Designing a diverse, future-orientated vision for undergraduate psychology in Australia

Project Information

Year Funded:2006
Grant (ex GST):$100,001
Project Status:Completed
Project Reference:DS6-603
Program:Discipline Studies
Project Discipline:SOCIETY AND CULTURE - Behavioural Science
Project Keywords:Evidence-based teaching, Graduate attributes, Psychology, Student learning outcomes

Lead Institution

The University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales

Partner Institutions

Edith Cowan University, Southern Cross University, The University of Western Australia, University of Western Sydney

Project Team

Associate Professor Jacquelyn Cranney (Project Leader),

Project Findings

This investigation provided a collaborative framework for the development and articulation of graduate attributes for psychology; research and application of evidence-based teaching in psychology; and the creation of a diverse, future-oriented vision for undergraduate psychology education. A significant outcome has been the development of an agreed set of graduate attributes for psychology, incorporated into the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council's Rules and Standards (APAC, 2008). A resource to support academics wishing to embed graduate attributes in their programs has been initiated, and the extension of graduate attributes to postgraduate psychology education and training is being pursued by team members. Team members promoted and disseminated information regarding evidence-based teaching through a wide variety of forums. A document outlining a possible vision for undergraduate teaching in psychology, and strategies for its achievement, has been tabled for consideration with the peak professional bodies involved in the investigation partnership, the APS and HODSPA.


Designing a diverse, future-orientated vision for undergraduate psychology in Australia

Jacquelyn Cranney, Stephen Provost, Mary Katsikitis, Frances Martin, Fiona White, Lynne Cohen
The University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales
ECU, Sydney
Final Report Download Document (708.26 KB)

This impressive resource, developed following extensive consultations with key stakeholders, presents a comprehensive list of key attributes psychology students can develop during their undergraduate studies. By extending the principles of the scientist-practitioner model, there is no doubt that it will become a valuable research-led resource for both students and teachers of psychology.

This resource clearly delineates what will be learned, how it will be learned, what the learning outcomes will be, and how these apply in both the traditional psychology laboratory and in real world settings. This juxtaposition of laboratory and real world learning applications provides added value by challenging students to think more widely. In doing so, it enhances the identity of psychology. Accordingly, the resource is also relevant to students and teachers in Psychiatry and the allied health disciplines.

It may be necessary, however, to make explicit the academic background required for using this resource.  For example, it may be essential to flag that empirical skills are a pre-requisite given that Research Methods in Psychology (Attribute 2) are traditionally quantitative. That undergraduate students are becoming interested in qualitative research approaches raises the question of why this is not included in Attribute 2. This is even more questionable given the learning outcome of describing and applying the different research methods used by psychologists and demonstrating practical skills in laboratory-based and other psychological research.

The theoretical orientation and attributes reflect the resource's orientation to a specific cohort of students, which in this discipline is not necessarily a bad thing.

The information on this project's page was updated 28 April, 2011.


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