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Psychology is the study of human behaviour and mental processes.  Psychologists look at human behaviour from various viewpoints. For example, we can try to understand behaviour from a biological point of view by studying genetics, or changes in brain chemistry. In contrast, we can study how behaviour is a consequence of the family and environment you are in, the people you meet, and the daily interactions you have. Either of the above could perhaps be used to explain criminal behaviour, ability to cope with stress, or the perception we have of our own gender.

The course looks at some of the approaches that psychologists follow and by studying selected research in depth, students gain an understanding of the five main areas of Psychology – cognitive, developmental, social, physiological and individual differences.  Methodology, psychological debates and ethical considerations permeate the whole course.

Courses Offered

A level Psychology (AQA)

Syllabus Breakdown

Year 1:

  • Approaches
  • Social Influence
  • Memory
  • Attachment
  • Psychopathology
  • Biopsychology

Year 2:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Aggression
  • Cognition and Development
  • Issues and Debates

Research Methods are delivered throughout both years.

Subject Key Subjects

#1 Psychological approaches
    #2 Analysis and Evaluation    #3 Ethics

#4 Nature verses nurture debate     #5 Free will and Determinism    #6 Culture and Gender

Please click here for Subject Key Concepts.

Curriculum Overview

Useful documents:

Please click here for a PDF of curriculum overview for Year 12.
Please click here for a PDF of curriculum overview for Year 13.

Minimum Entry Requirements

In addition to the general Sixth Form entry requirements of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, students are preferred to have a grade 5 in English as well as a grade 5 in either/both Maths and/or Science.

Why Study Psychology?

Psychology is one of the most popular subjects to study because it has a big impact on all areas of life, from education and health, to the economy and crime.

Psychologists apply scientific methodology to explain human behaviour. They formulate theories, test hypotheses through observation and experiment, and analyse their reports with statistical techniques that help them identify important findings.

If you are interested in finding out why people behave the way they do or how the brain works then Psychology could be for you.

Wider Opportunities

Students should gain some insights into human behaviour, whilst developing communication and analytical skills which are transferrable to most jobs.  Psychology is also useful in personnel work and teaching.  Psychologists might specialise in education, clinical practise or occupational psychology.

What Our Students Say:

"I am enjoying the studies on different aspects of social influences, and learning how some work well and others don’t.“

"I chose Psychology because I wanted to try a new subject and this looked really good.”

"I am learning about Zimbardo’s Stanford experiment and also the Milgram experiment has been extremely interesting.  It was something I wanted to research more about and also that I went home and talked about.”

What Can I Do Next?

Skills that can be developed through study of Psychology include: oral, visual and written communication; problem solving; numeracy and statistics; critical and creative thinking; decision making; organisational skills; team working and IT and data analysis skills.

Skills acquired through study of Psychology are transferable to many career areas.

More information on careers in Psychology is available from careers.bps.org.uk on the British Psychological Society website. Areas in Psychology include Forensic, Health, Clinical, Educational, Sport & Exercise, Research and Training, Neuropsychology, Counselling, Occupational.

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