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PSY4020 Ethical and Professional Practice

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Ipswich
Short Description: Ethical & Professional Practic
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Professional Pathway Psych
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Andrea Lamont-Mills


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

Other requisites

BPSH students must have completed the first 3 years with a GPA of 5.0 across levels 1 to 3 psychology courses. Students must have access to StudyDesk for this course


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.


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; (assignment - personal journal);
  2. Apply underlying theories and models to concepts of professionalism and ethical conduct. (assignment - personal journal);
  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 (assignment - vignettes);
  4. Identify the principles that underpin the ethical standards associated with the APS Code of Ethics. (assignment - coding the code);
  5. Apply reflective and reflexive skills appropriate to a pre-professional scientist-practitioner (all assignments).


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

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Boyle, C & Gamble, N 2014, Ethical Practice in Applied Psychology, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 45.00
Online Lectures 19.50
Private Study 88.00
Tutorials 19.50

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Coding the Code 162 30 02 Apr 2021 4
Personal Journal 30 30 28 May 2021 1,2,5 (see note 1)
Case Vignettes 50 40 04 Jun 2021 3

  1. The personal journal consists of three reflections that are to be submitted across the course of the semester. The due date in the course specification is the due date for the final reflection.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the student’s responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all materials provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course, and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the total marks available for each item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to accreditation requirements the grade of Conceded Pass cannot be applied in compulsory psychology courses. (PSY4020 being one such course).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Date printed 18 June 2021