A Level

Psychology has been defined as the scientific study of how human beings think, feel and behave. This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the key approaches, research studies and methods used by psychologists from the case studies of Freud to the insights of modern neuroscience. Psychology is a subject that asks us to consider what it means to be a human being and to understand how we relate to other people.

Coursework/Examination Requirement

3 examinations.

The College expects students to have

Grade 5/5/6 or above in English, Maths and Science in any combination.


Psychology students will enjoy a wide range of career choices. These include clinical, occupational sport, forensic and education psychology. The subject is also useful in other areas not directly concerned with psychology such as human resource management, marketing, teaching and public services.

Course Content

Units 1 & 2

The major theoretical approaches in psychology: these include Freud’s psychodynamic theory, behaviourism, cognitive and biological approaches.

Social influence: In this topic we encounter some of the most famous and controversial research including Milgram’s studies of obedience and Zimbardo’s Stanford prison study. Is it situation or personality that is most influential and how does the presence of others influence our behaviour?

Memory: We investigate theories of how short term and long term memory work and conduct class experiments to test out these claims. The reliability of eye witness testimony and how the police have used memory research to develop interview techniques is a key focus.

Attachment: This topic explores theories of infant attachment and how such early relationships have an impact in later life, especially the consequences of deprivation.

Psychopathology: The problem of defining abnormal behaviour (mental illness) and differing explanations of psychological abnormality e.g. OCD and it’s treatment.

Biopsychology: This is an introduction to neuroscience and topics include the recovery of the brain after trauma, Sperry’s ‘split-brain’ studies, and the influence of biological rhythms.

Unit 3

Schizophrenia: diagnosis, explanations and treatments for schizophrenia.

Adult romantic relationships: theories of the formation, maintenance and dissolution of relationships including contemporary research on the influence of the internet.

Forensic psychology: explanations for offending behaviour and dealing with offending behaviour.

Research methods in psychology constitutes approximately 25% of marks at A Level. Students will need to be reasonably confident in Mathematics to cope with statistics questions and interpretation of data.

Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Learning Journey

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