PSYCHIAT 740 : Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores conceptualisations of mental disorder in children and adolescents from a biopsychosocial and developmental perspective. The DSM-5 classification is used as a framework, with consideration of the benefits and disadvantages of an illness model.

Course Overview

This courses covers the symptom profiles of common mental disorders in childhood and adolescence. Students learn to explore and match client presentations to a diagnostic framework (the DSM) while also developing a critical evaluation of the DSM and developing awareness of cross-cultural variations in symptom expression and conceptualization. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Mr Vas Ajello, 

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Practice

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Outline commonly used models of psychopathology (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 4.2 and 5.2)
  2. Discuss the utility and limitations of diagnostic classification, particularly with respect to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5). (Capability 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.2)
  3. Understand and use the DSM criteria of common and important disorders (Capability 1.2, 2.1 and 3.1)
  4. Describe the history, presentation, diagnostic and associated features, course, and prognosis, of common mental disorders (Capability 4.1 and 5.2)
  5. Describe and discuss the aetiology, comorbid disorders and epidemiology of these disorders. (Capability 1.1, 3.1 and 4.2)
  6. Understand and describe cultural and developmental variations and issues in the conceptualization and definition of these disorders (Capability 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.2, 4.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  7. Access search, critically appraise, and apply the current research base for the disorders (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 3.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Written Online Topic Reflections 40% Individual Coursework
Quizzes (MCQ) 35% Individual Coursework
Written Assignment 25% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Written Online Topic Reflections
Quizzes (MCQ)
Written Assignment

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point semester course and students are expected to dedicate 10 hours per semester week to it.

Online (Zoom) tutorials, 2

Online (Pre-recorded) presentations, 20

Additional Online Resources, 13

Guided reading, 50 

Online short comments, 5 

Online Reflections, 25

Written assignment, 20 

Quizzes (online Multiple choice questions), 10 

Delivery Mode


This course can be done entirely by distance. Students are welcome to attend tutorials in person instead of via Zoom if they wish to but no on-campus attendance is required. 

The live online (Zoom) tutorials will be recorded 

Topic presentations are pre-recorded and available online via Canvas 

Learning Resources

Mash, E. J., & Wolfe, D. A. (2018). Abnormal child psychology, 7th Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth CENGAGE Learning. Note that the sixth edition can also be use
Hilt, R. J., Nussbaum, A. M., & American Psychiatric Association,. (2016). DSM-5 pocket guide to child and adolescent mental health. (Available online via library)

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Other Information

This course can be done entirely by distance. Students are welcome to attend tutorials in person instead of via Zoom if they wish to but no on-campus attendance is required. 

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 15/01/2021 10:35 a.m.