Postgraduate study
This conversion course is for students who wish to pursue a career in psychology but either hold an honours degree in a subject other than psychology, or do not have eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership from the British Psychological Society.
PGDip Psychology (Conversion Course)
9 months full-time
Entry requirements
2.2 (or international equivalent) with 60 credits of psychology
Other requirements
Applicants must have a maths qualification equivalent to at least a grade 4 (C) at GCSE
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£8,865 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
British Psychological Society
University Park Campus



psychology conversion research

Diploma students attend a selection of modules to cover the British Psychological Society core areas, and a limited number of more specialised elective modules.

Key facts

  • gain eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership from the British Psychological Society
  • benefit from access to dedicated experimental labs, a library of test materials, and a range of monitoring equipment including video apparatus and eye-tracking
  • explore psychology via research-engaged teaching
  • accredited by the British Psychological Society

Take a 360 degree tour of the Psychology Building We also offer a Psychology (Conversion) MSc

Psychology postgraduate event

Find out more about our courses and talk to staff and students at our open afternoon on Wednesday 12 June 2–4pm.



Full course details

This course is now closed for 2019 entry for international applicants.

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What you'll learn

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology (Conversion) offers a selection of modules to cover the core areas of psychology including:

  • biological
  • cognitive
  • social
  • developmental

You'll also learn skills in statistics and research methods and conceptual/historical issues in psychology as specified by the British Psychological Society.

Teaching methods

This course is offered on a full-time basis only, over nine months following the academic year from September to June.

Diploma students attend a selection of lecture-based modules to cover the British Psychological Society core areas, and a limited number of more specialised elective modules. Dedicated seminars are also provided for each core module.


Assessment is by written examination at the end of each semester, by practical and research project reports and written assessments.

Find out more



Core modules

You will study the following core modules.

Cognitive Psychology

Examine a wide range of topics including:

  • perception, with emphasis on vision but also hearing, taste, touch and smell
  • the psychology of language
  • the psychology of reading
  • human memory
  • thinking and problem solving

Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology

Examine the historical and conceptual roots of psychology.

Explore the contributions of ancient greek, medieval, renaissance, and 19th and 20th century thinkers with emphasis on the relationship between body and mind and the nature of consciousness. 

You will also consider the scientific status of psychology in comparison to other social and physical sciences.


Neuroscience and Behaviour

Explore several issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions including:

  • psychopharmacology
  • psychobiological explanations of mental disorders
  • dementia
  • sexual development and behaviour
  • methods of studying neuropsychological processes
  • the effects of brain damage on mental functioning
  • introduction to classical and instrumental conditioning
  • theories of associative learning and memory
  • what forgetting might tell us about learning
  • topics in comparative cognition and cognitive abilities
  • can animals do anything apart from conditioning?

Personality and Individual Differences

Explore the psychological explanations of personality and individual differences and the relationship between the individual and society

You will study the major personality theories in detail and the application of these to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour and health.

You will also gain an insight into IQ and the evolutionary bases of traits. 


Practical Methods

Develop your practical skills in running experiments including:

  • experimental design
  • interpretation summary data and inferential statistics
  • 'building' experiments with the computer-based user-interface, PsychoPy

Small groups will work on supervisor-guided projects.


Social and Developmental Psychology

Examine issues in social and developmental psychology including:

  • social cognition and social thinking
  • attributes
  • attitudes
  • persuasive communication and attitude change
  • social Influence
  • conformity and obedience
  • group decision making and behaviour change culture
  • intergroup behaviour
  • prejudice and discrimination
  • perceptions and motivations
  • evolution of mentalising and theory of mind
  • mindblind: Autism spectrum disorder
  • phylogeny: The mental world of Apes
  • development of synaesthesia
  • language acquisition
  • adult perceptual development: sensory substitution and augmentation
  • conceptual development: colour cognition
  • reading and spelling development

Statistical Methods

Study the basic concepts and assumptions with respect to univariate and multivariate statistics, as well as issues relating to field studies, ethics, the reliability and validity issues as well as basic qualitative techniques.


Additional modules

You must also choose an additional 20 credits worth of modules from the third year modules we offer.

They typically include the following options (subject to timetabling constraints and module prerequisites). 

Altruism, Cooperation and Helping

Explore theories and models of altruism, cooperation and helping form the perspective of psychology, economics and evolutionary biology.

Examine theories from:

  • economics - reputation based, strong-reciprocity, warm-glow and crowding and altruistic punishment
  • biology - kin selection, reciprocity, coercion, mutualism, cooperative breeding
  • psychology - empathy, personality, sexual selection and situational constraints

Consider why people sometimes dont help and actively try to benefit from others (e.g., Free-riding) and apply these models to anti-social behaviour, and how we cooperate to inflict injury on other groups. You will also examine why people ask for help and finally how charities implement some of these principles and if they are successful.


Psychology of Ageing and Older People

Discover how aspects of the brain and mind change with age.

Topics include:

  • perception and cognition
  • decision making
  • memory and forgetting
  • emotion
  • social factors
  • dementia
  • health
  • executive function

The lectures will outline the major theories of ageing and draw on evidence from behavioural experiments, large scale studies, meta-analyses, brain imaging and studies in animals.

After your own reading, you will develop a structured research proposal to address an outstanding question or gap in knowledge.


Clinical Psychology

An introduction to the concept of abnormal psychology and the application of psychology in clinical settings.

Discovery how psychological models are developed and how they are applied in developing interventions.

The module will emphasise examining theory and evaluation of interventions for a number of disorders/clinical issues.


Developmental Dyslexia: Psychological and Educational Perspectives

Explore psychological theories of developmental dyslexia and educational issues.

Examine the cognitive characteristics and educational attainments of pupils with developmental dyslexia and address the ways in which individual educational needs might be met at both the classroom and whole school level.

This module should be of interest to students with an interest in developmental, cognitive, and/or educational psychology, and those wishing to pursue a career in child psychology, educational psychology, general teaching practice, and/or special needs education.


Educational Psychology

Gain an insight into the contexts in which educational psychologists operate by examining the historical development of this profession.

Explore successes in, and barriers to, establishing a role as scientist-practitioners in educational settings.

Focus on assessment and intervention work with specific populations such as young people who display challenging behaviour in schools, vulnerable adolescents, and bilingual learners.

Examine psychological approaches to group work with teachers and pupils as well as the application of system theory in helping transform aspects of schools and other organisations.


Forensic and Mental Health

The area of forensic mental health is a growing area of research in psychology and is pertinent in both the criminal justice system and mental health services, and the integration of the two.

In this module you will study:

  • offending behaviours
  • typical categorisation of those who commit crimes or harm themselves
  • standard interventions for offenders
  • the neuroscience of offending

You will also explore the current research on specific offending behaviours, and examine the role of the criminal justice system and health service in dealing with individuals who offend.


Understanding Developmental Disorders

Explore how psychologists study and understand disorders of cognitive development.

This module focuses on disorders which include impairments in attention, memory and/or executive function.

Disorders covered include:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • autism
  • reading disorders
  • down syndrome

Cognition in the Real World

Discover how cognition functions in the real world, and the relevance of cognitive psychology to everyday life.

You will explore how cognitive models and theories can be applied to tasks that we all perform.

Topics include attention in driving, memory for emotional events, and spatial navigation.


Applied Psychology: Road User Behaviour

Explore road user behaviour from a number of psychological perspectives.

Topics include

  • a critical review of brain scanning studies of driving
  • the visual skills required for driving
  • the effects of aging and experience
  • distraction (from in-car devices such as mobile phones, and from out-of-car objects such as road-side advertisements)
  • the skill of hazard perception (and whether this can be adequately measured as part of the licensing procedure)

You will also study memory for driving events (from everyday driving to road traffic accidents), influences of emotion on driving (e.g. does the aggression-frustration hypothesis explain road rage?), and social and individual differences related to crash risk (e.g. sensation-seeking and risk propensity).


Mechanisms of Learning and Psychopathology

Gain an understanding of the mechanisms of learning and memory in human and non-human animals, and an analysis of pathological conditions involving these systems.

You will study topics including perceptual learning, the contextual and attentional modulation of learning and behaviour as well as more neuroscientifically focused topics such as the role of the hippocampus in memory.

Clinical topics include the acquisition of phobias, memory discords, the psychological side effects of cancer treatment, and depression.


Neuropsychology of action: The body in the brain

Examine the psychological and neural basis for the planning and control of human action.

You will be introduced to scientific research, through a guided exploration of the neuropsychological bases for human action.

Experience the multi-disciplinary nature of research into human behaviour, and discover how a single issue can be addressed from multiple perspectives including experimental psychology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and functional brain-imaging.


The Visual Brain: Evolution, Development, Learning and Adaptation

Explore how the architecture and function of the visual brain has been designed and shaped by experiences over a range of timescales.

The innate properties of the eye and visual brain that are present at birth have been designed over millions of years of evolution. The brain continues to physically change its structure and function within a lifetime (brain plasticity). Over the years of development, brain plasticity is the driving force for the maturation of different visual brain functions. 

Even well into adulthood, plasticity is retained in the form of learning, which can optimise performance for certain visual tasks and be exploited for therapeutic uses.

Examine the consequences of evolution, development, learning and adaptation for visual brain function and perception.


The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

UK/EU students

The Graduate School website provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies which you would need to factor into your budget.

International and EU students

The International Office provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, scholarships, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.


Careers and professional development

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Rewarding careers exist in clinical, health, educational, and occupational psychology, and criminology. Psychologists are also welcome in many other contexts, such as human resource and general management, marketing, and as members of research or design teams producing new products.

Further information about careers in psychology is available from the British Psychological Society.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 94.7% of postgraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers – ranked in the top 10 in The Graduate Market 2013-2019, High Fliers Research.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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