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Duration (approx) 1000 hours
Qualification Foundation Diploma

An indepth qualification in unsual behaviours or responses


  • A 1000 hour Foundation Diploma - gain extensive knowledge from this intensive course.
  • Students study 9 Core Modules plus 1 Elective Module.
  • Core Modules: Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Conditions, Child Mental Health, Adult Mental Health, Anger Management, Stress Management, Psychopharmacology and Neuropsychology.
  • Elective Module Options: Biopsychology I or II and Developmental Psychology.




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Learn about behaviour and mental health - an intensive Foundation Diploma level course


  • Understand the signs, symptoms and treatment for different behavioural conditions.
  • Understand how external stimuli can bring about unexpected or abnormal responses.
  • Examine different disorders that affect people at different times in their lives.
  • Understand the effect injuries or illnesses damaging the brain and nervous system will have on cognitive functions and behaviours.

Course Duration: 1000 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Content: Study nine core modules and then choose one elective module.

The Core Modules cover Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Psychology,
Developmental Learning and Behavioural Conditions, Child And Adolescent Mental Health, Adult Mental Health (Managing Mental Health In Adults), Anger Management, Stress Management, Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychology.

Then choose one Elective from – Biopsychology I, Biopsychology II, Developmental Psychology.

All modules for the Foundation Diploma in Abnormal Psychology are summarised below.  Follow the title link for further information on each.

Abnormal Psychology BPS307
This is an 11 lesson module.  Students will study the signs and symptoms of different psychological conditions.  Disorders may be caused by environmental, physical, or genetic influences.  The module starts by looking at disorders that are usually diagnosed during infancy, which is then followed by a series of lessons which focus on the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of different types of disorder.  The disorders covered in the module include cognitive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, sexual/gender disorders, eating and sleep disorders, control disorders, and personality disorders.  Students will be expected to describe and distinguish between different types of disorders and their work will include the diagnosis and development of treatment for specified disorders.

Introduction To Psychology BPS101
Through 7 lessons, this module will provide you with a basic foundation in human psychology.  Students will look at key issues and theories in psychology, whilst considering the stages of our psychological development from adolescence through to adults.  The module includes lessons which focus on the structure of the nervous system and the brain, environmental/external effects on behaviour, perception, personality, and motivation.  The module includes practical elements such as case studies and the demonstration of motivation techniques through role play.

Developmental, Learning And Behavioural Conditions In Adolescents And Children BPS215
Through 9 lessons, learn about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of learning and behavioural conditions exhibited by children and adolescents.  The module looks at genetic, physical, and environmental causes of disorders, with lessons including developmental disorders, specific conditions such as Autism and Asperger’s Disorder, ADHD, learning disorders, and motor skills disorders.  A special project concludes the module, where the student selects a particular area of interest and researches and explains the signs, symptoms, treatment and support for a particular condition or disorder.

Child And Adolescent Mental Health BPS214
This 10 lesson module aims to provide students with the knowledge to identify mental health conditions in children and adolescents.  Students are guided through a wide range of conditions and disorders, including depression, anxiety, motor disorders, elimination disorders, reactive attachment disorder, the impact of environmental problems, eating disorders, and substance abuse.  As well as understanding types of treatment and support available, the module also considers alternative approaches to treatment, such as homeopathy, aromatherapy, behavioural optometry, and diet.  The module is completed with a special project in an area of interest to the student and which they will complete under the expert guidance of their tutor.

Managing Mental Health In Adults BPS216
This is a 9 lesson module which explores the scope and nature of mental health in adults along with the treatments for various conditions.  The module considers issues arising from different factors, such as biological or environmental influences and introduces students to different viewpoints on subjects, enabling them through greater understanding to develop their own ideas and opinions on the different conditions covered.  Areas covered by the module include depression, anxieties, phobias, and personality disorders.  Also included within this module is lesson focusing on self-help options for mental health sufferers, with the concluding lesson which will involve the student determining mental health services and options available.

Anger Management BPS111
This 9 lesson module will help students to learn to understand anger and explore techniques that can be useful in the management of anger.  The module explores different theories relating to emotion and anger looking at different therapies, techniques, and counselling that can be used to manage anger.  Important areas for consideration are individuals with mental health issues, personality disorders, and children and adolescents; there are separate lessons dedicated to these.  A problem based learning project completes the module, where the student will create and present a plan of anger management for an individual experiencing serious anger difficulties.

Stress Management VPS100
The 8 lesson module in Stress Management will provide the student with an understanding of how our bodies react to stress, and how this may be coped with.  We look at how stress may be controlled, and how we may relax.  Stress is a notable factor in everyone’s lives, and different people have different ways in dealing with it.  There are many factors which contribute to this – different personalities, our approach to diet (“we are what we eat”), how we view ourselves, how we manage our career, to name but a few.  This detailed module will guide the student through all of these areas and much more, enabling them to appreciate their own situations as well as providing the knowledge to let them help others in managing their stress.

Psychopharmacology (Drugs And Psychology) BPS302
This 11 lesson module covers a wide range of drugs, from legal drugs such as caffeine, and tobacco, through legally restricted drugs, such as cocaine, through to prescription drugs, including sedatives.  Students will learn more and understand the psychological effects of different drugs and other substances.  Whilst some drugs are used for treatment of conditions, other freely available substances or ingredients although potentially harmless in theory, can give rise to less welcome psychological outcomes.  This module considers drugs from the viewpoint of treatment as well as addictions.  It also considers the dangers arising from excessive or misuse of other substances and why and how people become addicted.  

Neuropsychology BPS306
Neuropsychology looks at the influences of the brain and nerves upon individual’s behaviour and perceptions.  Through 10 detailed lessons, students will learn about the human mind and the nervous system and the interactions between these.  The module examines different issues as result of injury or illness (e.g. brain tumours, meningitis) before studying different syndromes and disorders.  Lessons include Laterality and Callosal Syndromes, Cognition Personality and Emotion, Motor Disorders, and Dementia.  The aim of the module is that students should come away from it understanding what impact injuries or illnesses affecting the brain and nervous system have on cognitive functions and behaviours.

Students are to select one of the following Elective Modules:

Biopsychology I BPS108
This is a 7 lesson module concerned with how an individual’s psychology is determined or influenced by their anatomical and physiological characteristics.  The module includes lessons on the senses, the nervous system, glands and hormones (the endocrine system), and stressors, and emotions.  Students will learn of the different stages in both a child's and adult's development and how they change and develop both physically and psychologically.  In addition to natural development, students will consider the impact of injuries, illnesses, or abnormal physical development.

Biopsychology II BPS204
Biopsychology II is our second and more advanced module on the subject.  The module includes lessons on genetics and research, before focusing on brain damage, with a case study on Parkinson’s Disease.  With other areas of the module looking at the physiological and psychological effects of drugs on the brain, and the brain and language (including the work of Paul Broca, and Carl Wernicke), we conclude the module with sections on language impairments such as Aphasia and Dysphasia.      

Developmental Psychology BPS210
This 10 lesson module looks at the psychological development of individuals throughout their lives.  Different stages in an individual’s life bring about different influences and different challenges.  This module seeks to help the student to better understand how people develop, through all ages of life with lessons on each of the key life stages: Early childhood, Middle childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, Late Adulthood.  Students will look at cognitive, social, and moral development as relevant through each of these stages before then considering the potential challenges faced through each stage of a person’s life.  Having a heightened awareness of developmental psychology is a big advantage when dealing with people in any capacity. It helps you understand work colleagues, clients, friends and family members and is a very valuable tool for teachers, managers, counsellors and welfare workers amongst many other professions.

The following criteria can be used to determine whether a person’s behaviour is abnormal or not:

  • Deviation from statistical norms - the word abnormal means 'away from the   norm'.  Many population facts are measured such as height, weight and    intelligence.  Most of the people fall within the middle range of intelligence, but a few are abnormally stupid.  But according to this definition, a person who is  extremely intelligent would be classified as abnormal.  Thus in defining abnormal behaviour we must consider more.

  • Deviation from social norms - every culture has certain standards for    acceptable behaviour, behaviour that deviates from that standard is    considered to be abnormal behaviour.  But those standards can change with time and vary from one society to another.

  • Maladaptiveness of behaviour.  This third part is how the behaviour affects the well-being of the individual and/or social group.  Examples are a man who attempts suicide, an alcoholic who drinks so heavily that they cannot keep a job, or a paranoid individual who tries to assassinate national leaders.

  • Personal distress.  The fourth part considers abnormality in terms of the    individual's subjective feelings, personal distress, rather than his behaviour.

Most people diagnosed as 'mentally ill' feel miserable, anxious, depressed and may suffer from insomnia. In the type of abnormality called neurosis, personal distress may be the only symptom, because the individual's behaviour seems normal.  Mental health professionals apply various criteria in making judgements on whether a client’s behaviour is normal or not. They may use the above criteria or they may conduct their own criteria for the definition of the problem. They may also look at different elements such as biological or medical, behavioural, or cognitive. Cultural differences also need to be noted and looked at as they can play a part in one’s behaviour and the manifestation of that behaviour. What may be okay in one culture and seem normal – can be seen as something quite different in another.

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

How the Foundation Diploma is Assessed
The Foundation Diploma In Abnormal Psychology requires approximately 1000 hours of study. It is made up of ten 100 hour modules.

To pass the course –

1.    Pass all assignments on the ten 100 hour modules. There will be an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.
2.    Pass ten examinations – one on each module. These are usually taken at the end of the module and can be arranged at a time and location to suit you.

This qualification is accredited by IARC (International Accreditation and Recognition Council).

If you are not ready to study the Foundation Diploma In Abnormal Psychology, if you prefer, you can study each of the modules as a standalone course.


  • You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.
  • Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.
  • Study where you want to - online studies offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.


  • Learn to understand what constitutes abnormal behaviour and why people behave as they do.

  • Gain knowledge of the relationship between interactions of the brain and nervous systems and disorders and syndromes that can occur.

  • If you are interested in completing in depth studies of abnormal psychology, this intensive course will provide you a useful insight into the human psyche.    

  • A useful course for anyone working with people with mental health difficulties or struggling emotionally.




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Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of 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 has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.

Check out our eBooks

Grief and Crisis CounsellingA guide to understanding and helping people through difficult times
Family & Relationships CounsellingThe Family and Relationships Counselling ebook is an informative and helpful read for anyone who wants to improve their relationships or even help other people improve or nurture their own relationships.
Coping Better with Negative EmotionsThis book is designed to help you understand the things that cause stress, the problems that can arise, and the broad range of ways people might manage their stress.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips