PSYC3052 Professional Issues and Applications in Psychology

Graduate Diploma Course Unit

PSYC3052 Professional Issues and Applications in Psychology

Duration: One trimester

Level: 3rd year

Credit points: 3 (out of total of 24 points)

Prerequisites: PSYC1012, PSYC1022, PSYC1032, PSYC2012, PSYC3012

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus and Online Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit co-ordinator: Professor Mike Innes

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

Unit description

This 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 the key aspects that identify the profession of psychology. 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. The role 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 are influencing the way in which psychologists are educated, regulated and practice in Australia. Some 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. The unit will consist of a 2.5 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial each week.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • 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
  • 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

Unit content

Week 1

Psychology in Australia: Evidence-based practice: the role of the academic
psychologist and the debate about what characterises evidence and acceptable
Professor Mike Innes

Week 2

Psychology and the Australian workforce: Regulating the psychology profession: Policy, 
legislation, and codes of practice. 
Professor Mike Innes

Week 3

Interprofessional learning and practice in health: How does psychology fit in? 
Associate Professor Lynne Harris

Week 4

Professional psychology in Australia: Generalist registration and areas of practice endorsement
Associate Professor Lynne Harris

Week 5

Health and Community Psychology in Australia
Associate Professor Lynne Harris

Week 6

Forensic Psychology in Australia
Associate Professor Ronnie Zuessman

Week 7

Ethics, self care and psychology practice
Associate Professor Ronnie Zuessman

Week 8

Organisational psychology, management and leadership
Dr Ben Morrison

Week 9

Sport, exercise and mentoring
Dr Tim Chambers

Week 10

Psychological science and practice: The training and the practice of the practitioner in the global environment
in the future
Professor Mike Innes

Learning and teaching process

This unit requires students to attend and participate in three and a half hours of classes scheduled weekly from Week 1 to Week 10 of trimester. The seminars will include a lecture component and a range of student-focused, active, learning activities. Students will be expected to prepare for each seminar by completing specified activities, such as reading reports and journal articles and collecting/reviewing information from a range of sources such as health promotion campaigns. Students are expected to actively participate in seminar activities and it is assumed that students will spend a further 10.5 hours in private study, including reading, preparation, and completing assessments, for each scheduled class.

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Acquisition of, and ability to work with, a systematic body of knowledge, based on the highest standards of scholarship and research
  • Understanding of the professional, social, economic and cultural contexts of the discipline area
  • Communication, orally and in written form, across a range of contexts
  • Personal organisation and management
  • Harnessing information and communication technology
  • Critical analysis, problem solving, and creative thinking
  • Commitment to independent and lifelong learning
  • Awareness of ethics, social responsibility and cultural diversity
  • Appreciation of international perspectives in a global environment

Assessment summary



Word Count

Submission Week

Identify an area of psychology which has been highlighted
in the media in recent weeks and analyse the role of the
psychologists involved, what the core issue is in the
debate/analysis and what may be the response of the
psychologists concerned and the relevant professional bodies
to the concerns and publicity.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d.





Answer a question relevant to ethical practice in an 
identified area of psychology.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d





Short answer and essay examination assessing understanding
of all material presented in the unit, including material
presented in seminars, and in prescribed reading.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d


2 hours


Special provisions

Students are expected to attend, prepare for, and contribute to each scheduled class.

Recommended text

There is no specified textbook for this unit. Reference will be made to texts and journal articles as required. A reference that can give a worthwhile perspective on several issues raised in this unit is;

O'Gorman, J. (2007). Psychology as a profession in Australia. Brisbane, Australia: Australian Academic Press. Especially Chapters 2 to 8. It does, however, take a fairly conservative stance on the science and practice of psychology and does not represent the full spectrum of views that are in play in the discipline at the present time.

Other significant references

Additional references will be provided through the my.acap.

Relevant journals and resources

Students will benefit from reading in a range of journals including the following:

American Psychologist
Australian Psychologist
The Psychologist
Current Directions in Psychological Science
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Psychological Science in the Public Interest

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 for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


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.