- Edexcel

Level 3

Who is this course for?

Ever wondered why you are the way you are, or other people behave the way they do? Psychology A Level will help you to understand yourself and other people much better. It is a subject that tries to get to the bottom of what you are like and why you behave in certain ways. It is more precisely the “scientific study of the human mind and human behaviour”.

Formal Entry Requirements

All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects (of which two must be B grades) including GCSE English Language. We will count Level 2 Btec Diplomas towards this total, but only merits and distinctions will be counted and each diploma will count as one GCSE.

Additionally, you will need GCSE Double Science/Psychology at C or above, or Level 2 Btec Applied Science at merit or above, plus GCSE Maths at C or above and GCSE English at C or above.

What does the course involve?

You can study Psychology for just one year in either your first or second years and gain an AS award or you can complete two years and gain the full A Level.

It is very important that you know about how to do research in Psychology as it is a science subject and this appears as a topic in both the first and second years. You will study this first and then go on to the first module, Social and Cognitive psychology, in which we examine theories about how your memory works and why we forget, and about the importance of relations between people in society, i.e. obedience, prejudice, football hooliganism, cult behaviour etc.

In the second module, Understanding the Individual, we shall examine three different approaches to the Psychology of individuals. Topics covered will include gender development, personality development, dreaming, phobias, addictions, conditioning, punishments and rewards, modelling, media violence, the effects of genes on behaviour, and autism as an extreme male brain condition.

In the second year, one unit is spent studying Child and Criminal Psychology. Child Psychology includes attachments, child development, autism, maternal deprivation, private children and the debate about the effects of daycare. Criminal Psychology includes eyewitness testimony, media violence, treating offenders, offender profiling, serial killers, and the question of whether criminals are born or made.

The final unit covers How Psychology Works and Clinical Psychology. How psychology works includes topics such as the contributions of psychology to society, psychology as a science, issues in the use of humans and animals in experiments, and how psychology controls people. Clinical Psychology covers depression, schizophrenia, definitions of abnormality, phobias, OCD and eating disorders.

How will I be assessed?

You take four exams, two for AS and two for A2, which include a mixture of short answer questions and essay questions.

Where can I go next?

Students who have studied Psychology A Level often go on to study it at university or choose a related degree such as criminology, sociology or teaching.

Psychology is very useful for any career that involves working with people e.g. nursing, teaching, health, business. There are few areas of life where knowledge of psychology is not valuable.

Further information is available from