Higher Diploma in Psychology
The Higher Diploma in Psychology is a level 8 two-year, full-time (or up to four-years part-time) conversion course designed for graduates with degrees in disciplines other than psychology or for those who have taken psychology as a minor subject.
Like the BA Applied Psychology the Higher Diploma in Psychology is an entry level qualification in the discipline. It is also accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland; an accredited qualification being a pre-requisite for most postgraduate professional training courses both in Ireland and the UK.
The course includes key modules in psychology including, Developmental, Social, Biological, Cognitive and Forensic Psychology. Students are also comprehensively trained in research methods and statistics and work independently on a research topic of their choice in the second year of the programme.
Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops and practical classes as well as through online content. This is supported by tutorials and supervision. Students in first year benefit from a high level of contact with lecturers and tutors, with students in second year engaging in more self-directed learning and hands-on practical sessions. The emphasis in third year is on research with less classroom contact, and more time spent in independent work and research, supported by one-to-one supervision.
Assessment is via class-tests, exams, essays, practical and statistical reports, reflective journals, case studies and presentations. The variety of assessment methods reflects the emphasis on the development and application of psychological knowledge, and students are supported throughout their degree in developing the requisite skills for each type of assessment. Students in their third year write up and present a substantial research project which accounts for a third of their credits in third year.
Preparation for Entry
Candidates who can show an active interest in psychology, and who have thought through how they might pursue a career in the field (whether in research or as a practitioner), are most likely to be successful in securing a place.
We are often asked to recommend preparatory courses and there are many on offer through universities, institutes of technology and VEC colleges. When choosing an introductory course it’s best to opt for one that includes formal assessment; the exercise of writing about psychology is likely to deepen your understanding of topics, and you may be more informed and confident at interview.
Those candidates interested in doing volunteer work could enquire about opportunities through the network of volunteer bureaux operating throughout the country. The local agency in Cork can be accessed at www.volunteercork.ie or on 353 (0)21 439 6510.
Applicants must hold a level 8 qualification (i.e., honours degree or equivalent).
Applications for places on the Higher Diploma in Psychology are made online through www.pac.ie. The closing date is normally early March after which all applications will be reviewed and some applicants shortlisted for interview. Places will be offered following interview.
Entry onto the Higher Diploma in Psychology is highly competitive. Generally only those candidates who have achieved a minimum of a 2H1 in their first degree will be considered for interview. However, applicants who can demonstrate substantial relevant experience since completing their original undergraduate degree may also be called.
Because students on the course come from such diverse academic backgrounds, most benefit from a one week intensive 'crash course' which is held the week before the start of term.