CIPD Level 5

Associate Diploma in People Management

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What our Level 5 HR course offers

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What is a CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma?


The CIPD Level 5 Diploma in People Management is an HR qualification developed by the highly respected Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). It’s roughly equivalent to an undergraduate degree.

It’s the right choice for you if you have some HR experience and are looking for the next big step in your career, or if you’ve already completed a CIPD Foundation qualification.

Every module of the course is aligned with the CIPD Profession Map, which sets the global standard for people professionals and outlines the exact skills you need at each stage of your HR career – so you can be sure everything you learn is relevant, up-to-date, and will help you make a real impact at work.

What are the benefits of a CIPD Level 5 HR qualification?


The CIPD Level 5 Diploma shows employers that you have the wide range of skills you need to stand out in mid-level roles such as HR Manager, HR Advisor, and HR Business Partner.

You’ll explore a broad range of HR models and practices across key areas such as recruitment, talent management, and employment law, and gain a better understanding of the external factors that can have an impact on HR activities and organisations. You’ll also personally develop your analytical and problem-solving skills.

Successfully completing the Associate Diploma leads to CIPD Associate Membership, and will allow you to continue on to the highest level of CIPD study, the Advanced Diploma.

Why is this course right for you?

Getting CIPD qualified with DPG is the no-nonsense way to enhance your CV, progress your career and boost your earning potential.

  • Earn more: 75% of our CIPD students increase their earning potential 
  • Transform your career: 78% secure a new job or promotion
  • Upgrade your skills: 83% of our students say CIPD made them more confident at work
  • Enhance your credibility: 86% say CIPD increased their professional credibility

Don't just take our word for it, 92% of our students recommend a CIPD course.†

Looking to make sure this course is also right for your wallet? Check out our budget calculator

Level 5 HR Diploma FAQs

The CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management is right for you if:

  • You want to take the next step in your career in the people profession
  • You have some HR experience or a CIPD Level 3 qualification
  • You're currently in, or aiming for, a mid-level position like HR Manager or HR Business Partner
  • You want to add value to your organisation in a people practice role

The Associate Diploma is designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to impress employers, take on managerial roles, deliver real results at work, and get ahead in your HR career.

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but it's designed for people who have some experience of HR or a CIPD Level 3 qualification.

Aside from that, as long as you're 18+ and have good literacy and numeracy skills, you're good to go.

Yes, you should join CIPD as a Student Member before you submit your first assignment for your Level 5 Diploma. You need to be a member so CIPD can moderate your assignments, award your grades, and give you your qualification – so it’s pretty important!

We’ll explain how to join as a Student Member once you enrol. Bear in mind you’ll pay an annual Student Membership fee to CIPD too.

Learn more about CIPD Membership.

We find it takes most students around 9 to 11 months to complete the CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma. To give you plenty of flexibility, we offer a support period of 12 months.

However, everyone is different, so bear in mind this might change depending on your circumstances and how much time you have to study each week.

While the CIPD Level 3 course is much shorter, consisting of only 4 units, the CIPD Level 5 course is much more extensive, requiring learners to study a total of 7 units, which include 3 core units, 3 specialist units and the learners’ choice of 1 option unit. 

As a result, the two levels also differ in completion time from one another, with the CIPD Level 3 average completion time being 7 to 9 months, while the CIPD Level 5 completion time is 9 to 12 months. 

However, everyone is different, so bear in mind this might change depending on your circumstances and how much time you have to study each week.

The cost of the CIPD Level 5 Diploma is also more than the CIPD Level 3 Certificate, as the Level 5 course is a longer, more comprehensive qualification, and thus, costs more overall. 

CIPD offers two different options which can be considered, exemptions and credit transfers.

Credit transfers occur in the event that a student wishes to switch study providers and has completed the same unit elsewhere. This would typically be handled by the training provider. 

Alternatively, exemption takes place when a student has completed some units under the previous CIPD Legacy qualification and is looking to transition to the same unit of the new qualification, something that is also handled by the training provider. However, this depends on which unit the student is looking to transition.

Also, exemption occurs when a student has previously completed a relevant degree, such as an undergraduate, Masters or MBA degree; in this case, they can apply for exemption.

The degree must directly map the qualification you’re looking to study (an undergraduate degree is likely to map a CIPD Level 5 qualification, while a Masters or MBA would likely map a CIPD Level 7 qualification). This case is handled directly by the CIPD, who will conduct a mapping process, where students will be required to pay CIPD directly. 

At DPG, we pride ourselves on helping you get CIPD qualified without breaking the bank.

If you’re paying for your course yourself, you can spread the cost over up to 18 months, and you won’t pay any extra – all our payment plans are totally interest-free*.

We also offer low deposits, so it's easy and affordable to get ahead in your career.

If your employer is paying for your course (or if you’d like them to!), our advisors can help you put together a business case showing the benefits of studying CIPD.

Give us a ring on 0330 660 0220 to find out more.

We give you two options, so you can choose a style of learning that suits you.

Our 100% online programme gives you a totally flexible experience that helps you fit CIPD into your life. You can access your course, resources, and webinars online anytime, anywhere.

Prefer a more traditional learning experience? Our blended programmes give you a unique combination of exclusive virtual workshops delivered by expert tutors, webinars, online learning and community collaboration.

For more info on how blended or online learning works, give us a ring or shoot us an email. Our friendly advisors would be happy to chat you through the process!

The CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management covers three core units and three specialist units:

  • Organisational performance and culture in practice
  • Evidence based practice
  • Professional behaviours and valuing people
  • Employment relationship management
  • Talent management and workforce planning
  • Reward for performance and contribution

You'll also get to pick one optional unit from the following list:

  • Specialist employment law
  • Advances in digital learning and development
  • People management in an international context
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Leadership management development
  • Well-being at work

For more details on what you'll learn, download your free CIPD brochure.

For every module you study, you'll complete a written assignment. You'll hand these in online where they'll be marked by our assessors and moderated by CIPD.

And don't worry – if you don't pass an assignment first time, you'll be able to have another go with feedback and advice from your tutor. We’ve got your back!

If you’re planning on funding the course yourself, our completely interest-free payment plans help you spread the cost with monthly instalments.

Along with that, with our price match guarantee we want you to get the best deal available, so, we can match any other provider’s price for a like-to-like CIPD HR course.

However, if your employer will be funding the course, whether that is partly or the entire course, we can directly invoice them for your course fees. All you need to do is let your advisor know and they will sort that out for you!

Yes! The CIPD Level 5 course in HR comprises 7 units in total, 3 of which are core units and 3 specialist units, which focus on providing learners with knowledge of the best practices in HR. However, it also offers the choice of 1 optional unit for students to choose from.

These optional units address current industry trends, equip future people professionals to keep up with an ever-changing industry. Students can choose between the following optional units:

  • Specialist employment law
  • Advances in digital learning and development
  • People management in an international context
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Leadership management development
  • Well-being at work

Yes! You can choose to transfer to either a Level 3 or Level 7 CIPD course, if you find that CIPD Level 5 isn’t suitable for your career goals. 

However, during your enrolment process our Course Advisors will talk through your education, experience and goals to make sure you’re choosing the right course for you. 

Please note that depending on your situation, and how long ago you were enrolled onto the course, transfer fees may apply.

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*Terms & Conditions apply. Any offer of credit is made by DPG and is subject to your status and eligibility.

† Statistics from a survey of 37 CIPD students who graduated between 2018 and 2022.