Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module PLP-4023:
Ethics & Professional Conduct

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Ms Helena O Boyle

Overall aims and purpose

This module provides students with advanced practical skills and knowledge in ethical considerations in clinical settings. Students will gain an advanced knowledge of the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts. The module also covers key content areas of the Behaviour Analysis Certification Board Task List 4, for those wising to attain BCBA certification status.

Course content

This module will be devoted to establishing in-depth knowledge of clinical behaviour analysis, the ethical and professional standards, the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the application of behavioural analysis to the needs of clients from a variety of clinical populations (e.g., developmental disabilities, mental illness, special education), and an in-depth understanding of ethical and professional issues within these settings, particularly as relevant to UK and Welsh law.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold 50 – 59%

• Some basic consideration of the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Adequate knowledge of some of the key concepts in applied behaviour analysis only. • Weaknesses in understanding theoretical issues with multiple/major factual errors. • Limited evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Arguments are presented briefly, but they are weak with no synthesis or original interpretation. • Answer only briefly focussed on question and with some irrelevant material and poor structure. • Weak presentation with disjointed structure and major APA format errors.


Good 60 - 69%

• Some insight into the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Strong knowledge of key concepts in applied behaviour analysis. • Solid understanding of theoretical issues mostly free of factual errors. • Evidence of critical analysis and evaluation of theory and research. • Coherent arguments presented, with some limited synthesis and original interpretation • Answer focussed on question, but with very little irrelevant material and clear structure • Well-structured presentation showing focus of argument and expression.


Excellent 70% +

• Depth of insight into the applications of behaviourism in the real world. • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of applied behaviour analysis. • Excellent understanding and original interpretation of theoretical issues with no factual errors. • Clear evidence of critical analysis and insightful evaluation of theory and research. • Logically presented and defended arguments presented with coherent synthesis and original interpretation. • Answer focussed on question, with no irrelevant material and clear structure. • Well-structured presentation showing focus and clarity of argument and expression.

Learning outcomes

    1. Describe the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®
 Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts
    1. Describe ethical issues associated with psychological technologies designed to bring about behaviour change in diverse settings.
    1. Describe the main ethical issues in the provision of applied behaviour analysis in clinical settings.
    1. Describe broader ethical issues associated with UK health and education settings and appropriate laws

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Assignment 50
Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 155

Three interteaching seminar sessions across semester


Three hours lectures per week for 12 weeks


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues and integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in oral form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Engage in effective teamwork for the purpose of collaborating on psychological projects.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Understand and investigate the role of brain function in all human behaviour and experience.
  • Employ evidence-based reasoning and examine practical, theoretical and ethical issues associated with the use of different methodologies, paradigms and methods of analysis in psychology.
  • Be aware of ethical principles and approval procedures.


Reading list

Core Text: Bailey, J.S. & Burch, M.R. (2016). Ethics for Behaviour Analysts. 3rd Edition. London: Routledge

Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. 2nd Ed. (2007) Applied Behavior Analysis. NY. MacMillan.

Seedhouse, D (2009) Ethics: The heart of Healthcare. Wiley-Blackwell; 3rd Edition

Recommended Reading:

BACB: Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (

BPS Ethical and professional guidelines documents (

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules