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Unit outline_

BACH5321: Psychology for Graduate Students

Semester 1, 2023 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit provides students with an understanding of the major theoretical perspectives, concepts and vocabulary of psychology. Psychology is concerned with the science of human behaviour - how individuals perceive, think about, and behave in the world. It is concerned with identifying how internal determinants (characteristics unique to the person, and part of physical or psychological make-up) and external determinants (physical environment and social context) impact upon the individual. It is also concerned with the way in which people change over time, as well as explaining and predicting what they might do at any one time. The unit aims to position psychology as an essential ingredient in understanding health behaviour. This unit is only available to students who have no undergraduate studies in psychology.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Participation Sciences
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Erin Fearn-Smith,
Lecturer(s) Erin Fearn-Smith,
Kathryn Taylor,
Tutor(s) Erin Fearn-Smith,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Psychological principles: modern health context
Extended response
25% Week 05
Due date: 26 Mar 2023 at 23:59
1000-1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Psychological principles: Child Development
Extended response
25% Week 08
Due date: 23 Apr 2023 at 23:59
1000-1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Psychological principles: Adolescent and Adult Development
Extended response
25% Week 10
Due date: 07 May 2023 at 23:59
1000-1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Tutorial quiz hurdle task Quizzes 1-4
0% Week 13
Due date: 28 May 2023 at 23:59
To be added by the unit coordinator.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Psychological principles: health issues/disorders
Extended response
25% Week 13
Due date: 28 May 2023 at 23:59
1000-1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4
Small continuous assessment hurdle task Weekly Tutorial
Discussion posts
0% Weekly Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO6 LO5 LO3
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Weekly Tutorial: Students will contribute an original answer and/or build upon fellow students' responses on the discussion board. Students are required to participate in a minimum of 8 tutorials. You must complete this assessment tasks to pass the entire unit. Failure to contribute to at least 8 tutorial discussions will result in you being awarded a fail grade, regardless of your cumulative marks in the unit of study.
  • Psychological principles in context: Extended response questions. 
  • Quizzes: Students are required to complete 4 quizzes to demonstrate a mastery of the content of the unit. Quiz results do not contribute to your grade for this unit, however, students are required to achieve 80% in each quiz in order to pass the unit. You must complete this assessment task to pass the entire unit. Failure to complete it will result in you being awarded a fail grade, regardless of your cumulative marks in the unit of study.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Psychology: history and methods Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Psychology: history and methods Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Biological basis of behaviour Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Biological basis of behaviour Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 03 Learning and conditioning Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6
Learning and conditioning Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Sensation and perception Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Sensation and perception Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Social behaviour Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Social behaviour Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Lifespan development 1: childhood Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7
Lifespan development 1: childhood Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Lifespan development 2: adolescence and adulthood Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Lifespan development 2: adolescence and adulthood Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Cognition and language Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Cognition and language Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Memory Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO6 LO7
Memory Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Personality, motivation and emotion Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Personality, motivation and emotion Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Stress, coping and health Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6 LO7
Stress, coping and health Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Psychopathology and psychological therapies Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Psychopathology and psychological therapies Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Psychology in context Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Psychology in context Tutorial (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance requirements: This unit is delivered via e-learning. There are no mandatory on-campus classes. Viewing all online lectures, however, is required.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings are available on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. delineate psychology as a scientific discipline
  • LO2. understand the basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation methods
  • LO3. demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts and principles in core topics of psychology, including cognitive and social development, learning and conditioning, and the biopsychosocial perspective on health and well-being
  • LO4. apply the principles described above to case materials, particularly in the areas of ageing, disability, and paediatrics
  • LO5. use critical and creative thinking, sceptical inquiry, and the scientific approach to solve problems related to health behaviour
  • LO6. use appropriate psychological terminology for professional and informal communication
  • LO7. write standard psychology extended responses using American Psychological Association (APA) referencing and formatting conventions.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Student feedback has informed changes to assessment weighting and lecture delivery structure.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.