National Diploma / National Extended Certificate

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time




View Fees

Develop your practical skills within our brand-new laboratory suite

Excellent preparation to progress onto our higher education psychology degree

Intrigued by why we think, feel and behave the way we do? Do you enjoy learning about science through a hands-on practical approach?

Applied Psychology explores our complex behaviours and the inner workings of our fascinating minds. With a strong practical and problem-solving approach, this course provides you with a unique learning pathway onto our psychology degree, as well as other science and health degrees.

You will deepen your understanding of key topics such as cells and organ systems, chemical bonding and reactions, waves and materials and learn different psychological approaches and how research is conducted, with a large unit on health psychology. Within our brand-new laboratories, you will conduct experiments, learning advanced analytical skills as well as developing excellence in laboratory practice. You will also get to conduct your own research into a scientific area you find especially interesting.

Studied over two years, it leads to two qualifications: a National Diploma in Applied Science (equivalent to 2 A-levels) and a National Extended Certificate in Applied Psychology (equivalent to 1 A-level). This gives you  the opportunity to continue to study biology, chemistry and physics while enabling you to gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of psychology. The course has a large emphasis on experiments, research and coursework. On completion, you will be ready to pursue a career or higher education course in psychology or the applied science sector.

Why choose this college course?

  • STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES – Experience applied sciences first-hand in our Health Skills and Simulation Suite and robotics labs and gain understanding of child development psychology in our Early Years Suite
  • INNOVATIVE LEARNING – Enjoy learning using the latest in education technology from VR-modelling of health scenarios to interactive body-sized digital anatomy tables
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying psychology at degree level? This college course been specifically designed to support your progression onto relevant degrees at university, including our own BSc Psychology degree.
There are lots of reasons why we think you should study with us, but here are our top 5. View video.

Our facilities

Our applied science college students will learn in brand-new chemistry, biology and physics laboratories, plus you will get to experience applied sciences first-hand in our state-of-the-art Health Skills and Simulation Suite, used by our nursing and physiotherapy degree students, and our robotics labs, where our engineering students do their practical training. You will also have access to our award-winning university support services.

Course breakdown

Applied Science

You will study core applied science topics which will include:

  • Biology: Cells and the cardiovascular, breathing and excretory systems
  • Chemistry: Atomic structure and bonding, periodic trends and reactions
  • Physics: Electromagnetic spectrum, materials and thermal physics
  • Practical techniques of titration, colorimetry, chromatography and colorimetry
  • Investigations into enzymes, plants, diffusion, fuels and electrical circuits
  • Laboratory practice including health and safety, manufacturing techniques, data storage and informatics

You will also study two optional topics chosen from a wide range that includes forensics, genetics, disease, physiology, microbiology, organic and industrial chemistry, astronomy, medical physics and cryogenics.

You will also be able to explore an area of particular interest to you by completing your own investigative project.

Applied Psychology

In applied psychology, you will study:

  • Psychological approaches and applications
  • Conducting psychological research
  • Health psychology

These are studioed with an option topic which could include criminal and forensics psychology, child developmental psychology, psychopathy or applied sport psychology.

Please note: Units/topics of study are subject to change

You will also have an individual study programme to help you build the skills and experience you need to progress onto higher education or gain employment.

Entry requirements

Our college tutors are looking for students who are committed, enthusiastic and have a desire to excel in the science industry, so please contact Admissions if you do not have the specific requirements outlined below.

If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919, email or use our live chat.

Academic requirements

  • 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, including English (Language or Literature), Maths and Science.

English and maths

If you do not have a grade 4/C or above in English and maths and you are under 19, you will be required to study these subjects alongside your vocational subject. After enrolment you will complete an assessment with our teaching team so we can ensure you receive appropriate English and maths support.

Applicants over 19 are not required to complete maths and English.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.
  • If you are a school leaver (over 19), you will be required to provide a reference from a previous education provider or employer in support of your application.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

For both applied science and psychology, two of the four units are assessed by a written exam, the other two units are assessed as coursework.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Uniform and kit costs

This course requires a uniform and kit costing approximately £30, depending on the items you purchase. (Prices are subject to change each year – exact costs and information on how to order required items will be provided to you prior to enrolment.)

"Understanding health psychology and theories is so applicable for our society today. Studying them together with the theory, research, and practical techniques of applied science make this such a relevant and engaging learning experience."

Rosa Wells College Principal

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Forensic Scientist

Average Salary: £30,000

Research scientists

Average Salary: £39,000


Average Salary: £31,000


Average Salary: £49,000


Average Salary: £37,000

Sports psychologist

Average salary: £27,000 – £37,000

Aspiring to a higher level career? Complete this course and you could progress onto our BSc Psychology degree or our Mental Health NursingAdult Nursing or Physiotherapy degree programmes.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Ofsted 'Outstanding'

Ofsted rated the behaviours and attitudes of students at University College Birmingham as Outstanding, the top grade available, also commending investment in high-quality resources to support learning.

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