Psychology

ACU School of Psychology provides post-graduate training in psychology at the three campuses which comprise the national school – Melbourne, Brisbane and Strathfield (Sydney). The programs offered include professional Master of Psychology programs with specialisations in clinical (Brisbane, Strathfield and Melbourne) and in educational and developmental psychology (Melbourne), combined MPsych/PhD degree programs and the Master of Professional Psychology (Brisbane and Melbourne). As provisional psychologists, students in these programs complete practicum as part of course requirements.

The Master of Professional Psychology is a fifth year program which is part of the ‘5+1’ pathway to general registration as a psychologist. Provisional psychologists complete a one year internship in the field following completion of their fifth year training at ACU.

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The practicum placements are designed to expose students to a wide range of client problems, age ranges and clinical settings; to equip them with a range of professional skills; and to develop their awareness of ethical and professional issues in working in the mental health area.

By the end of the practicum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • identify presenting problems
  • competently undertake a mental status examination and/or behavioural observations (both naturalistic and clinical)
  • formulate and analyse presenting problems including hypothesis testing

Further, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of psychopathology and diagnostic classification systems
  • Demonstrate proficiency in assessment processes (selecting the appropriate assessment tool(s), test administration and interpretation)
  • Demonstrate the ability to justify the link between diagnosis, theoretical formulation and chosen intervention and/or recommendations
  • Demonstrate competency in the implementation of empirically based treatment plans and effective delivery of psychological interventions
  • Demonstrate the ability to write informed, succinct, valid and well organised reports which integrate information from various sources
  • Demonstrate the ability to behave in a professional manner consistent with the ethical, legal requirements and codes of conduct relevant to psychologists
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate, interact and liaise with supervisors, other professionals or agencies in a professional manner
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate one’s own skills and identify limits of one’s professional competence

Most students will complete their first practicum placement as an intern at the ACU Psychology and Counselling Clinics. This placement provides interns with an invaluable opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt during their academic subjects in a supportive environment.

Once students commence external placement in the field, they continue to be supported by the School by weekly attendance (during teaching periods) at a case conference facilitated by an experienced supervisor and academic member of staff.


Master of Professional Psychology

Placement commences in the first semester of this course.

Supervised Psychological Practice Supervision Direct Client Contact No. of Placement Settings Units
300 hours 40 hours Not specified 2 PSYC655
PSYC656

Course Program Map


Master of Psychology (Clinical)

Placement commences in the second semester of this course.

Supervised Psychological Practice Supervision Direct Client Contact No. of Placement Settings Units
1000 hours 180 hours 400 hours 3 PSYC613
PSYC614
PSYC615

Course Program Map


Master of Psychology (Educational & Developmental)

Placement commences in the second semester of this course.

Supervised Psychological Practice Supervision Direct Client Contact No. of Placement Settings Units
1000 hours 134 hours Not specified 3 PSYC613
PSYC614
PSYC615

Course Program Map


Master of Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy

Supervised Psychological Practice Supervision Direct Client Contact No. of Placement Settings Units
1000 hours 180 hours
(Clinical)
134 hours
(Ed & Dev)
400 hours
(Clinical)
Not specified
(Ed & Dev)
4 PSYC613
PSYC614
PSYC708
PSYC709

In addition to the general ACU Placement Roles and Responsibilities the following roles have additional responsibilities and requirements in Psychology.

Placement Coordinator

Each campus has an academic member of staff appointed to the role of Placement Coordinator whose role it is to oversee the practicum program for students enrolled in professional training programs. Practicum placements are arranged in consultation between the student and respective Placement Coordinator.

Students are expected to submit formal applications for placement positions comprising a cover letter and their CV. It is general practice that students are invited for an interview prior to the placement proceeding.

Field Supervisor

The field supervisor is the person within the agency, who supervises, directs, and evaluates the student during the practicum.

The Psychology Board of Australia (PBA) requires that field supervisors of students undertaking practicum as part of a higher degree course must be Board Approved as Higher Degree Program Supervisors. Additionally, supervisors must:

  • Have held general registration as a psychologist for at least three years before beginning supervision
  • Hold endorsement in the approved area of practice for at least two years before beginning supervision and continue to be endorsed throughout the period of supervision

It is an accreditation requirement that the School of Psychology has copies of the curricula vitae of all psychologists who act as Field Supervisors and provide professional placement opportunities to students enrolled in professional training programs.

For further information on requirements please refer to:

Practicum placements are arranged in consultation between the student and respective Placement Coordinator. Students are expected to submit formal applications for placement positions comprising a cover letter and their CV. It is general practice that students are invited for an interview prior to the placement proceeding.

Placement reviews are usually scheduled mid-way through and at the end of the placement in order for both the student and Field Supervisor to be clear and in agreement on the student’s progress, and areas which require further development.

It is the student’s responsibility to arrange these meetings and to invite the University placement coordinator to attend. It is usual practice that this is an on-site meeting, however these meetings can also be conducted via telephone or skype.

The progress review feedback is documented formally using a supervisor report form. Again, it is the student’s responsibility to provide this form to their supervisor to allow completion prior to the scheduled progress review meeting.

Please check back for updates as the Professional Development schedule for 2016 is finalised.

Professional Practice Coordinator Contacts