Professional ethics

Professional ethics: What you do outside university

During your course you have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge you need to become a professional in an environment which protects the public. You also have the chance to learn about the behaviour that the public expects from you at work. If you are studying towards a regulated profession, you have certain responsibilities. On your programme you will be expected to meet high standards of conduct and ethics. These standards should also apply to your conduct in the virtual world, read Your digital footprint for more information and advice.

In very serious circumstances, your conduct may affect your ability to:

  • complete your programme
  • gain the final qualification
  • register with a professional body such as the HPC or BPS.

When you apply to join a profession regulated by the HPC, they may ask for information as part of a declaration that you have a ‘good character’. This includes whether you have:

  • any convictions or cautions
  • been disciplined by a professional organisation, regulator or employer
  • had any civil proceedings made against you

HPC regulated professions are not covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must tell them about all of your convictions and cautions, including those that are considered ‘spent’. This means that it can be ignored after a certain amount of time. Usually the convictions or cautions which might affect your registration are those for more serious offences. A detailed guide is available from the  HPC website.

The following pages outline how you should behave when on placement or employed in practice.

These pages have been adapted from the BPS code of human research ethics and the HPC guidance on conduct and ethics for students.