Certificate in Biopsychology

600 hour certificate in biopsychology, to understand biology and psychology; how the physiology and anatomy of the human body affects the state of mind.

Course Code: VPS004
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
Get started!



  • Study the relationship between the physical body and psychology
  • What we feel can very much be affected by anatomy and physiology
  • Learn how medical disorders, fitness, drugs and environment can affect how a person feels and behaves

This certificate is designed for people who either want to gain knowledge of biopsychology for further studies or those who already have knowledge of psychology, but are limited in their knowledge of biopsychology. Ideal for professional development.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Biopsychology.
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Human Anatomy & Physiology (Human Biology 1A) BSC101
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Neuropsychology BPS306
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302

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

What is in the Modules?

Human Biology IA

There are 6 lessons in this module as follows
1. Cells & Tissues
2. The Skeleton
3. The Muscular System
4. The Nervous System
5. Digestion & Excretion
6. Physiological Systems

Biopsychology I

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

Biopsychology II

There are seven lessons in this module as follows:
1. Evolution, genetics and experience
2. Research methods in biopsychology
3. Brain damage
4. Recovery from brain damage
5. Drug dependence and the brain
6. Memory
7. Language

Biochemistry I

There are ten lessons as follows:

1. Introduction To Biochemistry
2. Lipids and Proteins
3. Enzymes and Hormones
4. Nucleic Acids
5. Thermo-regulation
6. Carbohydrate Metabolism
7. Absorption
8. Acidity and Alkalinity
9. Chemical Analysis
10. Biochemical Applications


There are ten lessons in this module as follows:
1. Foundations of Neuropsychology
2. Neurophysiology
3. Neuroanatomy
4. Laterality and Callosal Syndromes
5. Cognition, Personality and Emotion
6. Perception Disorders
7. Motor Disorders
8. Language
9. Dementia
10. Neurodevelopment


There are eleven lessons in this module as follows:
1. Introduction: A history of the use and misuse of drugs in society
2. Effects of drugs on the individual and society
3. Legally restricted drugs: Stimulants and narcotics
4. Legally restricted drugs: Hallucinogens and marijuana
5. Legally restricted drugs: Steroids
6. Legal drugs: Alcohol
7. Legal drugs: Tobacco, caffeine and solvents
8. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
9. Sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs
10. Prescription drugs for schizophrenia and affective disorders
11. Treatment and preventative education

Drugs can affect Biopsychology

The history of drugs is shrouded in the beginnings of the human race. Alcohol was made, drunk, and used to excess as far back as memory and records go. Tobacco (Nicotiana), hemp (Cannabis sativa), opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), and other plants containing drugs have been chewed and smoked almost as long as alcohol, and coffee has been served in the Middle East throughout that area's history.

“Drugs” is a word used by the medical profession to refer to medicines that can cure or arrest disease or alleviate symptoms, ease pain or provide other benefits. Powerful drugs may have side effects, but commonly used drugs with less potential to harm can be sold over the counter. More powerful drugs often require a medical practitioner’s prescription. Another definition of drugs is those substances upon which a person may become dependent. These range from mild stimulants eg. Caffeine, to powerful drugs that alter mood and behaviour. The term “drug” is therefore any substance which is psychoactive – that is, mind altering. Learn more about interactions between our biology, psychology, the brain and chemistry with this unique in depth course.


Most smokers use tobacco regularly because they are addicted to nicotine. It is well documented that the majority of smokers identify tobacco as harmful, but despite the risks associated with smoking they continue to smoke. As many as nine out of ten smokers say they would like to stop but can't. Despite the uptake of cigarette smoking declining in a number of Western countries over recent decades, in the United States one in every six deaths is tobacco related. It is therefore more lethal than all other substances combined.

The effects of nicotine on the individual are more subtle than other substances, but those who are poly-substance users including nicotine tend to rank nicotine as the most difficult drug to quit. Some smokers become addicted because of a positive incentive-motivational state, particularly when they first take up smoking. The mechanical act of smoking and the taste make it hard to give up along with withdrawal symptoms of irritability and depressed mood. Some smokers report that nicotine stimulates them whereas for others it is relaxing to smoke.

Addiction to nicotine can also be explained biologically through the involvement of neurotransmitters. After inhaling tobacco smoke nicotine quickly passes through the blood to the brain. Here nicotine activates nicotinic receptors on dopamine neurons. Nicotine accelerates the release of dopamine, associated with pleasure, addiction and emotions. Once a cigarette has been smoked nicotine quickly leaves the brain. Therefore the sensation of pleasure from smoking is quickly established so that just the sight of a cigarette or being in a smoking environment can trigger the desire to smoke.

The addictive potential of nicotine is so strong that about 40% of smokers resume smoking after having suffered a heart attack. Also some 50% continue smoking after surgery for lung cancer.

Opiates and Heroin

Opiates were popular throughout the nineteenth century, particularly among women. Tonics containing opium were available from pharmacists and doctors prescribed them for upper and middle class women with “women’s problems”. In the 1850s and 60s, Chinese labourers working on Americarailroads, brought with them the practice of smoking opium. This was banned in 1975, but opium dens were commonplace throughout Americaby the turn of century.

In 1803, Friedrich Sertuerner synthesised morphine and the invention of the hypodermic needle in the mid-nineteenth century led to the use of injectable morphine as a pain reliever in the American Civil War. This led to the first wave of morphine addiction.

In 1896, Heinrich Dreser of the Bayer Company synthesised heroin. Bayer began to market the drug. In the early 1900s, heroin was seen as a solution to the increased problem of morphine addiction and the St. James Society sent free samples of heroin to morphine addicts. Heroin addiction began to grow. Research in 1971 estimated that 10 – 15% of US servicemen in Vietnamwere addicted. This statistic and the growing use of heroin led to the making of heroin use a crime.

In the 1980s and 90s, street heroin was smoked and snorted and its usage increased.


LSD was discovered accidentally by a Swiss chemist, Dr Albert Hofmann, in 1943. Hofmann provided samples to psychiatrists for further testing and in the 1950s, the US military and CIA researched the use of LSD as a “truth drug”, used to brainwash prisoners or induce them to talk. However, the military interest in the drug began to reduce and the psychiatric community began to research the therapeutic capabilities of the drug for epileptic, psychotic and depressed patients.

In the 1950s and 60s, non-therapeutic use of LSD increased. Research study participants, physicians and psychiatrists distributed the drug among their friends. After 1962, LSD was produced and distributed to health professionals on a larger scale. It was not difficult to produce. A black market for LSD emerged. In 1966 the possession and manufacture of LSD was made illegal in America, but illegal manufacturing continued. The use of LSD declined in the 1970s and 80s, but it made a resurgence in the 1990s with the rave subculture.


How This Course Can Help You

This certificate course provides a solid foundation in the study of the anatomy of the brain and body, and biological and chemical bodily processes. The biopsychology and neuropsychological components provide the link between our physical bodies and mental processes. Students also learn about how different diseases and injuries to the nervous system can impact upon behaviour, as well as medicines and illicit drugs.  Graduates will have a thorough understanding of the brain and behaviour which could be applicable to a number of work roles as well as a stepping stone to further study.

The course will appeal mostly to people working in or hoping to work in:

  • Clinical neuropsychology
  • Psychology
  • Human physiology
  • Physiotherapy
  • Medicine   
  • Psychotherapy
  • Counselling
  • Sports training
  • Life Coaching
  • Health Services
  • Research
  • Teaching


Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
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 in your selected discipline. 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 login.training 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 (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a 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 acs@oamps.com.au.

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 (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

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

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.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Melissa Leistra

Melissa has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and Bachelor's degree specialising in personal development, health and physical education. She has enjoyed teaching Hospitality in the areas of commercial cookery and food and beverage. Her experience includes 16 years teaching health and nutrition and working in the hospitality industry. Melissa enjoys living a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals. She is an experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practicing environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Tracey Jones

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.