Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling - Inherent academic requirements

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Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling - Inherent academic requirements


AR302 Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling

Committed to equity and diversity
  • At USC, we are committed to facilitating the integration of all students into the University Community.
  • Reasonable adjustments in teaching and/or assessment methods can be made for students provided those adjustments do not compromise the inherent requirements of the program.
  • The inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling are the fundamental skills and abilities that the student must be able to achieve to demonstrate the essential learning outcomes of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling.
  • This Statement provides realistic information about the inherent academic requirements that you must meet to complete your course and graduate. Make sure you read and understand the requirements for the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling, so you can make an informed judgement about your ability to fulfil them.
Externally accredited

The University of the Sunshine Coast offers the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling which meets the external, national accreditation requirements for The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), The Australian Counselling Association (ACA), the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

  • Key psychology and counselling practice skills are embedded and assessed throughout the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling.
Skills you need

The Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling has inherent academic requirements in five categories

  • Observational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Behavioural and social skills
  • Intellectual, such as conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
  • Sustained Performance
Before you enrol

If you intend to enrol in a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast, look carefully at the inherent academic requirements listed in this statement and think about whether you might experience challenges in meeting them.

  • If you think you might experience challenges related to your disability, health condition or for any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with a University Ability Adviser or School of Social Science staff.
Reasonable adjustments

Students with disabilities or other special circumstances may be provided with reasonable adjustment to enable them to meet the inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling if the adjustment is:

  • logistically reasonable
  • likely to result in the student being able to perform the skills adequately and in a timely manner.
Observational Skills

The ability to be receptive to, and interact with, the learning environment.


This is an inherent requirement of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because students must demonstrate the ability to learn from or respond to inputs required for effective learning.


Adjustments must consider effectiveness, timeliness, clarity, and accuracy.


As a student, you must:

  • attend to non-verbal behaviour (e.g. observe body language, tone of voice and facial expressions) throughout the academic and work practice in the field placement contexts
  • observe risk factors in relation to workplace health and safety to maintain consistent, accurate and safe professional care of self and others
  • observe multiple people and events simultaneously, be receptive to their environment, assess situations and respond appropriately
  • identify relevant aspects of psychology/counselling practice situations.
Communication Skills

Students must have the capacity to demonstrate:

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills


The capacity to demonstrate verbal and non-verbal communication in English to a standard that allows fluid, clear, timely, and comprehensible two-way discussions. Written communication should be timely, clear, and professional, with language tailored to the audience. Students will demonstrate sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences and be attentive, empathetic, and non-judgemental. English literacy is a fundamental work requirement of counselling and psychology practitioners in Australia with professional and legal ramifications. Proficiency in other languages can also be highly valued in some practice settings.


These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because effective and respectful communication (via verbal and non-verbal means) is required to participate in and create safe learning environments. Further, there is a need to demonstrate applied skills in academic writing and presentations via a sustained and organised academic argument.


Adjustments must consider effectiveness, timeliness, clarity, and accuracy to ensure learning outcomes are not compromised.


As a student, you must:

  • understand and respond to verbal and non-verbal communication accurately and appropriately in a time-constrained environment
  • convey spoken and written messages, including complex academic perspectives, accurately and effectively
  • present information and engage in discussions with students and staff, including tutorial participation and professional presentations
  • summarise and appropriately reference a range of literature in assignments.


Students will demonstrate:

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because

  • Capacity to construct coherent, timely and professional written communication in English appropriate to the circumstance.
  • Read and comprehend a range of literature and information in English.
  • Capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
  • Capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.
  • Construction of written text-based assessment tasks in English to reflect the required academic standards is necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter and for demonstrating psychology/counselling standards.

Accurate written communication, including record keeping, written reports and case notes is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and for demonstrating professional standards in the field placement context.

  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective practice in the field placement context.

Adjustments must allow students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective acquisition, recording, comprehension and transmission of information in both academic and field placement settings.


As a student you must

  • construct essays, reports and other written work that meet academic and professional standards
  • paraphrase, summarise and reference in accordance with appropriate academic, professional and/or organisational practice conventions
  • construct practice reports in a timely manner that meets professional standards.


The capacity to acquire and demonstrate sound working skills in applying information and communication technologies (ICT) to communicate via a range of ICT applications and systems in both academic and professional settings.


These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because competent ICT skills are essential to:

  • successfully accessing, applying and communicating information to meet learning outcomes
  • preparing and completing assessment tasks, WIL placements and submitting assessment items online.

Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively use a range of ICT to apply and communicate accurate information. USC has in place a range of strategies and technology to support students with disabilities. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the University’s AccessAbility Service.


As a student you must:

  • employ a range of ICT skills, such as internet searching and word processing, to complete written and audio-visual learning and assessment activities
  • use a range of software, applications and devices for academic, research and placement purposes, in face-to-face and online synchronous and asynchronous communication environments.
Behavioural and Social Skills

The capacity to demonstrate behavioural stability and adaptability in environments which may be at times challenging and unpredictable. Students should also demonstrate sensitivity and behave ethically as ethical conduct and integrity are core requirements in all psychology and counselling practice.


These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because:

  • Counselling and psychology are governed by legislation, standards and codes of ethics and the education of counselling and psychology must meet external accreditation requirements of the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).
  • Behaving ethically in line with relevant standards, codes, guidelines, and policies ensures the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being of all.
  • Students need to work individually and within teams in diverse, changing and complex environments and managing personal emotional responses and adapt behaviour appropriately during times of stress is essential to meeting learning outcomes and providing professional practice.

Adjustments must support stable, effective, and professional behaviour and must not compromise relevant codes or standards or result in unethical behaviour.


As a student, you must:

  • behave appropriately with confidential information in classroom and field placement settings
  • adjust ways of working within teams (e.g., group work) of varied backgrounds and opinions and utilise principles of natural justice and procedural fairness within group assessment tasks and in field placement settings
  • demonstrate an ethical approach to discussions and an ability to apply ethical principles and processes to decision making in field placement settings
  • adjust to challenging and changing circumstances in a way that allows self-care while maintaining a focus on academic achievement and codes of professional practice
  • demonstrate appropriate boundaries in professional relationships consistent with the practice setting and psychology/counselling standards
  • manage own behaviours and emotions effectively and be receptive and respond appropriately to academic and professional feedback
  • comply with relevant child protection and safety legislation and hold a valid Working with Children Check in certain placements.
Intellectual – Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

The capacity to demonstrate numeracy, literacy, knowledge, cognitive skills, and metacognition appropriate to the discipline. This involves: accurate processing and reasoning with numbers and numerical concepts; possessing English literacy skills that allow the creation and interpretation of clear meaning; cognitive skills for focus, memory, attention to detail, critical thinking, theoretical deliberation, and practical functioning to meet academic standards; awareness of own thinking and skills to reflect, evaluate, adapt, and implement new cognitive strategies for improved learning.


These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because knowledge and effective cognitive skills, competence across numeracy and literacy, and the ability to understand and retain information about coursework, professional practice and one’s own learning, are necessary to complete academic tasks.


Adjustments must not compromise the student’s ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity and cognitive skill.


As a student, you must:

  • accurately score, analyse, and interpret data in a variety of formats
  • build strong conceptual frameworks and apply knowledge of theories, models, concepts, legislation, policy and practice; in classroom discussions, groupwork, assessments and professional contexts
  • demonstrate an ability to appreciate and respond to complexity in psychology/counselling practice
  • comprehend, summarise, and reference a range of literature and produce documentation in line with academic and professional conventions
  • acquire, comprehend, conceptualise, and apply appropriate information in response to academic tasks and manage one’s own learning and respond appropriately to academic set-backs through self-evaluation.
Sustained Performance

The capacity to demonstrate sustained physical, cognitive, and psycho-social performance enough to achieve learning outcomes.


These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling because a range of complex, multi-component or extended academic tasks are required to be carried out over a period and in a time-constrained environment.


Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a required period and assessment is submitted within a reasonable timeframe.


As a student, you must:

  • sustain study practises, assignment work, and participation to sufficiently engage with the learning workload for the program, within a constrained timeframe as regulated by external accreditation bodies.
  • maintain enough concentration to focus on a task to completion in academic and placement settings.
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