PSYC5372 Psychopathology Advanced

Graduate Diploma Unit


One trimester


Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science – AQF Level 8

Credit points:

6 (out of 54)



Mode(s) of delivery:

On-campus and Online Delivery




This unit is a core coursework unit for students in the GradDipPsychSc. This unit introduces students to the fundamentals of abnormal psychology from a descriptive, theoretical and experimental perspective.

Unit description

The subject matter of this unit is psychopathology, specifically the history, classification, causes and treatment of psychological disorders. Students will critically examine the contribution of psychological, biological, and socio-cultural factors to the expression of psychopathology across the lifespan. The unit considers the historical context of psychopathology and of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) currently in its 5th edition before considering in detail anxiety disorders, mood disorders, substance use disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis, eating disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, personality disorders and cognitive disorders. Ethical and legal issues relevant to the provision of mental health services within the Australian health system will be considered.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the approach to revising and developing the classification system;
  • Demonstrate an ability to integrate theoretical and empirical research findings from biological, socio-cultural and psychological perspectives concerning the causes and treatment of the major psychological disorders;
  • Apply understanding of psychopathology to the problems faced by people with mental illness in a range of settings: educational; employment; accessing services;
  • Apply their understanding of the literature concerning a specific condition to identifying research questions that remain to be answered;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the legal, ethical and professional issues associated with individuals experiencing psychological disorders and their treatment;
  • Demonstrate written and spoken communication skills appropriate for discussion of psychopathology. 

Unit Content

  • Introduction to psychopathology
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia and psychosis
  • Mood disorders
  • Substance use and addictive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual dysfunctions and gender dysphoria
  • Personality disorders
  • Somatic symptom and related disorders: Dissociative disorders
  • Mental health in Australia: Ethical and legal perspectives

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

Recommended textbooks

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 full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.

Parallel teaching statement

This unit involves parallel teaching. In order to ensure the required coverage of psychology and meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council Standards, students enrolled in this unit will attend the same lectures as undergraduate students enrolled in the second and third years of the psychology sequence. To ensure learning at the appropriate level, however, students enrolled in this unit will attend separate laboratory and/or tutorial sessions from the undergraduate students. These sessions, rather than focusing on reinforcing the learning of material presented in lectures, are designed to extend this learning in more depth and at an advanced level. This will involve students preparing for these sessions by reading more advanced material. Assessment tasks also differ from the parallel undergraduate unit to ensure students are able to demonstrate the higher level of learning that is required for successful completion of the unit.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of trimester on the online class space.