PSY4220 - Ethical and professional issues in psychology - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences


Dr Primrose White

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit will focus on ethical, legal and professional issues related to psychological practice. Conceptual (eg theories and definitions) and practical issues (eg common ethical dilemmas and case study appraisals) will be addressed. Some of the issues to be addressed include: legislation governing psychologists, professional organisations, codes of professional conduct, and ethical issues raised by: conflicts of interest, children as clients, using psychological tests, and the provision of psychological services to a multi-cultural population, managing the suicidal client, the reporting of child abuse, and service delivery over the internet.


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

  1. Understand the purpose of legislation relating to the practice of psychology and how to comply with such legislation, appreciate the role of ethics in maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the profession.
  2. Become familiar with the ethical principles to be adhered to in psychological practice.
  3. Understand the psychologist's responsibilities in relation to clients.
  4. Develop an appreciation of appropriate professional behaviour in a number of potentially complex situations.
  5. Develop decision making strategies to assist in the maintenance of ethical conduct.


  • Essay (2,000 words) (40%)
  • Group presentation on ethical issues (20%)
  • Examination (40%) (3 hours)
  • Attendance of 80% of lecture workshops (hurdle)

Hurdle Requirement: Attendance at 80% of lecture workshops.

Workload requirements

Two hour weekly lecture/workshop for 12 weeks. In addition, 10 hours per week of self-directed study.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


Completed Bachelors Degree and a major sequence in psychology approved by the Australian Psychological Society or qualification assessed as equivalent by the Australian Psychological Society, with a distinction average for third year psychology units.


PSY4200, PSY4504.