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Diploma of Higher Education in Philosophy and Psychological Studies - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is an intermediate programme that aims to provide you with:

  • a thorough grounding in the humanities alongside the development of discipline specific perspectives
  • the development and consolidation of skills of analysis, argument and expression
  • the ability to write well-argued essays and other specified written tasks, including work in formal examinations, and reflect on tutor feedback, and use this feedback to improve on future performance
  • the opportunity to enhance your personal development, both in terms of progressing towards a degree in a named subject through OU level 3 study, and awareness of the transferrable skills you have gained in the process of studying philosophy and psychological studies to diploma level

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • what it means to approach an issue philosophically, as that phrase is understood in terms of the contemporary Western tradition of philosophy
  • some important developments in Western philosophy from the ancients to the present and some key texts in this tradition
  • some philosophical terminology and methodology.
  • key approaches to psychology and the contribution of different theorists to psychological ideas and thinking
  • what constitutes a scientific approach to psychology, and of the differences between common sense and psychological explanations of human behaviour
  • a range of research methods in psychology, their appropriate use, and the ethical issues in the design and conduct of psychological enquiry.


Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • develop, communicate and defend philosophical arguments
  • plan and execute philosophical writing at the appropriate level, including the ability to organise a number of arguments and counter-arguments into a coherent essay
  • define and use key terms and concepts in psychology
  • explore hypotheses and construct arguments, with appropriate use of psychological concepts, theories and evidence
  • understand and evaluate a range of research strategies and methods used by psychologists.


Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • reason under time constraints  
  • engage in the continuous and incremental study required to come to terms with a complex subject
  • design and conduct psychological investigations using a range of methods and types of data analysis and report these in appropriate formats
  • analyse and assess research methods and findings and appreciate the ethical principles involved.
  • be ready to view unfamiliar ideas with an open mind and a willingness to change one’s mind when appropriate.


Key skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:
  • select and read material in an appropriate way, identify what is relevant and take notes efficiently and effectively
  • present written material in a coherent, organised form, with arguments and information in a logical sequence and sources referenced in an appropriate way
Application of number 
On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:
  • perform basic numerical operations and work with statistical data
  • interpret tables, graphs, diagrams and bar charts
  • present and summarise data in extended reports.
Information technology 
On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:
  • access, process and prepare information using computers
  • use information technology to access library resources
Learning how to learn 
On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:
  • analyse tasks, make plans for tackling them and manage time
  • learn from a variety of different media and different teaching methods 
  • learn from feedback  and be able to monitor and reflect on your personal progress

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment, which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups; and community forums.

In the programme a range of types of assessment is used, in accordance with the recommendations of the national music benchmarking statement. Most modules include continuous assessment and an examinable component. The tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that make up the continuous assessment component may take the form of essays, reflective writing, and reports, depending on the module and the level. The examinable component may take the form of a traditional unseen examination or a project.