PSYC13017 - Foundations of Psychopathology

General Information

Unit Synopsis

The human brain is a marvelous and complex organ that allows us to perceive the environment, plan courses of action, and engage in adaptive behaviours. Most of the time, these processes are carried out smoothly and efficiently allowing us to function optimally. However, there are times and circumstances where the brain does not operate as it should. In this unit you will examine mental health disorders which frequently have significant adverse impacts. Mental illness will be explored in the context of major diagnostic systems and treatment models. Using a bio-psycho-social approach, you will explore the aetiology and course of psychopathology and consider evidence-based treatments used to facilitate recovery.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

96 credit points in CC43, CF59, CL51, CL55, CC13, CB66, CG93 or CA10

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 3 - 2023

Term 3 - 2023 Profile
Term 1 - 2024 Profile
Term 3 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Online Quiz(zes) 30%
2. Written Assessment 40%
3. Presentation 30%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2023 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 100.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 35.96% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: SUTE unit comments
Clearer guidelines were requested by some students on the video assessment.
Provide specific guidelines on the amount of time allocated to each component of the video recording and provide more guidance on the content required.
Action Taken
An exemplar of the video presentation was provided to students with discussion around requirements and amount of time allocated to sections of the video recording.
Source: SUTE unit comments
It was suggested that clearer wording on the quiz questions is required.
Review PSYC13017 quiz items for clarity.
Action Taken
Quiz questions were reviewed and revised.
Source: SUTE unit comments
One student suggested that assessment exemplars would clarify expectations
Consider providing exemplars of the case report and case presentation for PSYC13017 next year.
Action Taken
Requirements for the written assessment were discussed in tutorials with opportunities provided to students to clarify assessment criteria.
Source: SUTE Unit comments report
Some students stated that they found material in the lectures and tutorials "triggering."
Routinely provide warnings to students at the beginning of lectures and tutorials that the content being discussed may trigger emotional reactions or distress for some students.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit comments report
One student recommended providing a list of questions (that might later be covered in assessment quizzes) prior to tutorials.
Provide a list of potential quiz review questions for each tutorial.
Action Taken
Source: SUTE Unit comments report
Some found family commitments impacted on live attendance for lectures and tutorials that were scheduled late in the day.
Consider diversity in student schedules, particularly those with family commitments, when making timetable requests. Remind students who are unable to attend live classes that they can engage in content through class recordings and forums.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Explain and apply mental health diagnostic criteria used in the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
  2. Apply acquired knowledge of the aetiology and course of mental health disorders to the development of a bio-psycho-social formulation.
  3. Evaluate evidence-based treatment options that facilitate recovery from mental health disorders.

This unit addresses Foundational Competencies as specified by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and specifically aligns to:

1.1 Comprehend and apply a broad and coherent body of knowledge of psychology, with depth of understanding of underlying principles, theories and concepts in the discipline, using a scientific approach, including the following topics:

(i) the history and philosophy underpinning the science of psychology and the social, cultural, historical and professional influences on the practice of psychology

(ii) individual differences in capacity, behaviour and personality

(iii) psychological health and well-being

(iv) psychological disorders and evidence-based interventions

(v) learning and memory

(vi) cognition, language and perception

(viii) neuroscience and the biological bases of behaviour

(xi) culturally appropriate psychological assessment and measurement

1.2 Apply knowledge and skills of psychology in a manner that is reflexive, culturally appropriate and sensitive to the diversity of individuals

1.3 Analyse and critique theory and research in the discipline of psychology and communicate these in written and oral formats.

1.6 Demonstrate self-directed pursuit of scholarly inquiry in psychology.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Presentation
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10