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Ever wanted to explain other people’s behaviour, or even your own? Unsure about how we can know for sure what another person might be thinking? Considering a career in psychology, counselling, social care, mental health or in supporting people in general? This could be the course for you. This course provides you with a starting basis to the applied psychology sector by focusing on up to date theories and including the knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes required to succeed in the sector.
The certificate course comprises of two compulsory units:
Unit 1: Psychological Approaches and Applications
In this unit you will explore four key approaches in psychology: social, cognitive, learning and biological. This will involve learning about the main ways in which they explain every day behaviour, with examples from key research studies. You will then apply your knowledge of these approaches to explain gender development, aggression and consumer behaviour.
Unit 2: Conducting Psychological Research
In this unit you will plan, design, carry out and analyse your own piece of psychological research. A list of possible topics are provided, but beyond that the main decisions are yours to make! This unit will allow you to develop knowledge, understanding and skills relating to the scientific process of psychological research.
You will complete Unit 1 and Unit 2 as above, as well as the following two units in the second year
Unit 3: Health Psychology
In this unit you will explore psychological approaches, theories and studies related to lifestyle choices, unhealthy behaviours and behavioural change, linking them to specific contexts. We will focus on explaining issues surrounding stress, physiological addiction and behavioural addiction. This unit places an emphasis on applying health psychology in a vocational setting and gives you the opportunity to understand the work of health psychologists and other healthcare practitioners.
Unit 6: Introduction to Psychopathology
In this unit you will develop knowledge of psychopathology; types and characteristics of mental disorders and approaches to treatment, and the role of professionals in supporting and promoting mental health. This will include exploring the causes of psychopathology, as well how society have historically viewed those whose behaviour was seen as abnormal.
At least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above, including three from the core subjects.
As this is a vocational course, a large part of the subject involves applying your learning to case studies which will be similar to those you may get when working in a related field - for example a case study of someone at risk of addiction or group pressure. This is backed up with documentaries, independent research and the practical part of Unit 2. In class, we teach the theory behind the content and then encourage students to develop their skills of application.
Units 1 and 3 (approaches and health) are assessed through external exams, Unit 1 in the summer of year 1, and Unit 2 in the summer of year 2. The exams are between 1.5 and 2 hours long, and are graded as Near Pass, Pass, Merit or Distinction.
Units 2 and 6 (research and psychopathology) are assessed internally through assignments. Unit 2 is made up of three assignments (covering the principles of research, planning a project, and carrying out and analysis of the project), and Unit 6 is made up of two assignments (the historical context of mental health, and modern treatments and risk factos of mental illness). Each assignment is roughly 8-10 pages in length, but there is no definitive word count, and quality counts as much as quantity! Full support materials and plans are provided to help you with the assignments, and students are able to resubmit if their first attempt achieves a lower grade.
We try to include as many trips and enrichment opportunities as possible. For example, this year students have had the opportunity to talk to guest speakers from the University of Gloucestershire about post-graduate study, and attend an online talk from York St John University about the history of mental health treatment. Students also have the opportunity to take part in practical activities both in and out of college to conduct their own research investigations.
Students are required to purchase work booklets for the course (approximately £5 per year) but there is no need to purchase any textbooks or other course materials. There is a charge for trips and visits, although this is kept to a minimum where possible.
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