Course Overview 

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes and how these have an impact on an individual‘s or group‘s physical and mental state. The goal of psychology is to understand, predict and modify  human behaviour. The A level Psychology course allows you to study behaviour, including aggression, gender and  abnormality, as well as psychological theories and research. You will develop research skills, as well as developing skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation. The course explores different areas of Psychology, including Cognitive, Social and Developmental Psychology; Approaches in Psychology,  including, psychodynamic theory, behaviourism, social  learning theory and bio-psychology. You will also explore ethical issues in psychological research.

Examination Board:


Entry Requirements:

Grade 5 in English Language/Literature.
You must have the required qualifications for the Advanced Pathway.

Course Level:

A Level – Level 3

Assessment Objectives

You will study:

Social influence: This explores the influence of others on our behaviour. You will study the topics of obedience and conformity in depth. Why do some people obey even if it causes harm to others? Why do some refuse to obey? What makes us conform and follow the crowd?

Memory: You will explore how our memory works, taking an in-depth look at short and long term memory. You will be investigating eye witness testimony and how false memory can lead to wrongful convictions in law. Attachment: You will learn about different types of attachment and how our early relationships can impact our mental health and future relationships. You will investigate the link between criminality and attachment type.

Approaches in Psychology: You will learn different theories. These will include psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural, social psychology, and the biological approach, and how there are competing explanation for the same behaviour.

Psychopathology: this will explain mental health disorders such as phobias, depression and OCD including explanations and treatments.

Schizophrenia: An in-depth look at this major psychological disorder including competing explanations and treatments.

Gender: An in-depth exploration into gender including the nature/nurture debate. Is our gender biological or is it learnt?

Aggression: An in-depth investigation into the different causes of aggression. How can group dynamics lead to aggressive behaviour? What links are there between prison aggression and conformity? How do prison riots start?

Research Methods: You will explore the process of conducting psychological research such as experiments, observations, interviews and questionnaires. You will be conducting small scale investigations and interpreting data.

What skills will I develop?

Developing an argument with justification
Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data
Presentation skills
Evaluating sources

How will I be assessed?


There is no coursework in psychology, although you will be given the opportunity to conduct practical investigations. There are three external examinations that will be taken at the end of the second year. You will be assessed at the end of the first year by an internal mock examination. Your progress is continuously monitored throughout the course at different assessment opportunities.

Progression Routes

The subject combines well with English, Biology, Maths,  Sociology, Religious Studies and History. It also combines well with BTEC courses like Health and Social Care and Children’s Play, Learning and Development.

A degree in Psychology offers graduates a wide choice of future employment opportunities such as Clinical/ Occupational/ Developmental/Forensic/Sports Psychologist roles, Teaching, the Police, Nursing, Social Work, as well as providing valuable transferable skills that can apply to a wide range of occupations.