Theories and Ethics in Psychology

Subject PSYC40006 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-six hours of lectures and/or seminars.
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment: 170 hours per semester.


No prerequisites are required for this subject


No corequisites are required for this subject

Recommended Background Knowledge:

An accredited psychology major sequence

Non Allowed Subjects:

There are no non allowed subjects

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards of Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit Website:


Assoc Prof Robert Reeve


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 6377



Subject Overview:

The general aims of this subject are to provide a context for fourth-year students to develop an understanding of the origins and development of psychological thought, research and practice in relation to its socio-historical and ethical contexts. The focus is on the changing themes in the ­history and philosophy of scientific and ethical thought, and on providing students with a framework for understanding and evaluating reasoning, argument and ethical decision-making in psychology. Evidence-based practice has been identified as a core ethical issue in psychological practice. Framed within the 'scientist-practitioner' model, it provides a means of evaluating the efficacy of psychological interventions. Students will have the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the concepts underlying psychological assessment and intervention considered within their broader socio-historical and ethical contexts. They will also be given the opportunity to examine the relationships between theory, psychological measurement, and ethical and professional responsibility in research; to develop research and ethics proposals; and to critically analyse the assumptions underlying different approaches to psychological research and evidence-based practice.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject aims to:

  • critically evaluate perspectives on the development of psychological thought, research and practice in relation to its socio-historical and ethical contexts
  • show an appreciation of the relationships between theory, measurement, ethical and professional responsibility in psychological research and practice
  • evaluate the adequacy of reasoning and argument in psychological research
  • understand the importance of the scientist-practitioner model in evidence-based psychological practice
  • write essays that demonstrate an understanding of the relationships betweenpsychological theory and argument

Three 1200 word written assignments, each of which is worth 33% of the overall assessment. Each piece of assessment must be completed (hurdle requirement).

Attendance at 80% or more of classes is a hurdle requirement. In case of failure to meet the hurdle requirement, additional equivalent work will be required before a passing grade can be awarded.

Prescribed Texts:

There are no prescribed texts

Recommended Texts:

There are no recommended texts.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students in this subject will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to develop the following skills:

  • skills related to integrating and distinguishing different approaches to development in order to develop an understanding of contemporary issues relating theory to psychological analysis and practice
  • be able to discern and manipulate relationships between theoretical and methodological claims about development
  • draw out the social implications of developmental psychology for current social policy
  • present, develop and support an argument for a position and anticipate criticism
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Psychology (Advanced)
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Psychology

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