Advanced Certificate in Psychology

Develop an advanced understanding of human psychology. Understanding behaviour underpins your capacity to manage or help others - as a care professional, manager or professional. Professional development, or a starter course.

Course CodeVPS011
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Can an Open Learning Course in Psychology help with Work Education?

This course can help you in both your personal and work life. By understanding how and why people think and behave a certain way; you can improve both:

  • Interpersonal Skills; and
  • Work skills

Psychology is an increasingly popular subject for students to study. There are so many different options from which to continue after completing a psychology course. At the moment, only a small percentage of psychology graduates continue to become professional psychologists. However, as the field is expanding more and more students are becoming professionals within the field.

There are many different areas of psychology, such as educational psychology, occupational psychology, criminological and legal psychology, psychology teaching and research. Each of these fields have different careers, pay and prospects within them. Some offer full time work, others only part time. Some offer consultancy and freelance work, whilst in others the psychologist is employed.

There is some degree of overlap between specialities, for example, clinical psychologists and educational psychologists may both work with children with mental health problems. Occupational and clinical psychologists may both work with people in prisons. Some careers also overlap with other professions, such as psychiatry and counseling.

The most common element of work within psychology is problem solving. This may be done as part of a team with other professionals. A psychologist will have to develop problem solving skills, objective data gathering, empirical methods, skills in statistical analysis, interpreting data, interviewing, computer use, experimental design, considering evidence, communicating conclusions.

This is a good starting course for those interested in gaining insights into human behaviour, learning, and psychological health, with the added dimension of practical involvement in the workplace.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Psychology.
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Psychology & Counselling BPS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 6 of the following 13 modules.
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Child Psychology BPS104
 Educational Psychology BPS105
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Marketing Psychology BPS107
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Stress Management VPS100
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Conflict Management BPS201
 Social Psychology I BPS205
 Abnormal Psychology BPS307
 Criminal Psychology BPS309
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Psychology is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


Core Modules/Subjects Foundation knowledge and skills are established through completion of the core unit modules. Students will be expected to complete these modules before undertaking any of the other course components.

Elective Modules/Subjects
These allow for the development of specialised knowledge and skills. Students are expected to complete 6 elective modules.  NOTE -Additional options may be acceptable as electives

Optional Research Project
The research project is 100 hours duration and contains 2 parts: the first part assists the student in developing research skills, whilst the second part involves carrying out a relevant research project.  

Industry experience
This may be in the form of relevant work experience, industry meetings, seminars or workshops. You might choose to undertake voluntary work for an appropriate organisation.


Introduction to Psychology

This course puts the student in touch with some of the most widely studied areas of psychology.

There are seven lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. The nature & scope of Psychology
  2. Neurological basis of behaviour
  3. Environmental effects on behaviour
  4. Consciousness and perception
  5. Personality
  6. Psychological development
  7. Needs, drives and motivation

Psychology and Counselling

Successful completion of this module will develop the learner’s ability to analyse psychological processes and apply that knowledge in counselling or advisory situations.

There are seven lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Stress
  2. Abnormal Behaviour
  3. Individual Behaviour
  4. Group Behaviour
  5. Methods of Dealing with Abnormalities
  6. Conflict Resolution
  7. Interpersonal Communication Skills

Child Psychology

This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the cognitive, behavioural and emotional development of children.There are twelve lessons in this module, as follows:

  1. Introduction to Child Psychology
  2. States and Senses of the Infant
  3. Learning
  4. Emotions and Socialisation
  5. Cognitive Development
  6. Language Development
  7. Intelligence
  8. Socialisation – Part A
  9. Morality
  10. Sexuality
  11. Socialisation – Part B

Industrial Psychology

To develop an understanding of how the psychological state of employees in the workplace, affects both their work, and their overall well being. There are ten lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the Employees Thinking
  3. Personality and Temperament
  4. Psychological Testing
  5. Management and Managers
  6. The Work Environment
  7. Motivation and Incentives
  8. Recruitment
  9. Social Considerations
  10. Abnormalities and Disorders

Sports Psychology

Successful completion of this course/module will develop your skills and understanding of psychological principles for use in sports. There are ten lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Psychological Traits of Successful Athletes
  3. Anxiety and Arousal
  4. Motivation
  5. Aggression
  6. Leadership and Coaching
  7. Team Dynamics
  8. Special Groups

Educational Psychology

Successful completion of this course/module will develop an understanding of the psychological processes that occur during the act of learning. There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction –Development and Learning Theory
  2. Behavioural Learning
  3. Information Processing
  4. Memory Retention and Loss
  5. Individual Needs
  6. Constructivist Learning
  7. Motivation

Conflict Management

This course gives the student insight into conflict and looks at different techniques to deal with this sensitive subject. There are eight lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Conflict Management and Anger
  2. Listening
  3. Negotiation
  4. Mediation
  5. Facilitation
  6. Balance of Power
  7. Discussion and Group Work
  8. Crisis Analysis and Responses


Successful completion of this course/module will develop your knowledge and ability to explain the link between the psychology and physiology of the body. There are seven lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Senses
  3. The Nervous System
  4. The Endocrine System
  5. Stress
  6. Emotions
  7. Consciousness

Marketing Psychology

Successful completion of this course/module will develop your knowledge and ability to apply an understanding of psychology to marketing. here are eight lessons in this module as follows:

  1. People as Consumers
  2. Market Segmentation
  3. Internal Influences –Perception and Personality
  4. Internal Influences –Motivation and Awareness
  5. Social Influences –Small groups and family; social class, culture etc
  6. Consumerism
  7. Communication and Persuasion
  8. Deciding to Buy

Duration : 900 hours


Much of our understanding of socialisation is derived from extensive research conducted in America. It is important to recognise cultural differences when applying such knowledge.

The schooling and family structures as well as communities our children are brought up in differ considerably from one child to another. As such, children are socialised in a variety of different directions (e.g. the values developed in a rural child can be quite different to one developed in an urban child).


The most basic form of learning is modelling or vicarious learning, where we learn by imitating the behaviour of others. Much of what a child learns is acquired by imitating the behaviour of a parent or significant other whom they love or admire. Children learn their social and gender roles through modelling, and will generally acquire their basic belief and value system through modelling and conformity (which is modelling behaviour on the behaviour of others in order to be accepted by them).

For example, it is common for a little girl to imitate her mother, turning the backyard into an imaginary kitchen and making mud pies instead of muffins. Little boys quickly learn to imitate their father’s attitudes and behaviour, and if these imitations are approved or somehow rewarded (with smiles or praise), they will be adopted as part of the child’s behaviour patterns. Although modelling is a very simple process of learning, we cannot underestimate the profound effects it has upon an individual’s behaviour for the rest of his or her life.

On a large scale, society conditions us to model our behaviour according to a certain set of norms by approving of conformity. Conformity has been defined as "a change in behaviour as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group of people" . The “pressure”, however, is not always felt as pressure, but can come in the form of subtle rewards for behaving in certain ways, and holding certain values. It can come from repeated associations of certain behaviours with positive and desirable stimuli.

For instance, much social conditioning occurs through the media (magazines, newspapers, television), where we repeatedly see certain kinds of people associated with desirable stimuli. The obsession many have with dieting and slimming has its origins in such associations, for young men and women may believe the advertisements that show slender people receiving admirations, being loved, living happy, and successful lives (positive stimuli), as being associated with body size and weight.

How This Course Could Help You

The advanced certificate is a solid foundation course in psychology which can be used to enhance employment opportunities in psychology-related positions, as a general qualification for employment, or as a stepping stone towards higher level studies. The advanced certificate is long enough to expose students to a number of different subjects, but not so long that it could become unachievable. Graduates of this course will feel confident that they have the knowledge to discuss a range of psychological principles and theories and apply their understanding to a variety of everyday situations.

This course has wide ranging appeal and will be of interest to people working in:

  • Caring roles
  • Health professions
  • Administration
  • Management
  • Counselling
  • Psychology
  • Teaching
  • Human relations
  • Coaching    

The course may also be helpful towards securing a place on a higher level course.



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Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social). An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.
Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
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