

Credit points:

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of delivery:

On-campus and Online Delivery



NB: Lectures will be given by several members of the school of Psychological Sciences providing expertise in their own specific areas of specialisation.


This unit is a core coursework unit for students in the BPsychSc. This unit introduces students to professional psychology.

Unit description

The focus of this unit is the profession of psychology and how it relates to the broader health, community, educational, corporate and other sectors in which psychologists are employed. The diversity of specialisations in psychology will be explored in the context of key aspects that identify the profession of psychology. The professional practice of psychology is rooted in the scientific discipline of psychology and the strengths of psychological training have always been vaunted as emanating from an understanding throughout the undergraduate training period of the nature of science and the scientific method. However, the nature of the science which underlies the nature of the psychology curriculum should be critically examined in the light of recent developments in the sociology and philosophy of science and knowledge. The role of the scientist-practitioner model in the determination of the nature of education of the psychologist and in the training of the professional psychologist will be examined critically. Factors which are internal to the discipline of psychology which affect the development of the discipline will be considered in addition to external forces which arise from social and technological change.

The roles of the national accrediting, regulatory and advocacy bodies for professional psychology will be considered, along with major international developments within and outside the profession of psychology that influence the way in which psychologists are educated, regulated and practice in Australia. Analysis of this will be made within the context of an understanding of the sociology of organisations, institutions and professions. The unit will include an introduction to the range of ethical dilemmas that confront psychologists. Issues of current issues related to the practice of psychology will be considered in this light, including working in multidisciplinary contexts and in management and leadership roles. This unit will bring together several diverse facets of material already covered in other units, but will put them into a context which will provide an overview of the contemporary practice of psychology and the forces that form it. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and questioning of lecturers. The unit should be considered as a form of “capstone course”. That is, one which provides a culminating experience for students, to integrate and extend their knowledge of the discipline and expand it to consider the issues involved in the application of the science.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Reflect upon the nature of psychological practice and its relationship to the scientific discipline of psychology.

  • Critically discuss the nature of the link between the evidence for psychological practices and be aware of the range of methodologies that are available to provide evidence upon which to base investigation and action.

  • Identify the role of psychologists and specialisation within the broader sectors in which psychologists work and practice

  • Describe policy, legislation, and codes of practice relevant to the profession of psychology

  • Be aware of the nature of ethical practice and the history of debate about the nature of ethical conduct and demonstrate familiarity with the ethical principles of the Code of Ethics of the Australian Psychological Society.

Unit content

  • Psychology, globally and in Australia: Evidence-based practice: the role of the academic psychologist and the debate about what characterizes evidence and acceptable practice. Publication practices in Psychology and the influences that they have on the development of the discipline. 

  • Inter-professional learning and practice in health: How does psychology fit in? 

  • Scientific method and experimental design in applied psychological science, practice and evaluation: Premature crystalisation of the discipline? 

  • Psychological science and practice: The training and the practice of the practitioner in the global environment in the future. The future employment scenario, including effects upon the employment and roles of psychologists. The role of competencies in practice.

  • Professional, ethical and practical considerations for psychologists conducting psychological testing. 

  • Sport and performance psychology.

  • The history, role and future of psychologists in Intellectual Disability.

  • The immeasurability of mind: The epistemology of practice in the past and future application of psychological science. 

  • Organisational psychology. 

  • Overview and plenary session: What are the dominant issues in the training for and the execution of the practice of psychology in contemporary society? Pathways to professional psychology in Australia

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly 2.5 hour lectures and 9 weekly 1 hour tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. Lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery. These recordings of the slide content and oral presentation will be available for downloading as soon as it is feasible after the lecture.

Assessment Summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space.

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the School of Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.