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Duration (approx) 1000 hours
Qualification Foundation Diploma

Study the biology of behaviour with this Foundation Diploma qualification

  • Study the physiological effects caused by the brain and nervous system.
  • Learn about the structures of the human body.
  • 8 Core Modules comprising Biopsychology I and II, Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Human BIology 1a, Stress Management, Developmental Psychology and Human Biology 1b.
  • Plus 2 Elective Modules which enable you to study particular areas of interest in more detail.





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Study the influences on behaviour by the brain and nervous system

  • Understand the biological elements which affect behaviour.
  • Learn about the physiology of the human body and how it determines behavioural response to stimuli.
  • Study the changes that occur to the body as the result of age and disease and how these affect psychological response.
  • The Foundation Diploma in Biopsychology comprises 8 Core Modules plus 2 Elective Modules (students are to complete and pass 10 modules in total).


Course Duration: 1000 hours.

Course Structure: There are 8 core modules made up of Biopsychology I and II, Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Human BIology 1a, Stress Management, Developmental Psychology and Human Biology 1b.

Students then select a further 2 elective modules from Introduction to Psychology, Anger Management, Child Psychology, Human Biology III (Cardiorespiratory Performance) and Human BIology II (Muscles and Movement).

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



Core Modules These modules provide foundation knowledge for the QUALIFICATION - FOUNDATION DIPLOMA IN BIOPSYCHOLOGY.
  Biopsychology I BPS108
  Human Biology 1A (Anatomy and Physiology) BSC101
  Stress Management VPS100
  Biopsychology II BPS204
  Developmental Psychology BPS210
  Human Biology IB (Bioenergetics) BSC201
  Neuropsychology BPS306
  Psychopharmacology (Drugs and Psychology) BPS302
Elective Modules In addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 5 modules.
  Anger Management BPS111
  Child Psychology BPS104
  Introduction To Psychology BPS101
  Human Biology II (Muscles and Movement) BSC202
  Human Biology III (Cardio Respiratory Performance) BSC301

Note that each module in the QUALIFICATION - FOUNDATION DIPLOMA IN BIOPSYCHOLOGY is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.



The lesson structure for the core modules is shown below; click on each of the course titles to access the respective course pages.

Biopsychology I
There are 7 lessons in this module:

1. Introduction

  • Types of external and internal stimuli.
  • Mind-body debate.
  • Introduction to the nervous system.

2. The Senses

  • Sensory input
  • Sensory perception.
  • Description of the major senses.

3. The Nervous System

  • Description of the neurons.
  • The central nervous system
  • Peripheral nervous system, including the autonomic nervous system.

4. The Endocrine System

  • Effect of hormones on behaviour and physiology.
  • Association of endocrine system and nervous system.
  • Connection between external and internal stimuli.

5. Stress

  • Types of stressors.
  • Physical effects of stress.
  • Personality & stress.

6. Emotions

  • Homeostasis.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Physiological responses to emotions
  • Theories of emotion.

7. Consciousness

  • Degrees of consciousness.
  • Awareness & attention.
  • Altered states of consciousness.

Human Biology 1A (Anatomy and Physiology)
There are 6 lessons in this module:

1. Cells and Tissues

  • Explains the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues and membranes.
  • The cell.
  • Human tissues.
  • Cell division.
  • Cell process.
  • Nutrient and waste exchange in cells.

2. The Skeleton

  • Examines features of the human skeletal system.
  • Bone anatomy.
  • Bone types.
  • Number of bones in adult human body
  • Joints of bone.
  • Bone movements.
  • The skeleton.
  • Fractures and fracture healing.
  • Osteoporosis.

3. The Muscular System

  • Describes the human muscular system, in terms of structure and basic function.
  • Tendons.
  • Movement.
  • Muscle fibre types.
  • Skeletal muscle types.

4. The Nervous System

  • Looks at the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.
  • Nerve cells.
  • Sensory neurons.
  • Motor neurons.
  • Nerve terminology.
  • The nervous system.
  • Central and peripheral nervous system.
  • Main parts of the nervous system.
  • The spinal cord.
  • Cranial nerves.
  • The autonomic nervous system.
  • Reflex actions.

5. Digestion & Excretion

  • Explains different physiological systems of digestion and excretion in the body.
  • Alimentary canal.
  • Mouth.
  • Oesophagus.
  • Stomach.
  • Small intestine.
  • Large intestine
  • Accessory digestive organs.
  • Tongue.
  • Teeth.
  • Salivary glands.
  • Liver.
  • Pancreas.
  • Nutrient digestion disorders.
  • Selected digestive system disorders.
  • Vomiting.
  • Peptic ulcer.
  • Jaundice.
  • Haemorrhoids.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Excretion.
  • Urinary system.

6. Physiological Systems

  • Focuses on the different physiological systems of the body.
  • Endocrine system.

Stress Management

There are 8 lessons in this module:

1. Body Changes

  • The fight or flight response.
  • Stress and the immune system.
  • Long term problems.
  • Sources of stress.

2. Easy Living

  • Anxiety.
  • Panic.
  • Fear.
  • Controlling stress.
  • Goal setting.
  • Relaxation.

3. Pills and Alcohol

  • Drugs and alcohol.
  • Smoking.
  • Seeking help.

4. Self Esteem

  • Self esteem.
  • Social support.

5. Managing Your Own Career

  • Career goals.
  • Career management.

6. Security and Decision Making

  • Self assurance.
  • Decision making.
  • Problem solving.

7. Relaxation and Nutrition

  • Relaxation.
  • We are what we eat.
  • Nutrition.
  • Diet and weight loss.

8. Personality and Stress

  • Type A and Type B personalities.
  • Personality types and stress.
  • Personal style inventory.

Biopsychology II
There are 7 lessons in this module:

1. Evolution, Genetics and Experience

  • What is biopsychology?
  • The organism's genetic endowment, experience and perception.
  • Adaptation.
  • Behavioural genetics.
  • The nature nurture debate.
  • The human genome.
  • Benefits of genetic research.
  • Critical policy and ethical issues.

2. Research Methods in Biopsychology

  • Behavioural genetics.
  • Methods of investigating the brain: invasive and non invasive.
  • Localisation of function.
  • Neuroanatomical techniques.
  • Psychophysiological measures.
  • Other methods.
  • Lesions.

3. Brain Damage

  • Causes of brain damage.
  • Frontal lobe damage.
  • Damage to other areas and effects.
  • Types of brain damage.
  • Case study : Phineas Gage.
  • Case study: diagnosing epilepsy.
  • Case study -Alzheimer's disease.

4. Recovery from Brain Damage

  • Neuroplasticity.
  • Stages of recovery.
  • Unresponsiveness.
  • Early responses.
  • Agitated and confused.
  • Higher level responses.
  • Case study: Parkinson's disease.
  • Parkinson's disease symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, stages, etc.
  • Drug treatments for Parkinson's disease.
  • Complimentary and supportive therapies for Parkinson's disease.
  • Coping with Parkinson's disease.
  • Terminology.

5. Drug Dependence and the Brain

  • Drugs.
  • Definitions.
  • Effects of illegal drugs.
  • Other drugs: steroids, barbiturates, etc.
  • Physiological and psychological effects of drugs: illicit, stimulants.
  • Addiction: how drugs work in the brain.
  • Central nervous system.

6. Memory

  • Models of memory: multistore model, working memory model, levels of processing model.
  • Levels of processing model.
  • Amnesia and types of amnesia.
  • Case study: traumatic amnesia.
  • Case study: Korsakoff's syndrome (Alcohol amnesic syndrome).

7. Language

  • The brain and language.
  • Paul Broca.
  • Carl Wernicke.
  • Aphasia and Diphasia.
  • Apraxia.

Developmental Psychology
There are 10 lessons in this module:

1. Introduction

  • Theoretical approaches and key concepts.
  • Lifelong growth.
  • Nature/nurture theories - psychodynamic, behavioural, social cognitive, cognitive, lifespan.

2. Early childhood

  • Cognitive & social development in the first 6 years.
  • Genetics.
  • Personality.
  • Cognition.
  • Recognition.
  • Memory.
  • Social relationships.

3. Middle childhood

  • Cognitive, moral & social development in the school years.
  • Motor skills.
  • Cognitive and language development.
  • Relationships with family and peers.
  • Moral development.

4. Challenges of middle childhood

  • School and learning.
  • Sense of self.
  • Achievement.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Family breakup.
  • Grief and trauma.

5. Adolescence

  • Cognitive, moral and social development.
  • Cognitive development.
  • Moral development.
  • Identity.
  • Relationships with family and peers.

6. Challenges of adolescence

  • Sexuality.
  • Peer groups.
  • Identity vs role confusion.
  • Trauma.
  • Depression.
  • Values and meaning.

7. Adulthood

  • Cognitive and psychosocial development in early and middle adulthood.
  • Sexuality.
  • Parenthood.
  • Work and achievement.
  • Moral reasoning.
  • Gender roles.
  • Cultural perspectives.
  • Adult thinking.

8. Challenges of adulthood

  • Marriage and divorce.
  • Grief.
  • Depression.
  • Parenting.
  • Dealing with change.

9.Late adulthood

  • Cognitive and psychosocial changes in the elderly.
  • Intelligence.
  • Learning and age.
  • Physiological influences.
  • Cognitive abilities.
  • Personality changes.
  • Relationships.

10. Challenges of late adulthood

  • Loss.
  • Mourning.
  • Depression and elderly suicide.
  • Ageing brain - dementia etc.
  • Integrity versus despair.
  • Loss of independence.

Human Biology IB (Bioenergetics)
There are 7 lessons in this module:

1. Energy and Work

  • Anaerobic energy supply.
  • Phosphate energy.
  • Lactic acid energy.
  • Adenosine triphosphate.
  • Aerobic energy supply.
  • Energy requirements for different types of activity.
  • Breathing during exercise.
  • ATP movement.
  • ATP sources.
  • ATP-PC system.
  • Lactic acid system.
  • Oxygen system.
  • Aerobic systems.
  • Krebs cycle.

2. Energy Pathways

  • What is energy.
  • The nature of energy.
  • Units of measurement.
  • Production and storage of energy.
  • Carbohydrates in an animal or human body.
  • Gycogenesis.
  • Glycogenolysis.
  • Gluconeogenesis.
  • Hyperglycaemia.
  • Carbohydrate oxidation.
  • Glycolysis.
  • Hydrolysis.
  • Hydrolysis of metal salts.
  • Hydrolysis of an ester link.
  • Energy production pathways from different foods: fats, carbohydrates,
  • proteins.
  • Respiratory quotient.
  • Resting quotient.
  • Aerobic capacity.
  • What happens during exercise.
  • Recovery from exercise: Alactacid and lantacid oxygen debt, Replenishing muscular glycogen.
  • Lactic acid.
  • Calculations.

3. The Acid-Base Balance

  • pH.
  • What is acidity.
  • The urinary system: Kidneys, ureters, bladder.
  • Physiology of the Urinary system.
  • The urea cycle.

4. Osmosis and Diffusion

  • Diffusion explained and examples given.
  • Nature and types of diffusion.
  • Movement of molecules through cell membranes.
  • Endocytosis.
  • Membranes and their structure.
  • Osmosis.
  • Osmosis and filtration.
  • Membrane transport: simple passive, active and facilitated transport.
  • Chemical potential.
  • Osmotic pressure.
  • Reverse osmosis.

5. Atmospheric Pressure

  • Altitudes.
  • Introduction to atmospheric pressure.
  • Partial pressure gradients.
  • Effects of change in pressure.
  • Equalising when diving.
  • Gas solubility.
  • Breathing at different atmospheric pressures.
  • Calculations.

6. Temperature Regulation

  • Introduction.
  • Affect of temperature changes on the human body.
  • Conduction and convection.
  • Lowering temperature: sweating, vasodilation, metabolic reduction, hair, behaviour.
  • Raising temperature.
  • Vasoconstriction.
  • Increased metabolism.
  • Behaviour.
  • Effect of temperature on enzymes.
  • Ecrine glands.
  • Apocrine glands.
  • Energy production.
  • Factors affecting individual BMR: growth, body size, food, thyroid gland.
  • Fever: mechanism of fever, shivering, other temperature disorders.
  • Grades of fever.
  • Signs of fever.

7. Ergogenic Aids to Performance

  • Introduction.
  • Drugs: steroids, amphetamines.
  • Oxygen.
  • Vitamins.
  • Water.
  • Other foods: carbohydrates, protein.
  • Creatine.
  • Caffeine.
  • Antioxidants.

There are 10 lessons in this module:

1. Foundations of Neuropsychology

  • What is neuropsychology?
  • The Information Processing Approach.
  • Studying the human mind, techniques used, brain scans, animal studies, methods of investigating the brain, psychological tests, Stroop test.

2. Neurophysiology

  • Neurons, parts of a neuron.
  • Neurotransmitters, effects of neurotransmitters.
  • Endorphins.
  • Disorders associated with neurotransmitters.
  • Glia cells.
  • Schwann cells.
  • Nerve impulse.
  • Synaptic transmission.
  • Nerve impulse.
  • Neuromuscular transmission.

3. Neuroanatomy

  • The nervous system, parts of the central nervous system.
  • The brain.
  • The spinal cord.
  • Spinal nerves.
  • Blood brain barrier.
  • Peripheral nervous system.
  • Autonomic nervous system.
  • Sensory somatic nervous system.
  • Spinal nerves.
  • Cranial nerves.
  • How the nervous system works.
  • Problems with brain functioning.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Brain tumours.
  • Injuries to the head.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Headaches.
  • Mental illness.
  • Meningitis.
  • Encephalitis.

4. Laterality and Callosal Syndromes

  • Brain lateralisation.
  • Left handedness.
  • Cognitive neuropsychology.
  • Callosal syndrome.
  • Complete severance.
  • Split brain.
  • Complete severance.
  • Split brain syndrome.
  • Lobotomy.
  • Psychosurgery.
  • Dual brain theory.

5. Cognition, Personality and Emotion

  • Brain damage.
  • Emotion and moods.
  • Phineas Gage.
  • Brain damage and emotion.
  • Frontal lobe.
  • Higher level functioning.
  • The Limbic system.
  • Neurotransmitters.
  • Neuropsychology and emotions research.

6. Perception Disorders

  • Hemispatial neglect.
  • Causes of hemispatial neglect.
  • Auditory perceptual disorder.
  • Agnosia.
  • Visual agnosia.
  • Types of visual agnosia.
  • Prosopagnosia.
  • Simultanagnosia.
  • Optic aphasia.
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.

7. Motor Disorders

  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Motor disorders resulting from traumatic brain injury.
  • Non traumatic and/or genetic paediatric movement disorders.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Motor conditions.
  • Gerstmann’s Syndrome.
  • Apraxia.
  • Motor skills disorder.
  • Motion dyspraxia.
  • Neural transplants and Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Gene therapy.
  • How does gene therapy work.
  • Ethical issues surrounding gene therapy.

8. Language

  • Broca’s area.
  • Wernicke’s area.
  • Speech.
  • Language.
  • Speech and language disorders.
  • Apraxia.
  • Aphasia.
  • Stuttering.
  • Neurogenic stuttering.
  • Troyer syndrome.
  • Speech disorders.

9. Dementia

  • Kinds of dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Vascular Dementia.
  • Multi-infarct Dementia.
  • Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Pick’s Disease.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
  • Huntingdon’s Disease.
  • Pseudo-Dementia.
  • Spotting dementia and other conditions.

10. Neurodevelopment

  • Major processes of neurodevelopment.
  • Neurogenesis.
  • Migration.
  • Differentiation.
  • Apoptosis.
  • Aborisation.
  • Synaptogenesis.
  • Asperger Syndrome.
  • Neuroplasticity and brain damage.

Psychopharmacology (Drugs and Psychology)

There are 11 lessons in this module:

1. Introduction: A history of the use and misuse of drugs in society

  • Scope and nature of drugs - legal and illegal.
  • Amphetamine.
  • Cocaine.
  • Crack.
  • LSD.
  • Ritalin.
  • Steroids.
  • How heroin is used.
  • Medical consequences of chronic heroin abuse.
  • Names used for heroin.

2. Effects of drugs on the individual and society

  • Community acceptance.
  • Terminology.
  • Why people use drugs.
  • Addiction; how drugs work in the brain.
  • Central nervous system.
  • Physiological and psychological effects of drugs.
  • Alcohol effects.
  • Sedative effects.
  • Stimulant effects.
  • Hallucinogenics.
  • Psychological effects of drugs.

3. Legally restricted drugs: Stimulants and narcotics

  • Stimulants.
  • Symptoms of abuse.
  • How cocaine is abused.
  • How does cocaine effect the brain.
  • What adverse effects does cocaine have on health.
  • Added danger; cocaethylene.
  • Treatment options.
  • Scope of cocaine abuse.
  • Narcotics.
  • Abuse symptoms.
  • Forms and dangers.
  • Designer drugs.
  • Ecstasy pill.

4. Legally restricted drugs: Hallucinogens and marijuana

  • Effects of hallucinogens.
  • Symptoms of abuse.
  • LSD.
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.
  • Marijuana.
  • Effects of marijuana on the brain.
  • Symptoms of abuse, forms of marijuana and dangers.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP).
  • Symptoms of abuse, forms of PCP and dangers.

5. Legally restricted drugs: Steroids

  • Steroids.
  • Symptoms of abuse, forms of steroids and dangers.

6. Legal drugs: Alcohol

  • Symptoms of abuse and dangers with alcohol.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Staying in control with alcohol.
  • Alcohol amnestic syndrome (Korsakoff's syndrome).
  • Treating korsakoff's syndrome.
  • Alcohol and the developing brain.

7. Legal drugs: Tobacco, caffeine and solvents

  • Nicotine addiction.
  • Effects of nicotine on the circulatory system.
  • Caffeine.
  • Caffeine addiction.
  • Solvents (volitile solvent abuse): symptoms and dangers.

8. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs

  • Prescription drugs (Over the counter or OTC).
  • Groups of prescription drugs.
  • Misuse of OTC drugs.
  • Opioids.
  • Treatments for opioid addiction.
  • CNS depressants.
  • Stimulants.
  • Stimulant abuse and treatment for stimulant addiction.

9. Sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs

  • Anti anxiety drugs.
  • Barbituates.
  • Benzodiazepines.
  • Depressants.
  • Rohypnol.

10. Prescription drugs for schizophrenia and affective disorders

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Onset of schizophrenia.
  • Symptoms of schizophrenia.
  • Treatment for schizophrenia.
  • Anti psychotic drugs.
  • Patient support system.
  • Depression.
  • Depressive disorders.
  • Type of depression.
  • Unipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Causes of depression.
  • Anti depressants.

11. Treatment and preventative education

  • Drug addiction.
  • Behavioural and psychosocial treatments for drug addiction.
  • Treatments for heroin addiction.
  • Behavioural therapies for heroin addiction.
  • Detoxification.

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.

The Foundation Diploma In Biopsychology 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).

Understand the interaction between the mind and body this course is useful for people working in areas such as addiction, stress, personnel managent, training, counselling, medicine.

Your future? With the Foundation Diploma In Biopsychology you will learn more about the human mind and how this affects our biology, our stress and our emotions - your knowledge be beneficial in your career development.
What could this course lead to? Increase your understanding of biopsychology. Improve your knoweledge, job, and career prospects in fields such as addiction, counselling, stress management, biological sciences, health sciences, psychopharmacology.

You can start the course at any time to suit you and work through the course supported by our excellent tutors.





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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.
Jade SciasciaBiologist, 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.
Gavin Cole B.Sc.,M.Psych.Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Gavin joined ACS in 2001.

Check out our eBooks

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
How Children ThinkAnyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children.
How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.