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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 2Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Semester 2Campus Attendance



Unit rationale, description and aim

As part of advanced training in psychology, this unit provides students with the opportunity to be exposed to specialised training in psychology. Topics may be drawn from one or more distinct areas of psychology, including (but not limited to) cognitive, social, developmental, health and applied psychology. The material will be of an advanced nature, offering engagement with cutting edge research and innovation and in-depth examination of contemporary perspectives on, and interpretation of, recent trends in the field of psychology, as well as an awareness of its historical and philosophical underpinnings. The choice of specific topics will be driven by the expertise of the Lecturers assigned to teach the unit. The aims of this unit are to develop advanced skills in (a) critical analysis of theories and models presented to explain observed trends in an area of psychology, (b) the use of research evidence to develop, modify or reject theories and models and (c) the development of research designs that may address an open research question in the area under investigation.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse research evidence and theoretical accounts in the psychology topics under studyGC1, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO2Demonstrate an ability to synthesise and present theoretical models and evidence in a logical, structured and eloquent manner, in oral and written formatGC1, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Identify the critical predictions of the theoretical models under study, and the methodological approaches used to test those predictionsGC1, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO4Develop proposed empirical approaches to the investigation of critical issues in the specific topic under studyGC1, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12


Topics will include: 

Specific topics or a range of topics may be drawn from the following themes, based on research expertise of the Lecturer in charge of the unit: 

Ageing; Aggression; Altruism and Helping Behaviour; Attachment and Adjustment; Attention; Attitudes; Collective and Group Processes; Attraction; Attributions; Cognition and Ageing; Cognitive Development; Cognitive Disorders; Cognition and Performance; Cognitive Neuroscience; Cognitive Schemas; Community Psychology; Counselling Psychology; Clinical Psychology; Cross Cultural Psychology; Developmental Psychopathology; Educational Psychology; Eating Behaviour; Emotion; Evolutionary Psychology; Executive Function; Experimental Psychology; Forensic/Criminal Psychology; Gender Roles and Sexuality; Health Psychology; Indigenous Psychology; Judgement and Decision Making; Language; Learning; Linguistics; Memory; Mental Imagery; Morality; Motor Cognition; Music Cognition; Neuroimaging; Neuropsychology; Organisational Psychology; Perception; Personality; Problem Solving; Psychology and the Law; Reasoning; Relationships; Self-Esteem; Self-Preservation; Self-Concept; Self-Regulation and Self-Determination; Social Cognition; Social Development; Spatial Cognition; Sports Psychology.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will be delivered face-to-face with 2- hour sessions over 12 weeks or equivalent .The sessions will mostly be organised as guided seminar discussions workshops where a topic is introduced and discussed in class. The discussions are guided by the Lecturer so that they focus on the issues that are relevant to the development of the target learning outcomes. This format is chosen as it is the ideal approach to facilitate critical thinking and oral communication skills and because it fosters the role of the student as an active participant in a fundamental part of the research enterprise. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all of the assessment tasks. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit.  

To allow students to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes, assessment in this unit will involve written and oral presentation assessment. The written assessments will include (a) an essay that critically analyses theory and related empirical research, and (b) a research proposal. Students will also do an oral presentation. In combination, these tasks will enable students to demonstrate  their ability to critically analyse and synthesise research, and to identify appropriate research methodology to test hypotheses. The three assessments will be based around a single topic, with timely feedback provided that will assist students to develop and refine  their work.   

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1


Students will critically analyse theory and empirical evidence and present their critique as an essay. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2

Oral Presentation  

Students will demonstrate their ability to analyse, synthesise and present information in an oral format. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3

Research Proposal

Students will demonstrate their ability to identify a research question and to apply their knowledge of the methodological approaches in the area to test said question. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references


Developmental Psychology 

Health Psychology  

Journal of Applied Psychology 

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 

Psychological Bulletin  

Psychological Review 

Social Cognition 

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