A Level


Why should I study this course?

Are you interested in why people behave the way they do? Psychology is the scientific study of people, which tries to understand and explain thought, behaviour and emotion. If you’re fascinated by the mind, this course is sure to capture your imagination!

Studying psychology will help you gain an insight into why people behave the way they do and how to help people change their behaviour. You will look at different ways of investigating human behaviour, covering several areas of psychology and studying major psychological approaches and studies. You will also discover if behaviour is affected by our thoughts, how our bodies respond to a situation, and why childhood learning affects our future.

What will I study?

You will study a range of key psychological research covering such issues as, gambling behaviour; obedience; is it possible for chimpanzees to learn language? Autism and prison life. You will also have to study and evaluate how psychologists do research. You study behaviour and critically analyse other people’s research in a scientific way.


Research Methods
This unit looks at examining the methods used in psychology to study behaviour. You will have an opportunity to carry out some research on people yourself. This includes experiments, observations and self-reports methods. You will learn how psychologists analyse data and conduct statistical tests on data which you collect.

Psychological themes through core Studies
You will study 20 pieces of ground breaking research in psychology. You will consider questions such as; can someone alter your memory? Do you understand what someone else is thinking? Why are some children aggressive? How does your brain structure affect your behaviour? You will also think about the major debates in psychology such as the nature/nurture debate; the extent to which psychology can be considered a science; should we conduct unethical research and how useful is psychology in the real world. There are opportunities for you to apply your knowledge to real examples of behaviour and devise strategies to improve behaviour.

Applied Psychology
Learn about how psychology is used in the real world. Crime psychology studies why people turn to crime, how psychology is used in the courtroom, and how criminals can be rehabilitated. Health and clinical psychology examines dysfunctional behaviours, mental illnesses and how they can be treated. Child psychology studies how children learn cognitive and social skills, how the brain matures and considers how behaviours such as risk taking change over childhood and adolescence. In this unit you have to think more widely about psychology and in particular consider some of the wider debates and issues. For example, does identifying the cause of behaviour mean that sometimes we are not personally responsible for how we behave?

Examination board


How is the course assessed?

You will take mock examinations at the end of your first year of study. These examinations will be based on the content you have learned in year one. You will take 3 examinations at the end of year two based on the full two years of work. These are the only examinations that will count towards the final A Level grade.

What will the course prepare me for?

This course will prepare you for understanding people’s behaviour, which means that what you learn will be useful in any profession. You may find that this qualification is particularly beneficial for careers in teaching, nursing, childcare, social work and other careers directly related to psychology.

Private study

As an approximate guideline A Level subjects require 4-5 hours each subject per week to achieve your target grade.

What materials will I need to provide?

Standard stationery items: a pen, a pencil a ruler, and a notepad. You will also be expected to keep an A4 folder where you file your class notes, assignments, assessments and handouts.

How will I be taught?

Lessons are delivered in an interactive environment with lots of varied activities and resources. We encourage independent learning with frequent exercises to complete outside of the lesson.

This course is for you if... have a scientific and enquiring mind and are interested in applying this to the study of human behaviour.

Your application starts here

What are the course requirements?

Five 9 – 4 (A* - C) grades at GCSE including a minimum of grade 4 (C) at GCSE English Language. Students will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 (C) in Maths and Science.

If you are interested in joining the College, we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication; however, the College may need to make some changes in light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College's control.

What skills do I need?

  • Excellent written skills, as all the units are assessed by written examination.
  • Being able to ‘see’ things from both sides of an argument will help you to evaluate the research and concepts.