Higher Diploma in Psychology

Course Features

  • Psychology conversion course
  • Equivalent to Honours BA degree in Psychology
  • Two years full time or four years part time
  • Accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
  • Internationally recognised degree
  • Enables further postgraduate training in clinical, counselling, health and other types of psychology

Course Overview

The Higher Diploma in Psychology is an intensive two-year postgraduate conversion course for graduates with an honours degree in a discipline other than psychology, who would like to take the first step towards a professional career in psychology. The degree is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) as a first degree (equivalent to an Honours BA in Psychology), and confers eligibility for Graduate Membership of PSI. The Higher Diploma in Psychology is an internationally recognised degree that allows graduate membership of relevant psychological societies including the British Psychological Society (BPS).

What will I learn?

The curriculum for the Higher Diploma in Psychology is taught in conjunction with the Honours BA in Psychology. It covers the key areas of psychology required for PSI accreditation, namely

  • biological bases of behaviour
  • developmental and lifespan psychology
  • social psychology
  • personality and individual differences
  • cognitive psychology
  • research design and quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Additionally, you may select elective modules covering a wide range of topics that reflect the diversity of staff interests and expertise within the School of Psychology. You will gain experience with psychological research by completing a series of practical laboratory experiments in psychology in your first year. In second year, you will conduct an individual research project on a topic of your choice under the supervision of an academic staff member. Small group tutorials will provide further support for your learning.

Course structure

The Higher Diploma in Psychology runs over two years (full time). You will earn 60 ECTS credits in each year. 45 credits in each year are earned from compulsory ‘core’ modules, as listed below:

Year 1 core modules:

PSY10080 Introduction to Social Psychology

PSY10060 Brain and Behaviour

PSY20150 Foundations of Psychology

PSY20020 Child and Adolescent Development

PSY20060 Psychology of Language

PSY20080 Visual and Social Cognition

PSY20160 Research Methods and Statistics II

PSY20050 Psychology Labs I

PSY30110 Psychology Labs II


Year 2 core modules:

PSY30050 Behavioural Neuroscience

PSY30340 Intelligence and Personality

PSY30040 Lifespan Developmental Psychology

PSY30140 Advanced Social Psychology

PSY30350 Research Methods and Statistics III

PSY30360 Psychology Research Project

Students must earn an additional 15 credits per year from a list of optional modules. A wide variety of topics are offered, including modules on clinical psychology, health psychology, cross-cultural psychology, sports psychology and the psychology of crime. More information on these modules may be found at the following link: Module Listing. Please note that some modules may not be offered in a particular year, and the programme structure may change from year to year.

Students may also choose to complete the programme part-time over four years. This will involve attending classes 2-3 days per week during normal business hours. Queries about the structure of the part-time programme may be addressed to Mary Boyle.

Am I eligible for this course?

Applicants for the Higher Diploma in Psychology programme must be graduates with an honours degree, or final year students on an honours degree programme in any discipline. Offers to applicants who are not graduates will be contingent on degree results. The programme welcomes applications from mature students.

The selection process for the Higher Diploma in Psychology will take account of:
(1) undergraduate record and, where relevant, postgraduate record;
(2) certified modules or courses in psychology;
(3) experience of psychology through work or voluntary activities;
(4) employment record;
(5) references;
(6) applicant’s personal statement on the application form.

International Applicants

A number of places on the Higher Diploma in Psychology are offered each year to international applicants. Applications for this programme are now open. International applicants may contact Mary Boyle in the first instance to indicate their interest in applying for the Higher Diploma in Psychology. International applicants may apply for the Higher Diploma in Psychology through the UCD Online Applications homepage.

The following website provides general information for international students who wish to study at UCD: http://www.ucd.ie/international/

Teaching in Irish Universities is normally through the medium of English. All applicants are therefore required to demonstrate a high level of competence in the English language. Applicants whose first language is not English, and who are not presenting the subject English in a school-leaving examination which is at least of pass Leaving Certificate standard (e.g. GCSE grade C) must meet the minimum English Language Requirements in relation to TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) specified at the following website: Admission English requirement

Application Details

Between 15 and 20 students are admitted to the Higher Diploma in Psychology each year. Applications for this program will open applications for this programme are now open for 2017. Applicants may contact Mary Boyle in the first instance to indicate their interest in applying for the Higher Diploma in Psychology. Applicants may apply for the Higher Diploma in Psychology online at www.ucd.ie/apply

Course Fees 2017/18

For more information on course fees, please visit the Fees and Grants Office website at www.ucd.ie/fees

Contact us

For further information about the Higher Diploma in Psychology please contact Mary Boyle in UCD School of Psychology at mary.boyle@ucd.ie or +353 1 716 8369