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Campus offering

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PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology ; PSYC101 Applications of Psychology

Unit rationale, description and aim

Society is undergoing a paradigm shift in terms of understandings of gender and sexuality. Specifically for psychology, there is a movement toward understandings of gender that are beyond the traditional stereotypes of male and female and of sexual identity. Further, non-heteronormative sexual behaviour has historically been viewed as pathology requiring reparative treatment however this has shifted toward these behaviours as being understood as representative of normal human diversity. In this unit, issues related to gender stereotypes, gender identity and sexuality, and how they influence individual experiences in a range of contexts, will be examined. The aim of this unit is to explore how societal dynamics contribute to the maintenance of gender and sexual inequalities and to assist you to develop an understanding of gender issues in contemporary psychology, such as stereotypes, gender differences/similarities, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

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 - acquire knowledge regarding how gender has been studied in psychology over time, and major paradigm shifts in the study of gender (GA5); 

LO2 - describe the relationship between gender, heteronormativity and mental health (GA1, GA4, GA5); 

LO3 - demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of, and biases in, the research on gender and sexual orientation issues (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9); 

LO4 - apply an understanding of research methods and critical analysis of research to current issues in gender and/or sexuality (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • The history of gender in psychology  
  • Gender and sexuality across the lifespan  
  • Theoretical approaches to gender identity development and the development of sexuality 
  • Stereotypes, attitudes, and discrimination   
  • Heteronormativity and queer theory 
  • Feminist issues in psychology  
  • Masculinities  
  • Gender in the workplace 
  • Culture and gender 
  • Gender and power 
  • Gender, sexuality, and mental health 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week. Each week there will be a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are to aid you with the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge. To assist you in your self-directed learning, other learning resources are utilized including: online quizzes and activities; online forums; and lecture recordings.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

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


In order to best enable you 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 portfolio designed to scaffold your understanding and application of the content of the unit. You will demonstrate your ability to consolidate research literature and design a study in a research proposal on a topic of your interest. The third assessment will allow you to show your ability to discuss a real-world issue using empirical evidence to support your argument. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Learning portfolio –  

provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of core topics. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA1, GA4, GA5 

Research Proposal –  

allows you to demonstrate your understanding of a contemporary issue in gender or sexuality and your ability to apply that knowledge in the development of a research question and proposal. 


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Written Essay –  

will enable you to demonstrate your ability to use empirical evidence to discuss a current real-world issue associated with the content of the unit. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bosson, J. K., Vandello, J. A., & Buckner, C. E. (2019). The Psychology of sex and gender. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.   

Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.  

Eagly, A. H., Eaton, A., Rose, S. M., Riger, S., & Mchugh, M. C. (2012). Feminism and psychology: Analysis of a half-century of research on women and gender. American Psychologist, 67, 211-230. doi:10.1037/a0027260   

Else-Quest, N. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2018). The psychology of women and gender: Half the human experience (9th ed). Thousand Oakes, CA. Sage.   

Fine, C. (2010). Delusions of gender: How our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference. New York: Norton.  

Jagose, A. (1997). Queer theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press.  

Kimmel, M. S., Hearn, J., & Connell, R. W. (2005). Handbook of studies on men and masculinities. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage  

O’Donnell, M., & Taylor, B. (2014). Working therapeutically with LGBTI clients: A practice wisdom resource. Sydney. National LGBTI Health Alliance. Retrieved from   

Schilt, K., Westbrook, L. (2009). Doing gender, doing heteronormativity: “Gender normal”, transgender people, and the social maintenance of heterosexuality. Gender and Society, 23, 440-464.   

Warner, M. (2000). The Trouble with Normal: Sex, politics, and the ethics of queer life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  

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