PIT5002 - Foundations of psychiatry 2 - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - 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 Clinical Sciences at Monash Health

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Fiona Best


Dr Vaidy Swaminathan

Unit guides




Must be enrolled in M6022 Master of Psychiatry stream


This unit will be undertaken in the first year of course.


This unit will introduce and prepare students in psychiatric essentials such as introduction to, epidemiology, aetiology, neurobiology, and principles of diagnostic paradigms, assessment and management of major categories of mental disorders such as affective, psychotic, anxiety, substance use and cognitive disorders.

The foundation skills in identifying, diagnosing and managing major clinical disorders thus acquired will essentially underpin a student's progress towards becoming a specialist psychiatrist in any modality and the skills learnt in Year 1 will likely sweep across the trainee's entire learning career.

This foundation unit will provide a sound academic platform for the trainee's clinical training. The Formal Education Course (FEC) requirement of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) identifies "an awareness of concepts", "working knowledge" or "in-depth knowledge" of the major clinical disorders within the first 3 years of psychiatry training and this unit is uniquely positioned to enable the student meet these requirements.


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

  1. Apply knowledge of mental illness diagnosis, assessment and treatment to a standard required for psychiatrists in training in mental health settings
  2. Analyse and integrate an understanding of the biological, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of people experiencing a mental illness
  3. Apply knowledge of the complex interaction between mental health, physical illness, medications, illicit substances, family and social systems impacting mental wellbeing of a person
  4. Critically evaluate the evidence base for treatment approaches such as psychopharmacology and psychotherapy for various psychiatric disorders


  • 4 x Online commentaries (500 words each) (30% total) (hurdle)
  • Written essay (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Applied Learning Exercise (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Presentation at Weekend Workshop (10%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week - 3 hours of lectures, 3 hours of directed online student learning activities, plus 6 hours of self-directed study per week.

Participation in a two-day residential interactive workshop experience (9:00 am - 5:00 pm on campus) to demonstrate that application of theory to practice is mandated.

See also Unit timetable information

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