Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Enrolment in the BPsychSc (students will normally be enrolled in Year 3 of the course) and PSYC212 Abnormal Psychology

Unit rationale, description and aim

Australian Catholic University endeavours to prepare graduates who are able to exercise moral and professional autonomy in their chosen discipline in a pluralistic society. The University supports the development of community engagement and student awareness of social responsibility to the wider community. This unit enables you to work in an applied setting (social, health, educational or welfare) and be introduced to the work of a practising registered psychologist, while at the same time contributing to community engagement in a tangible way. The aim of this unit is to provide you with an opportunity to reflect on your own practices, collaborate with others, work with people from diverse backgrounds (including those who have experienced disadvantage), and explore opportunities for employment in a range of settings.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate professional behaviour and attitudes (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9)

LO2 - demonstrate a heightened awareness of the ethical and social responsibility of psychologists in applied settings (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA6)

LO3 - identify a range of settings and occupations that may be suitable for graduates of an undergraduate psychology program (GA8)

LO4 - reflect upon the impact of the community engagement experience on their values, assumptions and attitudes (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9)

LO5 - communicate their reflections about the period of work experience and community engagement (GA1, GA4, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


The community engagement experience will take place in an organisation, such as a social, health, educational or welfare agency. The experience is designed to offer the opportunity of integrating psychological theory and practice, and to engage with the community. It will provide students with the opportunity to consider both the responsibilities and the limitations of the professional’s role in the chosen setting (from an academic and practical point of view), and to consider the implications of professional ethics in professional-client contact.

  • Students will complete a total of 100 hours of community engagement. Fifty hours will be a community engagement experience completed in an organisation selected by the student. This organisation and the related position must be approved by the unit co-ordinator. The remaining 50 hours can be completed at the same organisation, a different organisation, or by completing a complementary literature review.
  • The literature review will cover theoretical issues relating to the community engagement experience, the principles of community engagement and psychology.
  • Prior to commencing the experience each student and the participating organisation will complete an engagement agreement that clarifies the role/tasks to be performed by the student and the expectations of both parties. 
  • The service period may be completed in a full or part-time capacity depending upon the needs of the organisation and/or student.
  • There is to be no payment for the activities performed by the student. 
  • The range of activities undertaken will encompass what is deemed appropriate by the agency. 
  • Some organisations may require students to undergo a police check. 
  • The purpose of this exercise is not to provide skills training in psychological practice. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include practical experience in a community setting, active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within class activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a learning module to prepare students for their community engagement experience; preparation of a curriculum vitae; literature review; engagement agreement; development of a jobs portfolio; reflections on the community engagement experience, and an agency performance review.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Curriculum Vitae

You will prepare/update your Curriculum Vitae to a professional standard to assist in the process of obtaining a suitable placement for the community engagement experience and for future job seeking endeavours.



GA4, GA6, GA9

Jobs Portfolio

To further enhance your understanding of potential avenues for community engagement and the employment opportunities for graduates of undergraduate psychology programs, you will identify and describe jobs that would be suitable for graduates of an undergraduate psychology program.




Community Engagement Experience

You will complete 100 hours of community engagement.

50 hours will be a community engagement experience will be undertaken with an organisation(s). You will complete, a reflective journal entry for each day of your community engagement experience. A performance review, from the participating organization, which evaluates your professionalism and ethics while on the community engagement experience will be undertaken.

The remaining 50 hours will be completed in one of the following formats:

a.  An additional 50 hours of a community engagement experience at the same or different organisation.


b.  A written literature review on a topic of community engagement that is relevant to the work of the organization where the community engagement experience was undertaken (equivalent to 50 hours).


c. A combination of community engagement experience and written literature review (ie., 20 hours of community engagement experience and a written literature review equivalent to 30 hours). 


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Psychological Society (2007). Code of ethics. Carlton South: Author.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013).  Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Text revision. Washington, DC: Author.

Australian Psychological Society. (2002). Ethical guidelines (4th ed.). Melbourne: Author.

Field Education Handbook. (2007). St Patrick’s Campus. Melbourne: School of Psychology.

Steinman, S., Richardson, N., & McEnroe, T. (2002). Ethical decision-making manual for helping professionals (2nd ed.). New York: Brooks/Cole.

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