Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. In the first year of the course you will take an in-depth look at five different psychological approaches that offer explanations of human behaviour, as well as classic research studies and the methods used by psychologists to carry out their research. In the second year you will look at three behaviours in depth – criminal behaviour, addictive behaviour and schizophrenia – studying the characteristics of the behaviours and analysing possible explanations.

Unit 1 – Psychology: Past to present

Five major psychological approaches form the basis of this unit: the Biological, Psychodynamic, Behaviourist, Cognitive and the newly emerging Positive approach.

This unit will require you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of each approach on the following areas:

  • how the approach explains human behaviour
  • classic pieces of research associated with the approach
  • how each approach has been applied to a therapy

You will also develop evaluation skills and an ability to use your knowledge of each approach in the context of a contemporary debate such as the ethics of neuroscience, how conditioning techniques are used to control the behaviour of children and the reliability of eyewitness testimony.

Unit 2 – Psychology: Investigating behaviour

The core theme for this unit is psychological research. The unit is made up

of two parts:

  • Principles of research

This will involve understanding the ways in which psychologists conduct their research and you will gain an appreciation of the role of analysing data. You will have the opportunity to conduct a piece of research yourself and through this will learn about the ways in which psychologists analyse their data and draw conclusions. You will also be encouraged to appreciate the complex issues involved in conducting scientific research within psychology.

  • Novel scenarios

The second aspect of this unit will allow you to apply your knowledge and understanding of research methods to research scenarios that you have not seen before.

Unit 3 – Psychology: Implications in the real world

The unit is made up of two parts and will enable you to develop your knowledge and evaluative skills that you will have gained from Units 1 & 2 and study more in-depth topics within the discipline of Psychology:

  • Applications

You will learn how psychological theories and research have been applied to different types of behaviours such as criminal behaviour, schizophrenia and addictive behaviour.

  • Controversies

You will explore controversial issues within psychology that have had an impact on society. These include: culture and gender bias within psychological theory and research and the ethical costs of conducting research with humans and animals.

(Exam board: Eduqas) 

(QAN code: A290QS)

Teaching methods are varied and include teacher led discussion, individual tasks, group work, activities and question practice.

Unit 1: written paper, 2hour 15mins, 33% of overall grade

Unit 2: written paper, 2hour 15mins, 33% of overall grade

Unit 3: written paper, 2hour 15mins, 33% of overall grade

You should have at least a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and at least a grade 4 in GCSE Science and English.

The course contains an element of Maths in order to understand research findings and when analysing data. The course contains biological explanations of human behaviour. In addition, students need good writing skills for the essay component of the exams.

In this subject, particular skills and aptitudes will be required, many of which will be demonstrated by students’ GCSE profiles.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change.

An A Level in Psychology is a well-respected qualification as you acquire both literacy and numeracy skills. These flexible skills are useful in a range of career choices.

A Psychology degree is the required foundation for further study leading to careers in Clinical Psychology, Educational Psychology and Occupational Psychology. However, Psychology graduates often pursue careers in personnel work, the Health Service, social work, advertising, counselling and the prison service. Combination degrees can also lead to a wide range of careers.

Psychology combines well with most other subjects. It is a science subject which combines well with Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. It is accepted by some medical courses as a third science A Level.

However, it also combines well with Humanities subjects as it appeals to students who are interested in people and their behaviour. Popular combinations are with Sociology, History, English, Philosophy, Geography and Business Studies.