Ethics and Professional Issues

Subject PSYC90008 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Winter Term, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 11-Jul-2016
Teaching Period 18-Jul-2016 to 22-Jul-2016
Assessment Period End 29-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 12-Jul-2016
Census Date 18-Jul-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Jul-2016

Pre-teaching period: students are required to read over the APS ethical guidelines.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 6 hours (4 x 1.5 hour) of lectures per day for each of 3 days
Total Time Commitment:

85 hours

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Recommended Background Knowledge:

Completion of APAC approved psychology studies to fourth-year (Honours) level.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for 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 Carol Hulbert


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Currently enrolled students:

  • General information:
  • Email:

Future students:

Subject Overview:

This component is organised around three major areas: theoretical foundations of ethics; ethical problems and the application of ethical principles to practice, and legal and institutional regulations; and codes of practice and guidelines. The exploration, clarification and possible resolution of selected ethical dilemmas commonly faced by psychologists will be covered and may include:

  • psychologist/client relationships (for example, confidentiality, boundary violations, assessment of dangerousness, patient and client rights, professional responsibility, special groups, such as children, employer-psychologist ethical differences);
  • psychologist/institutional relationships (eg. state regulation of professional practice, legal requirements, certification, mandatory reporting, guardianship, unprofessional conduct);
  • research ethics, and personal ethical development.
Learning Outcomes:

Students will be given the opportunity to become familiar with the ethical codes and guidelines of the APS and the Psychologists' Registration Board and the operation of their regulating bodies; explore in depth, within the context of ethical practice, professional issues related to working with clients or patients, other professionals, employers and employees and institutions and organisations; become familiar with current ethical theories as they relate to professional practice and proficient in analysis of ethical issues and problems that psychologists are likely to encounter in their professional practice; and develop a personal conceputal framework for approaching ehtical and professional issues.

  • Online quiz (25 questions) covering ethical guidelines provided by Australian Psychology Society and the Australian Registration Board (N.B. background reading must have been completed during pre-teaching period), held end of day 1 of teaching period (20%);
  • Report addressing case study of ethical dilemma (500 words), due day 3 of teaching period (20%);
  • Essay (1000 words), due one week after the end of the teaching period (60%).
Prescribed Texts:
  • Confidentiality for Mental Health Professionals : A Guide to Ethical and Legal Principles
  • Students undertake provided readings from Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (apac) and the Australian Psychology Society ethical guidelines for psychologists and complete and on-line questionnaire
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Advanced information interpretation skills

Advanced analytic, integration and problem solving skills

Advanced written skills

Related Course(s): Master of Psychology (Clinical Child Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)/Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy

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