Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it influences behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion. It is about understanding people and how this understanding can help us address and solve many of the problems in society.

A level Psychology is a ‘mixed skills’ course and is appropriate for those who have an interest in the course content but who are equally comfortable with Biological Science, Statistics and have strong literacy skills e.g. reading and extended writing.

As a science Psychology is dedicated to the study of human behaviour through observation, measurement, and testing, in order to form conclusions that are based on sound scientific methodology.

Psychologists employ their knowledge and expertise in many areas of society, such as:

  • Helping us prevent and overcome mental disorder, stress, and trauma.
  • Speeding up recovery from brain injury.
  • Improving performance both at school and in the workplace.
  • Assisting the police, courts, and prison services in the operation of their duties.
  • Analysing and improving athletic performance.
  • Counselling


The first year of the course consists of six topics:

Social Influence – This is the study of how society influences the individual. Why we do as we are told, why we do what everyone else is doing. Why some people rebel against society.

Memory – Different types of memory.  Why eye witnesses to crime make such poor witnesses. Why we forget.

Attachment – How our relationships with our first carers influence all our future relationships. The impact of institutionalisation in childhood on relationships.

Approaches – Different fields of psychology and how they explain human behaviour.

Psychopathology – What is normal and what is abnormal. Explanations and treatments for phobias, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Research Methods – The methods used by psychologists to investigate human behaviour.


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.

The Year 2 Psychology course consists of the following subjects:

  • Biopsychology
  • Research Methods
  • Issues and Debates
  • Gender
  • Schizophrenia
  • Forensic Psychology

The course is examined by three two hour written examinations. Each is worth 33% of the A Level grade.

Useful complementary courses for A Level Psychology, for those who wish to progress to the more Science based Psychology degree course, include A Level Biology or Statistics and A Level Mathematics.


Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of

Grade required Subject required

Grade 5

In at least one predominantly written based GCSE subject (from English Language, English Literature, History, Religious Studies or Sociology)


Grade 4

GCSE English Language and English Literature 


Grade 4

GCSE Mathematics


Grade 5

Both 1st and 2nd grade in GCSE Combined Science

Grade 5  Two GCSE single sciences including Biology

Please note that GCSE Applied Science or Level 2 BTEC Science qualifications are not acceptable as alternative GCSE Science qualifications for A Level Psychology.


Psychologists work in a number of fields and therefore a psychology degree offers good career opportunities. These include forensic psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, cognitive psychology, occupational psychology, neuropsychology, health psychology, sport psychology, counselling psychology.

In addition, people with Psychology degrees go into a range of other professions as they have demonstrated an ability to be adaptable and have a range of skills. They have a good grasp of scientific and mathematical principles and can write in detail.



The Psychology Department also offers a Criminology Level 3 Diploma (an A level equivalent course – but in a modular assessment framework).  Criminology offers a more specialist option particularly for those students who do not achieve the mathematics or science grades required for A Level Psychology but still have good literacy skills.  A level Sociology also provides a social science course option where the skills are literacy based and there is significantly less scientific content and statistical understanding required.

The department has close links with a number of universities and students may have an opportunity to experience Psychology in a university setting as well as attend lectures by leading psychologists in their field.  Local universities also visit to offer support and guidance for university applications. The department also runs a ‘grade booster’ event every year.