PSY4405 - Ethical and professional issues in psychology - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 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 Psychological Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Filia Garivaldis


Dr Ruth Tatnell

Unit guides


Monash Online

  • Teaching Period 2 2019 (Online)
  • Teaching Period 4 2019 (Online)
  • Teaching Period 6 2019 (Online)


Students can be enrolled in these units using either the GDPA course code (M5003) or the Single Unit course code (M3900).




The unit will focus on ethical, legal and professional issues related to psychological practice. Conceptual (e.g. theories and definitions) and practical issues (e.g. 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. Critically evaluate the purpose of legislation relating to the practice of psychology and how to comply with such legislation, and the role of ethics in maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the profession;
  2. Identify and review the ethical principles to be adhered to in psychological practice;
  3. Evaluate and make high level judgements of the psychologist's responsibilities in relation to clients;
  4. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of appropriate professional behaviour, and generate solutions to potentially complex situations;
  5. Apply, plan, and initiate decision making strategies to assist in the maintenance of ethical conduct.


  • Group presentation (25 minutes) (40%)
  • Essay (1500 words)(30%)
  • Secure Online Quizzes(MCQ)(30%)

Workload requirements

Students should expect to spend an average of 20-25 hours per week per unit. Broadly, this time will cover:

Video materials (2hrs)

Synchronous & asynchronous discussion (2hrs)

Synchronous web-based 'class-time' for skills-based activities (2hrs)

Weekly readings (4-6hrs)

Weekly skills-based assessment (4-6hrs, including formative assessment)

Knowledge-based assessment (4-5hrs, including revision)

See also Unit timetable information

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