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PSYC3052 Professional Issues and Applications in Psychology

Bachelor Course Unit


One Trimester


3rd Year

Credit points: 

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of Delivery:

Online and on-campus




This unit is a core coursework unit for students in the Bachelor of Psychological Science. 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 individuals with a psychology degree are employed.  The diversity of specialisations in psychology will be explored in the context of key aspects that identify the profession of psychology. Key skills learnt when studying psychology will be examined and how these skills can be applied to other disciplines and work settings will be explored. 

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 needs to 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. 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 and individuals working in mental health.  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.

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, the history of psychology, Australian Psychological Society, Psychology Board of Australia, how psychology relates to different disciplines, evidence-based practice
  • Scientist practitioner model: Key skills in psychology and how these skills can be applied in different settings
  • Competencies and ethical issues in psychology and the workplace
  • Current issues in professional psychology
  • Treating mental health in Australia: The Mental Health Act and National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • Life after third year: What are my options after completing a psychology degree?
  • Future options and potential work settings: Counselling and clinical Psychology
  • Future options and potential work settings: Working with children, Education and Development Psychology, Applied Behaviour Analysis and Disability
  • Future options and potential work settings: Organisational and sports psychology and human resources
  • Future options and potential work settings: Social work, forensic psychology and drug and alcohol counselling

Learning and Teaching Process

This unit comprises 10 weekly three hour lectures and 9 weekly one 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 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 again at the beginning of trimester.