Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 6 months-1year

UK fee

£2,715 (2021/22)

International fee

£2,715 (2021/22)/EU

Course level



University Certificate

Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

An introduction to psychology - the study of the human mind and behaviour

If you’ve always been interested in psychology, or if you think psychological concepts and skills would be useful in your work or as a means of understanding your own motivations and behaviours, this online University Certificate in Psychology (UCP) course is for you.

You will be introduced to the fundamental theoretical issues in psychology and can tailor your module choice to your area of interest, career focus or personal preferences, choosing from: cognitive, developmental, sport, exercise, social or biological psychology and also psychology traditions and skills and more. This course will introduce you to research methods in psychology, helping you to develop, and gain an overview of the skills you’ll need to progress in a psychology career including, research study design, data collection methods, online research methods and an awareness of ethical issues. Research skills are also transferable and you may find them useful in your current work setting or for any other future education.

Choice of two award pathways

This course allows you to select one of two pathways that will give you one of the following award titles:

Studying either pathway will provide you with 60 credits for entry onto the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. You will need to study the University Certificate in Psychology pathway in order to gain credits from the relevant modules in order to progress onto the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme.

When applying for this course, please select the Psychology University Certificate. When enrolling onto this course, please select the modules for the appropriate pathway you are looking to study for the award you wish to exit with.

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Who is the University Certificate in Psychology (UCP) course for?

This course is suited to anyone wanting to learn about the foundations of Psychology, whether it’s for your career or own personal interest. Studying a psychology course can also equip you with a breadth of knowledge and range of transferable skills that enable you to progress into a wide range of courses and career paths such as: human resources; management; police and emergency services; social services; education; counselling; health and social care as well as careers in business and other similar professions.

You may also be looking to study this course as part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or to enhance your career employability and general knowledge.

A stepping stone to undergraduate and postgraduate psychology courses

Once you’ve achieved your University Certificate in Psychology you can choose to progress to our British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited online Psychology BSc (Hons), where some of the credits you have gained may count towards your first year of study*. Alternatively, if you already have an undergraduate degree in any subject you could continue studying with our BPS accredited Postgraduate Diploma, giving you the ability to take one step closer to becoming a registered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

In addition to introducing you to some of the core areas of psychology, studying the University Certificate in Psychology course will allow you to gain the basic concepts and skills you need to successfully continue your psychology studies. Throughout the course you'll be part of a global online community, learning and networking with each other through discussion forums, blogs and live online chats which are all supported by our specialist online academics.

*See entry requirements - option 1

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 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).

A talk from our academic

Our academic for Psychology, Dr Phil Clarke, talks about our online Psychology University Certificate course in this video.

Our academic, Dr Philip Clarke, talks about the online Sports Psychology Certificate of Credit course

View our Psychology University Certificate course introduction video transcript

a small child using a pencil

Passion for a new career

Sarah Short was living and teaching abroad, a mother of two young children, when her husband passed away. She has since steered her career in a new direction with the help of our flexible online study options.

Read Sarah's storyRead Sarah's story

What you will study

To successfully complete the University Certificate in Psychology you must pass 60 credits, by completing 3 x 20 credit modules.

If your first degree did not include any research methods training, you will be encouraged to select the Research Methods and Analysis in Psychology module as one of your options.

Students wishing to progress to the BPS accredited BSc (Hons) Psychology must complete 3 modules from the following: Research Methods and Analysis in Psychology , Introduction to Social Psychology, Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology, Introduction to Biological Psychology, Psychology: Traditions and Skills.

You will also need to meet additional entry requirements of the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme.

The order of the modules you can select follows a study pattern which is determined by your start date (ie whether you start in September, January or May). Advice and counselling on module choices is available from the programme leader at application and enrolment stages.

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.

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Discovering Online Learning Webinar: November 2021

Wednesday, 24 November 2021 15.00 - 16.00

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

How you will learn

Exclusive videos from sporting professionals

Both the Introduction to Sport Psychology and the Introduction to Exercise Psychology modules consist of 8 units that contain elite level athlete interviews, from sporting professionals including Stuart Bingham (2015 Snooker World Champion), Alison Nicholas (1997 US Open winner), Steve Staunton (102 caps for the Republic of Ireland and ex Liverpool and Aston Villa player) and more. You'll gain an insight into their own personal experience in sport, providing real life examples of how psychology is used within different sporting industries, providing you with case studies that illustrate sport and exercise psychology in practice.

These modules are suitable for anyone who has an interest in learning about the foundations of sport or exercise psychology and can be applied directly into the workplace or activity you wish to pursue. The modules are introductory in nature, so they are suitable for anyone who may not have studied psychology before, but has experience of working in a sporting and exercise environment.

What skills will I develop?

This course will allow you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the different areas of psychology including core psychology disciplines and research skills. You’ll also learn the analytical, academic and communication skills required to support you for further academic study. You will also develop a range of transferable skills including the ability to work independently and collaboratively, time-management and organisation skills, both written and verbal communication skills and also digital literacy skills.

Throughout the course you will also develop a range of work-based skills from accessing and interpreting data; constructing arguments in a formal written structure; presenting and communicating data as well as how to apply learning to real world problems and situations.

Pace of study

The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.

If you opt to undertake the accelerated study plan whereby you will 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

Dr Sophie Williams outside

Dr Sophie Williams
Programme leader

Academic Lead in Psychology, Dr Sophie Williams is a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Sophie's research interests lie in women’s health and long-term conditions, her research particularly focuses on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and quality of life.

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Entry requirements

You may wish to complete this programme as professional development or because you are interested in psychology. However, by completing this course, you have the choice to progress to our BSc (Hons) Psychology (Online) or our Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology (Online) programmes. The entry criteria varies depending on your preferred career path.

Option 1: Entry criteria to complete the University Certificate in Psychology and progress to the BSc (Hons) Psychology

Students must be a minimum of 18 years of age and also students will need:

Applicants without previous UCAS points are asked to attend an online information event with the University Certificate in Psychology programme leader and then to complete a detailed application form including a supporting statement. Students must pass their first module to continue with the University Certificate in Psychology programme.

For automatic progression to the BSc, students must complete the University Certificate in Psychology with a final average grade of 50% and pass all the core shared BSc/University Certificate in Psychology modules. For students who do not achieve this, progression on to the BSc will be at the discretion of the BSc programme leader. Students can RPL up to 60 credits of modules on the University Certificate in Psychology towards the BSc (Hons) Psychology. However, these credits must not include the Introduction to Sports Psychology or Introduction to Exercise Psychology modules. Students who undertake one of these modules in combination with one of the shared BSc modules, will only be able to RPL the 20 credits of shared psychology modules.

Option 2: Entry criteria for University Certificate in Psychology to progress to our Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology

If you are studying this course to progress onto the PG Dip programme, you will need to meet the entry criteria below:

Entry criteria for University Certificate in Psychology to complete this programme without progressing onto a further course

Students must be a minimum of 18 years of age and also students will need:

Applicants without previous UCAS points should provide a detailed personal statement within the application form and may be invited to discuss this with the programme leader.

Should learners or staff feel that previous study is not appropriate than we would discuss with them a transfer to the online access course free of cost (up to week 4 of their first module).

Students must pass their first module to continue with the University Certificate in Psychology programme.

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

* If you don't have GCSE Maths, you can study our Certificate of Credit in Introduction to Maths in Preparation for Higher Education, which is a 20-credit module designed to help you develop your mathematical skills in preparation for higher education. 

**If you have a minimum of IELTS level 4.5, you can study our Certificate of Credit in English for Academic Purposes, which we will accept as evidence that you are able to perform at a suitable level of IELTS 6.0. We will also accept the Certificate of Credit as evidence that you can perform at GCSE level.

If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2021 and August 2022.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £905 3 £2,715

2022/23 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2022 and August 2023.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £905 3 £2,715

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

For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.

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.


Studying this course provides you with your first step into a career within psychology and a gateway to our BPS accredited online BSc (Hons) Psychology*. This course also provides you with 60 credits in psychology which can help you gain entry to our BPS accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology course.

It is also a useful short course for those wishing to investigate, or take the first steps, towards a career in Psychology without committing to an extensive period of study.

Studying a psychology course can also equip you with a breadth of knowledge and range of transferable skills that enables you to progress into a wide range of areas such as: human resources; management; police and emergency services; social services; education; counselling; health and social care as well as careers in business and other similar professions. Students have also previously taken our University Certificate in Psychology as continuing professional developmental when working in educational and healthcare settings.

*See entry requirements - option 1

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Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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