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 Code: VPS011
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced 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 17 modules.
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Child Psychology BPS104
 Educational Psychology BPS105
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Marketing Psychology BPS107
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Stress Management VPS100
 Anxiety Management BPS224
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Conflict Management BPS201
 Criminal Profiling BPS227
 Emotional Intelligence BPS223
 Social Psychology I BPS205
 Abnormal Psychology BPS307
 Criminal Psychology BPS309
 Neurodiversity BPS311
 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.


ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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)

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 Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

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