Professional Level 5 Diploma in Personal Safety, Security and Self Defence

Professional Level 5 Diploma in Personal Safety, Security and Self Defence


A highly advanced level 5 professional diploma. This course covers all aspects of personal safety, security and self defence in-depth and in a highly academic fashion. The diploma is a serious academic undertaking and graduates should feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment together with high levels of knowledge and competence in the field. Upon completing the diploma, successful graduates qualify for full membership of the UK Self Defence and Martial Arts Guild. For those who wish to embark upon a career in teaching personal safety, security and self defence, graduates are eligible for a fast track teaching course in the form of 4 full day practical sessions and one additional instructor module to be completed online. Existing coaching and teaching qualifications will also be considered.


This is a highly advanced academic course that is mapped against common UK SDMAG level descriptors at level 5 for its complexity. It is structured as a diploma for the size of the award, which equates to around 300 learning hours. Upon completing this course, it is anticipated that learners will have gained the level of knowledge within the subject area that will set them aside as an expert in their field.

Who is this course for?

  • The course is aimed at trainers, coaches and instructors
  • Designers of courses
  • Workers within the security services, including police, military and private security
  • Practitioners of self defence and personal safety who want to gain a high-level award within the field
  • Senior managers working in, or managing staff within high risk environments
  • Anyone seeking to enhance their academic portfolio and employability by studying at a higher level
  • Students with an interest in criminology


Following the course, successful graduates will be awarded the Diploma in Security, Personal Safety and Self Defence and will be able to use the letters: SDMAG Dip after their name. The diploma is awarded by the UK Self Defence and Martial Arts Guild (UK SDMAG) and graduates automatically qualify for full membership after completing the course (subject to the necessary fidelity checks).

Graduates who do not already hold a training or teaching qualification can go on to complete the additional instructor units to become licenced and certified self defence instructors through UK SDMAG, although the teaching route is not a prerequisite (licencing terms and conditions apply).


UK Self Defence and Martial Arts Guild (UK SDMAG) is a not for profit company operating under charter with the purpose of providing support, quality control, training, and education to the self defence and martial arts industry in the UK. UK SDMAG also provides DBS criminality checks and insurances to self defence and martial arts instructors and offers membership to those who are approved, vetted and checked. Once approved, instructors can apply to become licenced by UK SDMAG and operate as approved self defence instructors.

Entry Criteria

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to study at this academic level
  • Previous level 3 qualifications in a related subject are required, such as: A-level, NVQ Level 3
  • Applicants without the qualifications, but with related professional work experience may be considered
  • The Combat Academy Level 3 Practitioner, and Level 3 CQC certificates are available as an access course prior to enrolling if required. Both certificates provide unit credit, which counts towards the diploma course. (Note: the Level 3 CQC course is only available to exforces, security services, high risk workers, or those with a dispensation)

Length of Study

The course contains 20 units spread over eight modules. It is anticipated that around 300 learning hours is required to complete the course.

Course Delivery

The course is delivered through blended learning with lectures, seminars and workshops. A full online learning version is also available with tutor support, webinars and recorded lectures.

Outline of Course Content


UNIT 1 – Concepts and strategies
UNIT 2 – Types of threat and criminal intent


UNIT 3 – Concepts in personal security (critical literature review) (research project)
UNIT 4 – Security hardware (multiple choice exam)
UNIT 5 – Cyber security (discussion forum) (multiple choice exam)


UNIT 6 – Concepts and strategies (presentation)
UNIT 7 – Tactics and physical self defence (demonstration) (report)
UNIT 8 – Types of attack and criminal method (case history report)


UNIT 9 – Broad-based psychology (exam) (critical literature review)
UNIT 10 – Verbal commands and body language (demonstration) (exam)
UNIT 11 – Positive psychology (critical literature review) (reflective journal)


UNIT 12 – Human anatomy (exam)
UNIT 13 – Vital points (exam) (demonstration)


UNIT 14 – Broad-based criminology (critical literature review)
UNIT 15 – Victimology (case history report)


UNIT 16 – Self defence and the Law (case history report) (exam)
UNIT 17 – Ethics (discussion forum)


UNIT 18 – Concepts and strategies (critical literature review) (case history review)
UNIT 19 – Threat awareness and assessment (live action operation)
UNIT 20 – The Law (case history report) (exam)

After completing the Level 5 Diploma, you automatically qualify for the theoretical side of the licenced instructor qualification and by completing the additional DEFOF practical training and instructor module, you are eligible to apply to become a licenced UK SDMAG instructor and run your own personal safety and self defence courses or classes. You will also be among the most highly trained specialists in personal safety, security and self defence in the world.