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Unit of study_

BMRI5003: Clinical Psychiatry I

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Mallett Street, Sydney

This unit of study provides psychiatry trainees with an opportunity to develop effective clinical skills including the psychiatric interview, mental state examination and biopsychosocial formulation. The management of psychiatric emergencies, risk assessment and the use of mental health legislation, as well as the relevance of diagnostic neuroimaging, are explored. This unit of study is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of how genetic and environmental risk factors affect the developing individual to generate the clinical symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Students will examine psychotic and mood disorders along with along with alcohol and substance use disorders. The course covers all aspects including aetiology, phenomenology and epidemiology as well as the complexities around diagnosis and diagnostic classification systems. This will provide students with the framework on which to develop management plans for these disorders according to a biopsychosocial framework with an emphasis on psychosocial care and recovery principles. The principles of neuropsychopharmacology with a focus on antipsychotic medication, mood stabilisers, antidepressants and their potential adverse consequences are covered in depth. Students will learn from lecturers who are experts in their field and hear about exciting areas of psychiatric research in suicide prevention, e-mental health and nutrition.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BMRI5003
Academic unit Brain and Mind Science
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Caryl Barnes,
Lecturer(s) Caryl Barnes,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Mini conference presentation/journal club
Oral presentation (recorded and submitted presentation)
30% Formal exam period 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5
Assignment Case history with diagnostic formulation
Case history and diagnostic formulation
20% Week 04 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Online task Neuroscience modules and quizzes
Online video modules and quizzes
10% Week 07 2.5 hours overall
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Assignment Case history, diagnostic formulation and management plan
Case study and management plan
40% Week 10 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Case history with diagnostic formulation: Write a brief case history and diagnostic formulation of a patient you have recently seen in clinical practice. 
  • Neuroscience modules and quizzes: Watch online modules and complete short quizzes. 
  • Case history, diagnostic formulation and management plan: Write a detailed case history of a patient you have treated recently. 
  • Mini conference presentation/journal club: Present your critical appraisal of a review or research article related to this semester’s topics. 

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

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Students should refer to the Canvas site for actual due dates and times. Late assignments that have not been granted extensions and are of a standard to receive a pass or higher mark will attract a penalty of 5% of the maximum mark per day (or part thereof) late including weekend days (e.g. if the assignment is worth 40 marks, the penalty is 2 marks per day late) until the mark reaches 50% of the maximum mark (e.g. 20 marks if the maximum is 40 marks). Assignments that are not of a pass standard will not have marks deducted and will fail regardless. Assignments submitted more than 5 days late without prior approval will not be accepted and will be given a zero (0) mark.

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
Pre-semester 1st Year RANZCP Trainee Orientation Program Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO5
Week 01 1. Psychiatric assessment, MSE, formulation 2. Interview and assessment in substance use disorder setting Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 1. Interpersonal neurobiology 2. Interpersonal skills & de-escalation Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 03 Schizophrenia and psychosis Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Antipsychotics Lecture (3 hr) LO4
Week 05 1. Recovery model and psychosocial management 2. Adverse effects and medication monitoring Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 06 1. Neurobiology of depression 2. Psychosocial management of mood disorders 3. Early intervention in mood disorders Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 1. Diagnosis and classification of mood disorders 2. Pharmacology and treatment of acute mania 3. Genetic epidemiology Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 1. Bipolar disorders 2. Food and mood Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 1. Alcohol 2. Opioids Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 1. Amphetamines and other stimulants 2. Cannabis Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 1. Neuroimaging 2. Prescription drug abuse and dependence Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 1. Introduction to delirium & dementia 2. Mental health tribunals / Capacity and guardianship Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 1. E-mental health 2. Suicide prevention Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance. Students are expected to attend 80% of classes either on campus or via Zoom. Due interruptions caused by Covid 19 for Semester 1 2021 attendance records will not be kept.
  • Passing the course. Students must earn an average mark of at least 50% for the unit as a whole by passing their assessments.
  • Academic honesty. Academic honesty must be demonstrated in all forms of assessment. Similarity detection software (i.e. Turnitin) will be used for all submitted written work. 

Please refer to our Course Rules and Policies:

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 for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, 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. understand the components of a comprehensive psychiatric and substance use assessment in order to assist you in your clinical role.
  • LO2. critically discuss the literature regarding epidemiology, aetiology and clinical characteristics of psychotic, mood and substance use disorders.
  • LO3. identify and summarise biological, psychological, cultural and social contributors to the patient’s illness and recovery in order to be able to present these in a formulation and differential diagnosis for patients presenting with psychotic, mood and substance use disorders.
  • LO4. construct comprehensive management plans under supervision using evidence-based biological and psychosocial approaches which can be applied in a recovery orientated, multidisciplinary team setting.
  • LO5. describe the principles and practical applications of involuntary and coercive treatment options in order to work within the relevant mental health and drug and alcohol legislation in your professional clinical role.

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.

This unit now incorporates learning activities and assessment on substance use and addictions.


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.