This course is closed for September 2020 entry

Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 15m - 2 years

UK/EU fee

£6,330 (2020/21)

International fee

£6,330 (2020/21)

Course level



PG Dip

Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), our online Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology course is ideally suited to anyone who is looking pursue a career in psychology, bringing you one step closer to becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

The British Psychological Society Accredited Conversion Award logo

One step closer to a career in psychology

Our online Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology conversion course is designed for those who wish to specialise in psychology, giving you the opportunity to learn the distinctive range, depth and integration of skills, knowledge and applications of psychology. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the core, fundamental areas of psychology required by the BPS including biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychology and the links between them.

This course alone will not allow you to practice as a psychologist but provides an opportunity for a non-psychology graduate, or a graduate from a non-BPS accredited course, to meet one of the entry requirements for a postgraduate programme of professional training in health, sport, clinical, counselling, occupational, educational or forensic psychology by achieving Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). You may also be looking to study this course as part of your continuing professional development (CPD), career employability or for general knowledge.

Obtaining GBC allows you to have access to the widest range of training, development and employment opportunities in psychology. Completion of an accredited programme, moreover, offers graduates a clear route to BPS membership, and therefore access to the full range of membership benefits, including services, publications, conferences, training and networking opportunities.

Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

Choose a Postgraduate Diploma to obtain GBC

We’ve designed this course so that it’s flexible to suit you. It will take you between 15 months and 2 years to complete the Postgraduate Diploma Psychology, enabling you to work towards your Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

What skills will I develop?

During the course you will gain a scientific understanding of the mind, brain and behaviour, and how they interact with the complex environments in which they exist. You will be given the opportunity to critically evaluate methodologies as well as collect and interpret primary and secondary empirical data, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

You will also learn how to apply critical, analytical and creative skills in scholarly thinking, problem solving, and communication to course material, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, its historical origins, development, and limitations.

Free student membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS)

To show our commitment to our students, we are always looking for new ways to improve our students’ experience. Enrol onto this Postgraduate Diploma Psychology course and receive full BPS student membership for the duration of your studies.

Please note: Free BPS membership is not available to students in receipt of Ministry of Defence Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme (ELC).

Equipping you to succeed

For direct entry onto the PG Diploma Psychology conversion course you need to have 60 credits in psychology. If you are completely new to psychology, our University Certificate in Psychology (60 Credits) will prepare you for your postgraduate study by offering an introduction to the field of psychology and the fundamental skills that psychologists require. We believe this additional knowledge equips you to succeed in your postgraduate studies. For the MSc Psychology programme you do not require 60 credits in Psychology.

A talk from our Academic Lead

Our Academic Lead for Psychology, Dr Gulcan Garip, talks about our Psychology Postgraduate Diploma course in this video.

Our academic talks about the online Psychology Masters and Postgraduate Diploma courses

View our Psychology MSc course introduction video transcript

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan when you are invited to enrol.

For those wishing to pursue a career as a Chartered Psychologist, gaining Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) is the first step towards gaining Chartered status. This programme allows you to study 120 credits of psychology for a Postgraduate Diploma (a minimum of 180 credits in psychology is required for a course to be accredited and eligible GBC).

For the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology you will receive 120 credits.

Postgraduate DiplomaPostgraduate Diploma

Code: 7PS502

Individual Differences

This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding and theoretical knowledge of individual differences, including personality, intelligence and positive psychology. In addition, this module will provide you with knowledge and understanding of psychometrics and quantitative and qualitative methods in individual differences.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive and critical understanding of contemporary debates, and applications of qualitative and quantitative research into individual differences
  2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of research planning and design, utilising qualitative and quantitative methods, in the psychology of individual differences

Module content

This module will explore theoretical approaches to individual differences including personality, psychometrics and intelligence. In addition, it will cover aspects of positive psychology and also physical and mental health. This module will also cover research planning and design in individual differences, including the application of qualitative and quantitative research, into individual differences.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 7PS503

Investigation and Analysis

This module covers research design; ethical practice in research and qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. You will develop the ability to perform appropriate statistical analyses to address research questions about human behaviour. In addition, you will demonstrate an ability to design, conduct and report an ethically sound quantitative research study exploring human behaviour. You will also demonstrate your critical understanding by evaluating qualitative research designs and findings. The content of this module is essential preparation for the Independent Study empirical MSc/PGDip Research Project that is required to complete the Masters level 7 programme.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Develop an ethically and methodologically sound empirical research study exploring a pertinent psychological theory
  2. Analyse, interpret, and critically evaluate the findings of the study to form coherent conclusions about the research question(s)
  3. Critically appraise a contemporary qualitative research paper using selected criteria

Module content

The indicative content for this module may include:

  • Philosophical background to empirical research and investigation
  • Generating and exploring hypotheses and empirical research questions
  • Qualitative Approaches
    • assumptions and basics, epistemology eg Phenomenological and Positivist
    • differences between methods and methodology eg IPA, TA, interviews, focus groups
    • approaches to qualitative methods, validity and reliability
  • Quantitative Approaches
    • Assumptions and basics, descriptive tests, exploring data, parametric and non-parametric inferential analyses, testing for differences eg t-tests, ANOVAs, Kruskal -Wallis
    • testing for relationships (correlations, regressions, Chi Squares), effect sizes, power analysis
  • Planning and Designing Your Study: Experimental design, questionnaire studies, online surveys, ethical considerations
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7PS505

Research Project Diploma Exit

In this module, you are expected to present evidence of your capacity to execute independent empirical research that builds clearly upon your prior learning and which draws upon appropriate methodologies. This module aims to allow you to identify a research issue, review existing literature on the topic, formulate novel research questions, and test these questions through the application of appropriate psychological methodologies and data-analytic procedures. You will draw upon the expertise of members of staff in a wide range of psychological sub-areas, and are supported in your independent interpretations of the research literature on substantive psychological problems. You are required to develop your awareness of the ethical context of research as well as its purely scientific aspects. Upon completion of the module you will have demonstrated mastery of research in a chosen specialist area.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate psychological theories and research
  2. Design, plan and conduct a feasible and ethical empirical study to address novel research question(s) using appropriate methodologies
  3. Analyse, interpret, and critically evaluate the findings of the study to form coherent conclusions about the research question(s)
  4. Present a scientific report of the research consistent with prescribed professional and academic standards that demonstrates advanced scholarship in a chosen specialist area

Module content

The content of the module is largely defined by the scope and nature of your research question and its investigation. The Module Leader helps you to explore and discuss potential topics and supports the process for you to gain appropriate Supervision. You can undertake advanced independent study in a wide range of areas and techniques within Psychology commensurate to the staff expertise available for Supervision.

Information is provided in relation to the recommended timelines for organizing the research project schedule, (including the submission of the Research Proposal and Ethics forms), the Ethical Considerations required for conducting psychological research and how to structure and format the Literature Review and Research Report for your final Assessment portfolio submission. Additional support from the dedicated online Psychology Technician is available in relation to software such as SPSS and the Online survey tool of Qualtrics.

There is a restriction on the recruitment of vulnerable participant populations (e.g., participants under the age of 18, clinical samples), due to the timescales involved in gaining appropriate ethical clearance. In the interests of equality for all students, they are advised that research on such populations will not be permitted in this module.

All Research Proposal and Ethics forms submitted are reviewed by the Supervisor in order to gain ethical approval and must contain copies of all the materials required for the study design, (including permission letters from employers). Re-submissions are required until the ethics have been appropriately addressed for ethical approval to be granted. Samples of approved submissions are further reviewed by the UDOL Research Ethics Committee (UDOLREC).

Projects must be conducted and written up in English.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 7PS506

Social and Developmental Psychology

The module aims to develop your critical understanding of psychological concepts, theories, and methods relevant to the study of social and developmental psychology. The module will explore specific topics that constitute the field of social and developmental psychology including: (a) social cognition, (b) inter-group processes, (c) small group processes, (d) social influence (e) attribution, (f) social development, (g) childhood, adolescence and life-span development (h) attachment (i) cognitive and language development. The module will provide you with a deep understanding of the range of research conducted in developmental psychology, and with applications of social psychological theory to real world scenarios.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the core social psychological concepts, models and theories underpinning social psychology by critically applying social psychological theories and methods to explain how individuals and/or groups negotiate real life situations
  2. Show a deep understanding of, and critically evaluate, key issues, concepts and theories in developmental psychology
  3. Engage in scientific enquiry of a specific aspect of developmental and social psychology using qualitative and quantitative research methods

Module content

The module content may include:

  • Social cognition: Social Perception & Attitudes
  • Inter-group processes: Inter-group Conflict and Prejudice, Social Identity, Attribution Processes
  • Small group processes: Groups & Group Norms, Small Group Dynamics & Leadership Styles, Characteristics of Productive & non-Productive Groups
  • Social influence in groups: Conformity & Obedience, Majority & Minority Influence, Leadership
  • Bystander Effect & Prosocial Behaviour and Aggression
  • Close relationships: Interpersonal Attraction, Liking & Loving, Role of Culture & Gender
  • Crisis in social psychology: Social Constructionism
  • Key Themes in Developmental Psychology: Research Methods, Nature & Nurture, Theories of Development
  • Cognition in Infancy and Childhood: Perception, Memory, Language, Theory of Mind, Number, Drawing
  • Social Development: Emotion, Self & Identity, Gender
  • Classic and Historic perspectives in Developmental Psychology: Piaget and Vygotsky


More information
20 Credits

Code: 7PS543

Introduction to Perspectives in Psychology

This module aims to develop your academic understanding of the discipline of psychology as a science drawing on conceptual and historical issues in psychology from multiple perspectives. The module aims to provide you with an understanding of the social and cultural construction of psychology, and political and ethical issues in psychology. The module aims to instil a range of subject-specific and intellectual skills that you as a student of psychology need to successfully engage in your programme of study.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss and critically evaluate evidence in relation to conceptual and historical issues, current debates and complex issues from multiple perspectives in psychology
  2. Establish self-direction and originality in terms of an understanding of what skills are required to become a psychologist in an area of psychology

Module content

The module content may include:

  • Origins of Psychology and epistemological issues
  • Ethical considerations
  • Introduction to the scientific method and quantitative research methods
  • Introduction to qualitative research methods
  • Applied psychology and impact of research
  • Experimental psychology and current debates
  • Academic writing skills in psychology
  • Careers, professional skills, and personal development in Psychology
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7PS544

Biological and Cognitive Approaches in Psychology

Biological psychology looks at psychological processes from a biological perspective, and is informed by neurophysiology, neuroanatomy (both typical and atypical), psychopharmacology, and comparative approaches to animal and human behaviour. Cognitive psychology is concerned with the empirical study of mental processes including memory, perception, communication, and thinking. The purpose of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of research methods, theory and empirical findings for key topics in Cognitive and Biological Psychology.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically discuss and integrate knowledge across multiple approaches in cognitive and biological psychology
  2. Design conduct and evaluate empirical research that advances contemporary understanding of human cognition and mental processes
  3. Review, critically evaluate, and synthesise published research in cognitive and biological psychology

Module content

As well as examining methodological and evolutionary approaches, historical background, ethical issues, basic neuroanatomy the module will examine cognitive and biological approaches to key topic areas that might include:

  • Perception: neuroanatomy of visual perception, object and face recognition processes
  • Learning and memory: structure and function of human memory; conditioning; short-term and long-term memory processes; memory disorders; learning and forgetting, metacognition
  • Addictive behaviours: psychopharmacology, reward and reinforcement, cognitive approaches to risk and decision making)
  • Communication: language processing, typical and atypical language, language in the brain, evolutionary and comparative approaches to communication
  • Emotion and stress: neurophysiology, hormonal influence, coping, attention and perception. Disorders of emotion and stress. Emotional decision making
  • Attention and consciousness: sensory filtering, focused and divided attention, automatic processes and sleep-states
  • Intelligence and thought: intelligence and cognitive ability, IQ and behavioural genetics, intelligence and reasoning
More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Interactive and practical learning

You can be assured of a supportive and structured learning experience with academic teams who are specialists not only in their area of psychology, but also in online learning delivery. Our dedicated online learner advisors will also provide you with non-academic support throughout the duration of the course. You’ll have access to an extensive online library of psychology resources, student webinars in key areas such as library skills and assessment writing, and other academic and wellbeing related services.

There are plenty of opportunities to interact with tutors and other students through online discussion forums, virtual classroom sessions and more traditional forms of communication such as email, Skype and Blackboard Collaborate. You’ll also receive one-to-one support from a specialist supervisor when you begin your empirical research project. As a guide, we recommend you allow around 20 hours of study per week, per 20 credit module, but this may vary depending on your pace of study.

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Gulcan Garip

Dr Gulcan Garip
Programme leader

Dr Gülcan Garip is the Academic Lead for the MSc and PG Diploma Psychology programmes and teaches on the MSc Health Psychology programme. Gülcan is a registered Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS), a registered Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council, and a member of the BPS Division of Health Psychology.

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Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Discovering Online Learning Webinar

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 16.00 - 17.00

During this hour-long webinar, we’ll take you through the basic principles of how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You will need:

In addition, you will usually need one of the following:

If you have studied at another institution you may be able to translate some of this prior learning into credits (a maximum of two taught modules or 40 credits) towards this course. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL. This could potentially reduce the course length to a minimum of 12 months. Learn more about RPL.

English language qualifications

You’ll also normally require one of the following English language qualifications:

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,055 6 £6,330

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


During this course you'll study all the core areas of psychology to gain a deep understanding of the subject.

From here you can then choose which area you would like to specialise in and continue to further training. For example, you may want to consider our online MSc Health Psychology which will introduce you to a range of health psychology professional competencies. Other areas of psychology you can consider are sports, clinical, educational, forensics and occupational.

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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