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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at https://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
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PSY4020 Ethical and Professional Practice

Semester 1, 2023 Online
Units : 1
School or Department : School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules
Version produced : 7 June 2023


Course Coordinator: Yosheen Pillay


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BSCH (Psychology major 12302) or BSHP or MSCR (Psychology Research)


There are a range of ethical and professional issues that are common to psychological practice and research. This course introduces students to many of the ethical and professional issues that are associated with the professional practice of psychology, researching psychological issues, and developing an identity as a scientist-practitioner. This course contributes to the student’s knowledge of ethical codes of conduct including National Practice Standards, competencies required for registration, the practice-research nexus, and how their personal values impact their daily practice and research.

This course uses a range of real-life and simulated case studies to introduce students to working with, and researching, different client/participant groups including marginalised and vulnerable populations. Ethical and professional issues associated with these different groups are explored and investigated, including the application of guidelines when working through ethical dilemmas in a variety of practice and research settings.

BPSH students must have completed the first 3 years with a GPA of 5.0 across levels 1 to 3 psychology courses. These students will have to be manually enrolled.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Reflect upon their own professional identity development and critique how this intersects with their own values and behaviours;
  2. Apply underlying theories and models to concepts of professionalism and ethical conduct;
  3. Resolve ethical and professional dilemmas using the APS Code of Ethics, the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, and ethical decision making models;
  4. Identify the principles that underpin the ethical standards associated with the APS Code of Ethics; and
  5. Apply reflective and reflexive skills appropriate to a pre-professional scientist-practitioner.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Developing as a professional: Theories, Models, Social Responsibilities, Being Reflexive, Values, and Behaviours 15.00
2. An ethical framework: Models, decision making, principles, and human rights 15.00
3. The Australian Code of Ethics and the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 30.00
4. Ethical challenges: Boundaries, multiple relationships, internet and telecommunication, social media, and relationships with clients 20.00
5. Marginalised and vulnerable populations: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Older Adults, young children, LGBTIAQ+, and Suicide and Self-Harm 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Australian Psychological Society 2007, Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics, Australian Psychological Society,
Boyle, C & Gamble, N 2014, Ethical Practice in Applied Psychology, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Canadian Psychological Association 2017, Canadian Code of Ethics for psychologists, 4th edn, Canadian Psychological Association, Ontario,
National Health and Medical Research Council 2018, National statement on ethical conduct in human research (2007) - Updated 2018, Australian Government,
National Health and Medical Research Council 2018, The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, Australian Government,

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Case Study 1 No 30 4
Assignments Written Reflection (personal/clinical) No 30 1,2,5
Assignments Written Case Study 2 No 40 3
Date printed 7 June 2023