Course at a glance


Psychology is a functional area of study that is relevant to many aspects of both business and individual life and can be developed into a career or applied to a student’s current career path. This course has been developed to cover key viewpoints within psychology and incudes units designed for practical application as well as theoretical units. Upon completion of the course students will have a well-rounded knowledge of psychology, which can be used for practical application or for further study at degree level.

Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma Entry Requirements

Students must hold a Level 3 Diploma (or higher) or A Level qualification to enrol into our Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma.

Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.

All students must be 16 years of age or above.

Study Hours

Approximately 800 hours.

Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma Course Duration

2 Year.


You can enrol on the course at any time.

Awarding Body


Quality Licence Scheme

Assessment Method

Coursework only.

Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma Course Content

Unit 1: Using information, communication and technology ICT in Psychology Studies

Information, communication and technology (ICT) comprises core skills for learning. In this distance learning course utilisation of methods, tools and strategies of ICT is important in order to establish and maintain a sound working relationship with tutors and the college.

Students will need to develop ICT skills in order to communicate effectively and maximise their study progression.

The first unit of this Level 5 Diploma in Psychology Studies course explains how to set up an ePortfolio which students will use during the lifetime of the course for storage of all their files including coursework, self-assessment activities, independent research notes and reflective journals. The ePortfolio may be requested from time to time by tutors and moderators. Students will be asked at various points in the course to upload files for this purpose. The ePortfolio will not only provide students with a structured system of unique information but once completed can be used as a resource for continuing professional development (CPD), and a body of revision for future studies.

Independent research is fundamental to level H5 study and also equips students with confidence to source and evaluate information relevant to the core course topics.

In this first unit students are presented with tools and strategies with which to begin to undertake independent research and integrate this into coursework activities, for example suggesting ways to read research articles and assimilate types of information from these.

The development of knowledge and understanding through writing skills is important for communicating ideas and arguments to tutors and other readers of written work. Therefore this unit reviews writing skills, and incorporates reflective writing into both the course and coursework activities. Reflective writing is a way that individuals can review their own approaches to learning and communication; and it also promotes pro-active implementation of skills enhancement through tutor feedback and self-assessment.

Unit 2: Putting Psychology into Perspective

Psychology is a relatively new discipline, with the first modern scientific psychological laboratory established in 1878. However, despite such recent beginnings psychology has developed many different branches, and few workers in the field would describe themselves simply as a ‘psychologist’, but would link themselves with a particular branch. This list is constantly evolving as new specialisms and theories are developed.

For the last hundred years or so psychologists have been studying the underlying principles of shared behaviour. However, each person is unique, and so psychologists are equally concerned with learning more about why people are so individual.

Psychology is an evolving discipline: it has changed dramatically over time and continues to be modified by new theories and research. Perspectives on psychology tend to gain or lose popularity as new ideas and knowledge bring to light weaknesses in older arguments. Knowing the sequence of these different perspectives will show you why some ideas are no longer thought to be valid.

Unit 3: Humanist psychology

The different psychological approaches are underpinned by theories, traditions and science. This unit explores the origins, principles and practice of humanist psychology and briefly alludes to biological, evolutionary and scientific approaches.

To achieve this unit a learner must:
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the humanist approach in psychology.
2. Explain the theories and concepts thehumanist psychology.
3. Be able to relate the principles of humanist approach in psychology to applications and contexts.
4. Be able to define other approaches in psychology.

1. The humanist approach in psychology
The emergences and values of humanist psychology as an alternative to psychoanalytical and behaviourist approaches.
Significance of the self and self-image related to behaviour and associated psychological application.

2. Theories and concepts
Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs.
Rogerian theory.

3. Applications
The development and underpinning of person-centred approaches and their development.
Understanding the relationship between childhood experiences and adult behaviour through the observer and observed perspectives.
Holism within psychologist approach.
Identity and self-fulfillment as significant factors in behaviour.

4. Define other approaches in psychology

Unit 4: Research methods and techniques in psychology

Particular research methods and techniques are chosen according to what type of data is needed and the circumstances in which the data is to be gathered. Data can either be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data have a numerical basis (e.g. the number of times a behaviour is observed, exam results and age groups). 

Qualitative data are non-numerical (e.g. verbal reports of how people feel about an issue). Each of these types of data has advantages and disadvantages , which will be evaluated and discussed in detail within this unit.

Unit 5: Roles within psychology

This unit looks at different roles within the field of psychology and also discusses therapies within different disciplines of the field. The following list is some of the areas covered:

  • Psychiatrists.
  • Psychologists.
  • Clinical psychologists.
  • Counsellors.
  • Art Therapy.
  • Attachment based psychotherapy.
  • Behavioural therapy.
  • Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT).
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
  • Family therapy.
  • Gestalt therapy.
  • Humanistic integrative psychotherapy.
  • Hypnotherapy.

Unit 6: Anatomy and physiology for psychology

It is appropriate to introduce some basic anatomy and physiology relevant to the central nervous system, brain regions and relevant processes which may be impaired or affected during psychological episodes. The unit provides a brief outline of the aforementioned body system and should help students to relate various aspects of the material that is presented in the following units.

Environmental changes in, and out on the body. Together with the endocrine system, the CNS works to maintain a stable internal environment ( homeostasis). Components of the CNS are: brain, spinal cord, nerves and the sense organs. Together they provide the most efficient means of communication within body systems, and also between the body and the outside world.

Reinforced mechanisms within the brain can establish permanent synaptic changes. A reinforcing mechanism must perform two functions in order to activate the neural changes: first it must detect the presence of the stimuli and secondly, strengthen neural connections.

Unit 7: Introduction to psychopathology

All modern classifications of psychological abnormalities stem from the work of Kraepelin. He published a textbook of psychiatry in 1883 which suggested that certain symptoms occurred simultaneously and therefore suggested syndromes, which had underlying physical causes. This meant that for the first time psychological conditions could be recognised and diagnosed in a similar way to biological (medical) conditions.

Kraepelin also suggested that each condition was completely separate, having its own aetiology.

The two major groups he proposed were:

Dementia praecox – or schizophrenia as we now call it. This he said was caused by a chemical imbalance.

Manic depressive psychosis – or as we now know it, bipolar disorder; this caused by faulty metabolism.

This work formed the basis of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and also the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

This unit looks at the classification processes and strategies and presents overviews of a range of conditions, assessment strategies and treatments for student evaluation.

Unit 8: Organisational psychology

There are many different personality theories that attempt to account for individual behaviour and the market for this is growing rapidly. There have long been attempts by psychologists to describe how genetics, biology, learning, culture, family patterns, environmental patterns, peers, friends, sub-cultures, cultures, unconscious motivation, chance and measurement errors are all possible contributory factors to personality profiles. It is beyond the scope of this unit to explain how all of these work, but it is important when examining Organisational Psychology to look at trait theory.

All scientific theories require measurement of the constructs underlying the field. Personality theories are no different. Whether we are developing theories of species- typical behaviour, of individual differences in behaviour, or unique patterns of thoughts and feelings, we need to be able to measure the responses in question. The fields of psychometrics and personality assessment are devoted to the study of the measurement of psychological constructs associated with personality. That people differ from each other is obvious. How and why they differ is less clear and is an important part of the study of personality. Personality psychology addresses the questions of the characteristics of human nature that are shared, those that differ between individuals, and unique patterns of individuals, all of which is important to the field of Organisational Psychology.

Unit 9: Cognition and development

Cognition is the process of knowing, in other words, knowing something about an object, person or event in terms of structure, form or purpose. Cognition also can be described as the perception of the object, person or event. For example the recognition of another person by knowing certain characteristics about them from previous encounters and memories that are laid down.

Cognition is a dynamic concept and this means that the mental representations we make are constantly changing due to subsequent encounters, experiences and perceptions. Cognitive processes take place within the brain and are manifested in behaviour patterns, as actions, thoughts and feelings. In addition to perception, we have stimulatory input from external sources via hearing, vision, touch, taste and smell. In fact the world we inhabit contributes to the development of these cognitive processes, and their subsequent behavioural representations.

Therefore this is about how we perceive the world around us as well as how we assimilate the knowledge and experience we accumulate throughout our lives.

Unit 10: Aggression, aggressive behaviour and underpinning abnormal psychology

In modern society, aggression might be viewed as an immature or uncivilized response to frustration, threat, violation, or loss. Conversely, keeping calm, coolheaded, or turning the other cheek is considered more socially acceptable but results in internalization of the stressor.

This conditioning can result therefore, in inappropriate expressions of anger such as uncontrolled violent outbursts, misdirected anger or repressing all feelings of anger when in fact it would be an appropriate response In addition, if this becomes a repetitive occurrence, then the individual may begin to experience nightmares, violent thoughts, violent actions and physical symptoms. This can also exacerbate a pre-existing psychological condition and lead to depression.

Aggressive tendency also has an impact on personal relationships and the individual’s ability to interact within the boundaries of their normal life and also within the boundaries of accepted society. Aggression can also become embedded as part of personality, and a kind of ‘addiction’ to the aggressive response can ensue because of the adrenaline’ rush’ that is experienced during the angry outburst.

Unit 11: More factors affecting behaviour

There are two definitive schools of thought on development and inheritance. The nature school of thought believes that the contribution of genetic predetermination and innate knowledge gives rise to all the inherited characteristics and qualities of development. This is also known as biological determinism. The nurture school of thought believes that effects and influences of the environment; that is social status, upbringing and other external factors are primarily responsible for development. In other words developmental changes result from external environmental forces. This debate is long standing and ongoing. The unit explores this debate and looks at specific influencing factors which shape behaviour, such as:

  • Gender schema and gender roles.
  • Sexual differentiation.
  • Eating behaviour and self-perception.
  • Biological and psychological models.

Unit 12: The psychology of addictive behaviour

This ambiguity of definitions can cause problems in both social and politically related issues, for example: reforming groups, class tensions and divisions, the categorization and labelling of individuals, viewed as an illness or an evil within the self.

The term ‘addiction’ is in use today to describe both pleasant and unpleasant activities but it is suggested that rather than use the restrictive definition, evidence based research should remove ambiguity and therefore clarify positions without labelling. In order for this to be effective it has to be shown that addiction is not only limited to drug or alcohol use, is not always harmful, and does not always produce the processes of tolerance and withdrawal.

Conversely, addictions such as those of love and exercise for example can still have equally compelling traits, possible outcomes, harmfulness and disruptive influences as drugs.

This unit presents both a psychological and psychological overview of addiction and uses a range of examples related to different addictive states to demonstrate theoretical perspectives and therapeutic applications within psychology.

Unit 13: Anomalistic behaviour

Anomalistic psychology is the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience. This can include the paranormal but is not limited to this. The ‘purpose’ is to understand strange experiences that people have without first assuming that it does relate to the paranormal. The concepts relate to understanding and attempting to explain paranormal, related beliefs and experiences in terms of the known psychological and physical factors.

This unit explores a range of examples such as:

  • Extra sensory perception.
  • Psychokinesis.
  • Apparitional phenomena.
  • Exceptional Experiences.

Unit 14: Specialist psychology applications: Neurolinguistic programming

Neurolinguistic programming ( NLP) is a set of techniques and beliefs that practitioners primarily use as an approach to personal development . It is based on the idea that mind, body and language interact to create an individual’s perception of the world; therefore these can be changed by adoption and application of the NLP techniques.

An important technique is “modelling” which involves reproduction of behaviours and beliefs of individuals who have achieved “excellence”; this is similar to role modelling. NLP is based on patterns of behaviours, beliefs and language, and has been significantly influenced by the professions of hypnotherapy , psychotherapy and the human potential movement, and many of the techniques used in NLP have evolved from these areas.

NLP techniques can be used in group situations, seminars, or individual consultations and programmes. Practitioners deal with personal issues such as the reframing of negative beliefs, dealing with anxiety state, simple phobias , or depression . NLP techniques can be integrated with ideas about motivational techniques , adult learning, management, sales training, and psychology ; and is also used as an additional therapeutic tool by therapists in other disciplines.

Unit 15: Specialist psychology applications: Coaching

Coaching can be described as a method and technique which can be used for guiding an individual to new or different knowledge or behaviour with in defined time frames or boundaries.  As the Humanist movement started to develop, there was an emergence of coaching within the business world. The activity was used to promote efficiency, reduce waste and not really concerned with personal fulfilment or development.

The life coaching concept and activity was first seen in schools where programmes were used to increase student retention by development of psychological and social skills.

Coaching then made the leap into sports and business as we know it today, and this as links with constructionist theories with a core belief that there is no single, true interpreter or interpretation of reality.

One can see the birth of coaching from principles which suggest we construct our own understanding of the world we inhabit through reflection on our experiences and interaction with others.

This unit looks at the basic and specialist skills of coaching, models and underpinning theories, and a range of coaching situations, assessment and evaluation criteria

Unit 16: Specialist psychology applications: Counselling

The counsellor is neither a friend or parent substitute, therefore is not in a position to act as advisor or teacher. Counsellors should also avoid being seen as a healer or mentor. These guidelines are quite difficult to adhere to as it is easy to get drawn into an overly personal conversation or relationship, especially if the client visits regularly. However, this is not the role of the counsellor and will inevitably jeopardise the client-counsellor professional relationship.

Counselling developed from theories and practices of psychology and psychiatry, which this unit will examine and evaluate.

This final unit of this Level 5 Diploma in Psychology Studies course will also discuss different counselling approaches, assessment and feedback criteria, as well as situation-specific approaches.

Progression from the Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma

This Level 4+5 Accredited Psychology Studies Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 6 Diploma or Degree course in a related field.

You can view our other Level 4/5 Diplomas here: