Course at a glance


This Level 3 Diploma Course in Abnormal Psychology is specifically designed for those interested in this field and wish to gain an increased knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

The course will take students from the introduction and background of mental health to more detail and in depth topic areas.


Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enrol onto our Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma course.

Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Course Hours

Approximately 20 hours per unit.


Optional coursework and final examination.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Course Length

1 Year.

Endorsed By

Students at the college have the option to choose the awarding body of their course.

This course has been endorsed by :

Quality Licence Scheme:


Accord :

This courses’ awarding bodies are recognised for their high-quality, non-regulated provision and training programmes. This course is not regulated by Ofqual and is not an accredited qualification. Your training provider will be able to advise you on any further recognition, for example progression routes into further and/or higher education. For further information please visit Quality Licence Scheme website or Accord website

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Course Content

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 1 – Defining Mental Illness

The first module will approach the subject by looking at definitions and diagnoses of abnormal behaviour. The course will challenge the standard common-sense assumptions and encourage the student to critically evaluate a number of different criteria.

A number of further skills will be developed to enhance the student’s ability to interpret models of abnormal behaviour and consider any biases that may be present as well as risk factors.

Some aspects of abnormal behaviour are rare and the challenge presented by this will be looked at.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 2 – What is Abnormal Psychology?

Module two looks at what can be referred to as normal and abnormal behaviour from a historical, philosophical and political perspective. The historical approach will demonstrate how opinions have changed over time.

A number of theoretical and psychological definitions will be examined. The subject of labelling theory will be looked at to consider the implications and consequences of this. A review will take place of the differing roles, responsibilities and capabilities of people who deal with mental illness and abnormal behaviour.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 3 – The Psychoanalytic Approach

In this module students will be introduced to the Psychoanalytic paradigm that began with Sigmund Freud. He had a strong belief that unconscious conflicts deriving from childhood were responsible for maladaptive behaviour in an individual’s adulthood. The module examines the life of Freud and goes onto look at how important his work is in regards to abnormal behaviour.

It is anticipated that students will use the information gained from this module to gain a better understanding of conflicts that arise as a result of understanding the actions of themselves and of others.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 4 – Carl Jung and Post Freudians

This module will focus on the work of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung introduced a theory of Analytical Psychology which will be looked at in greater detail within the unit. The psychology behind his theory was based around wholeness and integration of the psyche and he was less interested in method and theories. His beliefs contrasted those of Freud by focusing upon the future and societal influences upon the personality.

Students will look at the symbols and archetypes thought by Jung to be at the root of mental disturbances.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 5 – Biological, Behaviourist and Humanistic Approaches

This unit will examine the three theoretical approaches that can be used to treat mental illnesses. Each approach will be examined in terms of strengths and weaknesses to assess their validity in the present day.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 6 – Schizophrenia

Major disturbances in thought, emotion and behavior are used to characterize the causes of Schizophrenia. Students will spend time looking at the origin of the disorder, prevalence rates and the methods of treating it. Details of the drug therapy will be discussed, focusing on the boundaries of such treatment along with a review of the psychosocial factors involved.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 7 – Depression

This module examines the reasons why so many people still suffer from depression and how rates of this disorder differ between age groups. Students will also examine the prevalence of depression, the treatments available, implications on quality of life and the aetiology of depression.

The positive aspects of the disorder will also be looked at and the potential for change.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 8 – Women and Madness

In the module students will learn how many theorists have the controversial belief that women cannot cope with the demands being placed upon them. The theories have statistical information related to mental health that does support the theorists. Students will be asked to assess just how far women have come since the repressive ideologies of Victorian England. Based on research women appear to be an especially vulnerable group and the module looks at how the treatment of them has changed over the years.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 9 – The Anti-Psychiatry Approach

This module introduces students to the Anti Psychiatry movement and the work of R. D. Laing who took on the established order of the medical approach to mental illness.

In the 1960’s the Anti-Psychiatrists broadened issues connected with mental illness to factors such as the family and the analysis of the Psychiatry itself. Laing believed that it imposed judgments of mental illness upon people within society who stood out as being ‘different’.

Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma Module 10 – Methods and Ethics

Students are introduced to the importance of research.  The role of research into Abnormal Behaviour is reviewed and the rules of scientific enquiry that govern the definition and search for knowledge in the field of abnormal behaviour. It is necessary for students to have an awareness of the research process in order that they are better able to understand the importance of critical evaluation of both the research process and also the theories presented in the Course.

Ethical issues involved in carrying out any form of research in the field of Abnormal Psychology and the ethical responsibilities faced by therapists, doctors and counsellor are also reviewed. The rights of those considered ‘vulnerable’ by society are also considered and also the rights of people who are detained under the Mental Health Act. The Chapter concludes with an examination of the role of an ‘expert witness’ and also the rights of those considered ‘criminally insane’.


This Level 3 Abnormal Psychology Diploma course can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.

Further information on our Level 4 Diplomas can be found here: