PSYCHOL 4202 - Current Issues in Psychology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

This course is designed provide students with insights into the nature of psychology as a profession and the links between theoretical developments in psychology and professional practice. Students will gain insights into the challenges associated with providing services to complex, vulnerable and diverse populations as well as the ethical responsibilities of practitioners. Topics will vary from one year to the next, but will typically include material relating to: psychological in health/ medical contexts; addiction; disability issues; applied assessment; forensic psychology and positive psychology.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 4202
    Course Current Issues in Psychology
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to students in the BPsychSc (Honours) and Honours year of BPsych(Hons)
    Assessment Mid- semester exercise, final examination
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Deborah Turnbull

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Understand contemporary developments in professional psychological practice, including an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of client groups.
    2 Evaluate critically the strengths and limitations of different therapeutic or applied psychological methods.
    3 Translate theoretical knowledge into practice (e.g., developments in health psychology).
    4 Understand the ethical issues associated with providing high quality professional services to often vulnerable populations.
    5 Recognise the multidisciplinary links that exist between psychology and other related professions including medical practice, social work and public health.
    6 Understand and recognise the skills required for effective interactions with clients.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All readings are listed in MyUni under the modules for each of the weeks. These should be completed prior to the seminar for that week.
    Recommended Resources
    Barr Smith Library – Psychology on the Web
    The Library is a major resource centre for students. The Research Librarian for Psychology, Maureen Bell, provides some useful information through the Internet at The website contains a list of databases, links to tutorials and help with searching methods.

    For additional information regarding recommended resources please refer to the Honours Program Handbook at the following link:
    Online Learning
    Material from the training seminars offered during the semester will be made available on MyUni.

    This course may use MyUni for one or more of the following:
    - Communication with students via Announcements and Discussion Board
    - Submission of summative assessment
    - Access to lecture recordings
    - Access to tutorial materials
    - Additional readings
    - Self-directed learning activities
    - Exam preparation materials

    Link to MyUni:  
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This component of the course involves compulsory attendance at a series of research training seminars. The rest involves independent student learning, consultations with supervisors and the course co-ordinator. The aim is to provide exposure to a range of practicing professional psychologists and their modes of practice to be considered in light of the current dominant model of the scientist-practitioner in psychology. Students will be expected to actively engage in the activities that are set out in the seminar series.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lectures:  6 x 3 hours  = 18 hours
    Mid-semester exercise: 20 hours
    Exam preparation:  30 hours
    Independent reading:  85 hours
    Final exam: 3 hours

    Total: 156
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Seminar
    Week 1 Working with real people in real enviroments TBA
    Week 2 Drug driving in Australia: A psychological perspective TBA
    Week 3 An exploration of CAM, alternative and fringe therapies in psychology TBA
    Week 4 The health economics of psychology TBA
    Week 5 Neurotherapy Integrated Models TBA
    Week 6 Refugees and trauma TBA
    Disclaimer: This program is provisional and subject to change
    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning outcome(s) being addressed
    Mid-semester exercise Summative 30 1-5
    Open Book Examination Summative 70 1-5
    Assessment Detail
    The mid-semester exercise will be varied from one year to the next. In some years, it may involve the assessment of a particular article or reading. In others, students may be asked to give a presentation, prepare a Powerpoint, draft conference paper, or write a short essay. The examination (open book over 4 days) will include questions from each of the 6 sections of the course. Questions will require advanced conceptual knowledge concerning each topic and a demonstration of independent reading and/ or research.
    Please refer to the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below) for details on submission process/requirements, penalties for late submission, the process of applying for extensions, and the staff “turn-around” timeline on assessments and the provision of feedback and policy relating to re-submission/redemptive work.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.