Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 3, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Psychological Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (On-campus block of classes)
Coordinator(s)Professor David Kissane


This unit will introduce foundational clinical skills such as psychiatric history taking, mental state examination, biopsychosocial formulation, risk and cognitive assessment, critical appraisal of research, legal and ethical issues, and basic sciences including the neurosciences and psychological sciences that underpin brain function. The unit will cover the epidemiology, aetiology, assessment, management and important issues of the major diagnostic disorders in psychiatry. The focus will integrate the clinical with neuroscience aspects of these disorders in adults, as disorders that affect children, the aged and the medically unwell are covered in other core subjects.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the nature of psychiatric illness as classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V (DSM-V) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), the internationally-recognised classifications of the range of psychiatric disorders, with initial emphasis on the major disorders met early in clinical training;
  2. Explain the basic neuroscience research that underpins the development and assessment for these disorders;
  3. Demonstrate the comprehensive psychiatric formulation of a patient that combines psychodynamic, biological, cultural and social components into a detailed view of what has predisposed, precipitated, perpetuated and protected against illness development;
  4. Explain legal and ethical principles in psychiatry;
  5. Communicate effectively with peers, patients and the community about psychiatric disorders and their management;
  6. Employ high level problem solving skills in assessing goals of care, creating management plans, and assessing safety and well-being for both the patient and the community.


Five clinical interviews of patients at a satisfactory standard, as assessed by workplace supervisors, of 1.5 hours duration inclusive of feedback time (7.5 hours in total). This maps particularly to the formulation and patient assessment objectives of the College of Psychiatrists training program.


Assignment (2,000 words) (30%)
Written exam (3 hours) (60%)
Fieldwork - clinical interviews (10%)

Hurdle: 80% attendance.

Workload requirements

24 hours per week - 8 hours of individual study, 12.5 hours during regular work hours and 3.5 hours on-campus lecture attendance.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study